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Associate Degree

In 2 years, you can train for some of the fastest growing jobs in the economy, increase your earnings, and pave the way for further education.

How? Earn an associate degree. An associate degree is a college degree awarded after the completion of about 20 classes. It either prepares students for a career following graduation or allows them to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program.

Compared with workers whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma, workers with an associate degree averaged an extra $128 a week in 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). People with associate degrees also are more likely to find jobs: the unemployment rate in 2001 was more than 30 percent lower for associate degree holders compared with high school graduates. And, according to several academic studies, advantages in the job market might be even greater for those just starting their careers and for those who work in a career related to their degree.

According to the 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the jobs below are the fastest growing occupations that require an associate degree.

 

Occupation

Number

% Change

Dental hygienists

68,000

43%

Forensic science technicians

4,000

36%

Veterinary technologists

21,000

35%

Veterinary technicians

21,000

35%

Diagnostic medical sonographers

15,000

35%

Occupational therapist assistants

7,000

34%

Cardiovascular technologists

15,000

33%

Cardiovascular technicians

15,000

33%

Paralegals assistants

67,000

30%

Legal assistants

67,000

30%

Physical therapy assistants

26,000

44%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics