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The bachelor's degree remains by far the best ticket to a well-paying job, according to new research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which defines "good jobs" as ones that pay at least $35,000 -- and an average of $56,000 for workers with less than a bachelor's degree.

But the report found that all of the growth of new good jobs in the non-bachelor's-degree economy has been in so-called middle-skills jobs, especially those that require an associate degree. And workers are earning a growing array of credentials to help meet that demand.

The middle-skills pathway, which now accounts for 24 percent of good jobs in the U.S., is undergoing a major transformation from traditional blue-collar jobs to more skilled technical jobs across skilled services and blue-collar industries, according to the report. The middle-skills category includes jobs in traditional industries, such as manufacturing, transportation, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, natural resources, and construction. Skilled-services industries include government, education services, consulting and business services, financial services, health-care services, hospitality and others.

Education and training programs in the middle-skills category have been particularly innovative to respond to changes in labor-market demand, according to the center. "A growing array of approaches has evolved to prepare students for middle-skills jobs, including apprenticeships, on-the-job training, college career and technical education, customized training, non-credit education, certificates, certifications and associate degrees."