- Those who hold associate degrees can earn as much as $82,000, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Associate degrees cost significantly less than bachelor’s degrees, and students typically leave with little to no student debt.
- Here are the highest-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.
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Businesses, trade schools, and local government are all questioning whether four-year degrees best prepare workers for good jobs.
More and more trade schools are appealing to applicants by touting the high salaries some blue-collar professions can pay (like $90,000 for plumbing). High profile CEOs like Tim Cook and Siemens USA’s Barbara Humpton publicly dismissed the idea that workers need a four-year degree to get a good job. At Apple, nearly half of new hires last year included people who didn’t have a college degree.
Many jobs at some of the country’s most desired companies like Google and Netflix are open to those with high school and associate degrees. An associate degree, or a degree between high school and a bachelor’s, can also open doors to jobs with wages as high as $82,000.
Plus, associate-degree students pay significantly less for college than those pursuing bachelor’s degrees. The average cost of an associate degree totals around $10,432 as of 2016, while bachelor’s degrees average $26,120, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, only 9% of associate degree graduates leave with over $20,000 in debt, and 59% of associate degree recipients did not borrow anything as of 2012, according to Student Debt Relief data.
If you’re considering just enrolling in a two-year program, here are 20 high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.
20. Physical therapist assistants earn a median wage of $58,040.
Number of workers employed: 94,250
Job description on O*NET: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.
19. Legal support workers earn a median wage of $58,930.
Number of workers employed: 43,150
Job description on O*NET: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.
18. Radiologic technologists earn a median wage of $59,520.
Number of workers employed: 205,590
Job description on O*NET: Take X-rays and CAT scans, or administer nonradioactive materials into patient’s blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other scanning modalities.
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