highest paying associate degrees

An associate degree is a two-year degree, a lesser qualification than a bachelor’s degree, that prepares students for a range of careers. Many of these are high-paying associate degrees that offer jobs pay well and offers growth in various career field. This associate degree is also a prerequisite to transfer into a bachelor’s program, often completing the four-year degree with just two additional years of study.

Associate degree graduates can pursue careers in healthcare, technology, and engineering. Additionally, they can earn very high salaries higher than the national minimum wage. One of the best-paying associate degrees is the air traffic controller job. Professionals in this field earn an average salary of up to $125,000 yearly.

10 Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs

Here are some of the highest-paying associate degrees where you earn an income higher than the household income.

1. Traffic Air Controller

Annual Average Salary: $93,486 to $120,830

Air traffic controllers use radar to track planes in their allotted area and communicate with pilots through radio. They also prevent crashes, enforce traffic separation laws, and guarantee that each aircraft has a minimum amount of vacant space around it at all times. Additionally, Controllers usually manage multiple aircraft at the same time.

Becoming an air controller may take up to 4 to 7 years. Firstly you would have to attend an aviation school to obtain an associate degree. Three to four years, completing an associate degree. Then, if you land a job right away, you need to spend 2-4 months in FAA training and then another 1.5-3 years in on-the-job training to obtain the FAA certification.

2. Web Developers

Annual Average Salary: $74,535 – $89,965

Web developers are professionals who design and build websites. They work directly with customers to map out their needs and design their websites. They are also responsible for a website’s aesthetics, performance, and upkeep.

While some hiring managers will need a minimum bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar courses for web developers, many hiring managers are likely to accept an associate degree as a minimum qualification.

Earning an associate degree in web development provides you with a technical foundation in languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The associate degree curriculum also teaches database and network capabilities.

You can obtain an associate degree in information technology or computer science through an apprenticeship program or through higher institutions.

See: 20 Best Software Developer Apprenticeship Program

3. Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Annual Average Salary: $50,630 – $59,268

Geological and hydrologic technicians collaborate with scientists and engineers to explore, extract, and monitor natural resources in the field, offices, and labs. They also contribute to the identification of ideal areas for oil and gas wells.

An associate degree or two years of postsecondary study in applied science or science-related technology is required for entry into the field, though a bachelor’s degree may be required for specific industrial employment. Throughout their careers, geological and hydrologic technicians undergo on-the-job training. 

4. Radiation Therapists

Annual Average Salary: $85,560 – $91,620

Radiation therapists are employed as members of an oncology team. The primary responsibility of a radiation therapist is to provide radiation treatment to cancer patients. In addition, they may be responsible for explaining treatment plans to patients, guaranteeing radiation protection, running specialist apparatus, and evaluating patients’ reactions to treatments.

A radiation therapist must have at least an associate degree in radiation therapy. Most radiation therapists will need to complete a certification exam in addition to an associate degree. They must also undergo a clinical experience in person.

5. Aviation Maintenance Officer

Annual Average Salary: $65,550 – $72,745 

Aircraft Maintenance Officers ensure that everything in aviation, including aircraft, is in working order. They oversee aircraft maintenance and repair operations as well as quality assurance. They may also create, organise, and administer maintenance and material management policies and processes.

To work in this field, you will need an airframe and/or powerplant certification in addition to your associate degree.

6. Dental Hygienists

Annual Average Salary: $65,440 – $91,620

A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who works as the right-hand man of the dentist. Unlike the dental assistant, a registered dental hygenist can work independently or with other dental professionals to provide full oral health care. 

Dental hygienists offer a broad range of clinical services to their patients. They examine patients to provide patient-specific preventative and educational treatments to promote and maintain good oral health.

To become a dental hygenist, a person will need either an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited college or university. They also have to register with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice.

Related Article: Dental hygienist salary and Outlook

7. Occupational Assistant

Annual Average Salary: $56,654 – $69,077

Occupational assistants are professionals who assist the occupational therapist in providing practical assistance to patients experiencing difficulties with independence due to sickness, ageing, or accidents. The healthcare speciality typically helps individuals of all ages, through therapeutic measures, return to their regular lives after an accident, disability, or physical or mental changes caused by ageing. 

To become an occupational assistant, a person must acquire an associate graduate degree from an accredited occupational therapy educational program. Alternatively, they may need licensing to practice in some states in the US.

See Also: Occupational Therapist Salary and Outlook

8. Electrical Engineering Technicians

Annual Average Salary: $56,862 – $68,774

Electrical engineering professionals collaborate with electrical engineers on a wide range of electronic development initiatives. They may be required to use computers, medical monitoring equipment, and communication equipment. These individuals check designs for quality control, make diagrams and draught specifications, and assess construction and manufacturing locations.

Many professionals in this field earn an associate degree in electrical engineering to start their careers. Furthermore, the engineering associate degree across-board is one of the highest-paying associate degrees.

9. Computer Network Support Specialists

Annual Average Salary: $53,130 – $62,026

Computer network support professionals often examine and maintain network systems to guarantee they stay operational and solve issues as needed. The occupation has one of the greatest labour demands in the United States. According to BLS predictions, demand for these professions will increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030.

Similarly, just like the web developer, hiring managers will need a minimum bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar courses, although many hiring managers are likely to accept an associate degree as a minimum qualification.

10. Mechanical engineering technologists

Annual Average Salary: $48,653 – $63,548

Mechanical engineers collaborate with mechanical engineering technologists and technicians to design, develop, test, and build equipment and other devices. The sector is expected to rise by 6% by 2030.


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