I heard a news report the other day that said 2 year college graduates were finding jobs paying more than those with 4 year college degrees. Having recently graduated with a 2 year degree and not having a job, my ears perked up. I only caught the tail end of it, but what I heard did not specify what type of degrees. So, I went to my handy, dandy lap top and googled it. I found this article which was dated the same day as the newscast, so apparently my local news station gets their information off the internet, too.
The article makes it clear that you must choose wisely when deciding what degree to get and I agree even though my choice of an Associate of Arts in Business was not a favored degree. (They were right; here I am without a job!) What I disliked about the article was that they compared unrelated degree programs such as an aircraft technician who has an occupational certificate in Arkansas making over $40k a year to someone who graduated with a 4 year psychology degree getting a job paying $26k. That’s comparing apples to oranges.
I understand that overall what they are comparing is the decision to go for either a Certificate program or an Associate of Applied Science at a 2 year college instead of a standard Bachelor’s degree or even an Associate of Arts with the plan of transferring to a 4 year program. By all means, I agree that if there is a Certificate program or an AAS degree that you are interested in, they make the most sense. They accomplish more in a shorter amount of time at a lower cost. They have more classes pertaining to the field of study and usually have a practicum component which gives actual experience and employers always like to see that. But if you are set on a career field that requires a Bachelor’s degree then getting an Associate’s degree at a community college with the intent on transferring is the most economical as long as you carefully plan and only take classes your intended university will accept.
Their point was also that one must take into consideration the return on investment when choosing to go to college. If a 2 year certificate program costs around $3200, the total after two years is $6400; whereas a 4 year degree at a public college averages $8650 a year which totals after four years $34600. And that is just tuition and fees, not living expenses. Consider, too, that it can often take 4 ½ to 5 years to get that 4 year degree if you need some prerequisites before tackling the actual classes in your degree plan or you come up against difficult classes that you have to retake or scheduling conflicts delay you getting into some of your required classes.
So, the moral of the story is to choose wisely, but don’t we always try to choose wisely? Perhaps in order to choose wisely, we need to do more research, ask more questions, and consider more options. If we’ve already made choices that are less than wise, instead of regretting them, how about learning from them and venturing on a new path, this time taking more time to make a wise choice?