Most high school graduates go the practical route by opting for an associate degree instead of the typical bachelor’s degree. Why is that? A bachelor’s degree usually takes four to eight years to complete before you can land a decent job. Not so with an associate degree, which only takes about two years to complete; thus, you can get a job that pays well in as little as two years. Incidentally, people also refer to an associate degree as a two-year degree.
A two-year degree is usually the initial step in preparing students for a bachelor’s degree. Still, many students take advantage of the fact that it can independently stand as a qualification. Hence, they can apply for 2 year degree jobs that pay well and are the perfect fit for those with associate degrees right off the bat.
As a two-year degree student, you only need to complete 60 units from your chosen major’s core subjects. An associate degree’s main objective is to provide you with fundamental academic and technical understanding, skills, and abilities to apply to different roles or occupations.
There are four types of associate degrees:
- Associate of Arts (AA)
- Associate of Science (AS)
- Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
The first two, AA and AS, will prepare you for a higher level of schooling, such as a bachelor’s degree. The last two, AAA and AAS, will prepare you for a specific career focusing on functional vocational skills. If your short-term goals include applying for 2 year degree jobs right off the bat, then you should choose either AAA or AAS.
Community colleges, junior and technical colleges, universities, and affiliate colleges typically offer associate degree programs. The most popular programs are those related to information technology, health/medical, business, communication, culinary arts, engineering, and applied sciences.
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Lucrative Sectors for Associate Degree Holders
Over the years, there has been an upsurge in various career areas where associate degree holders can find excellent opportunities for well-paying jobs. We will tackle at least three of these in this section, and perhaps, you can choose which one of these you would like to try.
Medical Secretary Jobs
Behind every successful medical professional is an efficient medical secretary. Top-performing doctors always keep an A1 medical secretary in their employ. So, it is not surprising why medical secretary jobs are always in demand.
As a medical secretary, you will perform various duties to support a medical professional in conducting day-to-day transactions in the clinic. Your range of work includes both clerical as well as administrative functions. Some of your tasks will be straightforward like setting appointments, procuring supplies, filling out insurance and medical forms, setting up laboratory procedures, overseeing and preparing correspondence, taking down dictation, and answering phone calls.
Some of your central administrative functions include assisting or even managing the day-to-day transactions in the medical clinic. Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is expected, so you must also churn in volumes of written reports as you record medical histories akin to a medical transcriptionist. You will likewise fix schedules and appointments, give new clinic staff training and orientation, and apply, manage, and troubleshoot new office technologies. Should you be privileged enough to work in a big institution, you may also act as a receptionist, personal secretary to department heads, or work in the hospital’s record section.
Succinctly, you will keep the medical clinic or office running smoothly. Hence, you will need to be multi-skilled and organized to maximize your employer’s time spent in the clinic. To do all of these and be well-versed in the medical jargon requires some form of training; thus, you should at least have a medical secretary AS degree.
It would be best to have an above-average level of word processing skills, database management, and spreadsheets. It is mandatory to keep abreast of technologies important in their employers’ practice to fare better with the competition and qualify for a promotion.
The average pay for medical secretaries is between $37,263 and $47,221. The more skills you have, the higher your chances of earning more. It is one of the best two year degrees job you can find. What is more, if you want to become a medical secretary, you can expect good employment opportunities in the next decade as it continues to grow.
Speech Pathology Assistant
Speech pathology assistants are well-trained professionals who work under qualified speech-language pathologists’ supervision. The healthcare industry presents international and domestically trained candidates with opportunities for speech pathology assistant jobs. Competent professionals could secure employment in treatment care centers, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, educational institutions, nursing homes, universities, government organizations, home healthcare agencies, and other facilities.
Apart from the salary, these are some of the benefits you can enjoy as a speech pathology assistant:
- Relocation expenses
- Dental and medical insurance
- Completion bonuses
- Retirement savings plan (401k)
- Travel allowance
- Cafeteria plan – Section 125
- Professional liability insurance
- Paid housing
- Additional state license
- Short-term insurance for disability
- Immigration support for candidates to work overseas
As a speech pathology assistant, you will back up the speech pathologist in managing individuals suffering from voice, communication, speech, language, and swallowing disabilities. Under the professional supervision of the speech pathologists, the responsibilities you will perform are:
- Speech-language programs
- Implementation of therapeutic workouts
- Documentation of student’s progress
- Assisting speech pathologists during the treatment and evaluation stages
Likewise, you will have to carry out clerical functions like preparing, maintaining the equipment and materials, and scheduling meetings needed for treatment.
To become a speech pathology assistant, you must apply for a standard associate in arts degree program focusing on communication disorders and sciences. You must take the program from an institution recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Additionally, you should have the skills, patience, and attitude to assist patients efficiently.
The speech pathology assistant is one of the highest paying jobs with a 2 year degree. You can earn around anywhere between $52,000 and $114,000 annually in this job.
Suppose you are fascinated with law or a lawyer’s work but would not want to go through so much rigors and academic preparation. In that case, you should pursue a paralegal studies AS degree, which is a 2-year college-level degree generally offered by National Education Association (NEA) approved colleges and universities. In contrast, specific legal certificate programs range from 6-18 months, leading to a Paralegal Certificate.
There are differences between the paralegal associate degree curricula between schools, but core courses manifest similarities in content and course descriptions. The legal system in the United States, its laws, and the court systems remain the core and foundation of the curriculum. Ethics and moral conduct are defined in the core subjects to prepare graduates to respond to situations involving legal ethics, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and other related issues. The paralegal studies AS degree also ensures that you will learn the fundamental tasks and the legal jargon that will prepare you for the actual work of a paralegal or a lawyer’s assistant.
Upon graduation, landing a job will be easier if the school you graduated from has ABA (American Bar Association) approval and the curriculum requirements are satisfactory. The biggest obstacle may yet be the lack of experience. You may enrich those experiences by volunteering with any local pro-bono legal aid offices or advocacy groups. You may also consider accepting any office work in a legal organization and work your career path from scratch.
As a paralegal, you will help an attorney do research and prepare legal documents. The extent of work to assist lawyers in public and private practices involves investigating cases, developing legal strategies for trials, and preparing for meetings with clients. Drafting legal documents like contracts, wills, testaments, and legal documents is also part of your work.
A paralegal’s work is as interesting as that of a lawyer. The opportunity to be one starts with a simple decision and commitment: enrolling and completing a paralegal studies AS degree. As a paralegal, you could earn anywhere between $33,000 and $72,000, making it one of the best two year degrees job you could apply for.
Why Opt for an Associate Degree?
After getting a closer look into those 2 year degree jobs, you probably have a better understanding of why you would do well choosing an associate degree program. It is the best option if you want to land a job that pays handsomely immediately after receiving your degree.
Another great thing is that you do not have to go to a school these days to complete a two-year degree. Now, some providers offer the best two year degrees that do not require you to spend hours in a classroom, whether actual or virtual. You can click over here for more information on those providers. This is an excellent option if you badly want to have a degree but do not have the time or financial means to enroll in an actual school.
What is more, actual, reputable universities worldwide accredit these providers, which means the associate degree you will be getting from them is legitimate, authentic, and verifiable. You can confidently submit the degree to potential employers once you start applying for jobs, and they will be none the wiser regarding the source of your degree.