Employees with Postgraduate Diplomas Earn Higher Wages

Katherine Wall

College postgraduate credential programs—typically requiring a previous postsecondary credential as a prerequisite for entry and aimed at providing career-specific skills—have grown in popularity, accounting for 13% of all college graduations in 2019, more than double the share (6%) recorded five years before in 2014. 

A new study, “The rising popularity of college postgraduate credential programs in Canada,” sheds light on the outcomes of students graduating from these programs regarding graduation rates, transition to permanent residency, and post-graduation earnings.

Among Canadian students, postgraduate college certificates were associated with substantially higher earnings than non-postgraduate college certificates and diplomas, with a gap of more than $15,000 for women and a bit under $8,000 for men between the two credential types four years after graduation. 

Female Canadian students who completed college postgraduate credentials had similar earnings four years after graduation ($50,000) to those with bachelor’s degrees ($49,000). Men who completed college postgraduate credentials earned an average of $54,000 four years after graduation, approximately $6,000 less than men with a bachelor’s degree. The gap for men may be because men with bachelor’s degrees are more likely to study higher-earning fields, such as engineering. 

Students who completed a college postgraduate credential in 2015 had wage earnings four years after graduation that were higher than those with a non-postgraduate college certificate or diploma but lower than those with a bachelor’s degree. This was the case for both Canadian students and international students. Canadian students earned, on average, $39,000 with a non-postgraduate college certificate or diploma, $51,000 with a college postgraduate certificate or diploma, and $53,000 with a bachelor’s degree.

You might also like