20 high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree

Here are high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.

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Here are high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.
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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

  • Those who hold associate degrees can earn as much as $82,000, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Associate degrees cost significantly less than bachelor’s degrees, and students typically leave with little to no student debt.
  • Here are the highest-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Businesses, trade schools, and local government are all questioning whether four-year degrees best prepare workers for good jobs.

More and more trade schools are appealing to applicants by touting the high salaries some blue-collar professions can pay (like $90,000 for plumbing). High profile CEOs like Tim Cook and Siemens USA’s Barbara Humpton publicly dismissed the idea that workers need a four-year degree to get a good job. At Apple, nearly half of new hires last year included people who didn’t have a college degree.

Read more: Blue-collar jobs like plumbing pay $90,000 without a college degree, and it’s driving more workers to trade school

Many jobs at some of the country’s most desired companies like Google and Netflix are open to those with high school and associate degrees. An associate degree, or a degree between high school and a bachelor’s, can also open doors to jobs with wages as high as $82,000.

Plus, associate-degree students pay significantly less for college than those pursuing bachelor’s degrees. The average cost of an associate degree totals around $10,432 as of 2016, while bachelor’s degrees average $26,120, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, only 9% of associate degree graduates leave with over $20,000 in debt, and 59% of associate degree recipients did not borrow anything as of 2012, according to Student Debt Relief data.

If you’re considering just enrolling in a two-year program, here are 20 high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate degree.


20. Physical therapist assistants earn a median wage of $58,040.

Number of workers employed: 94,250

Job description on O*NET: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.


19. Legal support workers earn a median wage of $58,930.

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Shutterstock

Number of workers employed: 43,150

Job description on O*NET: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.


18. Radiologic technologists earn a median wage of $59,520.

Number of workers employed: 205,590

Job description on O*NET: Take X-rays and CAT scans, or administer nonradioactive materials into patient’s blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other scanning modalities.


17. Electrical and electronics drafters earn a median wage of $60,070.

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Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Number of workers employed: 24,900

Job description on O*NET: Prepare wiring diagrams, circuit board assembly diagrams, and layout drawings used for the manufacture, installation, or repair of electrical equipment.


16. Occupational therapy assistants earn a median wage of $60,220.

Number of workers employed: 42,660

Job description on O*NET: Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures.


15. Respiratory therapists earn a median wage of $60,280.

Number of workers employed: 129,600

Job description on O*NET: Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.


14. Computer network support specialists earn a median wage of $62,770.

Number of workers employed: 181,360

Job description on O*NET: Analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, such as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet systems or a segment of a network system.


13. Engineering technicians earn a median wage of $63,200.

source
Reuters

Number of workers employed: 83,360

Job description on O*NET: Lay out, build, test, troubleshoot, repair, and modify developmental and production electronic components, parts, equipment, and systems, such as computer equipment, missile control instrumentation, electron tubes, test equipment, and machine tool numerical controls, applying principles and theories of electronics, electrical circuitry, engineering mathematics, electronic and electrical testing, and physics.


12. Avionics technicians earn a median wage of $64,140.

source
Reuters

Number of workers employed: 18,860

Job description on O*NET: Install, inspect, test, adjust, or repair avionics equipment, such as radar, radio, navigation, and missile control systems in aircraft or space vehicles.


11. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians earn a median wage of $64,330.

Number of workers employed: 126,950

Job description on O*NET: Lay out, build, test, troubleshoot, repair, and modify developmental and production electronic components, parts, equipment, and systems, such as computer equipment, missile control instrumentation, electron tubes, test equipment, and machine tool numerical controls, applying principles and theories of electronics, electrical circuitry, engineering mathematics, electronic and electrical testing, and physics.


10. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians earn a median wage of $67,010.

Number of workers employed: 10,110

Job description on O*NET: Operate, install, calibrate, and maintain integrated computer/communications systems, consoles, simulators, and other data acquisition, test, and measurement instruments and equipment, which are used to launch, track, position, and evaluate air and space vehicles.


9. Web developers earn a median wage of $69,430.

source
Reuters

Number of workers employed: 127,300

Job description on O*NET: Design, create, and modify websites. Analyze user needs to implement website content, graphics, performance, and capacity.


8. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists earn a median wage of $71,670.

source
Reuters

Number of workers employed: 38,540

Job description on O*NET: Operate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. Monitor patient safety and comfort, and view images of area being scanned to ensure quality of pictures.


7. Diagnostic medical sonographers earn a median wage of $72,510.

Number of workers employed: 71,130

Job description on O*NET: Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.


6. Dental hygienists earn a median wage of $74,820.

Number of workers employed: 215,150

Job description on O*NET: Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.


5. Nuclear medicine technologists earn a median wage of $76,820.

Number of workers employed: 18,810

Job description on O*NET: Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment.


4. Nuclear technicians earn a median wage of $79,140.

Number of workers employed: 7,230

Job description on O*NET: Assist nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory or production activities.


3. Funeral service managers earn a median wage of $79,180.

source
Reuters

Number of workers employed: 8,400

Job description on O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the services or resources of funeral homes.


2. Radiation therapists earn a median wage of $82,330.

Number of workers employed: 18,260

Job description on O*NET: Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.


1. Air traffic controllers earn a median wage of $124,540.

Number of workers employed: 22,390

Job description on O*NET: Control air traffic on and within the vicinity of an airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies.