Change Careers in 2 Years or Less: 10 Jobs for Associate’s Degree Holders

Looking to for a change of lifestyle and a career upgrade? Check out this post to discover the top jobs for Associate’s degree holders.

Did you know that workers in middle-skilled positions, such as those that require an associates degree, hold a quarter of the “good” jobs in our country?

A good job is one that pays $35,000 and up for workers between 25 and -44 and $45,000 and up for workers 45 and older.

If you’re looking for a career change and considering getting more education, an associate’s degree might be a good option for you. A two-year degree program that can result in a good job could give you a career upgrade and lifestyle change.

Keep reading for 10 jobs that require an associates degree and are in high demand and pay well.

Hot Jobs for Associate Degree Holders

While many people believe you have to have a four-year degree to get a decent paying and stable job, it’s not the case. There are many occupations that require only a diploma or two-year degree.

An associates degree is a great option for people who want a career change or aren’t ready to commit to a bachelor’s degree. Many of these occupations also provide the opportunity for advanced training and specialization. This means you can make even more money.

Medical and technology jobs are where it’s at for associate’s degree holders. The majority of these occupations pay well above what is considered a “good” salary and with only two years of schooling required, are affordable options as well.

1. Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy techs can work in a variety of different settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and nursing homes, among others. Pharmacy techs work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists to prepare pills, IV injections, or give vaccines.

This position is expected to grow by 12% by 2026, making this a solid career opportunity that will stick around.

2. Medical Assistant

The number of medical assistant positions is expected to increase a whopping 29% over the coming years, which is much higher than most occupations!

Medical assistants typically find themselves working in either a clinical, administrative, or specialized role.

Clinical medical assistants often work in hospitals, group homes, or long-term care facilities.

Administrative positions usually involve maintaining medical records, setting appointments, and managing the offices of medical providers.

Specialized medical assistants get additional certifications and training in a specialty, such as pediatrics, oncology, or obstetrics and gynecology.

3. Registered Nurse (RN)

While some nurses have their bachelor’s degree, there are many who have associate’s of nursing degrees.

Becoming an RN can open many different doors for you. Nurses can work in medical practices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, colleges and universities, and schools.

Nursing is also one of the more highly paid jobs on this list, with starting salaries around $60,000 and increasing from there with experience.

4. Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding specialists work with healthcare providers to code medical treatments and bill insurance and patients.

The median pay for this occupation is approximately $40,000 a year. It’s a stable job as well, with an expected 13% growth over the next 10 years.

Schools like the Ultimate Medical Academy offer both diploma and associate’s degrees in medical billing and coding.

5. Dental Hygienist

Like nurses, dental hygienists command high salaries. With an associate’s degree, the median annual salary is over $70,000 and it’s another growing field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 20% growth in the number of dental hygiene jobs in the coming years.

6. Dental Assistant

Dental assistants work with general dentists to assist with x-rays, fillings, root canals, and other dental procedures. They can also get additional training and become certified to work with specialized dentists, such as orthodontist, endodontists, or oral surgeons.

It’s another stable career choice and pays around $36,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on your experience.

7. Radiology Technologist

X-ray technicians are in high demand and their numbers are growing.

X-ray techs and radiologic technologists aren’t limited to taking x-rays in a doctors office or emergency room. They can get special training and certificates in things like sonography, mammography, or densitometry.

This occupation pays well, too, with median salaries right around $58,000.

8. Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists work with patients having difficulty breathing. This could be due to chronic diseases, like asthma or emphysema. Patients could be as young as infants with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with breathing disorders.

The job outlook is strong, with a 23% increase expected by 2026 and the median pay is $59,000.

9. Web Developer

Website design, coding, and maintenance are in high demand. Web developers have a multitude of choices when deciding what path to take.

From web design on the front-end to maintaining website security, maintaining servers, data management, and IT services, there are many options.

The median salary is about $68,000 and it is another fast-growing field.

10. Electronic Engineering Technician

You don’t have to have a four-year degree to work in electrical engineering. Technicians work with electronics and design and repair equipment. This includes navigational tools, electrical mechanisms, communications tools, and medical devices.

You can work in a private company or for a government or public organizations and the salary is comfortable. The median pay is about $64,000 annually.

The Bottom Line

It’s possible to get a stable job with excellent pay with only an associate’s degree. They key is to be strategic about what you want to do, research starting and mid-career salaries, and understand the job prospects in your area (or other areas, if you are open to relocation).

An associate’s degree is a great option if you don’t have the time or resources to devote to a four-year degree. You can seek out scholarships to help pay for it, and it also leaves the door open for you to return to school to get your bachelors degree in the future.

Jobs for associate degree holders are in high demand and pay accordingly.

You can read even more about careers and education in some of our other blog posts. Take a look around as there are resources for every aspect of your life.


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