Many of the community college degrees with the highest paying careers are in the medical field. Here’s how community colleges can increase enrollment.
Community colleges have long been heralded as an accessible pathway toward a stable, middle-class career, and at a time where the ever-ballooning costs of higher education are a top concern for many students, it has never been more imperative for two-year degrees to actually lead toward jobs that pay a living wage.
Pew Research defines a middle-class income as between two-thirds and double the median income. The median U.S. household income in 2021 was $65,000, making middle class incomes between roughly $43,350 and $130,000, although this does not account for location or household size, which can significantly change this calculation. Nevertheless, those looking to improve their employment prospects without taking on the burdens of substantial student loans should start by considering programs that will lead to careers that pay within this wage bracket.
Of these, programs in the medical field are some of the most in-demand careers, especially as demographic shifts are aging workers out of the field while simultaneously growing the population in need of care. While many think first of nursing when they consider jobs in the medical field, the career possibilities are actually much broader—and many may be more in line with a student’s preferences.
Community colleges who want to grow enrollment in these programs can find success by focusing on the career prospects they offer, and by highlighting the kind of work each job entails.
Common two-year programs that qualify students for work in the medical industry include:
- Radiologic and MRI Technologists. If you’ve ever gone in for an X-ray or an MRI scan, you might have mistaken the person operating the machinery for a nurse. In fact, they were probably a Radiologic or MRI Technologist, a position that typically only requires a two-year degree but pays on average $29.80/hr. or $61,980/yr.
- Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians. Many patients require a diagnostic ultrasound in order to gather data and conduct tests. Medical sonographers and cardiovascular technicians perform these scans under the supervision of a physician. The average hourly wage for this profession is $36.24/hr. or $75,380/yr.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists. Those who follow this career will assist in cutting edge medical research. Nuclear medicine technologists administer small doses of radiopharmaceuticals to aid in high-level imaging of a disease, and to treat certain medical conditions. The average hourly wage is $37.86/hr., for an annual salary of $78,760.
- Radiation Therapists. Radiation therapists administer doses of radiation to anyone undergoing chemotherapy or who needs radiation treatment to manage an illness. The average annual wages for this career are $39.80/hr. and $82,790/yr.
- Medical Equipment Repairers. Hospitals need people who are qualified to operate medical equipment, but they also need people who are qualified to service equipment and keep it running, which may be a better fit for students who are more mechanically minded. The mean hourly wage for Medical Equipment Repairers is $27.13, for a mean annual wage of $56,420.
How can marketing campaigns focused on careers lead to higher enrollment?
Community colleges have a number of competing marketing priorities, and for many, the concept of devoting resources toward specific programs is not an obvious proposition. Most prefer an approach which markets the college directly, as opposed to the more counterintuitive strategy of marketing indirectly by promoting careers.
However, most prospective students are not interested in community college for its own sake. Whereas students at a four-year university might enroll with their major undecided, and then spend the first couple years exploring options until they find something that fits, community college students often have more pressing economic concerns that make a targeted, career-focused degree a higher priority.
At the same time, many prospective students aren’t aware of which community college programs are offered in their area—or what a career in those fields would look like. Marketing a program, such as one of the medical technician programs described above, can open a prospective student’s eyes to the job possibilities available to them.
Why is content marketing more effective than traditional advertising?
If marketing a career sounds like a lot of information to try to cram onto a billboard, then we agree. Many forms of advertising are effective for brand saturation—making sure everyone knows the name of their local community college, for instance. But it usually takes more for a student to connect the dots from “I know the name of my community college” to “I should enroll in a program to become a radiation therapist.” There are often a number of questions to be answered and misconceptions to untangle before a prospective student reaches that decision, and these can’t be handled by a slogan.
On the other hand, content marketing can address these questions at length, all while giving a student enough background to make an informed decision. Content can also take many forms, from articles on a website, to infographics, to videos, to print pieces in the mail. Much of this content can also be translated into different languages to address the demographic needs of a specific region. By devoting the marketing budget toward high-quality educational pieces, community colleges can engage students across a broader front, and give them more confidence in their decisions.
How does Aperture fit into the picture?
At Aperture, we help community colleges reach members in their community who might benefit from their programs by supplying the content, the means of distribution, and the marketing expertise to help a campaign succeed. Our customers can draw upon our library of prewritten materials for their content needs, and then assemble them into a campaign using our online CampaignBuilder. We’ve developed our tools to be user-friendly enough so that our clients can handle this work using their own team, or they can work with our internal writers and graphic designers to shape their campaigns into publishable formats.
Our multichannel content distribution tools include online microsites, social media posts, and print mailers, which can be distributed to specific carrier routes. Altogether, we offer a robust platform that can expand the capacity of community college marketing departments efficiently and effectively. If you are interested in learning more about what our services can do for you, contact us today.