5 high-paying jobs that you can land with an associates degree

Last updated: May 28, 2024
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Elyssa Duncan
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5 high-paying jobs that you can land with an associates degree
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If you are looking for a long-term career with high pay and growth potential, a two year investment at a local community college can be worthwhile! There are a lot of exciting career paths you can explore with an associate degree. Let's take a look at 5 of the best jobs that require a two-year degree.

Radiation therapist

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases using radiation treatments. These professionals generally work in hospitals, but also work in physician offices and outpatient centers.

As medical technology continue to advance, job growth in this field is expected to rise at an annual rate of 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The median salary for a radiation therapist is $80,000.

Radiation therapist requirements

A two-year accredited educational program in radiation therapy is needed to start your career. There are approximately 110 accredited programs in the United States. These programs include courses in human anatomy, physiology, physics, algebra, computer science, and research methodology and there may be some clinical experience needed to graduate.

Helpful personal characteristics of a successful radiation therapist:

  • Detail oriented – You must follow exact instructions, record exact data, and input exact measurements so patients receive the proper amount of radiation

  • Interpersonal skills – You will work closely with patients who can be nervous and stressed

  • Physical stamina – You will be on your feet for much of the day, and must be able to move patients who need assistance

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide preventive care including teeth cleaning. They also educate patients about oral health, take and develop dental X-rays, and document patient care and treatment plans.

Job growth is expected to rise by 20% over the next six years.

The median salary for a dental hygienist is $74,000.

Dental hygienist requirements

Dental hygiene programs at community colleges include laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Students can expect course study in anatomy, immunology, and periodontics (gum disease). There are about 300 accredited dental hygiene programs in the country, which includes some technical schools.

Note that some programs are more extensive and can take up to three years.

Helpful personal characteristics of a dental hygienist:

  • Critical thinking– You must be able to evaluate a patient and develop a care plan.

  • Communication skills – You are the conduit of information between the dentist and the patient. Your skill at translating concerns and lifestyle issues with poise will benefit the dentist-patient relationship.

  • Detail oriented – You must follow specific protocols to treat a patient.

  • Dexterity – You must be good at working with your hands using fine motor skills using precise tools in the mouth.

Website Developer

Website developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site, and how the site’s technical performance like speed and traffic capacity. Website development is accomplished through writing code with various programming languages, working with designers, and integrating media into the website to bring a client’s vision to life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects web developer jobs to grow by 8% through 2026.

The median salary for a website developer is $73,000.

Website developer requirements

Two-year degrees in Computer Science or Information Science are good to break into a website developer career. Students can expect a course load that includes classes in programming languages, website construction, mobile programming, digital media, information security, game development, web analytics, and database design.

Helpful personal characteristics of a website developer:

  • Concentration – Writing detailed code for long periods of time is a lot of the job.

  • Creativity– Web developers are tasked with figuring out how to turn an idea into reality — and make sure it’s functional

  • Detail oriented – A small coding error can create a big problem — web developers have to be able to identify tiny errors and fix them.

Avionics Technician

Avionics equipment technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft electronic and flight instrument systems. They complete these computer repairs in hangars, repair stations, or on airfields, which can be very noisy environments. As aircraft are designed to be more electronic rather than mechanical, avionics technicians will be in more demand. Expect job growth of about 5% over the next few years.

The median salary for an avionics technician median salary is $65,000.

Avionics technician requirements

Avionics technicians typically earn an associate degree in Avionics Maintenance Technology before entering the occupation. Aircraft controls, systems, and flight instruments have become increasingly digital and computerized, so courses focus on math and physics, and then move on to radio transmitters and receivers, power supplies, and antenna theory. Completion of a two-year associate of science program leads toward FCC and National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT) certification, which are needed for certain avionics roles.

Helpful personal characteristics of an avionics technician:

  • Detail oriented – You will need to adjust parts to exact specifications, and understand how systems interact.

  • Dexterity – You will need to coordinate the movement of fingers and hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts.

  • Observational skills – You will have to recognize noises, read gauges, and collect other information to determine whether the aircraft’s systems are working properly.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants work with occupational therapists to help patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants work in therapists’ offices, hospitals, and in nursing care facilities providing hands-on therapy to patients. The need for occupational therapy assistants is growing at a fast rate, as the population is aging. Job growth is estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 32% over the next six years.

The median salary for an occupational therapy assistant median salary is $60,000.

Occupational therapy assistant requirements

Occupational therapy assistants need an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, found at community colleges and some technical schools. There are more than 200 accredited programs in the country.

Study includes courses of psychology, biology, and anatomy, in addition to 16 weeks of hands-on fieldwork. Occupational therapy assistants also must have certifications in CPR and basic life support. All states regulate the practice of occupational therapy assistants, and most require licensing through testing at the conclusion of your education. Check with your state for specific requirements.

Helpful personal characteristics of an occupational therapy assistant:

  • Adaptability and creativity – You’ll have to think on your feet when treating patients because not every therapy works for every patient. You will have to be flexible and adapt therapies to achieve patient goals.

  • Compassion – Occupational therapy patients often struggle with basic activities. You’ll need to be encouraging and patient with your clients, and communicate clearly and kindly.

  • Detail oriented – In order to serve your patients, you’ll need to quickly understand oral and written instructions of the on-duty therapist.

  • Physical strength – Many patients will need help moving, so moderate strength is required, as well ability to kneel, stoop, and stand for long periods of time.

If you’re ready to invest a bit of time in your future, it’s worthwhile to consider an associate degree.

Inspired by these great-paying professions? Check out what your local schools have to offer to get your career started!



Lane Johnson
Bullet point

Bullshit... !! Just Because one has college degree doesn't mean that you'll ever get super great good paying job ..
Remember there's nothing in life guaranteed .

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