Highest-Paying Careers With an Associate Degree

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated October 26, 2023
An associate degree also meets the minimum education requirements for jobs like air traffic controller, ultrasound technician, avionics technician, and nuclear technician.

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Students looking for a quick-start career should consider an associate degree from a community college, where they can earn a degree in two years.

An associate degree prepares graduates for jobs in multiple industries. For example, paralegals and web developers often only need an associate degree. Many healthcare and engineering technicians need an associate degree to earn professional certification or licensure. An associate degree also meets the minimum education requirements for jobs like air traffic controller, ultrasound technician, avionics technician, and nuclear technician.

Readers should carefully review each career’s placement within the rankings, since pay varies so much among professions. For example, air traffic controllers earn a median annual salary of $132,250, while medical equipment repairers make a median salary of $57,860.

The following list ranks the best associate degree jobs by salary. Some of the jobs on the list don’t require an associate degree but the degree provides a competitive edge in the job market. We used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for job title and salary information.

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The Highest-Paying Careers With an Associate Degree

What is an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a two-year degree that provides training for a variety of careers, many of which offer competitive salaries. For example, air traffic controllers, nuclear medicine technologists, and occupational therapy assistants meet the education requirements for their jobs with an associate degree. An associate degree also meets the education requirement for prospective dental hygienists and radiation therapists to earn professional licensure or certification.

Associate degree students can also study fields like business, communications, political science, or biology. In these fields, an associate degree prepares graduates to pursue a bachelor’s degree. At many colleges and universities, transfer students with an associate degree can complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in two years.

Why Get an Associate Degree?

An associate degree prepares graduates for careers in a variety of fields, such as healthcare, technology, and engineering. Some associate degrees lead to entry-level roles, like diagnostic medical sonographer, engineering technician, or physical therapy assistant. These associate degree jobs offer above-average salaries.

Completing an associate degree takes less time and money than a bachelor’s degree, with public community colleges offering lower tuition rates than public or private four-year colleges. Graduates with an associate degree can also transfer into a bachelor’s program

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate Level Jobs

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