ERDC has recently published a new Earnings for Graduates report, which explores theearnings of students who have received certificates or degrees from public colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs in Washington. The report allows users to explore how much graduates from various degree programs in Washington have earned during the seven years after graduation, and how this varies by institution and industry. For example, users can see how much graduates from a degree program have earned in multiple industries.
The 2014 Legislature, via a budget proviso, requested that ERDC “create a report of employment and earnings outcomes for degrees, apprenticeships and certificates earned at institutions of higher education” (ESSB 6002, Sec 129). In addition, institutions have relied on graduate surveys to get important feedback information for accreditation and program improvement purposes. While wage outcomes are not the only way to evaluate a program, linking completion and employment data and providing this to institutions can assist them in decision-making.
Some important caveats: Earnings information is provided only for completers matched with Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records collected by the Washington State Employment Security Department. Therefore, this analysis does NOT include self-employed individuals, federal employees, and those employed exclusively outside Washington. Data are not displayed for groups of fewer than 30 individuals. Many students continue their education after completion of a program and do not reach their full earning power until completing their education. Wage rates vary widely across the state and the mix of programs offered by a college often reflects the regional economy. Earnings variations across colleges are expected. Many factors in addition to earnings are required to measure the true value of a degree.