PHOENIX -- New research shows that more graduates with two-year degrees out-earn their peers who have bachelor's degrees.
Georgetown University's Center of Education found nearly 30 percent of Americans with associate's degrees make more than those who have four-year degrees.
At Scottsdale Community College, for example, many graduates with information technology degrees start their careers making $50,000 or more. That's 15 percent higher than the average starting salary for all graduates.
"Some of our big employers like Avnet like to come to the school, talk to our students and get them interested in positions," said Ronald Monroig, a teacher in Scottsdale CC's computer-information system program.
"The employers like to see them with certifications and once they got those certifications I can put them in front of most employers here in the Valley."
Monroig said it doesn't take long to become certified for IT jobs. Most students accomplish their certification in one semester.
"That's really the key. It's a quick turn, and for people who are out of work or looking for a new career can turn it around in one semester," Monroig said.
The increase in wages has to do with the demand for those with specialized skills, such as lab technicians or computer engineers.
"For a while there, getting a degree in business guaranteed excellent job prospects and really high entering salaries," said Gia Taylor, Scottsdale CC's dean of enrollment. "That's just not the case anymore because the market is flooded with those people."
The Georgetown center estimates that 29 million jobs paying middle-class wages today require only an associate's degree.