Surprising Careers that Might Only Require an Associate's Degree
You might think that you need to spend many years in school to begin pursuing the career you want, but plenty of good careers could be available with just a two-year associate's degree.
And even better news: many associate's degree programs could potentially be completed in as few as 18-24 months, depending on the program, course load, and other factors.
Whether you're interested in a career in health care, computers, or criminal justice, read on for careers you could pursue with an associate's degree that are prestigious, and could potentially put you in exciting industries.
Potential Career Path #1 - Registered Nurse
Besides being a profession with average high earning potential, the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow quickly.* An associate's degree in nursing should include both classroom and clinical work and could prepare you to pursue a career as a registered nurse (RN).
Potential Career Path #2 - Paralegal
Paralegals work in many settings, including law offices and courts, assisting attorneys with research, reports, and clients. Many also work freelance, making for a potentially versatile and flexible career with relatively high average earning potential — $46,120 annually, on average.* Many paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, which could include coursework in legal topics like research, English, and communications.
Potential Career Path #3 - Computer Support Specialist
Many businesses rely on computers. So computer support specialists are a valuable part of the team. Demand for computer support specialists is expected to grow faster than average.* Pursuing an associate's degree in an area like computer science could prepare you to pursue this career. The average annual salary for computer support specialists is $43,450.*
Potential Career Path #4 - Desktop Publisher
Desktop publishers design and create almost all the printed materials you see around you — books, magazines, advertising, and product packaging. This position combines computer skills and artistry in a career that's an integral part of almost every industry. Associate's degree programs in desktop publishing could cover topics like graphic design, communications, and typography. The average annual salary is $42,400.*
Potential Career Path #5 - Commercial Pilot
Although many pilots receive their flight preparation in the military, companies often prefer pilots who have a college degree. An associate's degree focusing on science and math plus flight education from an FAA-certified flight school could potentially put you on the flight path toward an average salary of $65,340.*
Potential Career Path #6 - Forensic Science Technician
Modern crime solving has become reliant on technology — DNA and other physical evidence from crime scenes have increased law enforcement's ability to track down and convict criminals. Forensic science technicians, who collect and analyze evidence, are some of the most important people in this process. An associate's degree in forensic science or an area like biology could potentially prepare you to pursue an average wage of almost $24 per hour.*
Whatever field interests you, there's an associate's degree job that's right for you. Get started today!
*All salary and growth data is from the U.S. Department of Labor.