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This Inexpensive Degree Could Kickstart A Lucrative Career


  • Applied associates degrees are similar to trades, as you are trained in a skill that is directly applicable to an intended job. 
  • Applied associates degrees are nowhere near as costly as bachelor’s degrees. 
  • Applied associates degrees can be done straight out of high school, and graduates reliably begin working in their respective fields soon after completing their degree. 

Most students exiting high school expect to enter college. Still, few know what subject they should study, what career path they want to go down, or whether their choice of study will provide any career prospects.   

Undoubtedly many students are only interested in going to school to find something they can do to make a living, and others are just going in order to get out of their parent’s homes.  

Several bachelor’s degrees can lead more or less directly to high-paying careers, such as accounting and economics. But are there other, shorter paths to getting high-paying jobs that are cheaper than getting a bachelor’s degree? That sounds like it must be a scam, but luckily, it is not. 

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What is an applied associates degree? 

Applied associate degrees are two-year programs at accredited universities that train students in a particular skill for a particular job. Usually, these include general pre-requisites in math, English, and science, but if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might be exempt from them.   

The possible job paths available through applied associate degrees are extensive. Some of the highest paying career paths via this route include:  

  1. Radiation Therapy  
  2. Nuclear Technology 
  3. Nuclear Medicine  
  4. Radiology Technician  
  5. Physical Therapy Assistant  
  6. Nurse Aide 

In some sense, applied associate’s degrees are similar to trades, as you are trained in a skill that is directly applicable to an intended job. The median annual salary among the top paying applied associates degree career paths is roughly $70,000.   

Applied associate’s degrees can be done straight out of high school, and graduates reliably begin working in their respective fields soon after — if not directly after — completing their degree.  

Associate’s degree versus bachelor’s degree 

A salient advantage applied associates degrees have over most bachelor’s degrees is this reliability in quickly finding work. Many graduates with bachelor’s degrees struggle finding work in their field of study and can have a difficult time trying to find high-paying work directly after graduation.  

The exact opposite is the case with applied associates degrees.  

Applied associates degrees are nowhere near as costly as bachelor’s degrees — especially if the school you attend for an applied program is a state or city school, where tuition tends to be substantially less. 

The difference here is between a degree that reliably generates jobs related to the studies involved in the degree, versus a more expensive degree that seldom generates jobs related to those studies and tends to leave its graduates worse off economically post-graduation.   

Applied associates degrees tend to run cheap 

The starting salary of almost every applied associate’s degree career path is higher than the cost of the degree itself — in the case of reduced tuition from state or city schools, the gap between salary and degree price is quite wide.   

Degrees that cost around $20,000 can yield a starting salary of roughly $80,000. This makes the path of applied associates degrees even more attractive, because they can be paid off easily with the jobs they train students to do.   

Nobody wants to go into debt, and most people just want a good-paying job. Applied associates degrees meet both of these common desires and therefore are a route that should be more commonly known and advertised to students and those who are considering a career change.  





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