Amid the widest recorded earnings gap between college graduates and everyone else, community colleges exist as an alternative to costly four-year institutions–and it may especially appeal to those undecided about their career.

Two-year colleges offer students an opportunity to “sample or try on introductory career courses,” said Mike McCracken, a counselor for California’s Victor Valley College (VVC), one of two High Desert community colleges, along with Barstow Community College (BCC).

While many college graduates have floundered trying to find well-paying jobs in a recovering economy, few experts believe the solution is to send more students to four-year colleges, the Associated Press reports. In fact, because four in every 10 college students drop out before graduating, “often with debt loads they will struggle to repay without a degree,” labor economists suggest they might benefit more from obtaining skills.

“Over 99 percent of the job growth during the economic recovery has gone to workers with more than a high school diploma,” VVC Executive Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Peter Maphumulo said. “So, a college credential is now a minimum requirement for anyone who wants to earn a decent living.”

“When we started our educational system and we guaranteed a K-12 education, that was enough, you could get a good job with a high school education,” said Barstow Community College Superintendent/President Dr. Deborah DiThomas. “Not now.”

(Next page: Jobs that require postsecondary education are increasing)

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Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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