Four Degrees That are Better to Earn at a Community College


December 9, 2014
by Suada Kolovic
When it comes to earning a college degree, attending a four-year university may not be the surest route to a successful career: Depending on what you're interested in pursuing, a two-year or technical certificate can offer a better return on your investment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in fields such as health care, manufacturing and information technology offer median earnings of up to $55,000 or more for graduates with associate degrees. Interested in the specifics? Check our 
U.S. News & World Report’s four degrees that are better to earn at a community college below:

When it comes to earning a college degree, attending a four-year university may not be the surest route to a successful career: Depending on what you're interested in pursuing, a two-year or technical certificate can offer a better return on your investment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in fields such as health care, manufacturing and information technology offer median earnings of up to $55,000 or more for graduates with associate degrees. Interested in the specifics? Check our U.S. News & World Report’s four degrees that are better to earn at a community college below:

  • Engineering technology: High-tech employers are looking for specific skills rather than degrees. This is especially the case in manufacturing, where employers have a hard time filling open positions, says Jason Premo, founder of the South Carolina-based aerospace manufacturing company Adex Machining Technologies. The median salary for aerospace engineering technicians ranges from $55,000-$75,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; with additional on-the-job training, that figure could rise significantly, Premo says.
  • Radiation technology and medical imaging: Radiation therapist, nuclear medicine technologist and diagnostic medical sonographer are three high-paying positions a student can take on with a two-year degree. In 2012, radiation therapists and nuclear medicine technologists earned median salaries of $77,560 and $70,180, respectively, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Plumbing and heating: A college degree isn't required to become a plumber or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician. Instead, students become apprentices, where they receive on-the-job training (with a salary!) and take classes in math and science that cover topics relevant to the field, such as hydraulics and mechanical drafting. Apprentice programs are either offered directly via a union or through a community or technical college. The programs are typically tuition-free and trainees earn technical certifications and professional licenses required to work in the field.
  • Dental hygiene: Bachelor’s and associate degrees in dental hygiene are both considered entry-level requirements for a career in the field but an associate degree is by far the more common route. The median salary for hygienists in 2012 was $70,210, according to BLS, which also estimated that job openings in the field will increase by 33 percent over the next few years.

Are you considering a two-year degree or technical certificate as opposed to a bachelor’s degree? If so, are you pursuing any of the careers listed above? Share your thoughts in our comments section. For more on the pros and cons of community college, head over to our College Prep section. And while you’re there, don’t forget to create a free Scholarships.com profile to help you fund your education.

Just because there are millions of college scholarships out there doesn’t mean you have time to go searching, and many won’t even match your profile. We’ve done the work and Scholarships.com is totally free. We have the search algorithms and scholarships database, saving you time in searching, finding and applying to thousands of dollars in college scholarships. Get instantly matched to scholarships that meet your unique talents, skillset and strengths, only those you qualify for. Access a complete list of college scholarships now by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
Gucci is releasing a new line of... diversity undergraduate scholarships for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry. The 1.5 million U.S. university college scholarship program is set to run for four years, targeting students who attend four-year universities. Special consideration will be given to those residing in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C and/or for those who plan to attend or are currently attending a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

Gucci Gaffe Results in Green for Grads

October 8, 2019 2:28 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Gucci is releasing a new line of... diversity undergraduate scholarships for students who are "traditionally underrepresented in the fashion industry." The 1.5 million U.S. university college
Not every student who goes to college completes their degree, much less finishes it within the normal four-year time frame. The Texas of A&M University has spent years working to re-enroll students who stopped out of college for a year or more, and may have found a solution in partnering with ReUp Education.

Texas A&M Working to Re-enroll College Stopouts

September 26, 2019 2:15 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Not every student who goes to college completes their degree, much less finishes it within the "normal" four-year time frame. The Texas of A&M University has spent years working to re-enroll students
 Photo credit: Jared Ames

A new PBS documentary exhibiting prison education, titled College Behind Bars is set to air on November 25 and 26. The four-part series documents the journeys of dozens of incarcerated men and women as they pursue college degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative - deemed one of the most rigorous prison education programs in the United States, according to Inside Higher Ed.

PBS Airs Documentary About Higher Ed in Prison

September 18, 2019 11:53 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Photo credit: Jared Ames A new PBS documentary exhibiting prison education, titled "College Behind Bars" is set to air on November 25 and 26. The four-part series documents the journeys of dozens
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education Corporation of America, Dream Center Education Holdings, Vatterott College and Charlotte School of Law will be able to qualify for a full discharge of their federal loans if they were enrolled when their college closed or withdrew within 120 days of the official closure date and didn’t transfer to another institution, according to Inside Higher Education.

$43M in Loans Forgiven for Students of Closed Colleges

September 6, 2019 9:18 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an adversity score - when scoring their SAT college admissions test. The score would have taken into account a student's socioeconomic background and the neighborhood in which they grew up.

College Board Backpedals - No Adversity Score to be Added

August 30, 2019 2:05 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an "adversity score" - when scoring their SAT college admissions
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to redress gender imbalance in fields such as computer science and engineering. The U.S. Department of Education launched more than two dozen investigations into higher education institutions nationwide - including UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice - which offer female-only scholarships, awards and professional development workshops.

Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

August 20, 2019 4:57 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to "redress gender imbalance" in fields such as computer science and engineering. The
Dozens of suburban Chicago families have been using a legal loophole to help their children get need-based college financial aid and scholarships. By their parents' forfeiting legal guardianship, students are able to declare financial independence so they qualify for federal, state and university financial aid.

Parents Giving Up Guardianship for College Cash?

July 30, 2019 9:24 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Dozens of suburban Chicago families have been using a legal loophole to help their children get need-based college financial aid and scholarships. By their parents' forfeiting legal guardianship,
An Iowa Carpenter sent 33 Iowan students he'd never met to college with the $3 million he had in savings. Prior to his death in 2005, Dale Schroeder told his attorney that he wanted to use the money in his will help send underprivileged students to college. Schroeder's scholarship recipients, also known as Dale's Kids, recently met up to reflect on his generosity and the fact that many of them would have been unable to attend college without Schroeder's help.

Carpenter Comps College Costs for 33 Iowans

July 23, 2019 3:50 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
An Iowa Carpenter sent 33 Iowan students he'd never met to college with the $3 million he had in savings. Prior to his death in 2005, Dale Schroeder told his attorney that he wanted to use the money