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New Salary Surfer community college website shows potential income

June 19, 2013|By Carla Rivera
  • Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris says the Salary Surfer website is meant to help students make more informed decisions about their education.
Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris says the Salary Surfer website… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

A new website announced Wednesday that uses state wage data shows California community college students the value of their certificate or degree.

The Salary Surfer provides information on median annual incomes for 179 popular programs including health, business, social sciences, architecture, engineering and other disciplines. The intent is to help students make more informed decisions about their education, Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said in a telephone briefing.

The website, a collaboration between the two-year system and the California Employment Development Department, shows aggregated earnings data for community college graduates two years prior to earning a certificate or degree and then earnings two years and five years after.

Workers in the biotechnology field, for instance, earned a median annual income of $12,695 two years prior to earning an associates degree, $44,562 two years after and $55,673 five years later.

According to the data, nearly 45% of those who completed an associates degree earned more than $54,000 annually five years later. The figure is the median wage of someone who holds a bachelor’s degree in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data does not contain earnings for students who transferred to a four-year university, those who are self-employed or work for the federal government.

“This is a groundbreaking tool … that shows the return on investment for our students is really remarkable,” Harris said.

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carla.rivera@latimes.com

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