The kinds of occupations you are interested in pursuing should be one of your deciding criteria when deciding between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree. Although earning an associate’s degree requires less time spent in school overall, it does not limit your employment prospects. In reality, there are a number of jobs you can get with an associate degree.
Why Should I Get an Associate Degree?
If you’ve been considering getting an associate degree recently, know that there are a number of benefits to doing so. Here are a few benefits to think about if you’re debating getting an associate’s degree.
Flexibility is provided by associate degree programs in many different ways. Earning your associate degree at a community college gives you the flexibility of attending part-time or full-time, and offers courses in the evenings and online, without sacrificing the quality of your education. It can be challenging to balance a college education while maintaining a job or family.
You can easily continue working either part- or full-time with an associate degree program, depending on your needs.
A lot of associate degrees can also be obtained online, which is a convenient alternative for working adults and people with busy schedules. It is significantly preferable to pay off college fees as you go rather than deferring them until after you finish if you have the freedom to work while seeking a degree.
An associate degree often costs less because it can be earned in less time than a bachelor’s degree. Comparing the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university to the cost of completing your associate degree at a community college, you can save thousands of dollars.
Since an associate degree is a shorter-term commitment, starting your career early will probably make it simpler for you to pay off your student loans. When attempting to choose the best kind of academic program and how they want to advance their education, many people find this cost-effectiveness to be of particular assistance.
3. Takes Less Time
An associate degree also has the advantage of requiring less time to complete than other degree programs, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees. An associate degree can usually be earned in just two years.
In contrast, the majority of bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete, or six or more years if a master’s degree is also required. You won’t need to dedicate a significant amount of time to furthering your education if you obtain an associate degree. Instead, you might begin making plans to develop your profession in a few years.
An associate degree can be the best option for you if you want to graduate from college quickly and launch your career. The quicker you acquire your degree, the sooner you can start working and earning money.
4. Career Possibilities
You might anticipate having more professional options if you earn an associate degree rather than only a high school diploma. Your commitment to lifelong learning demonstrates to potential employers that you possess the desire, discipline, and determination required to get a college degree.
Instead of concentrating just on academic courses, several associate degree programs will help you get ready for the workforce. You’ll acquire useful real-world experience that will help you in a variety of careers while honing specialized skills associated with your field of study.
5. More Options for Education
An associate degree can be used as a stepping stone to more advanced degrees if you want to enhance your education. For instance, you probably will be able to transfer some of your associate degree program’s credits to a bachelor’s degree program.
While you can still find a variety of entry-level jobs with an associate degree, enrolling in a bachelor’s program will provide you more educational experience, which will improve your CV. This makes you eligible for a larger range of employment prospects and gives you a competitive advantage in the eyes of potential employers.
Increase in Associate Degrees Enrollment
For many years, obtaining a bachelor’s degree has been a popular objective for college students, but the trend is shifting. For instance, associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees were awarded to college students about equally in 2016. In that year, 1.95 million students received associate degrees, while 1.92 million received bachelor’s degrees, according to a recent report.
A rise in jobs that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but do require a high school diploma and, possibly, some additional education has contributed to the growth of associate degree programs. In reaction to these developments in the labor market, many universities started to offer an increasing number of two-year degree programs. These programs are renowned for emphasizing both a top-notch education and helping students find employment in their fields.
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Jobs You can Get with an Associate Degree
How useful is an associate’s degree? You should think about your abilities, interests, and other aspects that can help you limit down job routes as there are many options to take into account.
Some of the occupations you can get with an associate’s degree are listed below. Remember that geography and prior experience affect these vocations’ income and employment availability. Be sure to examine your state’s standards because many of these jobs call for credentials or licenses.
1. Dental Hygienists
To ensure that patients have clean, healthy teeth and gums, dental hygienists are essential. During consultations, they help dentists by doing things like taking X-rays, looking for indications of dental issues, cleaning plaque and tartar buildup, applying fluoride, and giving patients oral hygiene recommendations.
How much money might a dental hygienist expect to make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental hygienists typically make roughly $77,810 per year, or $37.41 per hour. The employment prognosis for this field is 9 percent, which is faster than the national average.
2. Veterinary Technicians
In veterinary offices, veterinary technicians are in charge of a variety of tasks. Assisting vets with exams, preparing animals for surgery, bathing and performing other grooming duties, giving immunizations and prescriptions, and taking X-rays are a few of these. Veterinary technicians can work with farm animals or zoo animals, in addition to working in small animal practices.
Vet techs typically make roughly $36,850 per year, or $17.72 per hour, according to the BLS. Through 2031, employment is anticipated to grow at a substantially greater rate than average—20 percent.
3. Human Resources Assistant
Assistants in human resources are in charge of assisting HR managers with daily responsibilities. These often include finding new employees, keeping track of staff, helping employees with administrative duties, and keeping HR calendars up to date. In some circumstances, these assistants may also manage payroll mistakes or execute payroll. Coordinating training sessions and seminars, conducting exit interviews, and communicating with benefit vendors are examples of additional tasks.
According to the BLS, the typical pay for human resources assistants is about $45,930 per year, or $22.08 per hour.
4. Medical Assistant
In clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare settings, medical assistants carry out a range of duties. These assistants aid doctors with exams, measure blood pressure and other vital indicators, preserve records of patients’ medical histories, give prescriptions, and provide immunizations. Additionally, medical assistants may set up patient appointments and prepare lab samples for testing.
According to the BLS, the average salary for medical assistants is about $37,190 a year, or $17.88 an hour. The projected job growth rate for this career for the ensuing few years is 16 percent, which is regarded to be faster than normal.
5. Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical therapists are assisted in caring for patients by physical therapist assistants (PTAs). Their day could be filled with duties including keeping an eye on patients during therapy, assisting patients with exercises or activities, and using equipment to help patients. Additionally, PTAs may teach patients and their family members about what to do after a therapy session.
According to the BLS, the median pay for PTAs is about $49,180 per year, or $23.64 per hour. A promising job outlook is available to those interested in this line of work. The employment forecast for PTAs is actually greater than average at 24 percent.
6. Preschool Teacher
Children under the age of five are often in the care of preschool teachers. These educators provide instruction in a range of subjects, including social and language skills, as well as kindergarten readiness. Curriculum planning, teaching fundamental learning skills using numbers, colors, letters, and shapes, as well as keeping track of each student’s advancement are some of the duties carried out by preschool teachers. Children’s learning difficulties are typically also identified by preschool teachers so that they can be treated quickly.
According to the BLS, the typical pay for preschool teachers is $30,210 per year, or $14.52 per hour. These teachers have a 15% faster-than-average job outlook.
7. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologists
An associate degree will help you land a top position as an MRI technologist. The images created by these technologists using MRI scanners are used by clinicians to make diagnoses. MRI technologists are also in charge of keeping track of patient records, preparing patients for MRI scans, maintaining MRI equipment, helping doctors evaluate MRI images, and using computerized technology to take these images.
How much money can an MRI technician expect to make? According to the BLS, the average salary for this occupation is about $61,980 per year, or $29.80 per hour. The employment outlook for MRI technologists is increasing at a rate of 6%, which is faster than the norm.
8. Website Developer
Day-to-day tasks for web developers include designing and creating websites. To do this, they carry out a variety of activities, including as developing a site’s aesthetics, analyzing website speed, and figuring out how much traffic a site can handle. In addition to meeting with both current and potential clients to discuss their website requirements, web developers may also write code for websites, design applications for websites, and track website traffic. Web designers occasionally create content for websites as well.
The median annual wage for web developers, according to the BLS, is $78,300, or $37.65 per hour. The employment outlook for web developers is predicted to grow by about 23 percent between 2021 and 2031, which is substantially quicker than normal.
9. Computer-Network-Support Specialists
The analysis and debugging of network systems, such as servers, local area networks (LAN), and cloud networks, is the responsibility of computer network support specialists. In order to ensure that current networks continue to function effectively, these specialists evaluate them and perform normal maintenance on them, like backing up files. Typically, they answer to administrators of computer networks and systems.
According to the BLS, computer network support experts make an average of $32.72 per hour or $68,050 per year. How promising is the employment prospects for these experts?
10. Air Traffic Controllers
Aircraft can fly and land safely thanks in large part to the work of air traffic controllers. They manage a variety of activities, including tracking the movement of airplanes on runways and in the air. They also handle handing off control to other controllers for outgoing aircraft and accepting control for arriving flights, giving pilots directions for takeoff and landing. Pilots can also get information from air traffic controllers about local weather, runway concerns, or closures, among other things.
According to the BLS, air traffic controllers typically earn $129,750 a year, or $62.38 an hour. The employment outlook for this field of work in the upcoming years is below average, at 1%.
11. Respiratory Therapists
People who struggle to breathe owing to chronic illnesses or other medical issues receive assistance from respiratory therapists. These therapists not only ensure that patients can breathe properly but also keep track of their development, instruct them on how to use ventilators or other breathing apparatus, and conduct diagnostic testing for respiratory disorders, such as lung capacity. They may take care of patients of all ages, from elderly patients to premature infants, depending on where they work.
According to the BLS, the average salary for respiratory therapists is about $61,830 per year, or $29.73 per hour. These therapists have a better than average work outlook, at 14%.
12. Executive Administrative Assistant
Executive administrative assistants support executives with a variety of administrative and clerical chores. Typical examples of these duties include taking calls, arranging meetings with coworkers or clients, setting up appointments, managing an executive’s calendar, upkeep of files or databases, and handling mail. Document preparation duties, such as creating invoices, may fall within the purview of executive administrative assistants.
According to the BLS, the median pay for executive administrative assistants is about $65,980 per year, or $31.72 per hour. Although there are still job opportunities accessible, keep in mind that the job prognosis for this career is deteriorating.
13. Food Service Manager
Managers of the food service industry are responsible for overseeing the daily operations of restaurants and other eateries. Food service managers are responsible for a variety of activities, including hiring and training staff, inspecting kitchen and dining supplies and equipment, dealing customer complaints, establishing standards for customer service, handling payroll and budgets, and creating employee schedules.
Food service managers make an average of $59,440 a year, or $28.58 an hour, according to the BLS. The employment prognosis for this field from 2021 to 2031 is faster than the national average at 10%.
14. Health Information Technician
The management and organization of healthcare data is the responsibility of health information technicians. These technicians do a variety of duties on a regular basis, including organizing data, maintaining patient records’ confidentiality, and using classification software to analyze data or for insurance purposes. They also examine patient records for accuracy. Medical coding is one example of a health information specialty for health information technicians.
According to the BLS, the typical annual salary for a health information technician is around $46,660, or $22.43 per hour. Health information technologists have a 7 percent growth rate projected for employment through 2031, which is about average.
15. Radiation Therapists
Patients with cancer or some other disorders receive radiation therapy from radiation therapists. These therapists carry out duties include explaining radiation therapy to patients and resolving any concerns they may have, taking precautions to protect patients while undergoing treatment, and keeping an eye out for any negative effects of radiation therapy. Additionally, these therapists are in charge of maintaining records of patients’ treatments as well as calibrating and using radiation equipment correctly.
What is the typical salary for a radiation therapist with an associate’s degree? Although this can vary, the BLS reports that the median wage is about $82,790 per year, or $39.80 per hour. Radiation therapist employment is expected to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, which is around average.
16. Avionics Technician
Aeronautical navigational systems and radar are two examples of the equipment that avionics specialists work with. Some of these technicians specialize in setting up, examining, and maintaining spacecraft.
According to the BLS, the typical annual salary for avionics technicians is about $65,550, or $31.52 per hour. What may folks who have an associate’s degree anticipate in terms of the avionics technician job market? This type of job has a 6 percent employment forecast, which is about average.
In addition to gathering information for cases, speaking with potential witnesses and clients, creating documents, and researching laws and regulations, paralegals assist attorneys in a variety of ways. Careers as litigation paralegals, business paralegals, personal injury paralegals, bankruptcy paralegals, family law paralegals, and immigration paralegals are among the several sorts of paralegal careers available.
According to the BLS, the median pay for paralegals is about $56,230 year, or $27.03 per hour. Paralegal employment is expected to grow by 14% between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than average. This employment forecast is encouraging for people who choose to pursue a career in paralegal studies with an associate degree.
18. HVAC Technician
HVAC professionals do maintenance, repair, and installation work on heating and cooling equipment such furnaces and central air conditioners. These jobs frequently entail examining HVAC apparatus, replacing or fixing broken parts, cleaning HVAC elements, and setting up new systems. While some HVAC technicians specialize in commercial HVAC systems, others primarily work with residential HVAC systems.
According to the BLS, the typical salary for HVAC technicians is about $48,630 a year, or $23.38 an hour. HVAC technicians have a 5% job outlook for the following few years, which is about average job growth.
19. Ultrasound Technician
Diagnostic medical sonographers, another name for ultrasound technicians, provide images that are used to diagnose illnesses or for other purposes, such as monitoring a baby’s growth within the womb. These photos are produced by these technicians using ultrasonic imaging equipment. They also carry out other duties include evaluating images to look for anomalies or problem areas, documenting their findings, and responding to patients’ inquiries regarding these imaging procedures. There are several ultrasound technician positions available in specialties such as pediatric medicine, heart medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
According to the BLS, the typical salary for ultrasound technicians is about $75,380 per year, or $36.24 per hour. The employment prognosis for this field is 10%, which is higher than average.
20. Court Reporter
In legal situations, court reporters perform a variety of functions and responsibilities, including transcribing hearings. A few of these include utilizing specialized equipment to record dialogue, checking notes for accuracy, asking speakers to clarify their points, and giving courts copies of the transcript. A small percentage of court reporters also work as broadcast captioners, transcribing dialogue for TV monitors.
Court reporters typically make roughly $60,380 a year, or $29.03 an hour, according to the BLS. What kind of employment development is possible for court reporters? The current job prognosis until 2031 is 1%, which is stable but unlikely to change.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does the term “associate degree” mean?
A student who has finished a two-year course of study is given an associate degree, which is a type of college degree.
What distinguishes an associate degree from a bachelor’s degree?
A bachelor's degree and an associate's degree are fundamentally different in how long the programs take to finish. While bachelor's degree programs normally last four years and cover a wider range of topics, associate degree programs are typically two years long.
Which associate degree can be earned the quickest?
All degrees that can be finished in 18 months are the associate of arts, accounting technology, business administration, and criminal justice technology. The completion time for the supply chain management and office administration degrees is 20 months, which is still four months quicker than the completion time for an associate's degree.
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