The cost of going to college for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree is so high, some students wonder if it’s worth it these days. It turns out, they could get a bigger bang for their buck with an associate degree, depending on what it’s in. According to new research, there are 17 associate degree majors that can earn grads more than the typical bachelor’s degree holder four years after graduating.
- Associate programs are typically two years, rather than four years like a bachelor’s degree, so the cost of education is less.
- Tuition for a two-year degree costs an average of $3,621 per year, compared to an average of nearly $17-thousand for annual tuition for a four-year program, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
- The HEA Group, which provides data on college costs, researched about 130 associate degree programs and found that most of them earn less than the average bachelor’s degree holder.
- But some of the top-earning associate programs, many of which are focused on STEM subjects, can have grads earning more after four years than those with a four-year degree.
- The highest-paying associate degree is Physical Science Technologies/Technicians, with graduates earning an average of $84,920 within four years of getting their degree.
The highest-paying associate degrees and their average salary after four years
- Physical Science Technologies/Technicians – $84,920
- Bioethics/Medical Ethics – $77,157
- Construction Engineering Technologies – $72,496
- Industrial Production Technologies/Technicians – $69,192
- Quality Control and Safety Technologies/Technicians – $67,928
- Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing – $66,563
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians – $65,750
- Engineering Science – $65,154
- Electromechanical Instrumentation and Maintenance Technologies/Technicians – $64,699
- Nursing – $64,683
Source: CBS News