As a full time student, it usually takes around 2 years to get an associate degree (otherwise known as an AA or an AS). This degree is ideal in that many colleges allow you to get an associate degree online without having to attend classes traditionally. With an associate degree, you have the opportunity to acquire upper level jobs or high paying entry-level jobs. It all depends on the concentration of your associate degree and what career you plan on getting with the degree.
The greatest job options for people with associate degrees are in the healthcare and technology fields, but there are also areas in law and engineering that higher people with associate degrees. With an associate degree, you can also get a head start on careers that require bachelor’s degrees at the top level – usually near six figures, but rarely below $50,000 per year. Some positions can lead to even higher paying jobs after several years of work experience.
Careers in Law
There are a number of options in the legal field when you have an associate degree. Whether you want to enforce the law or study it, you can explore both through this two-year degree and make a decent income while you’re at it. These careers can be anything from a police officer, or a paralegal that works at a private law firm, or law practice in the government sector.
In some cities, you can be a police officer* or sheriff just by having a high school diploma and performing well in the physical test. But with an associate degree, you can get a federal job in law enforcement. * These jobs generally pay more and offer more in benefits as well. One of the best benefits is that in certain jurisdictions you can retire after 25 years on the force.
Another career in law that is obtainable through an associate degree is a paralegal (also known as a legal assistant). This career allows you to work directly under a lawyer or groups of lawyers and through doing so you are able to do things such as help them with files and paperwork. It is not only good career in itself, but also allows you to get a good start if you are planning on being a lawyer.
Careers in Health
Healthcare fields are one of the largest when it comes to careers for associate degrees. In this field, you can use your degree to work with others in hospitals, and doctor’s or a dentist’s offices. Another possible position is a registered nurse, but because this field has become so competitive in recent years, it is less likely that you’ll become a registered nurse with only an associate degree. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with acquiring an associate degree while ultimately pursuing a bachelor’s degree – if you really want financial security in the coming years.
As a dental hygienist – which often only requires an AA Degree – you work directly with a dentist, typically in their private office. The job pays well and is excellent for anyone who like working with people. The job description involves everything from simple tasks, like instructing patients on correct brushing and flossing, to more sophisticated tasks, like teeth cleaning, x-rays, and even surgical assisting.
Careers in Technology
As one of the fields with the most job demand, with an associate degree in technology and a background in programming, you’ll probably have the greatest number of job options. These positions are secure because they are constantly in demand. With the continued growth in technology, programmers can find positions much more easily than most other professions – but obviously, you need to enjoy working in office environments with computers. In other words, if your desire is working more with people, then a job in programming might not be a good fit.
Nevertheless, as a programmer, you can expect to make as much as $50,000 a year in your first year – and achieve continued salary raises throughout your career. Most people who get an associate degree in computer programming have a base understanding of a specific computer language. If you have any previous experience programming, an AA Degree might come easily to you – and you’ll have an easier time getting a position.
Engineering technicians require an associate degree. These careers show good prospects for the future. Obviously, they require good math skills, but unlike full-fledged engineers, “technicians” do not need four years of math. As an engineering technician, you work directly under engineers and you can make a good income across a wide range of areas … from industrial engineer technicians who generally make the highest amount, to electrical engineer technicians who are a close second in the field.
Associate Degree Career Options
With an associate degree, you have a lot of options in terms of a career. Using the degree, you can have a long lasting career in the same position and maintain a moderate to high income, or you can use the AA Degree as a stepping-stone towards a higher education, and ultimately a better position that earns even more money. Whatever path you take, there are many career options for an associate degree.
*Law enforcement agencies may require additional training.