It turns out you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get a good job – or to make decent money. In fact, you might be better off with a 2-year degree associate’s degree from a Junior College instead. Here are the facts:

  • For starters, a bachelor’s degree can cost $150,000 more than a degree from a community college. And that can leave you in a huge financial hole before you even start your career.

  • Graduating in 2 years also gets you into the workforce 2 years earlier. And since you’ll be earning money during that time – instead of spending more money on college – you’ll have a bigger nest egg when you retire.

  • Another reason to consider a 2-year degree? It makes you more employable. According to the Center for College Affordability, fields that require a specialized associate’s degree have nine job openings for every qualified worker. While a large percentage of grads with a BA degree struggle to find work. Or are working at jobs that don’t require a degree. For example, 15 percent of taxi drivers have a bachelor’s degree.

  • Almost a THIRD of those with associate’s degrees have starting salaries that are 15 percent higher than someone with a bachelor’s degree. That’s because there’s greater demand in today’s job market for people with the types of "middle-skills" that you can learn at a community college, like auto mechanics, and dental hygiene. And having a higher starting salary can increase your earnings for your entire working life.

Of course, that doesn’t mean spending 4 – or more – years in school is a bad idea. There’s still a lot of demand for doctors, pharmacists, engineers, and accountants. But if you’re interested in fields like occupational therapy, air traffic control, mechanics, drafting, or healthcare, a two-year degree could have you earning $100,000 by the time your friends are graduating with a liberal arts degree.