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Top 5 Associate Degrees by Salary Potential

PayScale's College Salary Report includes associate degrees for the first time this year. Why? Because from a salary perspective, the right two-year degree can pay off -- sometimes, more than a bachelor's degree.

PayScale’s College Salary Report includes associate degrees for the first time this year. Why? Because from a salary perspective, the right two-year degree can pay off — sometimes, more than a bachelor’s degree.

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In fact, the top five associate degrees on the list earned graduates higher average annual salaries 10 years after graduation than over 100 of the bachelor’s degrees tracked in the report, and for potentially half the investment in time and money. In a time when student loan debt averages over $29,000 per borrower and 71 percent of college seniors hold loans, keeping the final bill manageable is a valid consideration for many students.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Choice of major matters, whether you’re earning a bachelor’s or an associate degree. An associate degree in child development, for example, will earn you an average annual salary of $29,500 at mid-career. Of course, things aren’t much rosier, pay-wise, for those with bachelor’s: a four-year degree in child development pulls in only $36,400 per year, at mid-career.

These are the two-year degrees that earn grads the highest salaries:

1. Management Information Systems

Early Career Salary: $47,100

Mid-Career Salary: $76,800

2. Computer Engineering

Early Career Salary: $40,100

Mid-Career Salary: $76,700

3. Electrical Engineering

Early Career Salary: $49,300

Mid-Career Salary: $75,200

4. Business & Information Technology

Early Career Salary: $37,900

Mid-Career Salary: $74,500

5. Electrical & Computer Engineering

Early Career Salary: $39,200

Mid-Career Salary: $71,700

Tell Us What You Think

Did salary factor into your choice of major? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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