When it comes to getting the best ROI from a degree, students have many options to choose from. From two-year degrees to one-year certificates, the choices of degree types available to undergraduate and graduate students covers a wide range of interests and expertise. Deciding which degree will have the best ROI takes a little bit of personal reflection and experimentation, but the ideas listed in this guide can help anyone get started on the right track. Return on investment usually refers specifically to a financial return, but students should also consider the emotional return and satisfaction they will receive from a career in a field of their interest.

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Two-Year Degrees

Most people who are looking for an excellent value for their degree will want to consider getting a two-year degree. Some of the most popular two-year degrees include Web design, nursing and vocational trades such as plumbing and maintenance. Other two-year degrees with good ROI include real estate sales, media production, and video game design. Within the game design industry, skilled workers are needed to create 3D assets and characters as well as game worlds and gameplay scripts. Most community colleges and online vocational schools offer a wide range of options for students seeking a two-year degree with a high ROI. The choice that students ultimately make should be based on their interests and career goals. Two-year degrees can lead to high-paying careers in some of the most fascinating and rapidly expanding industries in the economy.

Four-Year Degrees

Most people are familiar with the traditional four-year degree, but the options available to today’s students are much different than the choices available to students of previous generations. With the advent of online colleges and non-profit vocational schools, college students can easily avoid investing time in courses that don’t interest them. Instead, they can focus on the courses of their degree focus at an accredited university or online college. Some of the four-year degrees with the best ROI include business, nursing, computer science, and Web design. While tuition for a four-year degree in one of these popular vocational subjects can cost about $20,000, the first-year earnings can far exceed this initial investment. The median annual salary for a software developer is about $105,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered nurses earn similar salaries after an initial period of on-the-job training.

Certificates

Professional certificates provide some of the best return on investment available in education. With a one-year professional certificate, many job opportunities are available in fields as diverse as Web design, fitness training, and nutrition. A one-year certificate can cost as little as $1,000, and financial aid can bring down the cost substantially. Salaries for professionals with one-year certificates can vary widely, depending on work experience and other educational credentials. Fitness trainers, yoga instructors, and other exercise instructors can earn around $40,000 per year, on average, according to the BLS.

A college degree can make it much easier to find a reliable job with a good salary. Students in today’s universities have more choices than ever before, and the options are always growing. When it comes to calculating the best ROI for a degree, it’s important to consider how long the degree program lasts and how much money graduates can expect to earn in their first year out of college.