Salary Surfer database shows how graduates of San Bernardino Valley College and students from all 112 campuses of California’s Community Colleges earn more after receiving a certificate or degree.

salary surfer logoReleased today by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the new Salary Surfer database is a groundbreaking online tool that allows students and the public to view the aggregated median earnings of those who complete a certificate or degree in a specific community college discipline at San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) and the other 111 community colleges in California and then proceed to enter the workforce.

Located at, visitors can view median annual incomes for those who have completed 179 of the most widely enrolled programs in California and did not transfer to a four-year institution. Salary Surfer shows the median earnings for a community college graduate two years prior to earning a certificate or degree, then two years and five years after earning a certificate or degree.

(Video introduction to Salary Surfer by California Community College State Chancellor Brice W. Harris)

An analysis of the data found on the Salary Surfer website shows the tremendous return on investment provided by community colleges:

* Students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce. 

* Nearly 45 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned more than $54,000 annually five years after getting their degree. That is the median wage of someone with a bachelor’s degree living in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 

* About 25 percent of those graduates with associate degrees had median wages of more than $77,000 five years after graduating. That is higher than the median income level for those Californians with a master’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

* Median wages five years after award for students with associate degrees in vocational disciplines was $61,600 compared to $39,300 for those with non-vocational associate degrees.

Certificates and degrees available locally at SBVC are among the programs listed on Salary Surfer:

sample sbvc programs listed on salary surfer

Salary Surfer does not include the results from students who transfer to four-year institutions or those listed as self-employed workers. Students utilizing the data to decide upon a path of study should consider setting up a free educational planning session with a counselor to ensure a match with the student’s interests, previous academic experiences, aptitudes, and other factors that contribute to educational success.