How About an Associate's Degree?
I understand that what I am about to tell you goes against all the normal career advice you’ve ever been given. It probably goes against what you are already telling your kids, and what you’ve also been telling yourself. So entertain me while I show you some analysis and information describing why your child may be better off not going through the 4-Year college route.
My wife and I have two sons, both very intelligent and hard working. We saved and scrimped to put money aside so they could go to college and get a Bachelor’s degree in order to have a high paying career and become self supporting. You know, just like we did ourselves. We were wrong. As it turns out, our boys had a decidedly different plan in mind…they wanted to work first. So now one runs test cells in an emissions lab (while going to school at night), and the other works on the production line at a Honda assembly plant (and doesn't want a 4 year degree). By the way, we now have a bunch of money in College 529 accounts that may go unspent which could further compound our error. Hopefully not as we still believe they will use it eventually.
So now we are looking at alternative career choices with them and figuring out how to leverage their available educational opportunities. A study of US Labor statistics data by the financial literacy website NerdWallet, looked at jobs requiring only a two-year associate’s degree. These jobs will have the highest average growth through 2020 – and some of these jobs are really well paying careers too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the average growth rate of all jobs by the year 2020 is just 14 percent, while high-growth jobs requiring a 2 year associate’s degree will grow by an average of 35 percent.
So as you are considering career choices for your children (or perhaps yourself), keep in mind the opportunities made possible by getting a 2-Year Associate’s degree. An associate’s degree takes less time to earn; costs much less to pay off; and in many cases offer careers with similar or even higher salaries. So if like us, you are faced with a child that either may not be ready for full 4-Year college, or perhaps you cannot afford it, consider the alternatives of an Associate’s degree. The bottom line is you just want them to be successful in whatever they choose to do.
Here are the summaries from the NerdWallet study………