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Great Jobs with Only an Associate's Necessary

Updated on November 21, 2012

What are the options?

Though it might be hidden to some in society, it is possible to get a decent paying job with an associate's degree. However, it depends greatly on the associate's degree achieved. There are many options and possibilities. But you need to find the degree right for you. To find the degree right for you, first it is necessary to find the job you desire so you can go to school with the degree needed in mind. Here is a list of jobs requiring an associate's degree:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Computer Support Specialists
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants
  • Medical Records
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Radiologic Technicians
  • City Planning Aids
  • Social Science Research Assistants
  • Radiation Therapists
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists
  • Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
  • Physical Therpist Aids
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • Electrial Engineering Technicians
  • Electronics Engineering Technicians
  • Medical Transcriptionists
  • Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians
  • Biological Technicians

Registered Nurses

They typically earn $51,000 on average per year and growth is significant. Some of the skills necessary consist of being aware of other's reactions and understanding why they react in some ways. They need to be able to instruct, actively help people, and have good time management since they will almost always have something to do. Critical thinking is vital to know how to notice the strengths and weaknesses of certain situations. They have to coordinate, know learning strategies, and constantly learn in their environment. A nurse should have a social personality and enjoy being around people.

Dental Hygienists

Earnings with an average of $56,000 per year, they have even better growth than nurses probably due to the sugar content in food. They have a dirty job of cleaning deposits and stains off teeth, take x-rays, and educate patients on keeping their smile healthy. Some of their skills involve time management as they must be quick and careful. They are always learning and must be aware of their clients. They should instruct and persuade their clients to want and know how to take care of their teeth, this is sometimes difficult. They should be very social and always look to help others.

Computer Support Specialists

They earn on average $39,900 a year and have a necessary job in this mainly electronic world. Skills needed involve understanding operating errors and what causes them. They have to know the machine inside and out to be able to fix the problem quickly. Persuasion and installation are important regarding to deal with upset individuals on the phone. They have to be able to communicate effectively and look for ways to help people. They should have an investigative personality to work iwth ideas and mentally figure out problems.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Their annual earnings estimate $38,440 with a little above average growth. There are about 29,000 job opennings for this position in each year. They help lawyers by doing research, preparing legal documents, and can even formulate a defense. Some of the skills that are needed consist of time management, instructing, writing, great listening, speaking, and monitoring performance. They need to notice the reactions of people and make improvements or corrective action. Their personalities should be related to enterprising and they should be fantastic at starting and carrying out projects on their own. They should have knowledge of clinical practices, law and government, computers and electronics, the English language, customer and personal service, and human resources.

Medical Records

Medical records and health information technician usually average close to $24,920 per year. The job openings are close to 24,000 and the growth seems higher than average. They collect files, maintain organized records of patients. They should be able to teach, solve problems, learn different methods, seek to help people, understand work-related documents, constantly learn, notice other individuals actions and understanding why they do so. Their personality should consist as conventional, following set procedures and routines normally behind a desk. They should have a knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures, customer and personal service, medicine and dentistry, administration and management, as well as computers and electronics.

Respiratory Therapists

A respiratory therapist is said to earn $42,050 per year. The growth for these positions is a little above average with 10,000 job openings per year. They analyze and treat patients with breathing disorders. They need to set up an operate therapeutic procedures, keep up with medical records, and operate equipment. They should have skills such as instructing others, scientific rules and methods, learning on a daily basis, looking for ways of helping people, good time management, reading comprehension, mathmatics to understand dosage, recognizing problems and knowing how to fix them. Their personality should be investigative, working with ideas that require a good amount of thinking. They should also have a knowledge of customer service and education methods. They should understand psychology, biology, and chemistry as well.

Radiologic Technicians

Radiologic technicians use equipment and supplies to demonstrate X-rays for diagnostic purposes. Their average annual earnings are $41,850 with an average job growth with about 21,000 job openings per year. The skills necessary for this position include looking for ways to help people, using scientific rules and methods, instructing others, negotiation, being aware of others actions and reactions, active listening to patients, knowing how to use equipment, good speaking, learning strategies so to teach clients how to use equpiment for home use, and coordination. Radiologic technicians should have a realistic personality type. They often deal with plants, animals, wood, tools, and machinery with very little paperwork involved. They should have knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems. They should also know basic psychology, medicine, dentistry, and physics. It would definately help their chances if they are good at customer service and speaking English.

City Planning Aids

Only needing an associate's degree, city planning aids earn around $48,660 per year. Their growth is a little below average. However, about 18,000 positions will open each year. They must understand maps, schedule appointments, and compile data. Some of the skills necessary include writing, mathmatics, speaking, active listening, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. Someone with this job position should have a conventional personality. For example, they should be happy with following procedures, work with data, and have a clear line of authority to follow. They should have a good knowledge of geography, mathematics, sociology, anthropology, law, and government. Other courses they should take are communications, clerical practices, and media.

Social Science Research Assistants

The annual job earnings average around $48,660 with a little under average growth. The job openings are about 18,000 per year. They help social scientists in laboratory. They perform descriptive and statistical analyses. There are very few skills necessary, no personality type, and little specified courses necessary.

Radiation Therapists

These therapists earn an average of $55,550 with an above average growth. There are typically 1,000 job openings per year. They provide radiation therapy to patients. Some of their job requirements are diagnosis, acting liaison, preparing equipment, etc. There are certain skills necessary for this position. For example, they must be able to monitoring operations, technology design, service orintation, management, and social perceptiveness. Their personality must be social so they can deal with upset and worried patients who might not be getting good news. They should have knowledge about medicine, dentistry, and customer service. Classes they should take include psychology, biology, physics, and mathematics.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists

These individuals prepare and administer radioactive isotopes in studies. They stock radioactive materials and calculate doses. They typically make $53,680 annually with an average growth of 2,000 job openings per year. Skills they should posess include being very good at science and social perceptiveness. They are required to monitor and control equipment such as watching gauges, dials, etc. They should be good at instructing, learning on a daily basis, and coordinating. Their personality should be investigative, to search for facts and figuring out problems. They should also have knowledge of customer service, computers, and electronics. Courses they should take include physics, biology, medicine, and dentistry.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

They perform medical tests for treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals, which means they will work in a laboratory. These technicians must sterilize instruments and materials so no infections may spread. This position typically has an over than average growth with 11,000 openings per year. They normally make $24,190 per year as well. Skills necessary include instructing and active day to day learning. They should also have good time management to finish as many projects as possible to help more animals and reading comprehension to read what veterinans have written down. They should also keep equipment maintenance, service orientation, and operation monitoring. The best personality type for this position is unknown. They should have a knowledge of customer service, sales, and marketing. Courses they will probably be required to take consist of biology, medicine, dentistry, chemistry, and mathematics.

Physical Therapist Assistants

Their annual earnings consist of $37,280 with an over average growth and 10,000 job openings per years. They help physical therapists in giving physical therapy treatments. They follow the state laws in helping developments of treatment plans, routine functions, documenting progress, and require formal training. Some of the skills necessary for this position is to be socially perceptive and easily instructive to others. They should look for ways to help others and be good with time management. They have a certain amount of time per day or per week to help these individuals for this treatment. They should be good with critical thinking and know learning strategies. Writing and speaking should also be good. Their personality should be social. This way they can focus on handling the patient, to calm them or distract them with conversation. They should have a knowledge of customer and personal service. Courses they should take includes psychology, therapy or counseling, medicine, dentistry, education, sociology or anthropology.

Occupational Therapist Assistants

Their annual earnings are close to $38,120 with a little above average growth with annual job openings about 3,000. They help occupational therapists in giving treatments and procedures. They also assist in routine functions, activity programs, documents, and developing plans. Some of the skills necessary are social perceptiveness, instructing, persuasion, time management, learning strategies, active listening, writing, and critical thinking. Their personality should be social so the can easily communicate with and teach people how to use certain therapy measures. They should take courses in psychology, therapy or counseling, sociology or anthropology, philosophy, medicine, and dentistry. They should also have knowledge of customer and personal service.

Electrical Engineering Technicians

They typically earn $45,390 a year. The job opennings per year are 24,000 with only a ten percent growth. They apply knowledge to test and modify electrical machinery and electrical control equipment. Usually, they work in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Their skills should include repairing machines or systems, troubleshooting, operations analysis, and equpiment maintenance. They should also be good at mathematics and science. The personality type best suited for this position consists as realistic. They work with hands-on problems and solutions with materials like wood, tools, and machinery. They should take courses in engineering, technology, design, computers, electronics, physics, telecommunications, and mechanical devices.

Electronics Engineering Technicians

The average for this position consists as $45,390. The job growth is about ten percent and the annual job opennings per year are 24,000. These technicians lay out, build, test, troubleshoot, repair, and modify electronic comonents, parts, equipment, and systems. Their skills should include repairing, troubleshooting, equpiment maintenance, instalation and technology design. They should also be good at operation monitoring, looking for ways to help people, and systems evaluation. The personality best suited for this position consists as realistic. Some courses they should take include engineering, technology, mathematics, computers, and design. They should also have a good knowledge of telecommunications and mechanical devices.

Medical Transcriptionists

Their annual earnings consist as $27,790 with a job growth close to 22% with 18,000 job opennings per year. They listen to doctors and write down information about patients and surgeries. They must know the proper formats necessary and dictate letters as well. They edit as necessary and return reports for review and signature. The skills, personality type, and education for this job are unknown. Some individuals with an associates can achieve a position as a medical transcriptionist. However, internships are quite helpful.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

Their typical annual earnings are $30,140. Annual job opennings are usually 21,000 and growth for this position is almost 20%. They perform routine laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention. They should be good at equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, time management, and monitoring. They learn daily and instruct others how to use equipment or explan data. Their personality type should be realistic, as they work hands-on problems and solutions. They should take courses on medicine, therapy, counseling, biology, and chemistry. They should know about clerical administration and customer service.

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Their typical annual earnigs are close to $38,180. Their job growth is above average and the annual job opennings are 3,000. They use theory and principles to modify, test, and operate equipment and devices. These are meant for prevention, control, and remdiation of environmental pollution. Some of the skills necessary for this position are troubleshooting, coordination, equipment maintenance, repairing, time management, and management of financial resources. There is no main personality type for this position, unfortunately. Courses someone in this position should take include engineering, technology, design, building, construction, physics, law, and government. They should also know about customer service.

Biological Technicians

They typically earn $33,360 with almost 20% job growth with 7,000 openings per year. They help biological and medical scientists in laboratories. They set up, operate, and maintain the laboratory instruments and equipment. Often they analyze blood, food, and drugs. Skills closely tied to this position include active learning, instructing, equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, and technology design. They should also be good at service orientation and using learning strategies. They should have a realistic personality because of their practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They should take courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and geography. They should also be knowledgeable about the English language, production, and processing.


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    • carozy profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      As someone considering going back to school, I found this article very helpful and full of good ideas. Great research. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Jane Holmes 

      8 years ago

      This is a great hub! So many jobs required a Bachelors degree today, its nice to know that there are still those who can find something with an associates. I've seen so many of our young people opting for careers that require only an 18 month or two year education because the cost is now so astronomical! Great article.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice advice! At the very end you have to work in order to earn and gain.

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 

      8 years ago

      Great list! It is difficult to find a decent job without some sort of college education these days, so this is helpful for those who would prefer a shorter training period tailored to a specific job.

    • lburmaster profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lenau 

      8 years ago from Houston, TX

      Human Resources Management to begin with. Evenutally, Industrial and Organizational Psychologist. I hope you achieve your goal and that you enjoy your job. Thank you!

    • Rfordin profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      Well manamgement will always get you somewhere..... Psychology ehh not so much. Depending on what you are looking to do within the field will depend on how your psychology courses will come into play.

      Personally I would like to be a marriage/family therapy counselor. I have 2 more years (in the state of Florida) of schooling for that and at the present moment I lack the time to achieve those goals.

      Basically I learned this: A degree in psychology will NOT hurt you, and gives you great understanding in any profession where dealing with people are concerend. A human resources degree to back you will also give you the ability to work with people closely. I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and guess that your looking to do something in the human reources manamgemet department? Your safe.....

      Keep in mind different states (not sure where your from) have different qulifying rules for each career path you choose. It would not hurt to start resaerching what your state requires for you to have/do to achieve your goals....the sooner the better. Good luck!!!


    • lburmaster profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lenau 

      8 years ago from Houston, TX

      Oh, don't tell me that. Psychology is my major with a minor in management. Because I know that the degree is limiting, I have picked an associate of arts and a human resource certificate. Thin this will help?

    • Rfordin profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      I have a bachelors in psychology and must admit I find myself very limited. In order to stay in this field it's almost 100% necessary to continue on for a masters and then later a doctrate. You share some promising job perspectives tho....


    • profile image

      Deb Welch 

      8 years ago

      Excellent. I have an Associate's and a half in General Business and have earned under $25,000 as a professional secretary. I always wanted to help with Vet's though. Great info.

    • lilalollie profile image


      9 years ago from The Netherlands

      Great information!

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      9 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Interesting and Useful Information!!!


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