You have goals and dreams about your career, but the overall cost associated with earning a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. may put a damper on your plans. Before you feel resigned to a life of dissatisfaction and settling, know that you don’t need a four-year degree to earn a great salary, nor do you need to go into debt to earn a higher salary.
Learn how a two-year associate’s degree can help you land a satisfying job that offers equally satisfying pay.
Six Reasons to Consider an Associate's Degree
Smaller Price Tag
One of the leading reasons to look into earning an associate’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree is that you can save money by earning an associate’s degree. A lot of money.
No matter which type of degree you’re thinking of earning, be sure to factor in the cost of room and board, living expenses, course fees, and the like. Even if you do find a two-year degree more affordable, it’s still a great idea to look for scholarships and grants that you may qualify for.
Your Dream Job Doesn’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree
Before you automatically think you need a four-year degree for your dream job, do some research. Industries change, and so do entry requirements. There may be a position that matches your ideal job for which you only need an associate’s degree to get your foot in the door.
At the very least, you may be able to work your way up to your desired position with just an associate’s degree. All the while, you’re making money and earning experience, all without having to worry about taking out loans to pay for your education.
Enter the Workforce Faster
Something else to think about with jobs that pay well but don’t require a bachelor’s degree is that you can enter the workforce faster. There could be a perfect position available that fits someone of your education level and skill set, but you may never learn of it because you’re still earning more of an education than you actually need for that position. Don’t be fooled into thinking you absolutely need a four-year degree to stand a chance in today’s workforce.
The faster you step into the workforce, the faster you start earning money, and the more opportunities you have to gain professional experience. This gives you a leg up even when you work alongside coworkers who have more education but less experience
You Aren’t Sure Which Professional Path You Want To Take
On the other hand, you may not have quite nailed down the professional path you wish to take. If you aren’t, there’s really no reason for you to enroll in a four-year program. Instead, you’re better off putting down a basic educational foundation, which is easier to do in a two-year program. That said, check to ensure any credits you earn are easily transferable to another program, be that an associate’s or diploma program with a specific focus or a bachelor’s program.
One specific type of program to avoid with this tip is an occupational associate’s degree. These programs have a very specific and focused area of study, such as welding or HVAC maintenance. If you decide that field isn’t right for you, there’s a good chance most of your earned credits will not transfer.
Two-Year Programs Often Offer More Personal Attention
You may be a student who prefers to be seen as a name rather than just another face in the classroom. If so, a two-year campus could be more to your liking. Smaller campuses often offer students more personal attention, better ensuring they truly grasp the course content and maximize their potential. Smaller classrooms can also make it easier for you to make friends, which is something that could be important to you.
Employers Need Skills Rather Than Education
While job applicants may have four-year degrees, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the skills employers need to fill job vacancies. Some blue-collar jobs where employees wear work boots and tool belts rather than suits and ties pay more than white-collar jobs. Blue-collar jobs are just as essential as jobs considered to be more “professional.” See how you can contribute to supporting various other industries by helping to construct and maintain the buildings those industries operate out of.
Think about what your life and financial health would look like if you earned an associate’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree. You could experience more life satisfaction than you ever imagined. Start exploring your options today.
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.