25 Best Paying Associate’s Degrees

Students in search of a well-paying career path they can kick-start and venture into using only an associate’s degree have come to the right place. Below, the concept of an associate’s degree is explained. Available jobs on completion as well as other lucrative options are broken down for easy understanding.

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Associate's Degree

What is an Associate's Degree

An associate’s degree is a two-year program available for numerous academic fields and careers. A standalone associate’s degree can meet the requirements for a job, and it can also be a stepping stone to pursuing a bachelor’s degree and other advanced degrees.

Why Acquire an Associate Degree?

A very convenient reason would be tuition and time. It is cheap, especially in public community colleges, and it takes a relatively short time to complete.

It also prepares students for their careers of choice. Some degrees even grant the holders jobs at an entry level.

Highest-Paying Industries

Industries like healthcare, engineering, and science are challenging and competitive. Careers in these industries are also advantageous as the pay is above average.

Healthcare
Although most jobs in this industry require further studies, associate’s degree holders can get employment in MRI technology, dental hygiene, and so on.

Engineering
The engineering field is a fast-evolving one. Technology is advancing, and energy resources are developing. Careers like electrical engineering and civil engineering are available for degree holders.

Life, Physical, and Social Sciences
Careers paying the highest for an associate’s degree include areas in nuclear technology, geological and petroleum technology, and environmental engineering. They examine human life and natural processes.

STEM Degrees and Non-STEM Degrees

Both STEM and non-STEM degrees are in high demand.
Careers in STEM studies are based on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In these fields, programs like healthcare, computer science, architecture, resource conservation are offered. Associate’s degrees with the highest pay in these fields include web development, air traffic control, aerospace engineering, and radiation therapy.
Non-STEM careers also pay well. Examples of well-paying associate’s degrees in this category are culinary arts, floral design, photography, dance, crafts. Another good example would be legal assistants who make an average of $51,740 per year.

Associate's Degree With the Highest-Paying Careers

The following careers offer a lot of money to associate’s degree students upon graduation:

1. Air Traffic Controllers
The controllers of air traffic are continually communicating with pilots and aviation personnel during the flight. They make an average salary of $122,990.

2. Radiation Therapists
Radiation therapists mostly work in hospitals, getting a median salary of $85,560. They work with medical professionals and operate equipment that transmits radiation to cancers and other tumors.

3. Nuclear Technicians
Nuclear technicians are based in facilities where nuclear materials are, and they carry out tests for radiation contamination. The average salary is $82,080.

4. Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Technologists in nuclear medicine get an average salary of $77,950. These professionals synthesize and administer radioactive drugs for both diagnostic and treatment purposes.

5. Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists work closely with dentists, providing oral care to patients. They receive an average salary of $76,220.

6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist
Technologists who specialize in MRI use specialized scanning machines to obtain the diagnostic images of organs and soft tissues of patients for medical purposes. They make up to $71,670 on average.

7. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Sonographers work with the aid of equipment used to perform an ultrasound on body parts. They review sonograms and report anomalies. They make an average of $68,750.

8. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
Both technologists and technicians in the cardiovascular field work in the medical facilities to collect information about the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Their average annual earning is $68,750.

9. Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
While in the engineering and architecture industry, the job requires equipment inspection, quality assurance tests, running of simulations, e.t.c. The average salary is $66,020.

10. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
Both professionals design, develop, and produce computers and navigation equipment. Their average pay is $65,260.

11. Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
They maintain and repair aircraft, with their focus on electrical and mechanical parts. They averagely earn $64,310.

12. Radiologic and MRI Technologists
Both technologists perform tests issued by physicians and provide data on image assessment. They receive an average salary of $62,280.

13. Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory therapists provide respiratory assistance to patients who find it difficult to breathe. They work with physicians to run a diagnosis test on patients’ respiratory systems. Their average pay is $61,330.

14. Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides
Both Aides and assistants of occupation therapists guide children with developmental needs and administer treatments. They work with occupational therapists to treat patients through therapy. Their average pay is $59,200.

15. Electro-Mechanical Technicians
Technicians in the electro-mechanical field majorly perform diagnostics and operations on electromechanical apparatus. They make a median salary of $58,350.

16. Funeral Service Workers
Funeral service professionals direct the burial events of a deceased person and handle other related things, including the necessary paperwork and obituary writing. Funeral service workers are often required to complete a program in institutions accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. They make up to $58,310 a year.

17. Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians design, manufacture, and test mechanical devices and make assessments of their performance. On average, they make up $56,980 per year.

18. Drafters
Drafters make use of CAD software in constructing technical plans and 3-D drawings. They receive an average salary of $56,830.

19. Industrial Engineering Technicians
The technicians assist industrial engineers with designing reliably industrial systems. Their average salary is $56,550. They also work with industrial engineers to ensure production and workflow are optimized.

20. Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists make up to $54,760 a year by solving computer-related problems. They may work at help desks or as technical support specialists.

21. Civil Engineering Technicians
Civil engineering technicians work hand-in-hand with civil engineers to use CAD software to design and build infrastructures. Their annual salary is about $53,410.

22. Paralegals and Legal Assistants
The work of a paralegal or legal assistant depends on the size of the work firm. However, they generally assist lawyers in preparing legal documents regarding a particular case and carrying out legal research. They make an average of $51,740.

23. Geological and Petroleum Technicians
Geological and petroleum technicians make an average salary of $51,130 annually by assisting with extracting natural resources, testing them, and providing reports about the materials.

24. Environmental Engineering Technicians
Technicians that focus on environmental engineering support and assist environmental engineering in setting up tests and experiments. They also follow government-regulated guidelines to dispose of environmentally hazardous materials. The take-home is about $50,620 annually.

25. Medical Equipment Repairers
As the job title implies, medical equipment repairers are tasked with fixing, maintaining, and upgrading equipment used by medical professionals. Their average salary is $49,280.

Final Thoughts

This degree sets students in motion for a variety of roles in their chosen fields. When the cost of enrollment is weighed beside the annual salary received in completing the degree program, it becomes clear that getting an associate’s degree is a very profitable investment.
Apart from being a good starting point for a career, it helps to hone essential skills and build knowledge suitable for personal and professional development.

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