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In 2015, the average student graduated from college with $28,950 in student loans. By 2016, the number was over $37,000. This kind of debt puts plans on hold, such as getting married, buying a home, and having children. In addition, it carries a high risk of default, with predictions estimating that 40% of borrowers could default by 2023. People are looking for alternative solutions.

Degrees From Community Colleges

Community colleges offer two-year degrees, called associate’s degrees. There are four different types that prepare you for different jobs or fields of study.

  1. AA (Associate of Arts)

When you work towards an AA, you focus your studies on the liberal arts and general education classes. You take courses such as history, English, music, sociology, economics, and others. Then most people transfer to four-year universities.

  1. AAA (Associate of Applied Arts)

This degree focuses on vocational skills, such as art, advertising, and other fields. You take electives that are specific to your future career. You might do this for graphic design or art education.

  1. AS (Associate of Science)

This is another degree that leads to a transfer to a four-year school. You will prepare for careers in medicine, computer science, engineering, or business. Your classes are usually mostly math and science classes.

  1. AAS (Associate of Applied Science)

This is another degree that is focused on employment following graduation. You can become an early childhood educator, a chef, a welder, or a medical assistant. These degrees are also found at technical colleges.

Professional Certification

Another reason to attend a community college is to pursue professional certification. This can help you earn more money in your job or change careers. They often have programs that are for jobs in high demand, such as the following:

  • Real estate
  • Digital video
  • Child nutrition
  • Medical coding
  • Alcohol and drug abuse counseling
  • Early childhood education
  • Photojournalism
  • Digital photography
  • Automotive repair
  • Network security
  • And more

If you choose a community college, you will have lower tuition costs and you can improve your transcript to apply for scholarships. You will have lower living costs if you live at home, and it is easier to work while you are in school. This is a great option for many people after high school.