The U.S. Census Bureau released a new report tracking non-college-degree credentials in the marketplace. According to the report, 50 million adults hold some form of non-degree-based credential that qualifies them for employment and boosts their earnings.

What this report also suggests, though doesn’t state, is that a college degree isn’t the only ticket to the workforce or lucrative employment. The necessity of a college degree for employment or professional career has been highly overrated and overstated, especially by higher ed industry itself, for years. Moreover, the report weakens the decades-long criticisms by vocationalists and academic specialists against a liberal arts education as an obstacle to meaningful and fruitful employment.

The Census report notes that 11.2 million adults, who have a high school diploma or less, earned professional certificates or licenses without a college degree. Approximately 5 percent of working-age Americans have not attended college, yet have earned some form of work-related professional credential beyond high school.

According to the report, “If this alternative credential were incorporated into an expanded measure of education, these 11.2 million people might be recategorized into the ‘more than high school’ category, representing a shift of almost 5 percent of the adult population.”

The report also showed that those who hold non-degree credentials have the potential for higher earnings. Generally, full time employees who hold some form of alternative credential earned more than those without.

The full U.S. Census Bureau report can be found here: Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012:  Household Economic Studies.