The economy is constantly changing, as is the education system. For decades we’ve equated a bachelor’s degree with long-term economic success. Now there are signs that this may not always be the case.

Recent research finds that graduates of two-year programs often enter the work force earning more than their peers with four-year degrees. This is especially true in the technical, medical and skilled labor fields. In fact, some associate degrees have an $11,ooo yearly earnings advantage. And when you shave off the tuition costs of an extra two years of college, the financial implications are huge.

For those still not convinced, this statistic might just catch your attention: the average cost of four years of tuition and fees at a public university is $34,620, vs. just $6,262 for an associate’s degree.

Do you think that short-term, highly specialized degrees will continue to gain in popularity?