3 High-Paying Associate Degrees That Pay $100,000+ In 2024


Between 2020 and 2021 (the year immediately after the start of the pandemic), post-secondary institutions conferred over one million associate degrees, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Associate degrees are popular, and may increase in popularity as more employers favor skills-based hiring, and aspiring professionals lean towards opting out of expensive four-year degrees. Both employers and professionals around the world are recognizing that there is more to acquiring new skills and being "job-ready" than undertaking the traditional college route.

Providers offering certificate programs, short courses, and associate degrees are already realizing an uptick in enrolments, with the online course market alone being worth $185.20bn, with an annual growth rate of 8.6% since 2023.

While prestige and high-paying jobs are typically associated with bachelor's degree holders and post-graduates, the reality is that there are many high-paying jobs and fulfilling careers that you can get with an associate degree alone.

Let's look at a few of them:

1. Sonographer—Associate Degree In Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Although not a commonly thought of job title, diagnostic medical sonographers play an important role in ensuring patients' minds are put at rest, and that doctors are able to accurately and effectively perform a diagnosis. Sonographers are trained to operate ultrasound imaging equipment on different parts of the body. An associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography can take between 18 to 24 months to complete.

Average salary range: Between $77,214 to £116,300

2. Funeral Home Manager—Associate Degree In Funeral Service/Mortuary Science

If you consider yourself to be an empathetic person, with a good degree of emotional intelligence and strong communication, management, and interpersonal skills, perhaps a career in funeral home management would be a good choice for you. An associate degree in funeral service will help you gain an understanding of ethics, grief counseling, and funeral home business regulations and management.

Average salary range: Between $72,507 to $131,360

3. Construction Project Manager—Associate Degree in Construction Management

Project managers are in high demand across several sectors, and due to this demand, you can anticipate a highly lucrative career pursuing project management. But when comparing project manager salaries, there are some sectors in which it truly pays to be a project manager, more than anywhere else, because these industries are renowned for their high salaries. One such industry is construction.

A project manager within the construction industry can expect to make $118,758 on average, in the United States. To land this role you can get an associate degree in construction management technology or an associate degree in construction management.

Average salary range: Between $104,611 to $172,040

These opportunities listed above, demonstrate the financial and career potential that can be gained with an associate degree alone (of course, not to forget on-the-job training). Associate degrees are most commonly linked to direct job opportunities after completion, as they prepare you with the know-how and technical skills for specific roles. For these reasons, pursuing an associate degree is one of the best decisions you may ever make for your education and career.

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