Highest Paying 2-Year Degrees

Want to find out how much you can earn with a two-year degree? PayScale has the top associate degree majors ranked by salary potential.

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Rank 
Major 
Degree Type
Early Career Pay
Median salary for alumni w/degrees in this subject; 0-5 years work experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni w/degrees in this subject; 10+ years work experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
1Software EngineeringAssociates$50,500$102,100N/A

1Software Engineering
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$50,500
Mid-Career Pay$102,100
% High MeaningN/A
2Networks & TelecommunicationsAssociates$53,300$97,300N/A

2Networks & Telecommunications
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$53,300
Mid-Career Pay$97,300
% High MeaningN/A
3Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)Associates$44,000$80,800N/A

3Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$44,000
Mid-Career Pay$80,800
% High MeaningN/A
4Construction Project ManagementAssociates$41,500$78,800N/A

4Construction Project Management
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$41,500
Mid-Career Pay$78,800
% High MeaningN/A
5Management Information Systems (MIS)Associates$42,200$76,90052%

5Management Information Systems (MIS)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$42,200
Mid-Career Pay$76,900
% High Meaning52%
6Electrical Engineering (EE)Associates$44,100$75,50059%

6Electrical Engineering (EE)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$44,100
Mid-Career Pay$75,500
% High Meaning59%
7Industrial Design (ID)Associates$42,800$75,200N/A

7Industrial Design (ID)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$42,800
Mid-Career Pay$75,200
% High MeaningN/A
8Robotics & AutomationAssociates$50,000$74,30039%

8Robotics & Automation
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$50,000
Mid-Career Pay$74,300
% High Meaning39%
9EngineeringAssociates$41,100$74,00051%

9Engineering
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$41,100
Mid-Career Pay$74,000
% High Meaning51%
10Computer Science (CS)Associates$41,900$73,70048%

10Computer Science (CS)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$41,900
Mid-Career Pay$73,700
% High Meaning48%
11EconomicsAssociates$35,400$73,50042%

11Economics
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$35,400
Mid-Career Pay$73,500
% High Meaning42%
12Electronics EngineeringAssociates$45,400$73,10057%

12Electronics Engineering
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$45,400
Mid-Career Pay$73,100
% High Meaning57%
13Web DevelopmentAssociates$46,300$72,30032%

13Web Development
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$46,300
Mid-Career Pay$72,300
% High Meaning32%
14Construction ManagementAssociates$44,300$72,20058%

14Construction Management
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$44,300
Mid-Career Pay$72,200
% High Meaning58%
15Civil Engineering (CE)Associates$38,000$72,00064%

15Civil Engineering (CE)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$38,000
Mid-Career Pay$72,000
% High Meaning64%
16Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE)Associates$44,500$71,40055%

16Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$44,500
Mid-Career Pay$71,400
% High Meaning55%
17Mechanical Engineering (ME)Associates$42,600$71,00050%

17Mechanical Engineering (ME)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$42,600
Mid-Career Pay$71,000
% High Meaning50%
18Computer ProgrammingAssociates$44,700$70,10046%

18Computer Programming
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$44,700
Mid-Career Pay$70,100
% High Meaning46%
19Manufacturing EngineeringAssociates$48,700$69,000N/A

19Manufacturing Engineering
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$48,700
Mid-Career Pay$69,000
% High MeaningN/A
20Network AdministrationAssociates$41,100$68,40046%

20Network Administration
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$41,100
Mid-Career Pay$68,400
% High Meaning46%
21Software Applications & ProgrammingAssociates$42,800$68,000N/A

21Software Applications & Programming
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$42,800
Mid-Career Pay$68,000
% High MeaningN/A
22PhysicsAssociates$34,000$67,00032%

22Physics
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$34,000
Mid-Career Pay$67,000
% High Meaning32%
23Supply Chain ManagementAssociates$42,100$66,900N/A

23Supply Chain Management
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$42,100
Mid-Career Pay$66,900
% High MeaningN/A
24Computer Engineering (CE)Associates$43,000$66,80039%

24Computer Engineering (CE)
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$43,000
Mid-Career Pay$66,800
% High Meaning39%
25Network SecurityAssociates$43,800$65,80038%

25Network Security
Degree TypeAssociates
Early Career Pay$43,800
Mid-Career Pay$65,800
% High Meaning38%
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PayScale’s College Salary Report features data about the earning potential of associate degrees from community colleges. If you are considering going back to school to earn an AA, choosing the right major will have a huge impact on your future salary. An associate degree is a great way to kick off a high-paying career, especially in the Technology, Engineering and Healthcare fields. This list can help you find the best associate degrees by salary potential.

Best 2-Year Degrees In 2018

Software Engineering – Mid-Career Salary: $102,100

Students who enroll in software engineering programs learn how to develop new ways for software to function. Classes include coding and mathematical courses to help students pursue this major. Common employers of software engineers include Microsoft, Google, Intel, Amazon, and other enterprise-level tech companies.

Networks & Telecommunications – Mid-Career Salary: $97,300

This type of degree program requires you to be very technical. Those who enroll in network and telecom related courses will learn how to provide support to end users and do maintenance on devices like routers and complex telephone systems. People who go into this type of work end up working at technical places like Cisco and T-Mobile.

Electrical & Computer Engineering – Mid-Career Salary: $80,800

This kind of program will show you the basics of computer and electrical engineering within two years. Students can either go directly into the workforce or go on to get a four-year degree with the basic knowledge they have gained. Typical employers of this type of engineering include Intel, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin to name a few.

Technology Majors Have the Highest Salary Potential

Historically, healthcare has been the most lucrative associate degree option that was guaranteed to earn you a good wage. However, these rankings show that technology-focused majors are actually a better option now in terms of salary earnings. Health-related subjects have a higher than average percentage of alumni who say that their work is very meaningful.

Of course, not all associate degrees lead to high salaries. An early childhood education program usually leads to low salary potential, but most graduates do say that their jobs make the world a better place.

So if you are short on time, want to get your career started quickly or just don’t think a four-year school is right for you, one of the associate degree options on this list may be a smart choice.


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