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Pursuing an associate’s degree can be attractive for a couple reasons. First, efficiency. It takes less time and money than a traditional bachelor’s degree. Second, it’s a flexible option for students with busy schedules, jobs, and children. And third, these educational programs are often super specific and lead directly into a career! Here are some of the careers you can attain with an associate’s degree:

1. Computer Programmer

If you already know that you are interested in computer science, earning an associate’s degree in computer programming allows you to jump right in to learning computer languages such as Java and C++. Computer programmers write code, debug programs, and test for errors. If you have a penchant for problem solving and efficiency, you should consider this career.

2. Dental Hygienist

The duties of a dental hygienist include cleaning teeth and educating patients on the best ways to maintain their dental health. This position may also include assisting dentists in all different kinds of procedures.

3. Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are credited with keeping planes operating on smooth and timely schedules. They play a large role in airplane safety, giving takeoff and landing instructions to airplanes, and monitoring their movements in the air through radar and computers. This career takes excellent communication skills since they are delivering coherent instructions and listening to pilots with concentration.

4. Registered Nurse

While most nurses go on to pursue a four year degree at some point, earning an associate’s degree in nursing will allow you to gain work experience straight away! Registered Nurses (RNs) play a central role in patient care. They tend to patients, coordinate needed treatments, and educate patients and their families about different medical care plans. If you excel in science courses and find fulfillment in helping others, nursing is an attainable option.

5. Police Officer

The role of a police officer, though demanding, can be extremely fulfilling. Many duties of a police officer revolve around protecting people and property. You may find yourself patrolling, making arrests, issuing citations, and responding to calls. If you are passionate about the safety of your community, serving as a police officer may be a great career for you!

6. Avionics Technician

An avionics technician installs, inspects, and repairs avionics equipment (radar, radio, navigation, etc). This job can apply to aircrafts and spacecrafts alike! You will learn to run cables, mount antennas, and link equipment for engine monitoring and navigation. If you like hands-on work and problem solving, you may want to check out this career.

7. Funeral Service Worker

Though this career may seem morbid, it gives people the opportunity to assist families during tough times of loss. The duties of this job may include paperwork, reporting to funeral directors, preparing remains, driving funeral vehicles, handling flowers, cleaning venues, and being available for assistance during services.

8. Paralegal

Many paralegals work in law offices and firms assisting lawyers with drafting documents, filing and organizing files, interviewing clients, and conducting research. There are all different kinds of paralegals in categories such as litigation, real estate, government, and corporation. Choosing this path is an affordable and timely way to enter the field of law.

9. Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists treat patients with cancer. Their responsibilities include prepping patients for treatment, administering prescribed doses of radiation, and using radiation equipment. You will learn all about radiation and the established practices and standards associated with treating patients.

10. Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians work at… you guessed it, nuclear power plants. Responsibilities include working in a laboratory and assisting nuclear physicists, engineers, and scientists. Much of their research involves finding new types of nuclear reactors, fuels, medicines, and more.

11. Telecom Installer

Telecom installers set up, care for, and fix telephone, fax, video conferencing, and computer equipment. This position assists businesses and individuals alike. You will gain all kinds of skills working in this position, including knowledge of telecommunication systems and practices, customer service expertise, diagnostic skills, and proficiency with computers.

12. HVAC Installer

HVAC installers are similar to telecom installers, but they deal with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. You may find yourself replacing, improving, or planting HVAC systems in homes and businesses all over. If you are great with mechanics, troubleshooting, time management, and attention to detail, this position may be a great fit for you!

13. Fire Investigator

Fire investigators may work for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, or police stations. Basically, they explore and identify evidence related to fires. The curriculum for this career will teach you to gather information to determine the cause of a fire. In cases dealing with arson, you may be required to provide testimony to the courtroom.

14. Drafter

A drafter works with architects and engineers translating their designs into technical plans and drawings. This career is a great opportunity for people interested in architecture or engineering, but don’t want the time or financial commitment of pursuing a 4-year degree. When choosing this path, you have many different areas for focus or specialization: architecture, civil engineering, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering.

15. Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists (RTs) treat patients that have difficulties breathing. These patients can be those who suffer from chronic breathing issues like asthma or those who have had an emergency situation, like a heart attack. If you hope to eventually pursue a 4-year degree but want to gain some experience first, becoming a respiratory therapist can be a great starting point.