Ever wonder if going to a four-year college is worth the investment? A recent study has found that two years of college may be enough.
Research conducted by Georgetown’s U.S Center on Education and the Workforce states that community college graduates make more right out of college than four-year-graduates. In their study, the Georgetown center estimated that 29 million jobs, paying middle class wages, only require an associate’s degree and 30 percent of Americans with two-year degrees make more than those with bachelors.
According to the study, people with “middle skills” are in high demand. With these practical, basic skills that don’t require more than an associate’s degree students can land jobs such as lab technicians, teachers in early childhood programs, computer engineers, draftsmen, radiation therapists, paralegals, and machinists.
Jean Carlos Tejada, a teaching assistant, is happy he earned his associate degree and now makes more than a lot of graduates with their bachelors. “My job offers health benefits and paid sick days, with lots of vacation,” he says. “I am able to have a sustainable job despite the lack of my bachelor’s.”
He believes that the findings of the study make sense. “From an employer’s point of view I would be more hesitant to hire a person with a higher degree because their salary would be higher as well,” he says. “It is also a bigger commitment to hire someone on a higher salary level, without knowing if they’re going to perform on a higher level than someone that’s actually not.”
Sophia Jones wasn’t pleased to hear about these findings. She recently graduated from Columbia University with a degree in sociology and is working two part-time jobs in something other than her field. “I’m pissed! Why the hell did I get a bachelors for?” she says. “Makes me feel like I wasted my time and acquired debt for no reason.”
Acquiring debt over four years compared to two is also a reason associate degree holders are finding jobs faster. Their need for a higher pay is not as crucial as it is for those with a bachelors, who are in way deeper debt.
Shaden Issa, a recent CCNY graduate with a degree in history, isn’t worried. “I do not think jobs are in higher demand for people with ‘middle skills,’” Issa argues. “There are a lot of other factors that determine how much you can get paid at a job.”