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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Trade certificates help men more than women

Marketplace Contributor Jun 6, 2012
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Kai Ryssdal: There’s some new research out today about education and how much you make. A study from Georgetown University says that if you have what’s called a post-secondary certificate, you’ll earn 20 percent more than somebody with with just a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, that adds up to nearly a quarter of a million dollars more.

But women with certificates aren’t earning nearly as much as men. From the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk, Shereen Marisol Meraji reports.


Jessica Arnold: My name is Jessica Arnold and I am a hairstylist.

Shereen Marisol Meraji: Jessica Arnold grew up in a college town — Ann Arbor, Mich.

Arnold: I felt like I was surrounded by college students, and a majority of my clients were college students.

But, college wasn’t for Arnold — she always knew she wanted to do hair and says her parents were encouraging.

Arnold: I don’t think they were college people either. My dad was a business owner and he didn’t go to college.

Anthony Carnevale: A lot of certificates that females tend to get are dead-end; health care tends to be that way, frankly, as does cosmetology.

Anthony Carnevale directs the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce; he conducted the certificates study and says Arnold’s earnings are likely to stay stagnant. Totally different for men.

Carnevale: The lowest earning certificate that’s dominated by men pays more than highest earnings certificate for women.

And if you’re a man in a high earning category — like computers or engineering — you’re more likely to go back to college and get a degree. I didn’t have to look too far to find a real-life example.

Marketplace IT guru Steve Turzo is a CISCO-certified network associate. And, he already makes $60,000 a year.

Meraji: Do you want to go back to college?

Steve Turzo: Yep.

Meraji: To do what?

Turzo: I don’t know, study computer science, something like that.

Georgetown’s Carnevale says if he was giving female members of his family advice, he’d tell them to follow Turzo’s lead and not stop at a certificate.

I’m Shereen Marisol Meraji for Marketplace.

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