8 High-Paying and Fast-Growing Careers that Only Require an Associate’s Degree

Many high school students are pushed towards college as the logical next step in their life’s journey. However, college is not the right option for every person. Some students really don’t like school and committing to another four years feels unbearable. Some students struggled in school and can’t keep up with the rigorous demands of a 4-year institution. Others are worried about taking on a lot of debt to pay for their education. When you’re discussing your teen’s options after high school, don’t leave out the possibility of technical schools and associate’s degrees. We wrote an earlier blog about technical schools, but this article will focus on some great options your teen could have with an associate’s degree.

An associate’s degree is available at various types of colleges, including community colleges, junior colleges and technical colleges, affiliated colleges of universities and university institutes. It typically takes two years full-time to complete an associate’s degree. The benefits of an associate’s degree is that it takes less time to complete, is easier to complete part-time, costs less, and is less competitive than a traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree.

There are several good careers that are available to people with associate’s degrees. We will look at 8 of these careers that are growing in demand faster than average and have a median wage of over $60,000. (These statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a U.S. government agency that measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.) The careers below are great options for students who might not want to pursue a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

List of Careers with Associate’s Degrees

Radiation Therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments. The 2019 median pay was $85,560 per year. Qualities needed are good interpersonal skills, detail-oriented, physical stamina to stay on your feet all day, and technical skills with computer and machines.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients for imaging or therapeutic purposes. The 2019 median pay was $77,950 per year. Qualities for this role are ability to use technology, analytical skills, detail oriented, physical stamina to stand most of the day, as well as compassion and good interpersonal skills.

Dental Hygienists examine patients for signs of oral diseases, such as gingivitis, and provide preventive care, including oral hygiene. The 2019 median pay was $76,220 per year. Qualities needed for this profession are dexterity, critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, and detail-oriented.

Web Developers design and create website. The 2019 median pay was $73,760 per year. Web developers need to understand programming languages, such as HTML, JavaScript or SQL, have good concentration and creativity, possess good customer-service skills, and be detail-oriented.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers operate special imaging equipment to create images or to conduct tests that help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. They tend to specialize in a specific type of imaging, such as abdominal, breast, cardiac, musculoskeletal, pediatric, obstetric, or vascular. The 2019 median pay was $68,750 per year. Qualities are detail oriented, good hand-eye coordination, physical stamina to stand long periods, technical skills, and good interpersonal skills.

Radiologic Technologists and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technicians perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. The 2019 median pay was $62,280 per year. Qualities needed include math and technical skills, good interpersonal skills, physical stamina to stand all day, and detail-oriented.

Respiratory Therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. The 2019 median pay was $61,330 per year. Qualities need for this career are compassion and patience, detail-oriented, good interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and math skills.

Occupational Therapy Assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. The 2019 median pay was $59,200. Qualities required for this career include physical strength, compassion, good interpersonal skills, and adaptability.

Final Thoughts…

College is not the right path for everyone, and there are lots of good careers available for students who are interested in an associate’s degree. Don’t forget to discuss these possibilities with your teen.

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