You’re just two years away from a well-paying career! …
Conventional wisdom holds that you need a four-year degree to maximize your earning potential.
Reality, however, tells a different tale: If you make wise choices, you can enjoy great dividends on a much smaller investment of both time and money.
The truth is that there are many jobs that you can land with only a two-year associate’s degree.
If you’re interested in high-paying jobs that don’t require four years at school, read on…
If the idea of providing health care services to people in need appeals to you, look into nursing. Nurses offer expertise and emotional support to patients.
The Pay Off: Registered nurses (RNs) make a mean annual wage of $62,450.
The Degree: You can join the ranks of these essential heroes with a two-year associate’s degree in nursing. From there, get licensed to work in your state.
2. Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists are trained experts who can troubleshoot and keep computers and computer systems working. As computers have become a larger part of both the home and the workplace, keeping them operational has become a bigger priority.
The Pay Off: Because these unique skill sets are in such demand, the payoff can be very attractive. Computer support specialists can enjoy a mean annual wage of up to $43,450.
The Degree: All you need to qualify for some well-paying IT jobs is a two-year associate’s degree in a computer-related field.
Paralegals assist lawyers in a large variety of ways, preparing depositions, coaching witnesses for trial, drafting contracts, and more. As law firms and businesses continue to shift more legal duties from the hands of high-priced lawyers to paralegals, the need continues to grow.
The Pay Off: The median annual wage for paralegals is $46,120.
The Degree: Unlike lawyers, who must make a hefty education commitment, paralegals can enjoy a great job after earning just a two-year associate’s degree in paralegal studies.
4. Fashion Designers
If you have a passion for clothing, you may want to consider a career as a fashion designer. Fashion designers, who are highly concentrated in Los Angeles and New York City, are responsible for the clothing, accessories, and footwear you see at the mall and in stores around the world.
The Pay Off: In addition to the thrill of seeing their creativity take shape in clothing, fashion designers can be well-compensated. In May 2008, the mean annual wage for salaried fashion designers was $61,160. Remember: starting salaries in fashion can be low, so you’ll need to be committed to this career!
The Degree: Fashion designers are hired on the strength of an innovative, creative portfolio and the education that comes with an associate’s degree in fashion design. So if you have a strong fashion sense, that two year investment might really pay off handsomely for you.
5. Food Service Managers
If you want a fast-paced career, consider becoming a restaurant manager. Restaurant managers work with kitchen staff, wait staff…they even interact with customers to ensure that the service and food is up to par. Food ordering, employee recruiting, and preparing payroll are some other common duties.
The Pay Off: Food service managers earned an average of $46,320 yearly in last month. Top earners averaged at more than $76,940 per year.
The Degree: Experience in the food services industry is a common entry path into food service management, however, a two-year associate’s degree in hospitality or food service management can also give you the real-world experience needed for the job.
All salary data from the U.S. Department of Labor
By Jason Latshaw