Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs
When someone says college, what comes to mind? If youre like most people, you probably think about four-year programs. However, there are many alternatives to the four-year approach. Associate degree jobs are booming and represent a popular, lucrative alternative path.
One of the most attractive alternatives to a bachelors degree is an associate degree. These programs offer fast, and often more affordable routes for education, making them a popular choice, especially among non-traditional students.
There are reasonable questions that arise with associate degrees. Do good associate degree jobs exist? What fields offer jobs you can get with an associates degree? Are they satisfying and financially rewarding? The answer is a resounding yes!
In general, you can step immediately from school to the work force and make a sizable income. The highest paying associate degree can result in a six figure salary. From technical careers to jobs in the medical profession, we list the best 2 year degrees for landing high paying jobs below. And, they pay more than you probably think!
ARTICLE NAVIGATION:What is an Associates Degree? | Why Choose an Associate Degree? | 24 Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs | Associate Degree Jobs Outlook | High Growth Sectors for Associate Degree Jobs | Low-Growth and Declining Sectors | Finding Your Career
Electrical Or Electronics Engineering Technician
Helping engineers develop and test equipment and devices related to things like computers, health monitoring, communications, or navigation is what this kind of specialist does. Electronics training can take anywhere from four months to two years. Certificate or diploma programs can take four months or more to complete, and associate degree programs are typically 18 to 24 months long.
- Median pay: $63,640
- Top pay: $99,210 or more
Associates Degree In Aerospace Engineering And Operations
An Associates Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Operations is usually awarded by many community colleges and includes trigonometry and college algebra as required courses. The Associates Degree granted to graduates is recognized by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or ABET.
There are also vocational and technical institutes offering programs and coursework. For added training and certification required by employers, graduates earn their certificates in post-secondary schools. Aerospace engineering and operations specialists can expect their careers to have a positive outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Factors making this career favorable include the rising need for experts in:
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Associates Degree In Nursing
Interested in the health care field but not quite up for a complete course in Nursing? An Associates Degree in Nursing can be earned in just two to three years. Courses will include a mix of lecture and practical training, mainly in Biology, Nutrition, Anatomy, and Physiology.
It requires each graduate to pass the NCLEX-RN, the national nursing examination, so they can jumpstart work in an entry-level Registered Nurse position. In the in-demand nursing work environment, nurses with the ADN degree are being supervised by an experienced nurse with Bachelors Degree as they provide patient care.
A practitioner with an Associates Degree in Nursing gets a starting pay of $51,280 and usually works in hospitals, outpatient clinics, physicians offices, residential care facilities, and educational or government services.
Hiring May Be Faster Less Exhaustive
There is also the increased possibility of faster hiring with less demand from potential candidates. Because so many companies are experiencing an overwhelming, non-stop need for employees, they have been forced to relax minimum requirements, opting for employees who may not have been eligible in the past. This can be good news for associate degree applicants, as jobs that previously needed a bachelors degree may be available. Not only are requirements lowered, the hiring process is being expedited. The need for employees, as well as the adoption of hiring technology, is generally leading to a reduction in the length of the overall hiring process, which is good news for many applicants.
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What Jobs Can You Get With An Associate Degree
There are many well-paying jobs you can get with an associate degree.
The list below was composed using data from the BLS and features a range of jobs that not only offer higher annual incomes than the national average but also are projected to grow over the next decade.
While many of these jobs fall within the medical field, due to the aging baby boomer population, there are also several careers in tech, real estate, and law. In effect, whether you like working with people, technology, or out of the office, there is likely something for you on this list.
At a glance, the jobs included on this list are as follows:
*All data sourced from the BLS unless otherwise stated
Human Services Associates Degree
Do you feel a calling to help other people who are struggling through difficult life problems? An education in human services could put you on the right path. Rasmussen University makes it possible to get your associates degree in 18 months.
Studying human services will prepare you for roles like:
- community health worker
- social and human service assistant
- social or community service manager
- community and social service specialist
Throughout your education, you will develop your public service knowledge and leadership skills. You will learn the crisis response strategies to help others cope with an emergency. You can work in settings like victim advocacy organizations, courts and foster homes.
Time to complete: 18 months
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Ready To Start Your Journey
Many trade and technical professions pay well, and they may also be less competitive because high school graduates often overlook them as viable options. For example, a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America reveals that 70% of construction companies actually have trouble finding skilled employees to meet the demands of their growing industry.
How To Choose The Best Associate Degree Program
Even though these degrees cost less than a bachelor’s, preparing for associate degree jobs still requires investing money and time. Do your research to make sure you apply to the best associate degree programs for you. Follow these tips for choosing the right program:
We use national data to find the average salaries for different positions. You can find more specific information by asking at a local career center or even looking up information online for your state or county.
Before starting a program, ask a college admissions counselor how most people pay for their associate degrees, what scholarships or financial aid is available, and where graduates end up working. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality for lower tuition.
Jobs in health care, medicine, and technology top our list. This may be due to a couple of factors:
- Technology is always evolving and improving, creating a need for tech-focused positions.
- The population is getting older, meaning that we need more healthcare workers to care for people as they age.
Again, your local career center or workforce board can help you understand what jobs are in-demand in your area. Some of these positions may not even require an associate degree but a vocational certificate or diploma that takes less than a year.
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Alternatives To Traditional Career Paths That Require Lots Of Schooling
These alternative career paths involve similar duties to traditional careers like doctor or lawyer, offer good wages, and require significantly less education.
You could take this program: Architectural Technology Diploma at SAITDuration: 2 YearsSimilar to: ArchitectDo you enjoy the idea of designing buildings, inside or out? In this role, you could be assisting architects, working with clients, and designing projects for a variety of buildings.
Duration: 43 weeksSimilar to: Social WorkerChild and youth care workers work with young people who might be temporarily housed in government, private, or group homes, or treatment centres, and often work with psychologists, social workers, recreation therapists, teachers, and other professionals. Duties may include implementing strategies, daily planned activities, individual and group treatment plans, and engaging with youth and families. This is an important job that could have a profound effect for the youth and children in your care.
You could take this program: Educational Assistant Certificate at Keyano CollegeDuration: 1 year or lessSimilar to: TeacherEducational assistants support students alongside a multidisciplinary team of teachers, principals, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals, often working with students who may have special needs in the classroom and other settings. These assistants make school feel like a safe place for students, offering a helping hand and a friendly face!
Careers With An Associates Degree
Possible careers with an associates degree will vary in terms of the type of associates degree, and the subject you major in. However, there are lots of relatively high-paying and highly skilled jobs that can be entered with an associates degree. For example, one recent list of attractive careers with an associates degree includes dental hygienist, web developer, nuclear technician, radiation therapist and air traffic controller.
Studying a bachelors degree is likely to open up even more possible professional pathways but its definitely worth checking whether you actually need a bachelors to enter your chosen career, especially if youre facing high tuition fees. You may be surprised by how many skilled roles require only an associates level qualification. And as many bachelors degrees are more academically rather than vocationally oriented, bachelors graduates often need to undergo further professional training before they can start work.
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Aerospace Engineering And Operations Technologists And Technicians
Before astronauts launch into space, engineers have rigorously tested the spacecraft for safety and performance. Aerospace engineering and operations techs assist engineers in testing, building, and monitoring all things related to spacecraft and aircraft.
- Median salary: $68,520
- Type of associate degree:AAS in aerospace technology or aeronautical engineering technology
Occupational Therapy Assistant Studies
Median Annual Salary: $62,940Projected Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 34%Estimated Openings Per Year: 8,800
Occupational therapy assistant studies often come in the form of two-year programs. Among the core courses offered in these programs are the principles of therapy and counseling, psychological research, and physiological concepts. Students are also expected to complete a practicum in their second year of study. After earning their degree, students must take a licensure exam to be able to practice professionally.
Occupational therapy assistants work closely with therapists and physicians in developing and implementing treatment plans for patients. They help patients recover and improve the skills they need for day-to-day activities through a range of physical and mental exercises. Professionals in this field must also monitor the progress of their patients as well as perform administrative duties such as filing a patients records, coordinating with physicians, and the like.
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Certain Areas Of Software & It
Being in software and technology does not guarantee a stable career, as the job stability is dependent on your specialty, but in general, software and IT is a great place to explore a career. Businesses and individuals need computers, networks, and new programs theyll also need people who know how to set up these technologies and implement them effectively. Again, not all technology jobs are growing , but if you have a technology-related associates degree, you should find a reasonable level of security. Some of the high-growth jobs in technology that require an associates degree or less include:
- Computer Network Specialist: 11%
Associates Degree In Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology
Many institutions offer the Associate Degree in Magnetic Resonance, mostly as part of the diagnostic medical imaging course or radiology programs. This degree requires two years to complete with up to 95 credits, depending on the academic institution.
Upon graduation, degree holders become eligible to obtain a Certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, a professional organization. Earning an ARRT Certification increases a graduates chances of getting employed and becoming a licensed MRI Technologist.
MRI Technologists are tasked to view scanned MRI scans and ensure the safety and comfort of their patients. With a median pay of $100,870 annually, MRI technologists are usually in the:
- surgical hospitals,
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Reasons For Choosing A Quick Degree
Conventional college degrees look great on resumes. It serves as proof that you invested time and money to acquire the necessary skills to enter the workforce and have ample knowledge of the industry you want to work in. However, when you look at U.S. college statistics, earning a college degree is no cakewalk. Attending a university requires you to study for four to six years, depending on your major. In addition, you may need to balance schooling and a part-time job to cover living costs or offset fees for school requirements.
While many students feel this is a challenge they can tackle, there are those who may not have the time and money to afford a conventional degree. As such, they would prefer to start earning income sooner in life to avoid massive student debt. This is where associate degrees and professional certifications come in handy. In fact, compensation packages in some job positions available for such credentials may rival those for jobs associated with popular college majors that are typically thought of to guarantee a high salary.
Among the reasons why students opt for these degrees are as follows:
1. Associate degrees and certification programs are cheaper.
2. These degrees are quick to complete.
Associate degrees require only 60 credit hourshalf the time required for bachelors degreesand professional certifications can take only anywhere between three and six months depending on the program you choose.
Whats The Difference Between A Bachelors Degree And An Associates Degree
Both bachelors degrees and associates degrees are categorized as undergraduate degrees, meaning that they are both open to students as soon as they complete secondary level education. In contrast postgraduate degrees, such as masters or PhD programs, require students to have already completed a bachelors-level program.
So how can you decide whether to apply for a bachelors degree or an associates degree? Heres a roundup of some of the key differences:
In order to gain either qualification, youll need to complete a specified number of study hours or course credits. This may vary slightly depending on the institution and location, but an associates degree usually takes two years to complete full time. In the US this equates to 60 credit hours as opposed to the 120 hours required for a bachelors degree which takes about four years to complete full time.
Many associates degree students choose to study part-time, which of course means the degree will take longer to complete. On the other hand, its also possible to take a fast-track course, working at an accelerated pace and even studying during the vacations to complete the degree in a shorter time.
Students whove completed an associates degree may be able to transfer some relevant course credits to count towards a bachelors degree, shortening the time needed for the latter degree.
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Associate Of Applied Science In Insurance Billing And Coding Specialist
Medical insurance plays a major role in todays healthcare system, at least in the United States. The need for doctors offices and hospitals to handle a massive amount of extensive insurance forms has created positions dedicated solely to insurance billing and coding. In as little as 20 months, you can earn an associates degree and make insurance building and coding your career.
Herzing Universitys Associate of Applied Science in Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist degree prepares students to work in doctors offices, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, nursing homes and home healthcare services. Students will take coursework in:
- medical terminology
- coding for procedures and diagnoses
- use of computer databases for managing patient information
While the program primarily prepares students to work as medical billers or medical coders, it provides the skills for employment in a wide range of jobs. This includes:
Time to complete: 20 months
What Is An Associates Degree
Associate degrees are simply two-year degrees. Although they can take more or less time to complete, depending on the pace of study, they are generally half the workload of a four-year bachelors degree. They are, therefore, about half the price of a bachelors degree, and sometimes significantly cheaper as associates degrees are often provided by affordable community colleges.
These programs are generally affordable and create a significant boost to your lifetime income. According to The College Board, the annual cost of attending a public two-year in-district school is $3,660. This number, however, does not take into account room and board, as well as other costs associated with attending school. Assuming graduation in two years, this means the tuition for attending a public program is roughly $7,320.
According to the BLS, the median salary for someone with some college or associate degree was $825 per week in the second quarter of 2018, translating into an annual salary of $42,900 . High school graduates with no college earn a median salary of $726 a week, for an annual salary of $37,752. In this example, this results in an annual gain of $5,148 if you have no college education and were to complete your associates degree.
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Types Of Programs At Ontario Colleges
With close to 850 learning sites in 200 communities offering over 5,000 programs across the province, Ontario college programs offer diversity unmatched in Canada. As the demands of the workplace have evolved, so have the types of credentials being offered by the colleges. Most colleges are currently offering a variety of program types to suit the needs of both students and employers.
Associate Of Applied Science In Health Science: Medical Office Management
Can you see yourself in an office management role? You dont need years of education and experience to prepare for the responsibilities of keeping an office organized and running efficiently. You can earn an associates degree in medical office management in as little as 18 months from Ultimate Medical Academy. As a student of Ultimate Medical Academys Associate Degree Medical Administrative Assistant program, you will develop skills including:
- managing office operations
- managing patient records and handling billing
- coding and insurance paperwork
Throughout your coursework, you will increase your communication, organizational and clinical skills. You will be well prepared for a career managing patients medical records. Graduates of this program are ready to take certification tests like the Certified Medical Administrative Specialist and Certified Coding Associate examinations. This can be added to your resume.
Time to complete: 18 months
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