Study shows health care workers less educated in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties

07/24/2014 6:02 PM

07/24/2014 6:03 PM

Health care workers in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties have less college education than those working elsewhere in America, a report released this week by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program shows.

Nearly 63 percent of health care workers in Stanislaus and 60 percent in San Joaquin have not attained a bachelor’s degree. Only Hildago County in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas has less-educated health care workers (72 percent of them don’t have a bachelor’s degree), at least among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Brookings calculated that about 49 percent of health care workers nationwide lack a bachelor’s degree, but some communities have significantly higher education levels. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, about two-of-three health care workers hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Brookings based its study on Census Bureau data gathered from 2009 through 2011. It found that, on the whole, health care jobs don’t offer as high of pay for those without university degrees.

In Stanislaus, it identified 1,723 registered nurses who had not attained a bachelor’s degree. Those nurses earned a median $65,000 in 2011, but their earnings had increased less than 7 percent since 2000.

Registered nurses in San Joaquin earned far more – $90,000 – and their wages had soared nearly 31 percent since 2000.

Few other health care workers do as well financially.

Earnings for personal care aides were about $20,000 per year in the two counties. Nursing, psychiatric and home health aides earned $25,000 to $30,000. Medical assistants earned $25,000, and dental assistants earned about $30,000. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned $44,000 to $45,400.

Health practitioner support technologists and technicians earned $25,700 to $31,000 in Stanislaus and San Joaquin, but their earnings were lower in 2011 than they were in 2000, according to Brookings.

Many health care workers who don’t have a bachelor’s degree also don’t have full-time jobs, Brookings found.

In Stanislaus, 52 percent of them work full time, year-round. In San Joaquin, it’s just more than 54 percent. Nationwide, by contrast, more than 61 percent of them work full time.

The poverty rate for health care workers who don’t have a bachelor’s degree is just over 11 percent in Stanislaus and on average nationally, but it is 8 percent in San Joaquin.

More data from the Brookings report is posted with this story at

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