Career Technical Education in Health: An Overview of Student Success at California's Community Colleges

Contributing to a growing body of research on the economic benefit of industry credentials, the Public Policy Institute of California released a study of employment outcomes for students in health CTE programs in the California Community College system. In California, 18 of the top 25 wage-enhancing degrees are in health. As such, obtaining a health-related credential could be one strategy for closing achievement gaps and providing underserved students an on-ramp into the industry. 

This study examines data from a total of 120,000 students enrolled in health CTE programs in California community colleges over the past decade. The study finds that, despite variations in completion and persistence across different programs, students who obtained credentials increased their earnings by 51 percent compared to non-degree holders. While a credential can increase earning potential, the authors further explore gaps in completion across racial subgroups to identify strategies for increasing access for underserved student populations. They conclude that efforts to improve completion outcomes, such as by providing increased financial aid, providing more course sections, or advising students on their career pathways may lead to higher credential attainment and employment outcomes. 

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December 2016