The decision to begin a college education can be daunting — uncertainty about course choices, financial aid, the ability to balance work with coursework and doubts about the benefits after graduation are all factors that prevent people from enrolling. While these are valid concerns, there are several advantages to earning an associate degree. It’s ultimately up to the individual to weigh pros and cons of attending college, but many graduates of associate degree programs find that the advantages far outweigh their initial fears. This is especially true when they learn how many well-paying careers they qualify for, once they earn the degree.
Increased Earning Potential
Many surveys show that an associate degree can dramatically increase lifetime earning potential compared to people who only hold a high school diploma or GED — some estimate as much as 23 percent. Still, some students are surprised to learn that there are high-paying careers that only require an associate degree. The annual income of those with only an associate degree can even surpass what those who hold a bachelor’s degree earn.
Examples of these careers include:
- air traffic controller
- radiation therapist
- operations manager
- construction manager
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual income of an air traffic controller is $122,950.
Associate Degree Options
Campbellsville University offers four online associate degree programs — business administration, Christian studies, criminal justice and general studies — that can lead to high-paying careers. Executive administrative assistants, for example, earn a median annual wage of $53,370. Another example is paralegals, who earn an average of $48,810. Both of these careers require only an associate degree.
Other benefits of enrolling in an associate degree program:
- Associate degrees cost less. Students must complete 60 credit hours to earn the degree. Completion time can vary, but most programs can be completed in as little as two years.
- Admissions requirements can be met by completing an application and submitting official transcripts of any college-level studies.
Whether an associate degree is your end goal or you want to earn the degree as a stepping-stone to pursuing a bachelor’s degree, the benefits of an associate degree dwarf the common worries many students have about starting a program.