Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay

Getting a Bachelor's degree is the best way for most workers to make middle-class wages. In this report, however, the authors show there are 29 million jobs (21% of all jobs) for workers without Bachelor's degrees. The report also details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate's degrees. 


This report has two parts. Part One explores in detail the five major CTE pathways at the subbaccalaureate level: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and Associate’s degrees. Part Two lists the occupations for which CTE prepares American workers. Middle jobs are defined in terms of both education and earnings. The first criterion is that jobs require more education and training than high school but less than a Bachelor’s degree. The second criterion is a minimum earnings threshold (MET) of an average of $35,000 a year, which was 185 percent of the poverty line earnings for a family of four in 2011. 

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