Community College Degree Costs and What You’ll Earn

Majoring in health sciences or accounting can lead to a high-paying position with only an associate's degree.

By Heather Fishel | August 16, 2017

Photo: ThinkStock

The cost of college is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a school. Picking a field of study can be just as financially important. Your major can determine what skills and knowledge you gain throughout community college — and the career you choose after graduation.

If you’re wondering which majors are the most financially successful, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find the five most common community college majors, as well as the average income of employees in that field.

Business is one of the most popular majors in the U.S. so it’s no surprise that a lot of students earn degrees in accounting.

5. Computer and Information Sciences

Average cost: $5,000 for two years as a full-time student

What’ll you’ll learn: A computer and information sciences major will teach you the ins and outs of today’s technology. From implementing and installing software to basic programming, a two-year program instructs students on how to manage networks of computers. Students also learn how to assess and meet companies’ technology needs. Many community colleges offer online classes for computer science majors — after all, what better way to learn about technology than using it?

What you’ll earn: $51,083 per year

4. Engineering technology

Average cost: $4,000 for two years as a full-time student

What’ll you’ll learn: Engineering technologists are responsible for keeping companies and their machines running. Earning an A.A.S. in engineering technology means you’ll spend a lot of time working with robots. Over the course of two years, students learn how to program computers, robots, automated equipment, and other computer-controlled machines. But the curriculum isn’t all about electronics. Almost all college and technical schools require engineering students to take classes in the humanities as well.

What you’ll earn: $48,621 per year

3. Health Sciences

Average cost: $4,500 for two and a half years as a full-time student

What’ll you’ll learn: Health sciences is a broad field, both career-wise and academically. Over the course of an associate’s program, students gain a general overview of biological and chemical sciences. Typical courses include human anatomy, basic pharmacy, and physiology. This inclusive curriculum means graduates are able to easily adapt to any specialty. Additionally, some college offer students the chance to specialize in a certain area, such as nutrition or hospital administration. Health sciences is also an excellent major for students who may want to earn their bachelor’s degree or master’s degree later on in life in order to advance in their chosen field.

What you’ll earn: $67,639 per year

2. Business (Accounting)

Average cost: $4,500 for two years as a full-time student

What’ll you’ll learn: Business is one of the most popular majors in the U.S. so it’s no surprise that a lot of students earn degrees in accounting. Students take mostly finance-focused courses in these kinds of programs. Accounting requires in-depth knowledge of spreadsheets and other data input software, so expect to take a few classes on Excel and basic computer skills. Some colleges also offer their graduates additional certifications in accounting, which can be earned separately or along with an A.S. degree.

What you’ll earn: $50,286 per year

1. Liberal Arts (or General Studies)

Average cost: $4,800

What’ll you’ll learn: Liberal arts is the most popular major at community colleges throughout the country. Typically seen as a transitional program that prepares students for four-year universities, liberal arts majors learn a little bit of everything. There are two degree choices when it comes to liberal arts: an associate’s of arts, or an associate’s of science. Students who choose an A.A. degree gain a humanities-based education that requires English and history courses. An A.S. program, on the other hand, offers a more scientific curriculum that requires an understanding of social sciences.

What you’ll earn: $43,448 per year

Quick Facts

  • Community colleges cost approximately 62 percent less than public, four-year universities.
  • Almost 80 percent of firefighters, EMTs, and police officers earn their certifications, credentials, and degrees from community colleges.

Stats source: Online Degrees

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Community College: Is It For Me?
Economy Sparks Increased Interest in Community Colleges
Map Out Your Community College Course Plan
Community College Scholarships
California: Community College to 4-Year College Transfer Agreements (IGETC)

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