Date of Conferral







Stacy Wahl


While level of education predicts life income, the problem for this study was to determine the extent to which educational attainment predicts level of employment. The purpose of this quantitative study of archival data was to determine whether educational attainment predicts level of post-graduation employment for sub-baccalaureate associate degree and certificate holders. The covariates for this study were age, gender, race, and field of study. Human capital theory, the theoretical framework for this study, posits that students invest their time and resources in achieving educational credentials to obtain the economic benefits associated with those credentials. The two research questions that guided this study sought to determine if higher educational attainment at sub-baccalaureate levels predicts either involuntary underemployment or voluntary underemployment. Logistic regression was used to conduct a quantitative analysis of a secondary data sample (N = 583) obtained from the Adult Technical Education (ATES 2016) Survey. For research question one, the null hypothesis was rejected because the findings showed a statistically significant relationship between involuntary underemployment and five predictor variables: sub-baccalaureate certificates, associate degrees, field of study (other fields), race/ethnicity (Hispanics), and gender (female). For research question two, the null hypothesis was not rejected because gender was the only statistically significant variable associated with voluntary underemployment. This study contributes to social change by providing recent research findings from a nationally representative sample to inform key stakeholders about the association between higher educational attainment and post-graduation employment at sub-baccalaureate levels.