Best Community Colleges & 2-Year Degree Programs by Salary Potential

PayScale has ranked hundreds of two-year colleges by how much their alumni go on to earn. Find out which schools produce the highest-paid graduates.

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RankSchool NameSchool SectorEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:Helene Fuld College of NursingSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$80,400Mid-Career Pay:$106,200% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:2School Name:Laboure CollegeSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$75,100Mid-Career Pay:$101,200% High Meaning:82%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:3School Name:Pacific Union CollegeSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$70,100Mid-Career Pay:$97,900% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:4School Name:Belanger School of NursingSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$70,300Mid-Career Pay:$95,400% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:4School Name:Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of NursingSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$68,800Mid-Career Pay:$95,400% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:6School Name:Loma Linda UniversitySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$69,700Mid-Career Pay:$93,400% High Meaning:75%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:7School Name:New York UniversitySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$70,300Mid-Career Pay:$92,900% High Meaning:72%% STEM Degrees:25%
Rank:8School Name:St. John's University-New YorkSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$58,500Mid-Career Pay:$92,300% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:8School Name:Bellevue CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$60,600Mid-Career Pay:$92,300% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:10School Name:The Christ College of Nursing and Health SciencesSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$65,900Mid-Career Pay:$90,900% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:11School Name:Evergreen Valley CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$60,400Mid-Career Pay:$90,400% High Meaning:65%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:12School Name:Pennsylvania College of Health SciencesSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$65,700Mid-Career Pay:$90,300% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:13School Name:Cabrillo CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$58,500Mid-Career Pay:$89,600% High Meaning:60%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:14School Name:Excelsior CollegeSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$67,400Mid-Career Pay:$89,400% High Meaning:77%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:15School Name:Rivier UniversitySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$64,500Mid-Career Pay:$88,800% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:15School Name:Saddleback CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$52,400Mid-Career Pay:$88,800% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:17School Name:Fashion Institute of TechnologySchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$55,000Mid-Career Pay:$88,600% High Meaning:42%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:18School Name:De Anza CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$61,500Mid-Career Pay:$88,300% High Meaning:60%% STEM Degrees:12%
Rank:19School Name:Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-WorldwideSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$59,800Mid-Career Pay:$88,200% High Meaning:70%% STEM Degrees:15%
Rank:20School Name:Pittsburgh Institute of AeronauticsSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$59,400Mid-Career Pay:$88,100% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:21School Name:Brazosport CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$53,400Mid-Career Pay:$88,000% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:22School Name:Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$63,200Mid-Career Pay:$87,900% High Meaning:58%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:22School Name:College of San MateoSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$61,200Mid-Career Pay:$87,900% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:15%
Rank:24School Name:West Valley CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$57,800Mid-Career Pay:$87,600% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:5%
Rank:25School Name:GateWay Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$63,100Mid-Career Pay:$87,500% High Meaning:68%% STEM Degrees:7%

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College Student

You don’t have to get a bachelor’s degree to have a successful career. In fact, there are lots of high-paying, meaningful jobs that you can land with an associate degree. To help you make a smart choice about where you should earn an associate degree, Payscale has ranked schools that grant associate degrees in this year’s College Salary Report. You can compare the salaries for workers with zero-to-five and 10-or-more years of experience who graduated from a wide variety of schools, including public community colleges, private career colleges, for-profit schools, not-for-profit schools, and colleges and universities that offer associate degrees in addition to bachelor’s degree programs.

In general, public community colleges produce the highest earners. If you are looking for an affordable education, that’s a good thing – community colleges are usually the most affordable way to get a college education whether you want an AA or want to transfer to a four-year school.