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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 (31-40):
SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Right? The more i learn about the Arabic community, the more vain and materialistic it seems. I hope it's just the ladies here misrepresenting the culture, I'd hope not everyone is that way.

Quoting ms-superwoman:

Quoting muslimah:

 


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.



That is quite sad.
SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:27 PM
I'm a big believer in college not being for everyone. I think we put too much focus and praise the kids who attend college too much in our society. It drags down the kids who aren't college bound. I think our high schools need to do a better job of directing kids into different fields. They should be.learning the basics the first couple of years and then spend the last two either in college prep classes, or exploring different opportunities and getting.real world training.

supercarp
by Silver Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

As far as the list: Some people mix up the words "technician" and 'technologist." Anything with "gist" at the end usually means more education.

JackandJayne
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM

There's no such thing as a 'calling' anymore. Which is why we have unionized most teaching and nursing jobs. It's no longer 'these kids need me in this town, I'm going to stay', it's now 'well they pay $2000 more in the city, so I'm leaving or else I'm striking'. The passion is almost gone from the occupations that once were taken because of compassion and aspiration for others' successes. 

Quoting snookyfritz:

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.


NWP
by guerrilla girl on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:27 PM

I suppose that is true for some...But I did follow my heart and managed to make a living doing what I love to do. I'm never going to be rich, but every single day I am grateful to be able to support a family doing what I love to do.

It is possible, but IDK if it is common or ever was.

Quoting JackandJayne:

There's no such thing as a 'calling' anymore. Which is why we have unionized most teaching and nursing jobs. It's no longer 'these kids need me in this town, I'm going to stay', it's now 'well they pay $2000 more in the city, so I'm leaving or else I'm striking'. The passion is almost gone from the occupations that once were taken because of compassion and aspiration for others' successes. 

Quoting snookyfritz:

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.



Not Without Panties

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:33 PM

I was just talking about this yesterday with a friend who is on the board of a local community college. He was saying how they have the advantage now because studies are showing that 2-year degree programs and technical/vocational training can sometimes earn more than those with a college degree of four years or more. 

I have never been one to think that college is for everyone. And clearly, you don't need an advanced degree to make a decent living. 

PurdueMom
by Sherri on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM
1 mom liked this

Last year, my middle daughter finished a 2-year degree to become a Respiratory Therapist from a local community college.... this after a couple of attempts at a 4-year degree from traditional colleges.

She graduated with no student debt.   Got a job within weeks of graduating.  Is meeting with a loan officer tomorrow to buy her first house.


Sherri

KittyLicking.gif picture by wer4pu
MsDenuninani
by Silver Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I will be watching this closely as my son grows up.  I will also be looking at college institutions in other countries, and I also wonder if, for some students,  it would make sense to defer college for a year until they are able to think more long-term about the choices they make.

mamoore83
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM
Here it is a lot of school its a 6 year program. Then a test


Quoting mistressflora:

do you need to go to school for that or just take a test?

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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rfurlongg
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM
1 mom liked this
I understand what the article says and I think it makes good sense. However, I am still a strong proponent of a 4 degree (even it is not of financial gain) because there is so much more to a college degree than simple end result financial pay out. Jmo.
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