Top 2 Year Degrees

Discover some of the highest paying jobs you can get with an associate degree. Learn about several of the top associate degree programs for 2021.

In 2021, it is difficult to get a job without some kind of degree. Because going to college has become a standard in most industries, employers rarely accept employees who have not attended college. A common misconception is the highest paying jobs require you to get your bachelor’s degree, which traditionally takes four years. However, there are many jobs you can get with a two-year associates degree.

For many students, it is more practical to get an associate degree. The cost of college is constantly increasing. While financial aid is available, many educational grants and scholarships have limits on how long you can use them, with most only providing assistance for your first two years. Associate degrees save two-years of college costs, providing you all the training and experience you need to graduate and find a job. Many associate degree programs are also available online, which is convenient for students who are already working or have family obligations during the day. You can get your associate degree from traditional universities, community colleges and vocational schools.

Computer Programmer

The tech industry is one of the fastest growing career fields in the United States. There are many jobs available to computer programmer. As a computer programmer, you develop new applications and software. Computer programming classes largely focusing on learning coding languages. With this training, you can also transition into many other tech related jobs, such as web developer or information security analyst. Computer programming requires a computer science degree. Computer programmers typically make $80,000 each year.

Registered Nurse

There are many healthcare careers that only require an associate nursing degree. A common choice is a registered nurse, because it has a higher starting salary with the option to get promoted to other jobs. Registered nurses perform the bulk of work in a healthcare setting. Some of their responsibilities include monitoring patient health, running diagnostic tests and updating patient records. Many registered nurses work directly with doctors and other medical professionals when creating a treatment plan. Some registered nurses choose specific fields to work in, such as:

  • Emergency room

  • Pediatric

  • Neonatal

  • Psychiatric

How much you make varies depending on your chosen career path. Most registered nurses make on average $70,000.

Dental Hygienist

Another healthcare career that only requires an associate degree is dental hygienist. Dental hygienist make slightly more than registered nurses, earning $74,000 a year. Dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning teeth, assisting with x-rays and teaching patients about dental hygiene. As of writing, it is one of the fastest growing healthcare careers, with job openings expected to increase by nearly 20% up to 2026. In addition to a degree in dental hygiene, you must also pass a state licensing exam.

Air Traffic Controller

In terms of the highest paying jobs you can get with an associate degree, it is hard to top air traffic controller. On average, air traffic controllers make close to $125,000. While you are only required to get an associate degree from an AT-CTI program to be an air traffic controller, there are additional certification tests you must pass. This includes the Air Traffic Selection and Training Exam, as well as an FAA pre-employment test.

Electrical Engineer

Another popular career choice that only requires two years of training is electrical engineering. Electrical engineers work with a wide range of equipment, such as navigation devices, medical technology and communication tools. Electrical engineers are in high demands among both businesses and the government. Many electrical engineers receive additional training on the job, allowing them to advance in their career without any additional schooling. The average salary for an electrical engineer is $63,000.

Purdue University

Located in Indiana, Purdue is an excellent university to get an associate degree. Purdue has many classes available, focusing on technical, communication, management and business degrees. Many students specialize in engineering or computer majors. Because it is a larger university, it is one of the less competitive schools to get into. It also has some of the best financial assistance available, with most students saving around $10,000 every year.

Columbia College

Columbia College is one of the oldest universities, first established in 1851. The school provides both in-person and online classes, with expediated programs available to quickly complete your associate degree. With an expediated program, you complete your classes over two-month periods. These courses are offered five times throughout the year. There are over 800 classes to choose from, ranging from accounting and financing, marketing and entrepreneurship to  nursing and science degrees. The school prides itself on offering classes for all types of students, with more online and night classes available than other schools.

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania consists of multiple schools, including one of the largest nursing programs in the United States. Nursing students learn in smaller classes, with most classrooms having a six to one student to faculty ratio. This gives students the chance to get a personalized experience from their teachers. The nursing program also lets students practice common medical procedures in a simulation lab. The university runs a mentorship program, where students are assigned a mentor in their chosen career path. In addition to nursing programs, the school is known for arts, science and engineering majors.

Keiser University

Keiser is a unique school because of their step-by-step learning program. In this program, students take a single class for a four-week period before moving onto the next program. The goal of the program is to give students a greater focus on each individual class, fully mastering the material before moving on to a new program. The school has many degrees available, with some of the top majors including computers and technology, culinary arts, business and nursing.