Six Top Jobs That You Can Get With An Associate Degree (2024)

Having a four-year degree can only a lot of doors for you in a job hunt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a rewarding and in-demand career with a two-year degree. There are many fields where having anassociate degreeis all you need to get started as a professional. If you’re looking for career opportunities that your associate can unlock, take a look at some of these top professions.


Want to get involved in the legal system? You don’t need to go to law school to make a difference! Paralegals play a vital role in legal matters. Paralegals help attorneys by interviewing clients and witnesses, performing critical research, and preparing legal documents. A two-year degree in Rio Salado’sParalegal Studies programcan get you started on this rewarding career path.

On average there are around38,000 openings projected per year for paralegals and legal assistants. The median annual wage for paralegals is around $60,970. Paralegals are an evergreen profession: so long as there are lawyers, there will be paralegals around to help them carry out the task of upholding the law.

Law Enforcement

Another profession that remains perennial is the field oflaw enforcement. There is a steady demand for police officers across the country; BLS reports a projected 3% increase in job opportunitiesfor police officers between now and 2031. While the salary for police officers isn’t necessarily high, they do offer significant health and retirement benefits.

Rio Salado College offers anAdministration of Justice degree program that provides students with a grounding in criminal justice, law enforcement training, public safety, and forensics science. Rio Salado also offers certificate programs for corrections and detention, homeland security, firearms, victimology, and juvenile corrections. A degree isn’t necessary to work in law enforcement but having one can make you eligible for higher-paying positions and opportunities.

Computer Programmer

A solid grounding in computer science and coding can open doors for you on the job market. With automation on the rise, there’s lots of opportunities for people who are interested in learning about how to do prompt engineering and work with LLMs. The demand for computer programmers with specific skill sets is strong, and computer programmers with knowledge of A.I. and LLMS will have an advantage over their more generalized peers.

Interested in getting into computer science? Rio Salado College offers adegree program in Computer Science. Learn about programming languages, computing environments, algorithmic principles, software systems, and computer science theory while building up a professional skill set that could make you career-ready by graduation.


Nursing jobs are highly in demand. The BLS projects a6% increase in job opportunities for nursesover the next decade. Themedian annual wage for nurses is $86,070. Eight of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges offer Nursing programs. While Rio Salado College doesn't offer theMaricopa Nursing program, we do offerNursing Prerequisites. Completing these courses (written and taught by masters-and-doctoral-level healthcare professionals) will prepare you for completing a nursing program elsewhere. You can also get started in the healthcare profession with an associate degree from Rio!

Dietary Technician

Another healthcare-related field with growing job opportunities is in nutrition. Dietary technicians (also known as dietary aides) are highly sought-after, with a 7% projected increase in job opportunities over the rest of the decade. Dietary aides work alongside dieticians to help come up with meal plans, set goals with clients, and provide education and resources to the community about making healthy choices. Rio Salado College offers aNutrition and Dietetics degree program that can give you enough grounding in this growing field to help you take the next step forward toward a fulfilling career.

Dental Hygienists

If you’re looking for an in-demand job that pays well that you can get your foot in the door with a two-year degree, becoming adental hygienist may be right up your alley. Dental hygienists can be found at dentist offices, hospitals, and even nursing homes. Hygienists work to help improve the oral health of their community by performing cleanings, applying fluorides and sealants, and taking dental X-rays. Dental hygienists often do community outreach work, sharing best practices on how to keep mouths healthy and clean.

The Bureau of Labor Statisticsestimates that the field will grow 9% by 2031, meaning that there are many open positions out there that need to be filled. Interested in learning more? Rio Salado College has adental clinicanddental hygiene programthat can get you on the road to professional wellness.

Article by Austin Brietta

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Six Top Jobs That You Can Get With An Associate Degree (2024)


What's the best associate's degree to get? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Aviation Maintenance.
  • Respiratory Therapy.
  • Radiologic and MRI Technology.
  • Electrical Engineering Technology.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistance.
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology.
  • Industrial Engineering Technology.
  • Electro-Mechanical Technology.

Which of the following are jobs that could be pursued with an associate degree? ›

Also, many of these careers require certificates or licensure, so be sure to review your state's requirements.
  • Dental Hygienists. ...
  • Veterinary Technicians. ...
  • Paralegal. ...
  • HVAC Technician. ...
  • Ultrasound Technician. ...
  • Court Reporter. ...
  • Human Resources Assistant. ...
  • Medical Assistant.
Aug 11, 2023

Is an associates degree enough to get a good job? ›

If you're deciding between no higher education degree at all and an associate degree, the answer is, quite simply, “Yes; getting an associate degree is worth it!” If you are hoping to break into a professional field and want to raise your job prospects, getting an associate degree is going to serve you much better than ...

What 6 year degree pays the most? ›

Top 20 College majors with the highest salaries
  • Chemical Engineering. Engineering degrees are a common theme on this list. ...
  • Computer Engineering. ...
  • Aerospace Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Civil Engineering. ...
  • Industrial Engineering.
May 29, 2024

Can you make 6 figures without a degree? ›

It's possible to land a six-figure job without a college degree. Fields like data science and software engineering have many high-paying open roles. Although more companies are ditching traditional college requirements to fill talent gaps, they still require candidates to demonstrate their skills and experience.

What is the easiest degree with the highest pay? ›

Top 15 Quick Degrees That Pay Well
  • Business Administration.
  • Communications.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Finance.
  • Healthcare Administration.
  • History.
  • Human Resources.

What are the 2 most common associate degrees called? ›

What Is an Associate Degree?
FactorAssociate of Arts (AA)Associate of Science (AS)
Sample CoursesEnglish Mathematics Natural Science Social Science Foreign LanguagesHuman Anatomy and Physiology Chemistry Physics Precalculus Calculus Programming Fundamentals
3 more rows
Apr 23, 2024

What is the fastest associates degree to get? ›

The associate of arts, accounting technology, business administration, and criminal justice technology degrees can all be completed in 18 months. The degrees in office administration, and supply chain management take 20 months to complete, still four months faster than a traditional associate's degree.

What are the three forms of associate degrees? ›

Three Types of Associate Degrees
  • Associate in Arts (A.A.)
  • Associate in Science (A.S.)
  • Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to help you transfer to a CSU and certain UC, HBCU, and private universities.

In what fields are most associates degrees awarded? ›

In 2021–22, approximately two-thirds of the 1.0 million associate's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions within the United States were concentrated in three fields of study: liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities (383,300 degrees); health professions and related programs (177,400 degrees ...

What is next to associate degree? ›

Typically an associate's degree is earned at a community college, and a bachelor's degree is earned at a four-year college or university. If you've earned an associate's degree and want to continue your education, a bachelor's degree is generally what comes next.

Which Associate's degree pays the most? ›

Here are the 10 highest-paying jobs that specifically ask for an associate degree:
  • Air traffic controller. ...
  • Nuclear technician. ...
  • Radiation therapist. ...
  • Nuclear medicine technologist. ...
  • Dental hygienist. ...
  • Diagnostic medical sonographer, cardiovascular technologist/technician.
Feb 9, 2024

Can you still be successful with an Associate's degree? ›

The answer to that is yes, and we'll tell you why in this article. Read on to find out all about associate degrees and why they can give you the business skills you need to succeed in your chosen career field, without the time and financial commitment of a four-year bachelor's degree.

Can you be a manager with an Associate's degree? ›

With your associate's degree in business, you can work as an office manager. This rewarding role will have you doing everything from interviewing new employees to organizing team-building activities. Office managers are a vital part of a well-run office. In this role, you may be working with managers on yearly budgets.

Does having an associate degree increase your salary? ›

It's clear that an associate degree can help you increase your salary and improve your career prospects. However, associate degrees can be expensive to earn and not all programs are created equal. You want to be sure you're making a sound investment in your future by choosing the school that's right for you.

What 4 year degree makes 6 figures? ›

Management occupations offer the most six-figure salaries with 12 jobs paying over $100,000. Engineering, Math, Computer, and IT combined offer 12 jobs paying over $100,000. Art, Sales, and Transportation each offer one six-figure job.

Is graduating with an associates a big deal? ›

Just as with any kind of degree, the benefit of earning an associate degree depends on what you choose to study. In many cases, an associate degree can do double duty, demonstrating skills to an employer while also offering a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree.

What is the highest paying 4 year degree? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees?
  • Aerospace Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Finance. ...
  • Economics. ...
  • Civil Engineers. ...
  • Business Analytics. For students interested in business, finance, data, statistics, and mathematics, a business analytics major is a great choice.
Jun 13, 2024

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