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[tps_header]Getting a degree can empty out your bank account and leave you struggling to pay off student debt for years. According to the College Board, it costs on average $23,000-$$33,000 to attend a private college, or public college from out of state. It costs $9,410 a year to attend a state or public college if you’re FROM that state. If a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, you’re looking at a $37,6402 price tag even with this cheapest option.

However, there are jobs out there that will hire you with an associates degree or professional certificate. Associates degrees and professional certificates are often offered at community colleges, and take only 2 years to complete—cutting the price of a degree in half.

Here are the top five certificate programs and associates degrees that can get you a well-paying job in 2017:[/tps_header]

1. Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Study criminal justice and work in the field of law enforcement. There are plenty of high paying jobs available to those with just an associate degree. Like working with people and have a tolerance for a high-stress position? Become police officer and make up to $100,000 a year. You could also become a private investigator, correctional officer, crime scene technician, bailiff, or even a paralegal. Hate people, but love the outdoors? An associate degree in criminal justice is also a path to becoming a fish and game warden. Imagine having a national park as your office! The diversity of positions available to a graduate of criminal justice makes this our number one choice for 2018.

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