5 Great Jobs That Only Need an Associate's Degree

Associate Degree Jobs

  • Paralegal
  • Radiology Technician
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Web Developer
  • Registered Nurse

Older students, including those with families, are returning to school in droves to earn degrees that will enable them to better provide for themselves and their children. However, even with financial support from their home institutions, adult students can only take so much time out of a full-time job to pursue their studies. This leads many to pursue two-year degrees in a variety of fields rather than bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

A tremendous variety of jobs are available to students who earn associate degrees, and according to Business Insider some of them offer excellent pay and benefits. Here are five great jobs that only need an associate degree.


Paralegals work in law offices, both public and private, assisting lawyers in the daily course of the work. This position often requires an associate degree in paralegal studies, but some positions are available to those with an associate in humanities, liberal arts, or English. Leaning heavily on organizational, customer service, and writing skills, the position of paralegal averages $44,000 a year and often includes benefits for those in full-time positions.

Radiology Technician

Radiology technicians conduct scans of various types such as X-rays, mammograms, and CT scans in hospitals and doctor’s offices, and also assist oncologists in their work with cancer patients administering radiation therapies to treat cancers of various kinds. Those who earn an associate in this field can expect to average $55,000 a year, and these positions often include benefits – especially for radiologic technicians that work in major hospitals.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants work with patients that have illnesses or disorders that limit their activities, such as cerebral palsy or autism. They work to help patients achieve day to day tasks, such as self-care activities, writing, and other essential processes, principally by implementing practice activities and workarounds. Occupational therapy assistants average $53,000 a year and with the field of occupational therapy growing, an associate in this field is one of the most pragmatic, especially for students who enjoy working with people one-on-one.

Web Developer

From user interface design to cybersecurity, web development has experienced a huge surge in the last decade – leading to a work arena in which skills are valued as being equally or more important than a degree in a related field. Professionals who earn associate degrees in computer science, cybersecurity, or another related field, and who work to develop relevant skills alongside their degree studies, will find their knowledge in much demand. In many instances, those with an associate can go to work for a variety of companies that will pay or reimburse them for bachelor’s or master’s studies to permit them to move up in the ranks of the company during their tenure there, leading to greater pay, benefits, and retirement options. Web developers with an associate earn around $63,000 per year, often with benefits.

Registered Nurse

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the need for qualified nurses is larger than ever. An associate in nursing can lead to the position of registered nurse,  a well-paid position that typically comes with excellent benefits. Many hospitals also have tuition reimbursement programs should nurses wish to become licensed practical nurses or nurse practitioners. The position of registered nurse averages $65,000 per year.

No matter where your academic and personal passions lie, each of these positions offers ample opportunity, pay, and benefits for a fairly small investment in an associate. They serve as a springboard to greater opportunity.

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