In today’s economy, paying for college can be a burden on some students and their families. So, with the vision of four years’ worth of student loans staring them in the face, these students may decide to forget about college and look for a job instead.
However, there are many lucrative careers out there that only require a two-year degree. And, these degrees can often be completed at state-run community colleges that offer discounted tuition for local residents. Herein lies the golden opportunity!
With a two-year degree, you could work in any number of fields – including medical, legal, computers, facilities management and engineering. Here’s a brief look at some of these amazing careers and their average annual salaries.
- Engineering Technicians: $41,000-52,000
- Solar Panel Consultants and Installers: more than $50,000
- Electrical Technicians: more than $40,000
- Computer Support Specialists: $46,000-60,000, depending on specialization
- Web Designers: $47,000
- Graphic Designer owning his/her own firm: $40,000-50,000
- Registered Nurse: $55,000
- Physical Therapy Assistants: $46,000
- Radiologic and X-ray Technicians: $52,000
- Dental Hygienist: $57,000
Some hospitality manager jobs can earn salaries above $40,000, as well as paralegals and police detectives. If you’re looking for something different, funeral directors can earn more than $52,000/year.
Fast-Tracking Your Career
Earning a two-year degree may seem like the quickest way to finish school and start your future career. If you are interested in one of these careers and feel a passion for your future, this is the way to go. If you have your sights on a bachelor’s degree but have financial concerns, you may choose to earn a two-year degree before transferring to a four-year college as a way to defray some of the costs associated with bachelor degrees.
Generally speaking, two-year degrees are often specifically tailored for a particular career. After graduation, you often can’t change careers without going back to school. For example, a registered nurse could not pursue a job as a respiratory therapist if he or she decided that opportunity was a better fit after starting work as an RN.
However, students who choose to major in English, communications or history, for example, can either transfer to a four-year school to further their education or begin working in varied career paths including positions as writers, teacher assistants, historians, museum/historic site guides or reporters.
Regardless of whether you choose a two-year or four-year degree, the list of career possibilities is long and exhausting. So, the best place to start when choosing a future career is within yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Do certain types of news stories or blogs catch your interest more than others? Do you volunteer for any organizations? Which campus clubs have piqued your interest? As corny as it sounds, your mom was right when she said you should follow your heart. The most successful and happiest people are those who enjoy their work.
Once you decide on a possible career, take the time to fully research each career that interests you – learn about the education requirements, research salaries in your area to ensure they’ll meet your needs and start researching companies that hire in the field you’ve chosen. No matter what type of college you attend, declaring your major is the single most important stand you will make towards committing to and investing in your future. Make sure it’s a good fit you.
Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.