Unlock Your Prosperity: A Guide to the Most Lucrative Two–Year Degrees! Jobs that require a two–year degree have become increasingly common, and many of these jobs have a positive career outlook with room for long–term growth. Earning a two–year degree can open up more career opportunities and increase your earning potential. In this article, we will explain what a two–year degree is and outline some of the highest–paying jobs you can obtain with one.
What is a two-year degree?
An associate degree typically requires two years of study. It may take longer than two years depending on how many hours a student can invest per semester. There are four types of associate degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Arts, and Associate of Applied Science. Applied degrees often have programs that focus more on preparing students for specific roles after graduating. There are a variety of jobs you can earn with any associate degree.
Highest-paying jobs for a two-year degree
Here are 11 of the highest paying jobs that you can get after earning an associate degree:
1. Aerospace engineering technician
National average salary: $21.02 per hour
Primary duties: An aerospace engineering technician maintains and operates equipment that is used to develop, test, and produce new spacecraft and aircraft. They typically work in offices, manufacturing, laboratories or industrial plants. They maintain critical parts of missiles, spacecraft and aircraft. Some aerospace engineering technicians work in hazardous environments and wear protective gear. Those interested in becoming aerospace engineering technicians can obtain an Associate of Science in Aeronautics or a related field.
2. Air traffic controller
National average salary: $46,380 per year
Primary duties: An air traffic controller is responsible for safely guiding air traffic when in flight, landing or taking off. They may have varying shifts, including nights, holidays and weekends. A candidate must pass specific background and medical checks and be a United States citizen. They must also attend courses determined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) academy. Air traffic controllers can earn a two-year degree in air traffic control.
3. Police officer
National average salary: $50,344 per year
Primary duties: A police officer protects life and property by enforcing laws and regulations. They may patrol assigned areas on foot or in a car to maintain a safe environment. Officers can receive promotions to become detectives or sergeants if they want to plan a career in law enforcement. Requirements include attending a local academy training, being physically fit, being 21 years of age or older and submitting proof of United States citizenship. Most police officers have an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, at the minimum.
4. Radiation therapist
National average salary: $968 per week
Primary duties: A radiation therapist operates specialized equipment necessary to administer radiation treatments. They work with a variety of medical professionals to ensure they administer the proper treatment. Radiation therapists may work in a hazardous environment, so they usually take safety precautions. Radiation therapists should have at least an Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy.
5. Funeral director
National average salary: $55,789 per year
Primary duties: A funeral director helps set times, locations and dates of visitations, memorial services and funerals. Funeral directions should have excellent emotional intelligence and active listening skills to meet the needs and requests of families. Some funeral directors work varying shifts, including nights, weekends and holidays. Funeral directors should have at least an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service Education or Mortuary Science. They must also apply for a state license to practice.
6. Nuclear medicine technologist
National average salary: $34.03 per hour
Primary duties: A nuclear medicine technologist prepares and administers radioactive drugs to treat diseases such as cancer. They often work in hospitals, though they may find positions in labs, private practices and clinics. Nuclear medicine technologists should earn an Associate Degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
National average salary: $34.36 per hour
Primary duties: A sonographer operates an ultrasound machine for different medical purposes. They are integral in rendering images of the body as a means for physicians to diagnose and monitor medical problems. Sonographers often help expecting families monitor the growth of a baby during developmental stages. Sonographers should have an Associate Degree in Sonography.
8. Web developer
National average salary: $72,388 per year
Primary duties: A web developer creates, designs, troubleshoots, codes and updates web pages and other media. They create products according to client specifications. These developers ensure that websites and applications are user-friendly and intuitive. Web developers should be detail-oriented and have excellent customer service skills. Many web developers have full-time positions, but there are many opportunities for freelance and contract work. An Associate Degree in Web Design and Development will help a web developer learn the skills to succeed in the role.
9. MRI technologist
National average salary: $36.46 per hour
Primary duties: A magnetic resonance imaging technologist uses high-tech medical equipment to help diagnose and monitor medical conditions. They should be able to gather and evaluate patients’ histories and ensure each patient is able to undergo an MRI examination. MRI technologists usually work in hospitals, but they can also find positions in laboratories and clinics. An Associate Degree in Radiography, Radiology Technology or a similar field will prepare MRI technologists for a career in the field. MRI technologists also need to earn and maintain a license from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
10. Dental hygienist
National average salary: $38.05 per hour
Primary duties: A dental hygienist cleans teeth, promotes dental health and helps dentists when needed. They use a variety of specialized tools to provide satisfactory service. Dental hygienists often work in private dental practice and hold normal business hours, with some overtime required. An Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene involves gaining hands-on practice with patients. Dental hygienists also need to earn and maintain a state license.
11. Fire marshal
National average salary: $82,244 per year
Primary duties: A fire marshal inspects different properties to ensure that they are in compliance with government regulations and investigates the cause of specific fires. Fire marshals often begin their career as firefighters to gain practical experience. Earning an Associate Degree in Fire Sciences with additional knowledge and skills needed to excel as a fire marshal.