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“All Opportunity, No Cost“ – What kind of Career Education Pays Off

A recent report by the policy group Third Way calculated the return on investment for different college degrees by asking a simple question: how long does it take to make the money you spent on the program back, based on the boost it gives your career?

In virtually all cases, completing a college program left you better off than not completing one — though there were a few significant exceptions. 

They also weren’t looking at program’s like Calbright’s — which are currently free for Californians and so have no cost to pay back at all — but there are still some important lessons to learn. They include:

Go Public

The report found that programs at public colleges — like community colleges and state schools — were the best at getting their costs recouped by the students within 5 to 10 years. 

By contrast, just 40 percent of students who graduated from for-profit colleges were able to make back the money they’d spent in 10 years. 

Get Technical

While there are many advantages — to students and society — from studying the arts and humanities, if you’re most interested in getting a salary bump and paying off your student debt, then going into technology or healthcare is the way to go.  

Shop Carefully

Certificate programs, the report found, can be among the best options because they can be completed the most quickly (often under a year, compared to four years for a bachelor’s degree), and often cost the least.  

But many certifications are not actually valued by the industries they promise entry to — especially at the graduate level. So it really matters whether the certification someone is studying for will, in fact, improve their job search and open new doors.

What We Offer

Calbright is designed to enhance results like these. We’re a public, non-profit, community college: the kind of school that gets the best results for students looking to boost their careers.

Our programs are designed specifically for career-driven outcomes: to prepare people for good jobs in growing sectors like technology and health care, and to help people already in those fields move into better jobs. 

The certifications our students study for are all industry-valued. We know that because we work directly with industry leaders, hiring managers, and companies to find out what kind of credentials they’re looking for, not just for today, but also for the years to come. 

Our programs can be completed quickly — Salesforce Administration, for example, in less than six months — and are currently free to Californians, so there’s no student debt to be paid back. Our programs are also entirely online, and flexibly paced so that students can complete them on their schedules, moving faster when they have the time and slowing down when they need to. We also offer career support, helping students with their job search, from perfecting their resume and preparing for interviews, to connecting them with individuals who already work in the industry.  


It’s all opportunity, no cost. If you’re a Californian looking to transition into technology, or for a career boost, take a look and see if Calbright is a good fit for you.