Public 2-Year Schools

Bergen: Graduates Earn More

With average annual earnings of $65,600, Bergen Community College graduates rank No. 11 in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to PayScale, the online compensation database. The company, which released its “2016-17 College Salary Report” this month, reviewed data from nearly 400 associate-degree-granting institutions. Mid-career graduates have 10 years of experience in their field.

“Community colleges have long prepared graduates for careers with sustainable wages, ensuring their quality of life,” Bergen President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Bergen takes this philosophy even further through region-leading health professions programs, which prepare graduates to enter the county’s No. 1 employment sector, and transfer programs in cutting-edge STEM fields, a major growth area of the U.S. economy. Employers recognize the intense teaching and learning that occur at our institution and place a premium on hiring graduates holding a Bergen degree.”

In May, Bergen opened the state-of-the-art Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center, a 63,000 square-foot facility that will prepare more than 1,000 students for entry into careers such as dental hygiene, nursing and diagnostic medical sonography – fields that rank first, third and fourth for early-career salaries, according to PayScale. Dental hygienists holding associate degrees and less than five years of experience average $62,100 each year.

Meanwhile, focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education continues at Bergen as the federal government estimates U.S. employers will add nine million STEM jobs by 2022. Bergen recently secured a $5.3 million federal grant to support study in the fields. Seven of PayScale’s top 10 highest paying careers for associate degree graduates are in STEM fields.

In recent years, Bergen has helped deliver greater numbers of associate degree graduates into the workforce, ranking No. 1 in New Jersey for graduates three consecutive years.