When returns on incremental credentialing are assessed by occupation, certain occupations see positive labor market outcomes, while others show no returns or negative returns. Job-related incremental credentials in certain industries or those that offer technical skill attainment have been found to carry higher returns. For example, students earning short-term credentials in nursing, business, engineering, industry technology, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and security experience economic returns when they enter the labor market. Another study found that short-term credentials in education, fine and applied arts, and commercial services are consistently negative. The same study found long-term credentials in commercial services were still moderately negative, while the other categories previously mentioned saw no significant return.
There are also notable variances in the returns by gender and occupation, with gender wage gaps and gender gaps within fields. Short-term credentials and jobs that are most readily available to and commonly held by women are overwhelmingly low-wage jobs. Women are enrolled in larger concentrations than men in service-related fields compared to technical fields. Short-term credentials associated with the highest earnings, such as those in construction and manufacturing, are dominated by men. Credentials held by women and workers in female-dominated occupations earn substantially less than men and workers in male-dominated occupations. Women are earning consistently less than men, despite having similar levels of training and even with the same training. Also, men are more likely to be employed after completing a certificate, certification, or license, and more likely to have employers pay the cost of their training.