Do you long for a new or accelerated career, but don't want to commit to a four year degree program? Surprise, you don't need a bachelor's degree! Today's associate degree programs take only two years and you can acquire one through an online education college. Amazingly, there are 3.2 million higher education students in the United States who are taking courses online and you could be one. (Sloan Survey of Online Learning, Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States).
There are many exciting and well-paid careers that require only an associate degree. Consider graphic design, radiologic technology, licensed practical nursing, paralegal, and dental hygiene. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects these jobs to be among the fastest growing in 2006. Here are some facts about well-paid careers that require only an associate degree.
Many people are unfamiliar with graphic design. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that graphic designers have the most job opportunities in the field of design. There is a 9 to 17% projected increase in employment opportunities between 2007 and 2014.
"Success in this industry is based purely on creativity and skill so if you have natural artistic ability, there's a lot of potential," says Jason Rich, career expert and author of 202 High-Paying Jobs You Can Land Without a College Degree (Entrepreneur Press 2006).
A two year, associate program will help develop your artistic skills and either start a business or find a position in a corporation. A graphic designer earns $29,400 to $50,800 per year. If you love art, this is a great career for you.
A radiologic technologist (RT) is part of a health care team, able to assist in the diagnosis of internal problems and illnesses. An radiologic technologist involves interactions with patients and, in some ways, is similar to being a nurse. The RT tales x-rays and injects non-radioactive materials into patients' bloodstreams to help diagnose illnesses. This area of study can also lead to further study in CT scanning, MRI technology, and radiation therapy. The earnings of an RT are $36,200 to $52,400 yearly.
Physical Therapist's Assistant
The need for physical therapists' assistants is expected to increase by 27% or more over the next eight years. This career can prepare you for moving into massage therapy or sports medicine also. The average yearly pay is $31,000 to $44,000. As the baby boomer population ages, there will be a huge need for physical therapists' assistants. If fitness and sports are your loves, consider this career as a gateway into those arenas.
A medical transcriptionist listens to and transcribes dictated recordings made by doctors and other health care workers. The information is turned into medical reports, letters, and other documents. The BLS expects this job to grow 18 to 26% in the next eight years. Hourly wages run from $11.50 to $16.30. The greatest fact about this career is that it can be done at home! If you have children to care for, this may be the career for you.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensed practical nurses work in hospitals, home health care, nursing homes, doctor's offices, and outpatient care centers. They do many of the jobs registered nurses do. This job is expected to grow at an average rate for LPNs working in hospitals, but for those working in other venues, the job growth rate will be around 27%. The salary rate is $34,000 to $40,600 per year and is expected to rise.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Jobs for paralegals and legal assistants are also expected to increase by 27% or more in the next eight years. They earn from $39,000 to $50,000 per year, which is extremely well-paid for someone with an associate degree. Top paying jobs will be found in the federal government and large law firms, but are available in most cities.
When considering an online education, consider the opportunities the online associate degree can provide. Your career possibilities can include business, education, information technology, health, law, and many more. According to the National Science Foundation, more than a fifth of individuals employed in science and engineering fields hold less than a bachelor's degree, with 17% holding an associate degree. If you're not sure how much education you want to commit to, an online associate degree is a good, first step. Students often choose an online, associate degree in order to specialize in a field, or to acquire a well-paid career while considering further online education college degrees.
(Statistics Source: The Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-2007, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics)