UPCEA/Chmura Study: Occupational Shifts and Higher Education Credentials

Working on Laptop

This report illustrates a number of major occupational shifts in technology, healthcare, and other industries, and their impact on higher education. While new occupational categories are certain to arise, and existing ones may change, UPCEA and Chmura hope to shed greater light on this complex topic.

The U.S. is at a unique period in time. An aging Baby Boomer population, the unique dynamics related to maturing Millennial and Generation Z learners, technological advances, and shifting labor needs are rapidly changing the economic and occupational landscape. Taking these factors into consideration, and coupling them with the country’s deeply-rooted four-year degree model, will challenge many institutions to adopt or consider new or alternative educational models.

The major findings of this study include: 

  • Higher education enrollments are decreasing while enrollments in alternative credentialing (including certificates, badges, licenses, etc.) and associate’s degrees are on the rise.
  • Alternative credentialing is an effective way to develop “middle skills” for today’s blue- collar jobs.
  • Two of the fastest growing fields in the next decade are predicted to be healthcare and professional services.
  • Alternative credentialing’s growth is directly tied to its ability to meet the needs of adult learners, but it also has inherent value for the colleges and universities that choose to embrace it.


Interested in more from the Center for Research and Strategy?

See more studies.

Get consulting services.