5 Great-Paying Jobs That Require Only a Two-Year College Degree

High school diplomas seldom open doors to lucrative employment these days, and a bachelor's degree is considered a requirement for many job seekers as they plan their work lives. But there is a middle ground: the two-year associate's degree, which can lead to a surprising number of well-paid jobs with excellent long-term prospects.

Many of these types of jobs fit into the middle-skills category, and while that particular area has suffered since the Great Recession, there remains a variety of these occupations from which to choose -- if you know where to look.

Here are five high-paying occupations that are attainable after completing a two-year-degree program, generally at a community college. Median pay levels are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reflect wage data for the year 2010.

1. Radiation Therapists 
One of the highest-paying positions attainable with an associate's degree, radiation therapist is just one of several jobs available in the expanding health care sector. These employees generally work in hospitals or cancer clinics, operating machinery that uses radiation to treat disease. Median pay is right around $75,000 per year.

2. Nuclear Medicine Technologists 
These health care workers make more than $68,000 per year and usually work in hospitals, preparing patients for screenings and administering scans to detect disease. Some states require nuclear medicine technologists to be licensed as well.

3. Dental Hygienists 
Employees in this field take home more than $68,000 annually and work primarily in dentists' offices. Dental hygienists are often able to work flexible hours, and projected job growth is 38%, with another 68,500 jobs being created within the next few years.

4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
These folks use sonographic imaging equipment to conduct ultrasound procedures and usually specialize in particular areas of the body. The median pay is $64,380 annually, and this position is predicted to enjoy explosive job growth over the next few years -- 44%, according to BLS. That surpasses dental hygienists and is more than double the rate for radiation therapists and nuclear medicine technologists, both of which are expected to grow by a respectable 19% to 20% by 2020.

5. Nuclear Technicians
This job sector is growing at an average pace and, unlike the health care jobs, these positions require some on-the-job training. The annual pay is $68,000, and technicians usually work at nuclear power plants in one of two capacities. Operating technicians, for example, are focused on the performance of the nuclear facility, while radiation protection technicians are expected to monitor levels of radiation in order to protect those working at the plant -- as well as the environment outside of the facility.

Although the health care sector is a leader in the middle-skills-jobs category, there are many other areas that offer comparable positions for graduates with associate's degrees. Many states have published a listing of such jobs, often with pay scales and training requirements. For those willing to do a little digging, a two-year degree could be the beginning of a career in a position that promises excellent pay, interesting work, and the potential for future growth.

Premium stock picks for a secure future
Dividend stocks can make you rich. It's as simple as that. While they don't garner the notoriety of high-flying growth stocks, they're also less likely to crash and burn. And over the long term, the compounding effect of the quarterly payouts, as well as their growth, adds up faster than most investors imagine. With this in mind, our analysts sat down to identify the absolute best of the best when it comes to rock-solid dividend stocks, drawing up a list in this free report of nine that fit the bill. To discover the identities of these companies before the rest of the market catches on, you can download this valuable free report by simply clicking here now.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2731287, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2014 6:59:42 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement