WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — The cost of college is higher than ever. but is it worth it?
A new study shows paying more for college doesn't always translate into a high-paying job - and there could be a cheaper, shorter alternative.
This study found that shelling out more money - and more time -- for a four-year college degree does not always mean you'll land a job with a better salary.
The study, from collegemeasure.org  found that graduates of some two-year degree programs - like associates and occupational certificate programs - often earn just as much - if not more -- as workers with four-year degrees.
Researchers analyzed the earnings of recent grads from Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Here's a good example of what we're talking about, in Texas: people with technical associates degrees earned a median annual salary of just over $50 thousand dollars in their first year after graduation.
That's $11,000 dollars more on average than those with full bachelor degrees.
Experts suggest taking the long view: the research showed that college graduates of four year programs out-earned associate degree holders over the course of their career.
It just takes some time to get past that first year.