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When you’re trying to decide between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree, one of the factors to consider is the types of jobs you are interested in pursuing. While an associate degree means going to school for less time overall, it doesn’t have to limit your career options. In fact, there are several jobs you can look into pursuing they may accept applicants with a minimum of an associate degree.

Growth of the Associate Degree

Getting a bachelor’s degree has been a common goal for college students for years, but that trend is changing. In 2016, for example, college students earned associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees in roughly equal numbers. According to a recent report, around 1.95 million students earned an associate degree that year, while 1.92 million earned bachelor’s degrees.

Part of the growth of associate degree programs comes from a rise in jobs that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but do require a high school diploma and, perhaps, some higher education. Many colleges began offering more and more two-year degree programs in response to these job market changes. These programs are known for focusing on helping students find a job in their field while also providing a high-quality education.

Careers You Can Get with an Associate Degree

What can you do with an associate degree? With a wide range of options to consider, you should think about your skills, interests, and other factors that can help you narrow down career paths. The following are some of the jobs you can get with an associate degree. Keep in mind that pay and job availability for these careers vary by location and previous experience. Also, many of these careers require certificates or licensure, so be sure to review your state’s requirements.

Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists play a crucial role in making sure that patients have clean and healthy teeth and gums. They assist dentists during appointments by performing tasks such as taking X-rays, checking for signs of dental problems, removing plaque and tartar buildup, applying fluoride, and providing oral care advice to patients.

How much can you expect to make as a dental hygienist? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median pay for dental hygienists is around $77,810 per year or $37.41 per hour. The job outlook for this career comes in at 9 percent (faster than average).

Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians are responsible for handling different kinds of tasks at veterinary offices. Some of these include assisting veterinarians during exams, preparing pets for surgical procedures, bathing and doing other grooming tasks, administering vaccines and medications, and taking X-rays. While some veterinary technicians work in small animal practices, others work with farm animals or zoo animals.

According to BLS, the median pay for vet techs is around $36,850 per year or $17.72 per hour. The job outlook for this career is expected to be 20 percent through 2031, which is much faster than average.


Paralegals provide attorneys with help in several ways, such as gathering facts for cases, contacting witnesses and clients, drafting documents, and researching laws and regulations. Different types of paralegal careers are available, including litigation paralegals, corporate paralegals, personal injury paralegals, bankruptcy paralegals, family law paralegals, and immigration paralegals.

BLS states that the median salary for paralegals is roughly $56,230 per year or $27.03 per hour. Between 2021 and 2031, the job outlook for paralegals is 14 percent, which is considered faster than average. This job outlook bodes well for those who decide to pursue this career with a paralegal studies associate degree.

HVAC Technician

HVAC technicians carry out tasks related to maintaining, repairing, and installing heating and cooling systems, such as furnaces and central air conditioners. These tasks often include inspecting HVAC equipment, replacing or repairing damaged parts, cleaning HVAC components, and installing brand new systems. Some HVAC technicians mainly handle residential HVAC systems while others specialize in commercial HVAC systems.

When you work as an HVAC technician, the median pay is around $48,630 per year or $23.38 per hour, according to BLS. The job outlook over the next several years for HVAC technicians is 5 percent, which is right around the average job growth.

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians, also referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, produce images that are used to diagnose medical conditions or for other purposes, such as tracking a baby’s growth in the womb. These technicians use ultrasound imaging equipment to create these images. They also perform other tasks, such as reviewing images to search for abnormalities or areas of concern, recording their findings, and answering patients’ questions about these imaging procedures. Several types of ultrasound technician jobs are available in different areas of medicine, such as obstetrics and gynecology, pediatric medicine, and cardiac medicine.

The median pay for ultrasound technicians is roughly $75,380 per year or $36.24 per hour, according to BLS. The job outlook for this type of job is 10 percent, which is faster than average.

Court Reporter

Court reporters handle several tasks and duties in legal settings that involve creating transcriptions of proceedings. Some of these include using special equipment to record dialogue, reviewing notes for accuracy, asking those who are speaking to clarify statements, and providing transcript copies to courts. Some court reporters work as broadcast captioners, which involves transcribing dialogue for TV monitors.

According to BLS, the median pay for court reporters is around $60,380 per year or $29.03 per hour. What kind of job growth can you expect when you work as a court reporter? The job outlook until 2031 stands at 1 percent, which is steady but likely not to change.

Human Resources Assistant

Human resources assistants are responsible for helping HR managers with everyday tasks. These usually include recruiting new employees, maintaining employee records, supporting employees with administrative tasks, and maintaining HR calendars. These assistants might also process payroll or handle payroll errors in some cases. Other tasks might include coordinating training seminars and sessions, doing exit interviews, and interacting with benefit vendors.

The median salary for human resources assistants is roughly $45,930 per year or $22.08 per hour, according to BLS.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform a variety of tasks in medical offices, hospitals, and other types of healthcare facilities. Some of the tasks these assistants handle include keeping records of patients’ medical history, measuring blood pressure and other vital signs, assisting doctors with exams, and administering medications or vaccinations. Medical assistants might also prepare lab samples for testing and schedule appointments for patients.

BLS states that the median pay for medical assistants is around $37,190 per year or $17.88 per hour. At 16 percent over the next several years, this career has a job outlook that’s considered faster than average.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapists with help in caring for patients. Their day might be filled with tasks such as observing patients throughout the therapy session, helping patients perform certain activities or exercises, and using equipment to assist patients. PTAs might also provide patients and their loved ones with information on what they should do following a therapy session.

PTAs have a median salary of roughly $49,180 per year or $23.64 per hour, according to BLS. Those who are interested in this type of career can expect a thriving job outlook. In fact, the job outlook for PTAs is 24 percent, which is higher than normal. 

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers are responsible for educating children who are typically under 5 years old. These teachers help prepare children for kindergarten and teach a variety of skills, including social skills and language skills. Some of the tasks preschool teachers perform include planning curriculum, teaching basic learning skills with numbers, colors, letters, and shapes, and keeping track of the progress each student makes. Preschool teachers usually also identify problems children face while learning so that these can be addressed early.

Preschool teachers make a median salary of $30,210 per year or $14.52 per hour, according to BLS. The job outlook for these teachers is faster than average at 15 percent.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologists

Among the top jobs you can get with an associate degree is that of an MRI technologist. These technologists use MRI scanners to produce images that doctors use for diagnostic purposes. MRI technologists are also responsible for maintaining MRI equipment, assisting doctors in evaluating MRI images, maintaining patient records, preparing patients for MRI scans, and using computerized equipment for taking these images.

How much can you make as an MRI technologist? BLS states that the median pay for this career is around $61,980 per year or $29.80 per hour. The job outlook for MRI technologists is growing as fast as average at a rate of 6 percent.

Web Developer

Web developers spend their workday designing and building websites. They perform several tasks in order to accomplish this, including designing a site’s appearance, checking website speed, and determining how much traffic a site is able to handle. Web developers might also meet with existing and new clients to go over their website needs, create applications for websites, monitor traffic on websites they’ve created, and write code for websites. In some cases, web developers produce content for websites, as well.

According to BLS, the median salary for web developers is $78,300 per year or $37.65 per hour. From 2021 through 2031, the job outlook for web developers is expected to be around 23 percent, which is much faster than average.

Computer-Network-Support Specialists

Computer-network-support specialists are responsible for analyzing and troubleshooting network systems, such as servers, local area networks (LAN), and cloud networks. These specialists also test existing networks and do routine maintenance on them, such as backing up files, to make sure that they continue to work properly. They generally report to network and computer systems administrators.

BLS states that the median pay for computer-network-support specialists is around $68,050 per year or $32.72 per hour. How healthy is the job outlook for these specialists?

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers have an important role in ensuring that aircraft are able to fly and land safely. They handle multiple tasks, such as monitoring aircraft movement both in the air and on runways. They also provide pilots with instructions for taking off and landing, handle transferring control to other controllers for departing flights and accepting control for flights that are arriving. Air traffic controllers also provide pilots with information on local weather conditions, runway problems or closures, and other issues.

Air traffic controllers make around $129,750 per year or $62.38 per hour on average, according to BLS. The job outlook for this type of career in the coming years is less than average at 1 percent.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists provide care for those who have breathing difficulties due to chronic diseases or other medical conditions. In addition to making sure patients are able to breathe properly, these therapists monitor patients’ progress, educate them on using ventilators or other breathing equipment, and run diagnostic tests related to respiratory conditions, such as lung capacity. Depending on where they work, they might care for different age groups, from premature infants to elderly patients.

The median pay for respiratory therapists according to BLS is around $61,830 per year or $29.73 per hour. The job outlook for these therapists is higher than average at 14 percent.

Executive Administrative Assistant

Executive administrative assistants handle multiple administrative tasks, as well as clerical tasks, for a company’s executives. These tasks typically include answering calls, setting up staff or client meetings, scheduling appointments, managing an executive’s calendar, maintaining files or databases, and handling mail. Executive administrative assistants might also be responsible for preparing documents, such as invoices.

The median salary for executive administrative assistants is around $65,980 per year or $31.72 per hour, according to BLS. Keep in mind that the job outlook for this career is declining, although job opportunities are still available.

Food Service Manager

Food service managers oversee day-to-day operations for dining establishments and other places that serve food. Some of the tasks that food service managers perform include hiring and training employees, inspecting equipment and supplies used for food preparation and dining, handling customer complaints, setting customer service standards, managing payroll and budgets, and coming up with employee schedules.

According to BLS, food service managers have a median pay of around $59,440 per year or $28.58 per hour. The job outlook for this career from 2021 to 2031 is faster than average at 10 percent.

Health Information Technician

Health information technicians are responsible for managing healthcare data and keeping it organized. These technicians handle a number of tasks on a regular basis, such as checking patient records for accuracy, organizing data, keeping patient records confidential, and using classification software to analyze data or for insurance purposes. Health information technicians can focus on one area of health information, such as working as a medical coder.

BLS states that the median pay for a health information technician is roughly $46,660 per year or $22.43 per hour. In terms of job outlook, the rate for health information technicians through 2031 is 7 percent, which is about as fast as average.

Radiation Therapists

Radiation therapists provide radiation treatment to patients who have cancer or certain other diseases. These therapists perform tasks such as explaining radiation treatment to patients and addressing any concerns they have, taking steps to protect patients during treatment, and monitoring patients for adverse reactions to radiation treatment. These therapists are also responsible for calibrating and properly using radiation equipment and keeping records of patients’ treatments.

How much does a radiation therapist with an associate degree usually make? This can vary, but the median pay is around $82,790 per year or $39.80 per hour, according to BLS. The job outlook between 2021 and 2031 for radiation therapists is 6 percent, which is about as fast as average.

Avionics Technician

Avionics technicians handle tasks related to avionics equipment, such as navigational components and radar for aircraft. Some of these technicians focus on installing, testing, and repairing space vehicles.

The median pay for avionics technicians is around $65,550 per year or $31.52 per hour, according to BLS. What can those with an associate degree expect as far as the job outlook for avionics technicians? The job outlook for this kind of job is 6 percent, which is about as fast as average.

If you’re ready to explore your associate degree options, please contact Post University. We offer a wide range of these degree programs to put you on the path toward a rewarding career.


Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post University program. To learn more about Post University’s program and their outcomes from Post University programs please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative. 

Related: 6 Benefits of an Associate Degree