Best Associate Degrees to Find Work Right Away
You have your high school diploma or GED, but you know that an additional credential could radically improve your earning potential and your quality of life. You might not have the time or financial resources to pursue a bachelor’s degree — yet — but in many cases, an associate degree is enough to get you on a lucrative career path and achieve success.
If you want to make the most of your time in an associate degree program, you need to be careful about the type of degree you pursue. With the following degrees in hand, you can find work right away and begin a rewarding career that could last a lifetime.
Mortuary science is the study of deceased bodies for the purpose of preparing them for funerals and other postmortem rituals. Often, mortuary science students gain a profound understanding of what happens to the human body after death, so they may assist families in restoring or preserving their loved ones for respectful ceremonies. Because the mortuary industry is not particularly popular, there is a perpetual demand for experienced mortuary professionals.
Medical Billing and Coding
Medical coders have the arduous task of translating healthcare services into a standardized set of codes, which are used to facilitate insurance and patient billing. Medical billing and coding online programs provide you with the knowledge and skill to quickly translate all manner of unique patient experiences into one of thousands of distinct codes to ensure that insurance providers and patients are receiving accurate statements. Billers and coders can work in any healthcare setting, from private practices and clinics to hospitals and insurance offices, and the demand for them is high.
In the past, professionals like engineers and architects needed to hone their own drafting skills to draw their designs beautifully and accurately, but today, these professionals can outsource the drafting process to drafters, who utilize extremely complex computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to produce detailed plans. Navigating CAD programs is not easy, so an associate degree might be essential for practicing and gaining proficiency with these digital tools. Demand for drafters is high, as those professionals who rely on them have other responsibilities beyond drafting.
It is essential that every aircraft be properly maintained to avoid mid-air crises that can result in dangerous circumstances for flight crew and passengers. Fortunately, aviation maintenance professionals are well-trained in every system involved in keeping an aircraft airborne, so they can efficiently identify issues and perform repairs. With just an associate degree, you can find work with individual airlines, airports, government groups and even aircraft manufacturers, who are all constantly looking for additional support in aviation maintenance.
Though physicians may spend the better part of a decade preparing for their roles as healthcare providers, nurses can enjoy a much quicker path into the medical workplace. Though an associate degree is not the highest level of nursing qualification — which means that with this degree you may have limited responsibilities with patients — it does equip students with the knowledge and skill necessary to assist physicians and other practitioners in providing medical services. Beginning before the COVID pandemic and certainly afterwards, there is an extreme shortage of nurses, so any level of nursing credential can find well-paying employment.
If you are interested in healthcare but like to keep your hands a bit cleaner, you might be interested in the field of medical sonography. Sonographers, also called ultrasound technicians, use imaging technology to non-invasively explore inside patients for the purpose of diagnostics. Though most often associated with pregnancy, sonograms are also vital in identifying cancers, evaluating blood flow to certain organs, assessing bones and joints and more. You can find work as a diagnostic sonographer at private practices, medical clinics and hospitals.
The healthcare industry is huge, and there are plenty of opportunities for trained individuals to find well-paying work. Another healthcare option for associate degree holders is in radiation therapy, which is a field focused on using radiation to treat a variety of conditions, often cancer. Radiation therapists must understand how to use radiation machines and how to communicate with other healthcare providers to ensure patients receive quality care. Radiographers most often work in hospital settings, and as cancer rates rise, the demand for those experienced in radiation therapy rises accordingly.
An associate degree is a wise investment in your future, especially if you choose a degree program that can guarantee employment immediately after graduation. If you are interested in any of the above fields, you can build a successful and rewarding career for yourself with an associate degree.