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Top 3 Associate Programs Of 2018: Student Recruitment And Employment Trends

March 5, 2019 Charlene Sterphone

Associate program volume was up 20.3% year over year (YOY) in 2018, the highest of any degree level, according to the 2018 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review , published by Digital Media Solutions (DMS). The associate degree level share of volume (SOV) ebbed and flowed throughout the 2016-2018 period, but it maintained an upward trajectory, beginning at 12.9% in Q1 2016 and landing at 17.3% in Q3 2018. The conversion rate (CVR) for associate programs peaked in Q1 2017 at 10.0%, then dipped significantly afterwards. CVR bounced back significantly in Q3 2018 at 8.8%, up from 7.4% the prior quarter and 7.3% YOY.

Associate Program SOV and CVR

In this article, we dive into the top three associate programs and examine conversion data plus employment trends, as labor market shifts can heavily impact student recruitment.

#1 Associate Program in 2018

Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder

The associate-level medical insurance coding specialist/coder program had a 4.3% SOV in 2018 and a 6.4% CVR for the first three quarters of 2018. Volume for the top associate medical insurance coding program was up 11.1% YOY in 2018, while CVR was down 2.4% in Q3 2018 YOY. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment of medical records and health information technicians to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average growth rate of 7% for all occupations. The median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $39,180 in 2017, slightly above the average of $37,690 for all occupations as of May 2017. Based on these employment projections, we anticipate medical insurance coding programs will maintain its high standing for quarters to come.

#2 Associate Program in 2018

Medical Office Assistant/Specialist

The associate-level medical office assistant/specialist program had a 3.7% SOV in 2018 and a 6.6% CVR for the first three quarters of 2018. CVR and lead volume both increased for the associate-level medical office assistant program in 2018. Volume was up 22.7% YOY in 2018, and CVR was up 5.5% YOY in Q3 2018. The BLS projected employment of secretaries and administrative assistants, many of which are employed in medical offices, to decline by 5% from 2016 to 2026. The median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $37,870 in 2017, roughly the same as the average for all occupations as of May 2017. Based on the projected decline in employment, we anticipate we may begin to see a decrease in program interest.

#3 Associate Program in 2018

Human Services, General

The associate-level human services program had a 2.5% SOV in 2018 and 6.7% CVR for the first three quarters of 2018. The BLS projected employment of social and human service assistants to grow 16% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average. The median annual wage for social and human service assistants was $33,120 in 2017, slightly below the average for all occupations as of May 2017. Based on the significant projected employment growth, we expect continued growth for human services programs.

Download The 2018 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review Today

Featuring trends on inquiry volume, conversion rates, media channel performance and more, the 2018 Year-End Higher Education Inquiry Generation Review covers trends in the inquiry generation and student acquisition activities of higher education institutions for the period of January 2016-December 2018.

About the Author

Charlene Sterphone

Charlene Sterphone, Marketing Manager A focused and highly motivated creative thinker, Charlene Sterphone develops, executes and reports on strategic marketing programs surrounding lead generation, paid search, email, social media, mobile targeting, SEO and compliance as Marketing Manager for Digital Media Solutions (DMS). Throughout her diversified marketing career, Charlene has spent time in both the agency and direct corporate and start-up settings, including positions at Sparkroom, Education Dynamics and CBS Corporation, where she has seen success with digital and traditional marketing campaigns. As an analytical marketer, Charlene enjoys discovering new and innovative tools and techniques and using them to drive growth.

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