7 high-paying jobs that only require community college education

community college

A community college education can greatly increase the earning potential of those unable to go to a 4-year university. Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles Diatrict/Flickr/CC BY-ND

We are told that a decent career is pretty much impossible anymore without a college degree. The term “college degree” conjures up images of four-year institutions, dormitories and long hours of late-night cramming. However, many are not in a situation, personally or financially, to make the kind of commitment that a four-year degree requires. Fortunately for them, there are many jobs with decent pay that require only a two-year associate’s degree. The following seven salary ranges are according to current data on payscale.com.

Registered nurse

RNs are highly employable. They are needed everywhere, and most remained employed throughout the recession. However, nurses with bachelor’s degrees are more common than they once were, making it harder to land a job with just a two-year degree. Plan to get that BA if you want to move up in the profession. Many employers offer programs to pay for that education while you work. RNs make between $40,000 and $80,000 annually.

Dental hygienist

This career combines people skills with technical expertise. Although there is virtually no advancement in this trade, and a state license must  be acquired in addition to an associate’s degree, the pay can provide a comfortable living. Salaries range from $31,000 to $85,000.

Respiratory therapist

This job can mean irregular schedules and working weekends and long hours in hospitals. But there is advancement and security, making it a solid career choice for an active person with only a two-year educational commitment. Salaries range from $35,000 to $69,000.

Mechanical, electrical or industrial engineering technician

This is a good choice for somebody with excellent math skills and a mechanical aptitude. There are a wide range of engineering specialties to choose from, all stressing different skill sets. An engineering technician can earn between $30,000 and $72,000.

Paralegal community college education

Paralegals assist attorneys with a variety of administrative tasks. It can be an exciting environment to work in, but most of a paralegal’s day is spent pouring over paperwork. There are many types of law offices and a huge range of needs for paralegals, who can make between $26,000 and $65,000 a year.

Diagnostic medical imaging and X-ray technician

This is a field that, according to MSNBC, will be in greater and greater demand in years to come. It is another profession that combines people skills with technical know-how and may require working odd hours. But people working in this field make $26,000 to $61,000.

Computer-support specialists

We live in an increasingly tech-dependent world. Those skilled in finding solutions to computer bugs will find a lucrative and stable career. Computer-support specialists work in a variety of industries and myriad capacites. Some cover telephone support lines at a help desk. Some work in busy IT offices. Genrally they can hope to make from $25,000 to $53,000.

Academia and higher learning are not for everyone. But with so many lucrative career choices available, one does not have to be a dedicated scholar to earn a useful degree and make a good living in today’s job market.


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