15 Highest Salary 2-Year Degrees in the World 2023

Written by Michael Nz. on February 13, 2023

7 min read
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There is a common perception that a traditional college degree is the only path to financial security and wealth for the average person, but this is not always the case.

There are higher paying 2-year degrees, also known as associate degrees, that can earn one a living.

These certifications are offered through reputable providers in various disciplines. We’ll connect you with the top 15 that can result in a six-figure salary even higher.

Read on and learn more about the benefits of these certifications, how much it costs to earn them, and your job outlook.

Why a 2-year degree?

2-year or associate degrees are short-term certificate or training programs that often take less time to complete. They typically make up half the workload of a four-year bachelor’s degree that can help you develop the skills and experience needed for a particular job.

 You may choose these degrees if you intend to pursue higher education in an area that includes science, such as nursing or engineering.

However, there are many reasons why people consider a 2-year degree. some of the benefits include;

  • Two-year or associate degrees are flexible; classes are held in the evenings, on weekends, or asynchronously online. 
  • You can get some certificates in as little as a couple of months.
  • The 2-year degree costs less money to enroll in compared to major universities and private college degrees.

How can I find a degree that pays well in 2023?

Choosing to take an associate’s degree to learn a new skill, or even just as a refresher on skills you already have, is a very honorable thing to do.

However, there are numerous programs available online and on campus, but not all of them are worth your time. So always make sure you get all the information you need from a valid source.

Below is the guide on how to get started.

  • Use the CareerOneStop Certification Finder
  • Talk to your current employer
  • Ask your contacts
  • Find a school accredited by the US Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education.
  • Find a program that works with your schedule, and check the cost and duration of the program.
  • talk to alumni
  • Consult your professional association or union

Where do I earn the highest paying 2-year degree certification?

There are a wide variety of school settings where you can earn a 2-year degree that comes with good pay.

While some people prefer to enroll in accredited universities, others consider online options, and some choose vocational schools and community colleges.

Depending on your field of interest, earning a 2-year certification is a smarter, more cost-effective way to quickly gain new skills and jump-start a fulfilling career.

Vocational Schools

 Vocational schools provide skills and knowledge directly related to your chosen vocation.

For example, if your career choice is electrical technology, the programs will emphasize a real world experience that constitutes electricity.

Community Colleges

These are schools approved to provide associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. You can transfer to a four-year program upon graduation if you wish.


The online degree comes with many benefits compared to the more traditional on-campus format. Taking a 2-year course online allows for flexibility; You take classes on your own schedule and in the comfort of your home. It also saves costs.

How much does it cost to get a 2-year degree that pays well?

Certification cost is based on the type of program you want to do, while few are available for free, most courses are expensive.

A typical associate or 2-year course typically costs between $2,500 and $16,000 to enroll. However, there may be additional fees that constitute textbooks and course materials.

Before you rush to checkout, let’s take a quick look at the list of certification programs that are best for you.

List of Fast Certificate Programs That Pay Well

There is a wide range of 2-year courses you can complete depending on the jobs you want to pursue.

With these programs, you can find and acquire a high-paying job at reputable companies. 

We’ve highlighted 15 certifications that will benefit you. Our selection criteria for these programs focus on benefits offered and career prospects. We also consider the quality of education, average earnings of graduates, accreditation, and several other relevant factors.

As you read further, you will get detailed information about the various programs offered by the free online schools listed below.

  • Legal Assistant Pre-litigation
  • Telecommunications installer
  • radiation therapist
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • sonographer doctor
  • Executive Pastry Chef
  • Speech and Language Pathology
  • nuclear technician
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Registered Nurse
  • Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists
  • Occupational therapist
  • Aerospace Engineering Technician
  • Dental hygienist
  • Programmer

#1 Pre-litigation Legal Assistant

Paralegal, a very profitable career, typically requires 2 years or an associate’s degree to enter the field that can most often be earned online.

A paralegal certification can serve as an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the legal profession if you hope to pursue a career in the legal system.

His responsibilities include organizing files, conducting research, and drafting documents.

Median salary:  $49,500
Career prospects:  15 percent


#2 telecom installer

The telecommunications installer maintains and repairs any equipment that carries communication, including Internet connections, telephone lines, and communication devices. 

You can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Information Technology/Networking from Purdue University Global

Salary: $69,430 per year
Job Outlook: -6%


#3 Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapy is an important career in the healthcare field with excellent job growth expected.

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases through radiation treatments. They generally work in hospitals, but can also be found in doctor’s offices and outpatient centers.

 Median salary:  $80,570
Career prospects:  13%

You can apply for an Associate of Applied Science in Radiation Therapy at Amarillo College


#4 Electronic Engineering Technician

One of the 2-year courses that pay well is Electronic Engineering Technology.

These professionals design a wide range of equipment, including navigation devices, electrical components, medical technology, and communication tools.

By earning an associate’s degree in this course, you can work in this field for both government and private companies.

Salary: $63,660 Job
Outlook: 2 percent


#5 Medical Sonographer

This is another well-paying 2-year course that you may want to consider. 

Using special imaging equipment, medical sonographers create images of the body that doctors can use to evaluate and diagnose patients.

By enrolling in a degree course, you will learn the use of an ultrasonic imaging device, which uses sound waves and vibrations to create an image of a specific organ.

Salary: $65,620 Job
Outlook: 17%


#6 Executive Pastry Chef

This career is very lucrative and fun. Executive pastry chefs work at exotic resorts, cruise ships, and luxury hotels. In fact, they are found anywhere there is a need to create delicious and beautiful baked goods on a large scale.

Executive Pastry Chef is one of the highest paying 2-year degrees

Salary:  $102,000
Career Outlook:  Expected to increase by 11%, about average


#7 Speech and Language Pathology

A degree in Speech-Language Pathology comes with many benefits. It enables you to work in the vast field of speech, communication, and swallowing disorders, and to specialize in different components of speech and language development.

There are many institutions that offer 2-year courses in this specialization. If you prefer an online option, you can apply at California State University Northridge

Median salary:  $57,884
Career prospects:  27 percent


#8 Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technology is a great example of a 2-year degree job that pays well.

 Nuclear technicians assist in nuclear research and energy production by operating special equipment. Their role is to monitor radiation levels, and help engineers or work with physicists to create safe and reliable nuclear power.

Although this career is in minimal demand, it is very lucrative. He can earn an associate of applied science degree in nuclear technology from Lakeshore Technical College.

Median salary:  $43,600
Career prospects:  1%


#9 Nuclear Medicine Technologist

This is another recommended 2-year job that pays well.

Nuclear medicine technologists work in medical imaging. Its job is to generate information about a patient’s body using a safe dose of radiation, which can then be used by doctors to diagnose or administer treatments.

You can get an Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology from Barton County Community College to get started.

Salary: $75,660
Job Outlook: 10 percent


#10 Registered Nurse

If you have a passion for medicine, health care, and helping others, a 2-year nursing degree is a faster and more affordable option.

You can apply for an Associate of Science in Nursing at Excelsior College.

Salary: $70,000
Job Outlook:  Grow 15% from 2018 to 2028


#11 Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists

Electroneurodiagnostic technologists help calm patients undergoing neurodiagnostic testing while explaining the procedure. They work mainly in clinics or laboratories, sleep centers, and hospitals. Their job is to monitor patients during surgery.

Salary: $41,070
Career Outlook: Expected to grow 19% much faster than normal

#12. Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists often work in mental health centers and medical centers.

Their job is to help guide disabled, ill, or injured patients through the activities necessary to function properly in everyday life.

 If you are interested in this certification, you can start by earning a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

Salary: $90,182
Career prospects: 27 percent


#13. Aerospace Engineering Technician

One of the best 2-year degrees to get if you’re looking for a career with travel benefits is aerospace engineering technician.

These professionals work with engineers and operators to implement test procedures, and may also be involved in the design and construction of test facilities.

You can earn an Associate of Science in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Median Salary: $67,240 Career
Outlook: Expected to grow 7% faster than normal


#14 dental hygienist

If you are looking for a 2-year course with a good job outlook, getting training in Dental Hygiene will be a great option.

As a dental hygienist, your role is to clean teeth, talk to patients about proper dental hygiene, and assist the dentist in any way necessary.

To earn this certification, you can apply for an Associate of Science in Dentistry from Barton County Community College.

Salary: $74,070
Career Outlook: Expected to increase by 20%

#15 Computer Programmer

Computer Programming One of the highest paying two-year degrees, with approximately 300,000 jobs.

The most amazing thing about this 2-year course is that you can earn a certification in the comfort of your own home.

Programmers create code for computer applications and software. This is a typical title that can get you 6 figures or more. You will find employers who are willing to hire you and you can even work and earn good pay as a freelancer.

There are so many institutions around the world that offer this degree, if you want an online option, start at Champlain College.

Median Salary: $82,240 Career
Outlook: 8%


More certificate programs that pay well

Check out other 2-year degree programs that can help you increase your chances of finding a high-paying job.

2-year certification that pays well in the US

  • Cloud engineer
  • Systems security
  • Manufacture and Design
  • Restaurant management
  • Auto insurance adjuster
  • Massage Therapist
  • Language interpreters
  • Embalming

Information Technology (IT)

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) 
  • SQL Server Certification
  • Graphic Design Certification
  • Java degree or certification
  • Microsoft IT certified

Other certifications

  • Firefighter
  • Coach
  • Brick mansion
  • EMT
  • Accounting
  • Records


Earning an associate’s degree comes with a lot of professional satisfaction. It involves growing your career at your own pace. There are several 2-year courses that pay well, start with the ones on our list by following the guidelines we provide.

FAQ about quick certifications that pay well

Yes, you can choose a time that works for you.

You can get a 2-year degree in web development, medical assistant, pet training, and many others.

A 2-year program is open to anyone, including those currently employed. You can choose a course that benefits you.

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