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Careers in Two-Years

Associate degree programs are often completed in two years and lead to a wide-range of high-paying career options in growing industries.

High-Growth Sectors for Associate’s Degrees

Now let's dig into the career areas with the highest expected growth. These are some of the sectors of the market where you can expect to find many excellent opportunities...

The Medical Field

One of the fastest-growing industries in today's job market is in the medical field. While your initial thought might be that to work in healthcare means an advanced degree, you would be wrong. Many of the top medical fields require an associate's degree obtained from a community college or health sciences college. 

  • Radiologic and MRI Technologist
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Medical Sonographer
  • Personal Care Aides
  • Home Health Aides
  • Medical or Nursing Assistants

Information Technology

With the growth and dependence on technology, the job market has an ever-growing need for individuals trained in software and technology. Some of the high-growth jobs in technology that require an associate’s degree or less include: 

  • Web Developers
  • Computer Network Specialist

The top careers requiring an associates degree according to

Air Traffic Controller

  • Salary: $122,410
  • Job Outlook: 3%
  • Number of Jobs: 24,900

By directing the flow of traffic through our nation’s airports, air traffic controllers help maintain the safety efficiency, and effectiveness of air travel. They issue landing and takeoff instructions and monitor the movement of planes on the ground and in the air. While many of the positions suggest a four-year degree, air traffic controller schools offer two-year associate degrees that focus specifically on the career.

Radiation Therapist

  • Salary: $80,160
  • Job Outlook: 12%
  • Number of Jobs: 19,100

Working as a radiation therapist, you will treat cancer and other diseases using radiation treatments. These professionals generally work in hospitals, but they can also be found in physician offices and outpatient centers. Not only does this job command a salary of $80,160, it also has excellent expected job growth.GetEducated’s Pick

Nuclear Technician

  • Salary: $79,140
  • Job Outlook: 1%
  • Number of Jobs: 6,900

These highly-trained professionals assist in nuclear research and energy production by operating special equipment. They may monitor radiation levels, assist engineers, or work with physicists to create safe, reliable nuclear energy. In most cases, nuclear technicians will need an associate’s degree in nuclear science or a related technology, but expect a minimal growth of only 1% in demand.

Radialogic & MRI Technologist

  • Salary: $58,960
  • Job Outlook: 12%
  • Number of Jobs: 30,200

Working in hospitals and clinics, radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases through the use of radiation treatments. In most states, they must be properly licensed or certified, but educational training often requires only an associate degree program. The career is expected to grow by 12% in the near future, making it stable and profitable.

Computer Programmer

  • Salary: $79,840
  • Job Outlook: -8%
  • Number of Jobs: 294,900

Computer applications and software need proper code in order to function. It’s the job of a computer programmer to create this code. While many programmers will have a bachelor’s degree, you will certainly find employers who are willing to hire someone with an associate degree. The position, however, is expected to decline by 8%, losing as many as 22,600 jobs between 2016 and 2026. (But there are nearly 300,000 jobs, so opportunities are there.)

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

  • Salary: $74,350
  • Job Outlook: 10%
  • Number of Jobs: 20,100

This profession works in medical imaging, using safe doses of radiation to generate information on a patient’s body, which then can be used by doctors to diagnose or administer treatments. This career usually requires an associate’s degree from an accredited nuclear technology program. At 10% expected growth, it should be a steady and well-paying career. 

Dental Hygienist

  • Salary: $72,910
  • Job Outlook: 20%
  • Number of Jobs: 207,900

As a dental hygienist, you’ll be responsible for cleaning teeth, talking to patients about proper dental hygiene, and assisting the dentist in whatever form is required. According the the BLS, all states require proper licensing and the career will grow by a potential 20% between 2016 and 2026.

Registered Nurse

  • Salary: $68,450
  • Job Outlook: 15%
  • Number of Jobs: 2,955,200

A bachelor’s level education is a common choice, but an Associate Degree in Nursing, or ADN, is a faster and more affordable option. Although many nurses will eventually move on to the four-year degree, a two-year program will help land a job and gain valuable experience.

Web Developer

  • Salary: $66,130
  • Job Outlook: 13%
  • Number of Jobs: 161,900

If you have a knack for computers and complex coding, you could make a substantial income with only a two-year degree. Web developers generally need an associate degree, and the career field is expected to grow by 13%, so your services will likely be in high demand.

Medical Sonographer

  • Salary: $64,280
  • Job Outlook: 17%
  • Number of Jobs: 122,300

Using special imaging equipment, medical sonographers create images of the body that can be used by physicians to assess and diagnose patients. A sonographer will be specially trained in the use of an ultrasonic imaging device, which uses sound waves and vibrations to create an image of a specified organ.

Electronic Engineering Technician

  • Salary: $62,190
  • Job Outlook: 2%
  • Number of Jobs: 137,000

Working directly with the physical technology of electronics, these professionals help design a wide range of equipment, including navigational devices, electrical components, medical technology, and communications tools. With the right associate degree, someone can work in this field for both the government and private companies.

Police Officer

  • Salary: $61,600
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 807,000

By protecting lives and property, police officers allow our society to function properly. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, as well as dangerous, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. The job prospects are also expected to be good in the near future, with a 7% growth between 2016 and 2026.

Avionics Technician

  • Salary: $60,270
  • Job Outlook: 5%
  • Number of Jobs: 149,500

These are the repair and maintenance technicians of the air-travel industry. They work in hangars, repair stations, and airfields, helping to ensure that the airplanes are properly maintained and ready for takeoff and (even more important!) a safe landing. Although the pay is excellent, there is only an expected job growth of 5%, which is slightly under the national average.

Respiratory Therapist

  • Salary: $58,670
  • Job Outlook: 23%
  • Number of Jobs: 130,200

When you “respiratory therapist,” they often think “helping people breathe.” This, quite literally, is the the job description, as people in this field help anyone with a lung problem, including disease or injury, get the oxygen they need. With good pay and an expected job growth of 23%, this is a fantastic career opportunity.

Telecom Installer

  • Salary: $53,640
  • Job Outlook: -8%
  • Number of Jobs: 237,600

The responsibilities of this job require you to maintain and repair any equipment that carries communication. This can include internet connections, telephone lines, and communication devices. Some will work with homeowners while others may serve the commercial sector. The demand for this career has dropped, however, because many people are going wireless, which often requires less service, maintenance, and repair. 

Funeral Service Worker

  • Salary: $54,830
  • Job Outlook: 5%
  • Number of Jobs: 54,400

This career combines training in ethics, science, law, and many other areas, but it is possible to enter the position of a funeral service worker with as little as an associate degree. This position requires a flexible schedule, as many people in this career will work evenings and weekends, often well beyond an eight-hour work day.


  • Salary: $53,480
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 207,700

Using software to create technical drawings, drafters are essential for the design and engineering of items as small as microchips and as large as skyscrapers. The position requires highly-specific training, which can usually be acquired through a two-year degree. While most of the work is done in an office, drafters will visit job sites and collaborate with other team members on a regular basis.

Computer Network Specialist

  • Salary: $52,160
  • Job Outlook: 10%
  • Number of Jobs: 835,300

Nearly every organization and business uses a network of computers, and they call on computer support specialists to keep the system running properly. While some of the positions may require a bachelor’s degree, specific training in an associate degree program is often enough to launch this career.


  • Salary: $49,500
  • Job Outlook: 15%
  • Number of Jobs: 285,600

Not only is the career of a paralegal very profitable, it generally requires only an associate degree to enter the field. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the legal profession, which will be beneficial if you hope to pursue a career in the legal system. The job entails many responsibilities, such as organizing files, conducting research, and drafting documents.

HVAC Installer

  • Salary: $45,910
  • Job Outlook: 15%
  • Number of Jobs: 332,900

These professionals work on many different heating and cooling systems, involving home and appliances. Depending on the specific training, they may work on a home’s duct and furnace system, or they may be able to repair refrigeration units. Many of the employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an apprenticeship as well as a postsecondary education.

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