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4 ways you can have a high-paying career without a lot of student debt

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Many people dream of taking that next step into a long-coveted leadership role or finally being hired into their dream career. However, those dreams are often put on the back burner because of the costly barrier to entry, namely, a college education.

According to the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the average annual tuition and required fees for a four-year degree from a public university for the 2019-2020 school year were $10,440 for in-state students. That price increases to $26,820 for public out-of-state students and $35,860 for private institutions.

These prices don’t include textbooks, room and board and transportation.

Luckily, there are other routes available for those looking to launch themselves into a better career. Here are some viable alternatives to the traditional four-year degree that could give you the toehold you need in for your dream job.

Earn a two-year degree

One option people overlook is the two-year degree. It offers the best of both worlds: advanced education with specialized classes that allow you to get ahead in your career without putting you tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The College Board estimates the annual tuition and fees cost of a public two-year university at about $3,730 annually. Many private two-year schools are even less. LDS tuition at LDS Business College is $3,440 per semester. According to the United States Department of Education, this makes it the least expensive two-year degree option in Utah.

Apply for scholarships

Scholarships are an important aspect of paying for your college degree. Two-year colleges offer a variety of scholarships depending on factors varying from financial need to academic success to personal circumstances.

At LDS Business College (LDSBC), scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, low income, being a returned missionary, being a single parent, transferring to LDSBC from BYU Pathway Worldwide, demonstrating a commitment to service or leadership, or the completion of a Self-Reliance Services course.

The first step to qualifying for scholarships is to fill out an online FAFSA form. Contact a college financial advisor or scholarship office for more information on finding and applying for scholarships.

Choose a degree that prepares you quickly

At LDSBC, there are two types of degrees offered. An Associates of Science (AS) degree is a customizable program that allows you to choose and combine certificates with a few general education courses. This degree is transferable, should you decide to continue your education at another institution.

The second degree path allows students to earn an Associates of Applied Science (AAS). This skills-based degree has a set curriculum that will prepare students for a specific field of work with no further education required.

Falling in the latter category, the Cybersecurity AAS is meant to give students the education and hands-on training needed to jump right into the (lucrative) field. According to salary.com, entry-level cybersecurity analysts start out at about $57,000 annually. With only two years of school required, this payoff is a simple way to spend less on college and quickly earn more right after.

For LDS tuition, finishing this AAS would cost $8,600 and would take approximately five semesters. That price alone is still less than one year (two semesters) of tuition at a public, in-state university, according to Student Debt Relief.

Acquire a certificate

Certificate programs can offer another way for people to further their education without the long-term costs and commitment to a full degree. LDSBC more than 20 different certificates ranging from 15 to 29 credits to complete the certification.

For example, the medical coding certificate prepares the student for a job that’s in high demand — and only requires 28 credit hours. According to LDSBC, this certificate is direct preparation for the national certification exam. Medical coding specialists can start earning as soon as they get a job, and the average pay for a coding specialist is about $53,000 according to salary.com.

For LDS tuition, you can finish the whole certificate in two semesters for $3,440. The average tuition cost per year a public, in-state, four-year university is $9,970 according to Student Debt Relief. You can get a certificate in two semesters for nearly one-third of the cost that one year of college costs at a four-year university.

If you don’t have years of time to spend in school but want to get a start on your high-paying job, it’s a no-brainer to consider getting an associates degree or certificate.

When you’re ready to take the steps toward landing your dream job, visit ldsbc.edu. Don’t let college costs and requirements hold you back from achieving your potential.