Top Paying Associate Degree Jobs

Top Paying Associate Degree Jobs

It is important to understand that going to college is not for everyone. College is just a stepping stone to get to the career that you want. If the job that you want does not require going to college, then you obviously are not going to need to go.

However, there are some jobs that you can get where you must go to school for two years. These degrees are normally called associate degrees. This means that you must go to college for two years in order to get the job that you want.

This can be a great alternative to a 4-year degree. You will save time, money and can be out making money quicker. If you go to school for two years, you are obviously not going to have as many loans as you would if you were going for four or more.

If you aren’t exactly sure what you want to do, you might feel that getting a two-year degree will be a good path to pursue. There are many opportunities to choose from when it comes to getting an associate degree.

The great thing about getting an associate degree is that you can always build from it. If you have an associate degree you can always go back and get your bachelor’s, master’s, or more.

Similar information to help you with majors check out how to chose a college major.

Associate High School

Many technical schools for high schoolers are now offering the opportunity to get associate degrees in several different fields during their high school career. This is an amazing opportunity because they will graduate high school with an associate degree that they didn’t have to pay for.

This means that you if they are planning to go back to school when they start attending a college or university, they are already going in with a degree. They can even just simply get a job straight out of high school and not even have to attend college in general because they already have a degree.

It’s a great opportunity that our generation has that others did not. Getting an associate degree in high school is never going to hurt you. If you think that the career, you’re going to choose is something where you can get an associate degree at the technical school, then do it.

You can always change your mind and end up attending a university for something else or getting a different job in general.

The team compiled some examples of associate degrees that you can get that lead to higher-paying salaries. Of course, salary is not everything, but I figured if I could only choose a few I would choose some that paid well.

I will also try to specify if these are offered through high school technical schools or are usually just in colleges and universities.

Air Traffic Control

The salary for an air traffic controller is usually around over $100,000 once you get some experience in the field. Air traffic controllers direct the flow of traffic through airports.

What does an Air Traffic Controller do?

  • Focus on the safety and efficiency of air travel around the airport they work in.
  • Direct the landings and will also issue when the pilots can take off.
  • Give pilots instructions and monitor the movements of the planes in the air and on the ground.
  • Keep in direct contact with the pilots.
  • Salary average: $122,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 3%

Many positions looking for an air traffic controller will suggest having a four-year degree however there’s a two-year associate degree career.

These types of programs are usually not offered through technical high schools. You normally will have to go to some sort of university, community college, or technical school post-high school graduation. There are many airports who will hire you with an associate degree.

Radiation Therapists

A therapist uses radiation in an attempt to treat certain diseases.

  • The diseases include things like cancer or various other medical issues.
  • Radiation therapist can make very good money once they get into the field.
  • This job is also a job that has excellent expected growth.
  • Salary average: $74,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 10%

There are usually plenty of jobs in this field, so you should not have a problem finding a job no matter where you live.

Most community colleges offer this degree however, it is rare to find it at a technical high school.

Web Developer

A lot of the jobs on this list are in the medical field. This is because the medical field is always expanding and a constant flow of people go in and out of hospitals, doctors, etc.

If you are not into the medical field, or you don’t think that you could handle being in the medical field, here’s another opportunity for you.

You can get an associate degree in something that makes good money but based on web work and not in the medical field.

  • Web developer has a very low barrier to entry and is in demand. Some people will call a web developer other names, including computer programmers and web designer.
  • Basically, the job of the web developer is to design and create websites.
  • Salary average: $66,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 27%

Because technology and the Internet are constantly growing, you can assume that a web developer will always have a job and there will always be job growth.

Expected job growth for a web developer through 2024 is currently almost 27%.

If you were interested in pursuing this but you’re not sure if you want to go and get a degree yet you’re in luck. You can see if there any small classes that you could take online to see if you were even interested in. Then from there you could go and get your two-year degree and start your job or being a web developer.

web developer

There are also jobs for this all over the country. Basically, anywhere that you live you should be able to find a job in this field.

There could also be some flexibility with where you work. If you are a web developer and you have been at it for a while, you may even be able to start working from home. The reason for this is because obviously most of the stuff that you will be doing is on your computer. If you have the devices, technology, and resources to work at home then you just need the company sign-off.

Currently, this type of degree is not really offered at technical high schools. Yet with the constant growth of technology, I would not be surprised if this was a degree that you could start obtaining during high school in the next decade

Dental Hygienists

This is one of the most common degrees that people get for an associate degree. It is a smart idea because you can get this degree and start working quickly since it is in high demand.

  • As a hygienist, they are responsible for cleaning teeth, answer phones, talk to patients about their dental hygiene, and assist the dentist during the visit.
  • This is another career that seems to be growing so you should with 20 percent growth to 2026. It is a good field to go into with good pay and graduates are in demand.
  • Skill sets include must like to work with people, good working with your hands, and critical thinking skills.
  • Salary average: $74,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 20%

Registered Nurse

The nursing field is currently in high demand. Most hospitals and doctors’ offices are always hiring and looking for nurses.

  • A bachelor level of education is the common choice for many students going into nursing, and some jobs may require it.
  • Four-year degree in nursing in a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).
  • An associate degree in nursing is a more affordable option especially if you aren’t sure if nursing is the way to go for you. This path is going to be faster and help you save money. An associate degree in nursing is called an AND.
  • With an associate degree in nursing, you will still make a great amount of money. Depending on the type of education that you end up getting your salary could be good.
  • Salary average: $68,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 15%

You can obviously always go back to school and get your BSN or master’s in nursing later in life.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Once you get an associate degree as a sonographer you will operate equipment that creates images of patients to figure out their medical issue.

  • Many states need sonographers including places like Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia just to name a few.
  • A technician needs to know how to operate the sonographers, be detail-oriented, and be very personable to the patients.
  • You need to get a professional certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. You can either do a BA program or an Associate’s.
  • Salary average: $64,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 17%

Respiratory Therapist

You are basically helping people to breathe when doing this job, I have a friend who got this degree in two-years and makes around $80,000 a year. There is a high demand at least where I live for respiratory therapists.

  • A respiratory therapist will hook people up to machines that provide oxygen.
  • Therapists will do breathing treatments on patients.
  • This job is usually in hospitals.
  • Salary average: $58,000
  • Job Growth Outlook: 23%


Minimum wage is so different in every state, some of these averages for salaries are going to differ. It also depends on how you use your degree and what type of jobs you get.

In the end, getting an associate degree is an awesome way to get a quick education to start to make more money. If you want a bachelor’s degree later you can always go back and maybe your employer will pay for it.

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