|At a Glance|
There’s no doubt that going back to school is expensive these days. Between tuition, books, and other expenses, the price tag is alarming. But, does it pay off? Is it really worth the time and effort it takes to go back to school? Can you bank on getting a high-paying job with just an associate’s degree?
The answers are unequivocally yes, yes, and yes. Studies show that people who have their associate’s degree earn, on average, $6,600 more per year than people without one, and have a 30% lower unemployment rate. And that’s just the average. With above-average earning potential and exciting career prospects, an associate’s degree is more valuable than ever.
Top Ten Highest-Paying Jobs with an Associate’s Degree
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist: Nuclear medicine technologists play an important role in the medical field. In addition to performing many clinical duties, nuclear medicine technologists also administer and monitor radioactive drugs in a patient’s body. Hospitals and other medical facilities employ nuclear medicine technologists to serve the growing need for radiology technicians. Average Salary: $67,601 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Healthcare
- Radiation Therapist: Radiation therapists assist in the treatment of cancer by administering radiation therapy. They also assist in follow-up care and maintain medical records for oncologists. In addition to being a rewarding career, above average wages and long-term employment can be expected. Average Salary: $78,290 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Radiology
- Dental Hygienist: Dental hygiene is a fast growing occupation with great job prospects. Hygienists often administer local anesthesia (varies by state), provide plague removal services, and work closely with dentists to perform several types of procedures. With job security and employment benefits, dental hygienists have much to gain by entering the field. Average Salary: $61,992 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Medical & Dental Assisting
- Nuclear Technician: Nuclear technicians work at nuclear power plants (and many other places) monitoring radiation levels and testing equipment. They also assist nuclear physicists with their projects. The work is challenging and sometimes stressful, but the compensation is well worth the sacrifice and effort. Average Salary: $67,601 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Science
- Computer Specialist: It doesn’t take much imagination to see why a computer specialist is on the list of top-paying jobs. Computers are used by just about everyone these days, and knowing how they work (and how to manage the information they contain) is an exciting field that is growing faster every day. Average Salary: $41,000 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Computers & IT
- Medical Sonographer: Careers in sonography are in high demand. A sonographer works in healthcare centers to perform ultrasound exams and interpret their results. If you’re interested in learning about sound waves and imaging technology, a career as a sonographer might be the right prescription for you. Average Salary: $64,900 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Healthcare
- Paralegal: Paralegals, or legal assistants, play an important role in law offices and courthouses. They are responsible for handling substantive projects including legal research and writing as well as trail preparation and other related tasks. If you’re interested in working in the legal field and have a passion for the law, consider paralegal studies as a career choice. Average Salary: $47,340 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Paralegal
- HVAC Mechanic: The need for HVAC mechanics is expected to grow, and quickly. Qualified air systems and ventilation professionals keep homes and businesses comfortable and safe. If you’re good with your hands and enjoy solving mechanical problems, HVAC is a stable career move that will keep you busy, productive, and challenged. Average Salary: $40,599 Most relevant online degree subject: HVAC Programs
- Programmer: Computer programmers are well compensated, and for good reason. Programmers are detail-oriented professionals who write, test, and maintain computer programs that we use in homes and businesses. Programming jobs are expected to increase as companies continue to implement advanced computing and networking technologies. Average Salary: $54,139 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Computer Programming
- Fashion Designer: Working in the fashion industry is a great opportunity to show off your creative talents. Designers often work for a fashion house or clothing business or choose to work independently as a consultant or designer. From shoes, accessories, and clothing, fashion designers have endless options when it comes to choosing their career path. All it takes is an eye for detail and a sense of style. Average Salary: $45,284 Most relevant online degree subject: Associate Degrees in Fashion
Without a doubt, an associate’s degree can open doors to exciting careers and long-term employment. If you do your research, find the right school, and follow your interests, an associate’s degree will pay for itself. Reference our list of accredited schools to begin your search today.