Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along the Way to the B.A. details the 29 million “middle jobs”—jobs that pay middle class wages for workers without a four-year degree and the five major pathways that lead to those jobs.

Key Findings


The United States invests roughly $1.4 trillion in human capital development each year. National spending on the five CTE pathways totals $524 billion annually.


The United States is ranked second internationally in baccalaureate attainment, but ranks 16th in sub-baccalaureate (CTE) attainment.


There are 29 million “middle jobs” in the United States that pay $35,000 or more on average and don’t require a Bachelor’s degree.


More than 11 million middle jobs pay $50,000 or more annually, and 4 million pay $75,000 or more.

Full Report

Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along the Way to the B.A. details the 29 million “middle jobs” – jobs that pay middle class wages for workers without a four-year degree and the five major pathways that lead to those jobs.

Getting a Bachelor’s degree is the best way for most workers to make middle-class wages. In this report, however, we show there are 29 million jobs (21% of all jobs) for workers without Bachelor’s degrees. The report also details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate’s degrees.

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