Top 3 Jobs for Associate's Degree Holders

By Catherine Groux
Posted December 19, 2012 03:00 PM

There is a high demand for individuals with associate's degrees.
There is a high demand for individuals with associate's degrees.
While many Americans feel pressured to earn a four-year bachelor's degree, an increasing number of jobs require workers to hold an associate's degree. By 2018, it is projected that about 30% of all American jobs will demand an associate's degree or some college, meaning 13.8 million new and replacement positions will be open to these individuals, a report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce shows.

Although associate's degree holders will continue to be in demand, some jobs will need these college graduates more than others. Using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, Nerd Wallet recently compiled a list of the top jobs in need of more employees with two-year degrees, as well as those that will offer these individuals the highest salaries. 

Registered Nurse
Registered nurses, or RNs, work in a variety of healthcare settings to provide patient care, educate their patients on certain health conditions and coordinate care. The BLS reports that the number of jobs for registered nurses will increase by 26% through 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing professions in the nation. Additionally, registered nurses tend to earn high salaries, with the average annual paycheck hovering around $64,690 in 2010.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
These professionals are responsible for using imaging equipment to conduct ultrasounds, sonograms or echocardiograms on patients. In doing so, diagnostic medical sonographers can assess and diagnose select medical conditions. Through 2020, the number of jobs for medical sonographers is expected to grow by 44%, meaning that between 2010 and 2020, about 23,400 new jobs will be created for these professionals. Still, the BLS reports that not only will medical sonographers see great job prospects after earning an associate's degree, but they will also earn high salaries. In 2010, these professionals earned an average of $64,380 per year.

Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists work with dentists to clean teeth, check patients for oral diseases and provide preventative care. Like registered nurses and diagnostic medical sonographers, dental hygienists will see booming job prospects and high salaries in the future. Through 2020, the BLS estimates that the number of jobs for these employees will rise by 38%. At the same time, dental hygienists tend to earn about $68,250 per year. 

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