Some 2-year degrees pay off better than BAs - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Some 2-year degrees pay off better than BAs

Posted: Updated:
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. 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.

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.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Girl, 4, allegedly killed by her mom is laid to rest

    Girl, 4, allegedly killed by her mom is laid to rest

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:38:53 GMT
    ATHENS (KYTX) - A four-year-old Athens girl Victoria Wyatt has been laid to rest, a little less than a week after her mother confessed to killing her.More >>
    ATHENS (KYTX) - A four-year-old Athens girl Victoria Wyatt has been laid to rest, a little less than a week after her mother confessed to killing her.More >>
  • 1 dead, 13 injured after lightning strikes Southern California

    1 dead, 13 injured after lightning strikes Southern California

    A sunny day at California's famed Venice Beach took a dark turn Sunday when one person died and a dozen others were injured after a rare lightning strike. A man in his mid-20s died at the hospital after being transported from Venice Beach.More >>
    A sunny day at California's famed Venice Beach took a dark turn Sunday when one person died and a dozen others were injured after a rare lightning strike. A man in his mid-20s died at the hospital after being transported from Venice Beach.More >>
  • SPECIAL REPORT: You Don't Know Where That's Been

    SPECIAL REPORT: You Don't Know Where That's Been

    After a few disastrous flu seasons, and recent increases in staph infections nationwide, spreading germs is becoming more and more serious. In a special report, we tested a bunch of things we touch every day to see how filthy they really are.More >>
    After a few disastrous flu seasons, and recent increases in staph infections nationwide, spreading germs is becoming more and more serious. In a special report, we tested a bunch of things we touch every day to see how filthy they really are.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.