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Summer 2014
Vol. 58, Number 2
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Credentials may lead to higher earnings

Data released in January 2014 from the U.S. Census Bureau show that about 1 in 4 adults—more than 50 million people—held a professional certification, license, or educational certificate in fall 2012. The data also show that, among full-time workers, alternative credentials generally led to higher earnings.

Survey respondents reported having these credentials instead of or in addition to a postsecondary degree. Professional certifications and licenses were prevalent among people who had an associate's degree or higher, particularly a master's or professional degree. Educational certificates were more common at the associate's degree level.

Workers in technical occupations—such as health, engineering, or science technologists or technicians—were the most likely to hold an alternative credential. About 70 percent of these workers had a professional certification or license, and 25 percent had an educational certificate.

Overall, for each level of education below a bachelor's degree, earnings were higher for people who had alternative credentials than for people who did not. For example, median monthly earnings for full-time workers with a professional certification or license were $4,167, compared with $3,110 for those with no alternative credentials.

For a summary of "Measuring Alternative Education Credentials: 2012," including a link to the full report, visit

Not sure how certification differs from certificates? Find out in the Quarterly article "Certificates: A fast track to careers," available at

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Dietetic technicians bring nutrition to the table

Working as a dietetic technician is a good way to combine a love for food and a desire to work with people. And, like the rate of growth for many healthcare occupations, employment growth of dietetic technicians is expected to be faster than average over the 2012-22 decade.

Dietetic technicians work with dietitians to plan meals, teach people about food and nutrition, help patients who have special diets, manage food service operations, and more. After completing the minimum of a 2-year program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics and passing a registration examination, registered dietetic technicians may be eligible to work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, community health clinics, and food companies.

There were about 26,420 dietetic technicians employed nationwide in May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics estimates that about 5,000 of those were registered dietetic technicians.

For more information about registered dietetic technicians, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student page at

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Class of 2014 starting salaries: Engineering leads, healthcare gains

Engineering majors had the highest starting salaries among Class of 2014 bachelor's degree recipients, but new health sciences graduates had the biggest salary increase over Class of 2013 levels. Both findings are part of an April 2014 report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

As the table shows, average starting salaries for engineering majors were more than $17,000 higher than the overall average for all Class of 2014 majors but were little changed from last year. Health sciences majors had the largest percent increase over last year's average starting salaries, more than triple the overall average percent increase. Although humanities and social sciences majors had the lowest average starting salary, their gains over 2013 salaries were second highest among Class of 2014 bachelor's degree recipients.

For a link to an executive summary of the April 2014 NACE Salary Survey, visit

Average starting salaries for Class of 2014 bachelor's degree recipients, by major
Major Average starting salary, 2014 Percent change over 2013 average salary
Engineering $62,719 0.3%
Computer science 61,741 2.9
Business 53,901 -0.6
Health sciences 51,541 3.7
Communications 43,924 1.8
Mathematics and sciences 43,414 1.6
Education 40,863 0.9
Humanities and social sciences 38,365 3.5
Overall 45,473 1.2

Source: NACE Salary Survey, April 2014.

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Choose tools and technology for work

Do you like working with spreadsheets? The Occupational Information Network (O*Net) has identified 600 occupations, including accountants, chemical engineers, and industrial production managers, that use spreadsheets as tools on the job.

Not a fan of crunching numbers? Choose another tool or technology, and O*Net will point you to different careers.

O*Net's recently updated Tools and Technology database has detailed information about the machines, equipment, tools, and software that workers use in nearly 800 occupations. Enter a tool or technology to generate a list of occupations that use it. For example, search for "scroll saw" and you'll get a list of 6 occupations in that category. But the list also groups hundreds of other occupations into 38 categories of similar tools, such as power saws, rock cutters, and acoustic sensors.

You can also explore tool and technology use in reverse: by selecting an occupation and seeing the tools and technologies that those workers use.

Check out the tools and technology search feature at

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: June 19, 2014