Associate Degree Continues to Hold an Employment Niche



The school of thought has always been- get a bachelor’s degree and you can have any job you want. However with state budget cuts in higher education, students and educators alike are discovering that receiving a “four-year” degree can take five or six years, ultimately earning you a degree that no longer has a guarantee. The middle ground of getting an associate’s degree in a demanding occupation has often been overlooked, but now a huge part of the job market is specifically calling for this kind of degree.

An article out in 2012 from U.S. News, reported that officials in Texas were actually attempting to boost their state’s economy by increasing the amount of two-year degrees. They were quick to identify the problem, which is that many students will just secure random credits, with the hopes of earning a bachelor’s degree eventually. This kind of unfocused approach rarely leads to any job security, giving individuals the false belief that shorter programs are useless. The associate vice chancellor at Texas State Technical College System, Michael Bettersworth, believes too many students are working towards bachelor’s degrees that have little worth in the current job market, ultimately contributing to unemployment issues. 
MSN Career List

Finding a niche in the job market is really the trick. A doctorate’s degree in a field where no one is hiring won’t be anything except an impressive academic accomplishment. Due to this, students are discovering that a well thought out associate’s degree can be the answer to many of their employment woes. Not only will the tuition be significantly lower, but you could end up earning more than your bachelor degree holding counterparts. In fact, a study by Georgetown University found that in certain high-demand fields, such as technology, graduates can earn up to 63% more than other bachelor degree majors. There is also no question, that an associate’s degree has more advantages than just a high school diploma. The census bureau even estimates the holder of an associate’s degree to collect $400,000 more in wages over their lifetime compared to a high school graduate. 

These statistics make a great case for anyone shy about a four year commitment. The key seems to be finding education and training that will be applicable once you graduate. With a job placement rate of 87%, Los Angeles ORT College understands this concept completely, offering associate degree programs in the following high demand occupations:
  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Digital Media
  • Medical Office Management

All four of these programs are constantly making experts’ list for the fastest growing job market employment. For instance, U.S. News speaks of the growing need for medical health professionals and graphic designers, while MSN careers lists accounting as the most valuable degree out there in terms of salary and opportunity.

If you are looking for opportunities and change, contact an ORT advisor to learn more and get started on your new career today!

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.