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Findings: Adult

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Nondegree Credentials

  • Overall, 45 percent of labor force participants have a postsecondary degree; adding in nondegree credentials (postsecondary certificates, occupational certifications, and occupational licenses) raises the percentage with a credential to 58 (see figure)
  • Among adults who have only a nondegree credential, the most common credential is a license, followed by postsecondary certificate, and then certification (see figure)

Licenses and Certifications

  • Overall, 21 percent of adults have a license or certification, with licenses being more prevalent than certifications (see figure)
  • Licenses and certifications are more prevalent among adults with college degrees than among those with less education (see figure)
  • The most common field in which adults are licensed or certified is health care (see figure)
  • Most adults prepared for their most important license or certification by taking classes from a college, technical school, or trade school (see figure)
  • A majority of adults report that their most important license or certification is very useful for getting a job, keeping a job, remaining marketable to employers or clients, and improving their work skills (see figure)

Work Experience Programs

  • Overall, 21 percent of adults have completed a work experience program, and 14 percent have completed a work experience program that was part of an educational program after high school (see figure)
  • Among adults who completed a work experience program, health care was the most prevalent field, followed by teaching (see figure)
  • Among adults who completed a work experience program, 64 percent found them to be very useful for getting a job, 66 percent thought they were very useful for improving work skills, but only 37 percent considered them to be very useful for increasing their pay (see figure)
  • More than two-thirds of adults who completed a work experience program did so as part of a formal education program, usually as part of a postsecondary education program (see figure)
  • Adults who completed a work experience program as part of postsecondary education, rather than outside of education, were less often paid during the work experience, but were more often in a work experience that prepared them for licensure or certification (see figure)