8 High Paying Jobs that Require 2-Year Degrees

If you're looking to return to school, but the idea of a four-year degree just doesn't fit with your time or budgetary constraints, many high-paying jobs only require a two-year degree. These two-year programs are often referred to as associates degrees. If making the big bucks is what you want to do, consider investing your time into one of these high-paying career options that only require a two-year degree.

Registered Nurses

Though nursing programs can vary in their time requirements, many of the two-year nursing programs can lead to high-paying jobs. One of the best aspects of nursing is it offers lots of opportunities for growth. This profession is also quite stable through a recession. As of 2020, individuals in this career can expect to earn an average salary of about $75,330 per year.

Engineering Technicians

Those with good math and science skills may choose to be an engineering technician. There is a wide range of engineering specialties from which to choose. Industrial engineering technicians can earn in the range of $57,320 annually, while environmental engineering technicians can earn about $51,630 per year. Electrical engineering technicians can expect to earn an annual salary of about $67,550 per year, while aerospace engineering technicians can expect to earn even more, approximately $68,570 per year.

Dental Hygienists

Though it only requires two-year degree, this career also generally requires workers to obtain a license or certification on top of the educational requirement. Despite the added hurdle, a career as a dental hygienist pays well. The average yearly income for a dental hygienist comes in at over $77,090 per year, with some hygienists earning over $104,000 annually. Demand for hygienists is expected to increase in the future.

Computer Support Specialists

In today's high-tech world, expertise in computers and related technology can earn a good wage. Two-year computer support specialist programs can support a career in everything from IT or network security to computer support and help desk-type positions. These jobs tend to offer yearly incomes averaging $55,510. They generally come with the added perks of flexible schedules or the ability to work remotely.

Paralegal

Good lawyers depend on good paralegals to provide administrative support. Though paralegals won't earn as much during their careers as a lawyer will, they still earn a great wage considering this career only requires a fraction of the education. Individuals working in this field can expect to rake in an average annual salary of about $52,920.

Diagnostic Medical Imaging and X-Ray Technicians

Job prospects are expected to increase in the coming years, which is great news for those who want to have a career in the medical field without spending a long time in school. Diagnostic medical imaging staff and x-ray technicians may work in either clinics, hospitals, or labs that use imaging technology to assist in diagnosing medical issues. Salaries are in the range of $63,710 per year.

Web Designer

If you've got a creative mind mixed with strong technical skill, graphic or web design could be a great career option. Companies always require talented designers to modify or create websites, and this career option also offers great potential for workers to start their own businesses. Website designers can expect to earn an average salary in the range of $77,200 annually, though the sky is the limit if you go into business for yourself or work freelance.

Physical Therapy Assistant

The medical field is always a fairly stable career option, and physical therapy is no different. Jobs in this field are definitely on the rise, especially as the population continues to age and has an increased need for physical therapy. Individuals in this field can expect to earn over $59,770 per year, on average.

The Bottom Line

It's definitely true that no education is ever wasted, so whether you opt for the four-year degree or if you decide that two years is all you're willing to invest, those who go to college often have greater earnings potential than those who don't. Sometimes, a two-year degree is all you need to get a high paying job...perhaps even higher paying than some four-year programs. Some employers in particularly high-demand industries may even offer incentives to those that complete educational programs that enable them to work in the field. These incentives can come in the form of tuition rebates or tax breaks.

Do your homework before you head back to school and know what the prospects are in the industries you're considering.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Registered Nurses." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  4. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  5. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  6. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Dental Hygienists." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  7. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Computer Support Specialists." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Paralegals and Legal Assistants." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  9. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Radiologic and MRI Specialists." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  10. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Web Developers and Digital Designers." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

  11. U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook-Physical Therapists Assistants and Aides." Accessed Aug. 13, 2021.

Take the Next Step to Invest
×
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
Service
Name
Description