Technical college graduates are in high demand by Wisconsin's employers

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By Erin Eagan


Graduates of technical colleges are in higher demand than ever before. The proof is in the annual Graduate Outcomes Report released by the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). This year’s report is based on a survey of more than 17,491 individuals who graduated from a Wisconsin technical college in 2017.

2018 graduate outcomes graphic.png

2018 graduate outcomes graphic

Today’s employers are saddled with more job openings than skilled workers to fill them, so graduates with these skills are highly sought after. The report shows a direct correlation between the industries with the most severe worker shortage and graduates quickly finding employment in those career fields.

*The Wisconsin Center for Nursing found the state will need an additional 7,500 nurses a year to meet the demand by 2020. It should be no surprise then that 99 percent of last year’s Nursing-Associate Degree graduates are employed with a median annual salary of $54,995.

*According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 25.6 percent of Wisconsin’s manufacturing workforce is older than 55. With more than 470,000 manufacturing workers currently in Wisconsin, as this generation retires, that’s another 120,000 jobs that will need to be filled. Subsequently, 94 percent of all Manufacturing graduates from 2017 are employed with a median salary of $41,597.

*According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, our state has averaged 1,359 truck driving job openings in the last few years. By 2024, that number is expected to increase to 1,547. Ninety percent of last year’s Truck Driving-Associate Degree graduates quickly found employment with a median annual salary of $45,000.

2018 graduate outcomes median salary.png

2018 graduate outcomes median salary
Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer over 500 industry-driven programs in high-demand sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, information technology, health care, hospitality and service, business and more. Depending on the program, graduates of technical colleges receive a two-year associate degree, a one- or two-year technical diploma or a short-term diploma or certificate — all of which can pay high dividends.

Wisconsin’s employers know they are getting highly skilled workers ready to hit the ground running — and they’re paying good money to get them. Within the career fields, there are some occupations where graduates can start out making over $70,000, and several more with median salaries over $60,000.

  • Paramedic Technician (Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security): $77,058
  • Organizational Leadership (Business Management and Administration): $70,700
  • Applied Engineering Technology (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): $70,000
  • Quality Management (Business Management and Administration): $69,500
  • Facilities Maintenance (Architecture and Construction): $69,055
  • Automated Packaging Systems Technician (Manufacturing): $63,955
  • Cardiovascular Technology (Health Science): $62,005
  • Quality Assurance Technician (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): $60,000

As the high demand for middle-skills positions continues, Wisconsin’s technical college graduates will continue to achieve success in record numbers as they enter rewarding careers, bettering their lives in the process.