Technical college graduate salaries grow despite recession

by admin13. May 2009 19:00

Despite a slow economy, 2008 technical college graduates report salaries that are nearly four percent higher than graduates from one year earlier, with a median salary of $32,000 six months after graduation, compared with $30,782 a year before.    


The data is from the annual Graduate Follow-Up Report by Wisconsin’s technical colleges, which examines graduates’ progress in all types of degrees six months out of college. Associate degree salaries were highest with a median of $36,192, up 3.6 percent from $34,944 the previous year. However, the biggest gains were experienced in two-year technical diploma fields, with graduates reporting a median salary of $33,570, a jump of nearly 15 percent from 2007 graduates ($29,248). 


“It’s great to see the salaries of our graduates continue to rise during these tough economic times,” said Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “No occupations are recession-proof, but demand for highly-skilled employees in high-tech fields, including health care and advanced manufacturing, can pump up salaries even during a recession.” 


Clancy attributes the colleges’ ability to rapidly add or drop programming to meet the needs of employers. This allows the colleges to closely align education to areas of need so graduates meet employers’ needs.   


According to the report, the number of occupations where new graduates’ median salaries are above the $40,000 threshold is now at 40, up from 26 the previous year. The study also found 91 percent of the graduates were employed within six months of graduation and 97 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the education they received from their local technical college. The study showed that Wisconsin only loses seven percent of its technical college graduates to other states.    


Moraine Park graduates who reported median annual salaries above $40,000 in 2007-08 include those who work in the civil engineering technician – structural, criminal justice/corrections, engineering technologist, mechanical design technology, nursing (associate degree), and radiography fields. Several reported salaries above $30,000, in fields such as air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology ($37,471), IT – technical support specialist ($37,000), graphic communications ($35,000), practical nursing ($32,639) and health information technology ($31,718).


The Graduate Follow-Up Report was sent to 23,085 graduates from 2008 and had a 72-percent response rate. It examines employment status, earnings, and other factors approximately six months after graduation. The report is available at


Moraine Park Technical College instructors are industry-experienced making them uniquely qualified to bring the future to you. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Moraine Park is one of 16 colleges that make up Wisconsin’s technical colleges. Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses are also offered. For more information about Moraine Park, visit