From 2003-04 to 2011-12, the proportion of undergraduates who were seeking a subbaccalaureate
certificate increased slightly from 7 percent to 8 percent.
In 2011-12, some 34 percent of subbaccalaureate certificate seekers had already
earned a postsecondary certificate or degree, an increase from 28 percent in 2003-04.
In 2011-12, the predominant field of study for subbaccalaureate certificate seekers
was health care, comprising 42 percent of certificate enrollments.
Student Persistence, Attainment, and Labor Market Outcomes
Persistence and Attainment
Subbaccalaureate students have a lower rate of persistence and attainment than baccalaureate
students. (see figure)
But students seeking a subbaccalaureate credential in an occupational field of study
have a persistence and attainment rate that is not measurably different
from that of subbaccalaureate students in other fields of study.
Labor Market Outcomes
Students who complete a postsecondary credential have higher employment rates than
noncompleters, and those who earn a degree have higher employment rates than those
who earn a certificate. (see figure)
Compared to students who earn an academic credential, a higher proportion of students
who earn an occupational credential were employed in 2009. (see
Among employed completers, a higher proportion of those with an occupational credential
report working in a job related to their field of study, compared to those with
an academic credential. (see figure)
Institutions and Offerings
The number of postsecondary institutions was higher in 2014 than in 2000, particularly
among institutions that offer subbaccalaureate occupational education. (see
Among institutions overall, and among institutions offering subbaccalaureate occupational
education, growth was restricted to the for-profit sector. (see
figure) As a result, for-profit
institutions increased from 47 percent of all institutions that offer subbaccalaureate
occupational education in 2000 to 57 percent in 2014. (see