It might stem from the dot-com crash, the increased popularity of certifications and onsite employer training, or various other reasons. Regardless, the key finding from EMSI’s analysis of higher education degree output over the last decade is still eye-opening: Computer and IT degrees completed in the U.S. have declined 11% since 2003.
The decrease in computer-related degrees comes at a time when the number of related computer and IT jobs grew 13% nationally, and while the number of degrees in other major fields — health, business, liberal arts and humanities, and engineering — has soared.
Our analysis looked at the output of associate’s degrees and above nationally and for the nation’s largest 150 metro areas. Education completion data comes from the National Center of Education Statistics, via EMSI’s Analyst tool, and we matched the degrees to our jobs data using a customized program-to-occupation mapping.
Note: The NCES data comes from its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and accounts for all colleges and universities that participate or are applicants for any federal financial assistance program authorized by the Higher Education Act (HEA), which includes most of the well-known federal loans (e.g., Pell Grants, Stafford Loans). All public colleges and universities and a number of private postsecondary schools accept federal assistance loans and therefore are included in this analysis. We excluded Phoenix, Davenport, Iowa, and other cities whose higher ed output is dominated by large for-profit universities.
Computer and IT
Computer-related degree output at U.S. universities and colleges flatlined from 2006 to 2009 and have steadily increased in the years since. But the fact remains: Total degree production (associate’s and above) was lower by almost 14,000 degrees in 2012 than in 2003. The biggest overall decreases came in three programs — computer science, computer and information sciences, general, and computer and information sciences and support services, other.
This might reflect the surge in certifications and employer training programs, or the fact that some programmers can get jobs (or work independently) without a degree or formal training because their skills are in-demand.
Of the 15 metros with the most computer and IT degrees in 2012, 10 saw decreases from their 2003 totals. That includes New York City (a 52% drop), San Francisco (55%), Atlanta (33%), Miami (32%), and Los Angeles (31%).
Here’s a look at the performance of 20 largest metros with the most computer and IT degrees in 2012:
|MSA||Computer/IT Degrees 2003||Computer/IT Degrees 2012||Growth/Decline||% Growth/Decline||Concentration|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||12,102||5,793||-6,309||-52%||0.86|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||5,088||3,510||-1,578||-31%||0.81|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||3,321||2,229||-1,092||-33%||1.77|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||1,754||2,003||249||14%||1.24|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||2,037||1,699||-338||-17%||1.00|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||2,457||1,670||-787||-32%||0.75|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||942||1,413||471||50%||2.15|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||1,573||1,398||-175||-11%||1.11|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||1,062||1,165||103||10%||1.00|
|Salt Lake City, UT||486||1,057||571||117%||1.67|
Health degrees have increased by 112% since 2003 — an addition of 288,194 total degrees. Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 18.6% over that time.
Many metros have seen their output of health degrees at least double. This includes Los Angeles (109% growth), Miami (159%), and Minneapolis (193%).
Here’s a look at the 20 largest metros with the most health degrees in 2012:
|MSA||2003 Health Degrees||2012 Heath Degrees||Growth/Decline||% Growth/Decline||Concentration|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||16,363||30,445||14,082||86%||0.94|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||7,681||16,031||8,350||109%||0.77|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||5,438||14,068||8,630||159%||1.31|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||3,500||9,760||6,260||179%||1.65|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||2,959||8,673||5,714||193%||1.12|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||3,137||7,039||3,902||124%||0.86|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||3,142||5,916||2,774||88%||1.06|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||2,965||5,857||2,892||98%||0.87|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||1,661||5,593||3,932||237%||1.13|
The number of registered nursing degrees has gone from 88,482 in 2003 to 193,528 in 2012, a 119% increase. Registered nursing is the third-largest degree-awarding program in the U.S., behind business administration and liberal arts and humanities.
Engineering (and Engineering Technologies)
The are 37,138 more engineering and engineering technology degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 37% increase. Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 5.7% during that time. The biggest degree increases have come in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering.
Tulsa has seen the largest percentage increase (222%) of engineering/engineering technology degrees among the 150 largest metros. What explains the huge jump? It mostly stems from a massive increase in output of engineering technology degrees in the area. For example, the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa produced 454 engineering tech degrees in 2003, up from 57 in 2003.
In San Jose, Ann Arbor, Raleigh, and Tulsa, at least 15% all associate’s-and-above degrees awarded are in engineering or engineering technologt. Raleigh has the highest concentration at 17%. The national share is 5%, so Raleigh’s concentration index is 3.36 — meaning it’s more than three times as concentrated as the national average (1.00).
The following table gives the metros with the highest concentration of engineering and engineering technology degrees:
|MSA||Engineering Degrees (2003)||Engineering Degrees (2012)||Growth/Decline||Concentration|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||2,809||3,472||24%||3.08|
|Ann Arbor, MI||2,220||2,881||30%||2.99|
|Baton Rouge, LA||839||1,019||21%||2.13|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||2,851||3,633||27%||1.67|
|Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX||1,741||2,136||23%||1.65|
|Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL||286||450||57%||1.62|
|Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX||293||373||27%||1.56|
Education degrees have increased 18% since 2003. That’s an increase of 52,391 from 2003 to 2012. Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 6.3% from 2003-2012.
Education degrees make up 8.8% of all associate’s-and-above completions nationally, down from 10.6% in 2003. The highest concentration belongs to Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, with 4.4 times the national average of education degrees.
Another Texas metro, El Paso, has seen a 346% increase in education degrees since 2003, while Denver (170%), Minneapolis-St. Paul (125%), Austin (114%), and Dallas (106%) have also seen major gains.
Business, Management and Marketing
There are 176,972 more degrees nationally in 2012 than 2003, a 33% increase. Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 1.2 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 218,173 jobs.
Nearly 1 in 5 degrees awarded in the U.S. (18.1%) are in business, management and marketing, the highest share of any major field of study. For many large metros, business degrees make up a sizable percentage of total higher education output (25% of all degrees in Chicago and Milwaukee, 24% in Washington, D.C., and 23% in Atlanta).
|MSA||2012 Business, Managament, Marketing Degrees||Share of Total Degrees||Concentration|
|Colorado Springs, CO||5,099||33%||1.85|
|Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||1,939||30%||1.67|
|Fort Wayne, IN||1,388||30%||1.65|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||4,892||25%||1.36|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||3,368||24%||1.34|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||9,943||23%||1.29|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||9,853||23%||1.25|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||1,561||22%||1.24|
Liberal Arts and Humanities
The U.S. produced 124,681 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 47% increase. This is the third fastest-growing degree category in the U.S. by total degrees added, behind health professions and business, management, and marketing.
Liberal arts and humanities degrees make up 10% of all associate’s-and-above completions, roughly the same share as in 2003. Of the 10 metros with the highest concentrations of these degrees, seven are in Florida — led by Ocala (66% of all degrees), Port St. Lucie (64%), and North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota (50%).
Despite growth in many metros, notable decreases in liberal arts and humanities degrees have occurred in Tulsa (51% decline), San Jose (38%), San Diego (30%), San Francisco (23%), and Ann Arbor (20%).
Data shown in this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. To look at higher ed output in your region or for more information on EMSI, contact Josh Wright (email@example.com). Follow Wright on Twitter at @ByJoshWright and EMSI @DesktopEcon.