Throughout our childhood and school years, we’ve been taught that in order to land a good job and settle down in life, we need to aim to go to a high-end college or university, and to earn a high-paying job, attain, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. However, for many, these expectations can be high. College/university is not for everyone. Some students do not thrive in the traditional academic environment. Additionally, even if someone does go down the traditional job-seeking route of attending college and attaining a four-year degree, sometimes life happens and they find themselves at a point where they have to start over. For example, many women end up with large gaps on their resumes due to becoming mothers and choosing to stay home with their children for some time. In such cases, when a person is ready to move ahead professionally, she often wants to “catch up” quickly rather than spend time going to, or returning, to a traditional bachelor’s program.
We now live in a digital age in which the options at our fingertips are increasing steadily. There are many bachelors programs that are being offered fully or partially online to accommodate people with busy lives. However, again, if you are at a point where you just want to “dive in”, you’d much rather shorten your time studying if you can and enter the workforce as soon as possible.
Due to being in the digital age, as well as ups and downs in the economy in recent years that created many skilled jobless individuals and career changers, many fields have become more open to candidates who show experience and results, rather than a traditional college degree. In fact, 90% of employers are willing to consider candidates without formal, four-year degrees. In my own experience, a top factor that can be a deal breaker in a person’s job search is having a portfolio. This does depend on the exact field a candidate may be pursuing, but the bottom line is, in many cases, a degree is not needed to confidently jump into the job seeking currents.
However, attaining an associate degree is a great opportunity to learn more about a particular career and develop some expertise and confidence (and that portfolio!), while not spending too much time and money going to a four-year program.
Thankfully, this job search route is becoming more popular among job seekers and more accepted by employers. In fact, according to a survey by Nexxt, 96% HR professionals said that work experience is more important than education level. Therefore, in no particular order, below are 10 hot jobs today that you can land with just an associate degree:
- Web Developer
- Dental Hygienist
- Therapist Assistant (Physical, Occupational, Respiratory)
- Radiation Therapist
- Medical Assistant
- Engineering Technician (Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical)
- Medical Technologist (MRI, Radiologic, Cardiovascular)
- Mechanical and Electrical Drafters
- Computer Support Specialist
- Computer Systems Analyst
The above is a list to help you get started, but in reality, there is a plethora of options for you to explore. Healthcare and technology (IT and engineering) seem to provide the most opportunities, as determined by the least education required for the most high-paying value (median pay ranges: $40,000 to +$100,000).
In this digital age, gaining knowledge, developing experience, and, ultimately, confidence, to land a stable well-paying job has become easier and quicker. Your local community colleges and vocational schools, as well as simply online searches, are great places to start researching more information and get a head start towards reaching your educational, professional, and financial goals.