Jobs Available With An Associate’s Degree

If you thought that the only way to improve your financial situation was to spend four years in college, think again.

While it’s true that a bachelor’s degree is the accepted credential for a lot of white-collar jobs out there and therefore, a gateway to the possibility of a better life, equally true is the fact that not everybody is meant to spend four years in school. Academics may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and the thought of four years of intense coursework could send shivers down the spines of many.

Perhaps the associate’s degree program was designed with those people in mind. Much more career-focused than bachelor’s degrees, most associate’s degree programs can be completed in two years, and qualify graduates for direct entry into specific vocations.

Whether you’re unsure of which path to tread after high school; looking to make a fresh start in a new career; or just want to get through college more quickly and without a huge debt to pay off, an associate’s degree from a community college or a four-year institution can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re sold on the idea of a convenient, economical college program, here’s a review of some of the jobs that can be pursued with an associate’s degree.

1. Nursing: An associate’s degree in nursing is a typical two-year program that qualifies graduates for entry-level staff nurse positions. The degree was introduced to meet the shortfall in qualified nurses by fast-tracking their training. Over time, the degree has become a popular choice for aspiring nurses. In fact, many believe that registered nurses (RNs) who graduate from an Associate’s Degree in Nursing program are better equipped to handle bedside patient care.

Average Annual Salary: $40,261 to $79,932 1 (depending on education, location, and experience)

2. Respiratory Therapy: Respiratory therapists (RTs) work under the direct supervision of physicians to evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders. They often work in emergency situations treating patients who range from prematurely born babies whose lungs are not fully formed to older people facing lung problems. The minimum requirement for becoming a respiratory therapist is a two-year associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. The program is offered at many colleges, universities, and technical schools.

Average Annual Salary: $35,496 to $69,679 2 (depending on education, location, and experience)

3. Medical Assistant: Ranked as one of the fastest growing professions by the U.S. Department of Labor, medical assistance comes under the umbrella of �allied health occupations� and involves providing administrative, clerical, and clinical support to healthcare practitioners. Although there are no formal training requirements for this job, it’s advisable to complete a two-year associate’s degree in fields like medical specialties or allied health to stand out in the job market.

Average Annual Salary: $20,135 to $36,315 3 (depending on education, location, and experience)

4. Graphic Designer: If you have always enjoyed art class in school and the walls of your home are adorned with the art pieces you have been drawing since childhood, graphic design is a great career option for you. The profession will provide you an opportunity to turn your craft into cash. But having talent, although very important, is not all that you need to become a graphic designer. A formal graphic arts education is vital for not just breaking into this career, but also for further advancement. With a two-year associate’s degree program in graphic arts, you can qualify for entry-level positions, and grow your career from there.

Average Annual Salary: $23,541 to $58,565 4 (depending on education, location, and experience)

5. Computer Programmer: Computer programmers are the people who write the code that makes a computer complete specific task. But they are responsible for not just writing this code, but also updating, repairing, and modifying existing code. The job of a modern-day computer programmer is filled with exciting possibilities like developing games or building mobile applications. Programming has certainly undergone an overhaul from being the preserve of �geeks� to one of the coolest jobs to have. A two-year associate’s degree in computer programming may qualify graduates for entry-level positions.

Average Annual Salary: $29,660 to $82,897 5 (depending on education, location, and experience)


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