Are Four Year Degrees Still Worth It?

Posted at: 03/01/2013 6:23 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's long been thought that a four year degree was the only way to snag those high paying jobs. But a new trend shows that, in some fields, those with two year degrees may be earning more. 

To four year degree students it may not seem fair.

"It upsets me because I'm going to have more education, but they are going to be paid more," said WSU student Brianna Bork.

But the fact is there are high paying jobs out there that only require a two year degree.

"People are getting more jobs with a two year degree, than a 4 year degree that they've worked really hard for,” said John Knippen.

Knippen with the Workforce Development Center says there is a certain niche of jobs that students interested in a two year degree can find.

"Especially in the Rochester area with the technicians, Mayo, and the manufacturing base that we have," said Knippen.

These jobs are paying well over twenty dollars an hour, more than many starting jobs pay for four year degrees.

"We're seeing the high paying jobs in the technical field like engineers," said Knippen.

Getting one of these jobs may even be easier now, since many of the employers in these fields can't find enough skilled workers.

But four year degree students shouldn't be too discouraged. On average bachelor degree programs earn nearly 10-thousand dollars more than associate degrees. And for many careers a two year degree simply won't cut it.

"I'm going into education and they have one of the best programs, so that's why I went to a four year school," said Bork.

According to a Georgetown University study, nearly 30 percent of Americans with associates degrees, earn more than those with bachelor degrees.