Practical Two-Year Degrees for Career Changers

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Two-year colleges offer a multitude of promising career path options for both traditional and non-traditional students. And due to a variety of factors, including cost efficiency and convenient locations, they can be especially advantageous for career-changers. Along with all the other benefits of community college, most schools offer nigh classes and online program for working students. Whether you want to completely change industries or just move to another job within your current field, there are degree options to suit your goals.

Radiologic Technology

Radiologic technologists work in hospitals and clinics, helping take x-ray images that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, radiologic technologists can expect ample employment opportunities thanks to 28% growth projected through 2020. Radiologic techologists earned a median annual salary of $54,340 in 2010*.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Another smart health care career choice is physical therapy assistant. Physical therapy assistants help physical therapists with treatment, including working with patients during exercises and observing patients to determine progress. The field is projected to experience a rapid growth rate of 45% through 2020. Physical therapy assistants earned a median annual wage of $37,710 in 2010.

Dental Hygiene

If you’re looking for a secure job with fast growth and good pay, dental hygiene may be a good choice. Dental hygienists remove plaque and tarter from teeth, take x-rays and educate patients on oral hygiene. A growth rate of 38% is projected through 2020 and median annual pay was $68,250 in 2010.

For more two-year degree career ideas, read 300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree, 4th Ed

Computer Science

An associate’s degree in computer science, computer networking or computer information systems is a great options for those with IT experience who wish to make a career change to a more lucrative job within the industry. While most management positions in the field require a bachelor’s degree, an associates degree may be enough for those with the right experience. Some jobs for those with computer science training: computer information systems manager, computer programmer, and network administrator.

Human Resource Management

An associate’s in human resources management can qualify one for HR specialist positions and, with the right experience, HR management roles. The degree is a particularly good option for those with relevant administrative experience who want to transition to an HR department or move up within the field.  HR specialists earned a median annual salary of $52,690 in 2010 and faster than average growth is projected through 2020.

Real Estate

An associate’s degree in real estate can prepare you for the position of real estate broker or sales agent. It’s the perfect option for those already working in the industry or salespeople hoping to make a transition to a different field. In addition to training and relevant education, a license is required in every US State. Real estate sales agents and brokers earned a median annual salary of $42,680 in 2010.


*Sources for Salary and Growth Rates: Occupational Outlook Handbook