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Some 2-year degrees pay off better than BAs...

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Some 2-year degrees pay off better than BAs

  @melhicken September 4, 2013: 9:16 AM ET

college degree earnings

In Texas, those who graduated from certificate programs to become communications systems installers, earned an average of $78,515 their first year on the job.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Shelling out more money for a four-year college degree doesn't always mean you'll land a job with a better salary, a recent report found.

In fact, graduates of many two-year associates and occupational certificate programs earn just as much as workers with traditional four-year degrees -- if not more in some cases, according to a report from CollegeMeasures.org, which analyzed the earnings of recent graduates in Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

In Texas, for example, workers with "technical" associates degrees, which typically include specialized training in fields such as technology and healthcare, earned a median annual salary of $50,827 in their first year after graduation -- an average of $11,000 more than those with bachelor degrees.

In Arkansas, aircraft technicians with an occupational certificate earned, on average, more than $40,000 in the first year on the job, while college graduates with a psychology degree earned roughly $26,000.

Over the span of a career, however, the earnings potential shifts with the average four-year college graduate out-earning the average associate's degree holder, said Mark Schneider, president of College Measures.

But the four-year degree often comes with a hefty price tag. For the 2012-13 school year, average annual tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was $8,655 and nearly $30,000 at private institutions, according to the College Board. At public two-year colleges (mainly community colleges), the average annual bill was $3,131.

Is the cost of college crippling?

With college costs spiking, student debt at record levels and hiring still weak, Schneider said it's essential that incoming students take into account their future earnings and job prospects when choosing a school and area of study.

For example, workers with "academic" associates degrees, which are tailored to students hoping to transfer to four-year schools, typically earn far less than students who choose technical and occupational associates degrees where students are armed with much more specific vocational skills.

"Students who go into community colleges with the expectation that they're going to transfer to a four-year degree are not getting their money's worth quite frankly," said Schneider, noting that many students never make it to the four-year degree.

Meanwhile, students enticed to the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with promises of high future salaries, should be wary of the 'S.'

According to the report, biology and chemistry majors have starting salaries that pale in comparison to their other STEM counterparts.

In Virginia, for example, graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering earned an average starting salary of more than $50,000, while biology grads earned less than $30,000.

Schneider said he is hopeful that more students will educate themselves before taking on significant student debt to finance their education. President Obama recently proposed rating colleges on a variety of factors, including the earnings of its graduates.

"Right choices can lead to good careers and high earnings, but wrong ones can leave graduates with mountains of debt and poor prospects of ever paying off their student loans," he wrote. To top of page

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by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Replies (11-20):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Private technical colleges have taken over a lot of this type "training" but many of those degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on and they are often more expensive than public universities.. We need to go back to a system of paid own the job training for our skilled labors. Those do still exist but are hard to find.

Quoting turtle68:

Are apprentices not paid?  Wowser.

Our government has gone into overdrive with apprenticeships making them more attractive to prospective trainers / employers.  Everyone knows that an apprenticeship is low paying for the first two years which is why our government introduced the school based apprenticeship for those kids who arent academic.  My daughter was on one (hospitality) she went to school 3 days and work 2 days.  She wasnt cut out for it but she got some invaluble work experience whilst still in school and the employers had cheap labour for a year.  

Quoting NWP:

I think we should bring back paid apprentices for skilled labor/trade jobs. Some still do this.

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.



JackandJayne
by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:53 PM

This has been a hot issue and I've felt this way for quite awhile. While going off to gain a higher education is commendable and offers life experience, it isn't always THE answer to a career. And not to be sexist, but particularly for males. We don't seem to encourage our children to gain technical trades/skills as children anymore. Learning to properly frame up, draw out, and build structures with numerous materials is INVALUABLE for a young person. While academic studies are important, so is having a trade outside of school. I think it's important for teens to take those summer jobs doing labor in between schooling. Many companies want to keep the person who has learned the ropes from the bottom all the way through project oversight and contracts. If someone has been working that trade for a few years, most only require a business associates to start pumping out around $75 to $80k due to the heavy churn rate at the bottom.


JackandJayne
by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 11:58 PM
1 mom liked this

Yeah, this 'certificate' crap has killed the employment market as well as many people's wallets. The list is enormous regarding jobs that used to pull you straight from high school and train you, but now are flooded with technical training costing the student close to $13k. And it's a crap investment for the government handing out grants for these certificates.

Quoting NWP:

Private technical colleges have taken over a lot of this type "training" but many of those degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on and they are often more expensive than public universities.. We need to go back to a system of paid own the job training for our skilled labors. Those do still exist but are hard to find.

Quoting turtle68:

Are apprentices not paid?  Wowser.

Our government has gone into overdrive with apprenticeships making them more attractive to prospective trainers / employers.  Everyone knows that an apprenticeship is low paying for the first two years which is why our government introduced the school based apprenticeship for those kids who arent academic.  My daughter was on one (hospitality) she went to school 3 days and work 2 days.  She wasnt cut out for it but she got some invaluble work experience whilst still in school and the employers had cheap labour for a year.  

Quoting NWP:

I think we should bring back paid apprentices for skilled labor/trade jobs. Some still do this.

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.




NWP
by guerrilla girl on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Add to that many of those "colleges" aren't certified, accept anyone with a pulse that can qualify for loans, have zero placement and are responsible for a disproportionately larger amount of our national student loan debt.

Quoting JackandJayne:

Yeah, this 'certificate' crap has killed the employment market as well as many people's wallets. The list is enormous regarding jobs that used to pull you straight from high school and train you, but now are flooded with technical training costing the student close to $13k. And it's a crap investment for the government handing out grants for these certificates.

Quoting NWP:

Private technical colleges have taken over a lot of this type "training" but many of those degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on and they are often more expensive than public universities.. We need to go back to a system of paid own the job training for our skilled labors. Those do still exist but are hard to find.



Quoting turtle68:

Are apprentices not paid?  Wowser.

Our government has gone into overdrive with apprenticeships making them more attractive to prospective trainers / employers.  Everyone knows that an apprenticeship is low paying for the first two years which is why our government introduced the school based apprenticeship for those kids who arent academic.  My daughter was on one (hospitality) she went to school 3 days and work 2 days.  She wasnt cut out for it but she got some invaluble work experience whilst still in school and the employers had cheap labour for a year.  

Quoting NWP:

I think we should bring back paid apprentices for skilled labor/trade jobs. Some still do this.

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.




JackandJayne
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:09 AM

Yep!! I discourage everyone I know from going to diploma mills.

Quoting NWP:

Add to that many of those "colleges" aren't certified, accept anyone with a pulse that can qualify for loans, have zero placement and are responsible for a disproportionately larger amount of our national student loan debt.

Quoting JackandJayne:

Yeah, this 'certificate' crap has killed the employment market as well as many people's wallets. The list is enormous regarding jobs that used to pull you straight from high school and train you, but now are flooded with technical training costing the student close to $13k. And it's a crap investment for the government handing out grants for these certificates.

Quoting NWP:

Private technical colleges have taken over a lot of this type "training" but many of those degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on and they are often more expensive than public universities.. We need to go back to a system of paid own the job training for our skilled labors. Those do still exist but are hard to find.



Quoting turtle68:

Are apprentices not paid?  Wowser.

Our government has gone into overdrive with apprenticeships making them more attractive to prospective trainers / employers.  Everyone knows that an apprenticeship is low paying for the first two years which is why our government introduced the school based apprenticeship for those kids who arent academic.  My daughter was on one (hospitality) she went to school 3 days and work 2 days.  She wasnt cut out for it but she got some invaluble work experience whilst still in school and the employers had cheap labour for a year.  

Quoting NWP:

I think we should bring back paid apprentices for skilled labor/trade jobs. Some still do this.

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.





snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:25 AM
1 mom liked this

I am sad that degrees are sought for the cash out at the end instead of the joy of learning or following of a passion. 

And I think that's part of your post op.  The fact that we have been assembly lining every kid through college instead of helping him/her determine if college is even the best route does a grave disservice to their futures.

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:47 AM

We have an apprenticeship college that you can pay to get into, but those only allow for one or two years of training and that doesnt include on the job which is compulsory , it still takes approx 4 years for your trade ticket but the last two years is up to the employer (he can sign you off earlier), the theory side is finished.  Prospective employers can go and get a 1st or 2nd year apprentice from the college so they arent getting someone who is totally new to the job, which some dont want.  

This doesnt cost any more than the theory side of your apprenticeship which is government / employer paid for.

Here tradies are touted to be the next millionaires...there are so many going out and so few going in, they will be able to price double to what they are being paid now in a couple of years.

Quoting NWP:

Private technical colleges have taken over a lot of this type "training" but many of those degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on and they are often more expensive than public universities.. We need to go back to a system of paid own the job training for our skilled labors. Those do still exist but are hard to find.

Quoting turtle68:

Are apprentices not paid?  Wowser.

Our government has gone into overdrive with apprenticeships making them more attractive to prospective trainers / employers.  Everyone knows that an apprenticeship is low paying for the first two years which is why our government introduced the school based apprenticeship for those kids who arent academic.  My daughter was on one (hospitality) she went to school 3 days and work 2 days.  She wasnt cut out for it but she got some invaluble work experience whilst still in school and the employers had cheap labour for a year.  

Quoting NWP:

I think we should bring back paid apprentices for skilled labor/trade jobs. Some still do this.

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.




muslimah
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 4:51 AM

 

Quoting susannah2000:

that is true alot of times. 2 year degrees that are training programs will get people working, whereas a 4 year degree does not in alot of cases. It is true that 4 year school isn't for everyone, but some sort of higher education is required. If your kid doesn't know what they want to do, or how to make a career of their 4 year degree, , do a training program.

 Lol it might get you working but in the Arabic community it wont get you married. In the Arabic community it is all about what degree you have and what zip code you live in.

.OceanBlue.
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:18 AM
1 mom liked this

I totally agree.  We need people still willing to go to trade schools and learn a skill.  We need people still willing to become farmers to feed America.  We need people still willing to be mechanics and electricians and plumbers.  

Quoting NWP:

This may sound a bit controversial coming from me and considering my livelihood....I've been involved in academia most of my life and can honestly say that while the social development is invaluable, the financial cost vs. return isn't the guaranteed value it used to be. College isn't for everyone and we need to stop pushing all of our children into debt by demanding/expecting a four year + degree from all of them. There are lots of other choices that could be better for many of our youth these days IMO. This is not the automatic decision/expectation it used to be:(


SuzCahn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:31 AM

 My 14 yr old DD knows exactly what she wasnt to be>> a pharmacist! lol

She's had her heart set on it for 6 yrs now.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

If your kids don't know what they want to be- make them be pharmacist

They get their license and are making over 6 figures immediately

 

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