It’s common knowledge that junior college has many benefits for its students, including lower tuition and more flexible schedules. But there is still a misconception that a junior college degree won’t lead to a well-paying job. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are five lucrative careers you can start with an associate’s degree.

Air traffic controller (average annual salary $122,410)

If you’re intrigued by directing the flow of aircraft throughout the nation’s airports and maintaining the safety and efficiency of air travel, this could be the career for you. Keep in mind, though, that the high salary comes with a high load of stress. While it’s suggested that air traffic controllers have a four-year degree, there are several schools that offer associate’s degrees focused specifically on learning the finer points of air traffic control.

Radiation therapist (average annual salary $80,160)

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases using radiation treatments, typically working with oncologists or other specialists to do so. Radiation therapists generally work in hospitals, but positions are available in physicians’ offices and outpatient clinics. Some states require licensing for radiation therapists, but your junior college degree will give you the knowledge you need in order to pass the licensing exam. This field, like many others in the medical profession, has excellent expected job growth, too.

Dental hygienist (average annual salary $72,910)

Dental hygienists work in dentists’ offices, cleaning teeth and talking to patients about proper dental hygiene. They also assist dentists with tasks such as fillings and crowns. You need to get licensed to be a dental hygienist, but your associate’s degree will prepare you adequately for your licensing exam. This field is expected to grow by 20 percent.

Think you need a four-year degree to land a well-paying job? Think again! Here are five lucrative occupations that only require a junior college degree. Read the article and share it with your friends and students.

Police officer (average annual salary $61,600)

Police work can be physically and emotionally demanding, and occasionally even dangerous, but the profession is also very rewarding and fulfilling. A junior college degree in criminal justice can put you well on the path to being a successful police officer. Job prospects are good, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that there will be a 7 percent growth in police jobs by 2026.

HVAC installer (average annual salary $45, 910)

HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) installers work on heating and cooling systems for projects ranging from single-family homes to large department stores and shopping malls. In addition to an associate’s degree, many employers prefer candidates who have worked in an apprenticeship, which is something you could do while you’re attending junior college. HVAC installer employment is expected to grow by 15 percent.

Want to know about more great jobs you can get with an associate’s degree? Visit GetEducated and find out.

Photo by Angelo Giampiccolo /