Highest Paying Online Associates Degrees

Highest Paying Online Associates Degrees. You don’t need an advanced degree for well-paying jobs. By finishing an affordable associate program, students can gain sought-after education, hands-on experience, and professional certification, leading to a good income.

If you’re thinking about getting into a tech field but aren’t sure about committing to a four-year program, consider going for an associate degree. It’s a budget-friendly option that covers a bunch of general education stuff, setting you up for a four-year degree later on.

Is an Associate’s Degree Worth It?

Yes, getting an associate’s degree is valuable for lots of students. Community college programs offer focused training for specific careers, giving you unique skills. These skills can make you eligible for entry-level jobs in various fields like healthcare, engineering, funeral services, or transportation. Having a degree also enhances job security. High school graduates face a 6.2% unemployment rate, whereas those with associate degrees see a lower rate of 4.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?

These associate degrees provide the necessary technical skills to start a job in your chosen field. The most lucrative degrees often involve science and math and offer hands-on experience in the industry.

  • Air Traffic Management
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Radiologic and MRI Technology
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Industrial Engineering Technology
  • Electro-Mechanical Technology

 

  • Air Traffic Management (Air Traffic Controllers)

A degree in air traffic management readies you for a job as an air traffic controller, ensuring safe takeoffs and landings of planes. You’ll need an associate degree from an Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative school and some years of experience to start in the field.  Additional training at the FAA Academy, certification, and initial years of supervised work may also be required. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual salary as of 2022 is $132,250.

  • Nuclear Technology

People who operate in nuclear power plants oversee machinery and radiation levels generated while producing power. They typically obtain an associate degree in nuclear science or a related field and undergo extra training. Technicians might also undergo a background check and obtain security clearance. The average yearly salary is $100,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022.

  • Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapists run the machines for cancer treatment, guiding patients through the process, giving the therapy, monitoring their response to radiation, and keeping records updated. To become a radiation therapist, you usually need an associate degree and certification through an exam. The average yearly salary is $89,530, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022).

  • Nuclear Medicine Technology

Similar to radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists handle radioactive procedures in healthcare. Instead of giving external radiation treatment, they provide internal radiation treatment using radioactive drugs. They also administer radioactive pharmaceuticals, aiding in the diagnosis of specific medical conditions through imaging and collaboration with a radiologist. Typically, nuclear medicine technologists obtain an associate degree in nuclear medicine technology and attain professional certification. The median annual salary, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), is $85,300.

  • Dental Hygiene

If you’ve been to the dentist for regular cleaning, chances are a dental hygienist cleaned your teeth first before the dentist checked them. These healthcare workers take X-rays, clean teeth and gums, and offer preventive treatments like fluoride.

A dental hygiene associate program usually lasts three years. Dental hygienists must also get a professional license in their state.

Median yearly salary (BLS, 2022): $81,400.

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography

A well-paying healthcare job that just needs an associate degree is diagnostic medical sonography. These professionals use sound waves to create images inside patients’ bodies, known as sonograms or ultrasounds, which doctors use for diagnosing medical problems. To become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you usually need certification alongside your associate degree, involving passing an exam, and it may specify a specialty like pediatric sonography. The median annual salary for this role is $78,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022.

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technology

Aerospace tech experts test planes and spacecraft to make sure they’re safe. They operate testing gear, maintain facilities, and record outcomes. Some may require U.S. citizenship and security clearance. Median annual salary: $74,410 (BLS, 2022).

  • Aviation Maintenance

Getting an associate degree in aviation maintenance is a great step toward becoming an aircraft mechanic or avionics equipment technician. These aviation professionals diagnose aircraft equipment failures, perform repairs, and perform preventative maintenance.

An associate degree is often necessary to enter the profession, along with certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Many of these technicians also train at a technical school, on the job, or through military service.

Median Annual Salary (BLS, 2022): $70,740

  • Respiratory Therapy

Breathing experts help patients with breathing issues caused by asthma or other illnesses. They conduct breathing tests, create treatment plans, give and oversee treatments, and collaborate with other healthcare experts for coordinated care. Respiratory therapists must have a license and an associate degree. Median yearly pay is $70,540 as of 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Radiologic and MRI Technology

Earning an associate degree in radiology or MRI can lead to a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist. Radiologic technologists perform X-rays and other imaging tests, while MRI technologists use MRI machines for diagnostic images. Like other medical technologists, they conduct tests but don’t make diagnoses; instead, they collaborate with healthcare professionals who interpret results and provide diagnoses. Licensure or certification may be required, depending on the state. The median annual salary is $67,180 (BLS, 2022).

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology

You can pursue a well-paying technical career with just an associate degree by becoming an electrical or electronic engineering technologist or technician. This job is great for those into product design, where tasks include checking and fixing electrical equipment in industries like communications, computing, or medical devices. The median yearly salary is $66,390 as of 2022.

  • Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational therapy assistants assist occupational therapists by implementing patient treatment plans. They support individuals with chronic illnesses, aid those with learning or developmental disabilities, and contribute to rehabilitation after injuries. To prepare for their role, students in occupational therapy assistant programs typically undergo several months of hands-on training. The median annual salary for this profession, as of 2022, is $63,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Mechanical Engineering Technology

If you’re into figuring out how stuff works and enjoy engineering, mechanical engineering technology could be the right degree for you. In this field, technologists support mechanical engineers by using blueprints, 3D design software, and working with mechanical equipment. They may be involved in designing, fixing, and testing tools. Typically, you only need an associate degree or certificate from an accredited program to work as a mechanical engineering technologist. The median annual salary is around $61,990, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022.

  • Industrial Engineering Technology

Get a two-year degree in industrial engineering technology to boost your chances of getting hired as a troubleshooter in manufacturing. You’ll aid industrial engineers in creating efficient workflows and facilities. Opt for an ABET-accredited program for better job prospects. The median annual salary is $61,210, according to BLS 2022 data.

  • Electro-Mechanical and Mechatronics Technology

If you love BattleBots and drones, good news! Get a two-year degree in electro-mechanical and mechatronics technology, and you can land a job with robots, earning around $60,000 annually. In this gig, you’ll be testing, fixing, and operating unmanned machinery in production settings, requiring skills in both mechanics and electronics. It’s a challenging career, but the median annual salary is $60,570, according to BLS in 2022.

Why Get an Associate Degree?

You might only require an associate degree for specific, lucrative jobs. It’s a smart choice if you want to cut costs on a bachelor’s degree by beginning at a budget-friendly community college and later transferring. Your associate degree often covers the general education requirements for many bachelor’s programs. If you want a swift career change, consider an associate degree; some online programs take just six months to finish.

Frequently Asked Questions About High-Paying Associate Degrees

What is the highest-paying associate degree in healthcare?

The top-earning healthcare associate degree is in radiation therapy. Those in this field give radiation treatments to cancer patients and make around $90,000 a year, based on 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What are the highest-paying jobs with an associate degree in business?

Completing a two-year admin and management program opens doors to well-paying business jobs like executive assistant or food service manager. Administrative assistants make around $62,660 on average (Payscale, Sep 2023), while food service managers earn a median salary of $61,310 (BLS, May 2022).

What are the highest-paying jobs with an associate degree in science?

Several well-paying associate degrees are in science. Nuclear technologists require an associate degree in nuclear science and make around $100,000 annually as of 2022.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree?

Well, it’s commonly seen as a two-year commitment, but the actual duration can differ. While a good number wrap up in around 2 years, certain programs, especially those with significant internship demands, might stretch a bit longer, perhaps a few extra months.

What Associate Degree Should I Get?

The right degree for you relies on what you like and what you’re good at. Think about how much money different degrees can make. If you’re good at hard math and science, you could go for engineering or computer science, which pays well. If you’re interested in healthcare, you could learn to use machines like MRIs or ultrasounds or consider jobs like medical assisting or dental hygiene.