Smart AA Degrees for High School Grads: After graduation from high school, some students have neither the desire nor the funding to attend a four-year college or university, or even an online college. Many of these students choose to continue living at home and attend local community colleges. Most community colleges offer two-year college degrees, awarding students with an Associate of Arts (also called an “AA,” or an “Associate Degree”). Associate Degrees are valuable degrees; in some professions, AA Degrees are just as valuable as four-year degrees (also known as BA Degrees, or BS Degrees, depending the school and the subject). What are “AA degrees for high school graduates?” In this case, we’re talking about degrees that take a short amount of time to earn, but provide individuals with needed skills to meet the current job demand. But these are not only smart AA Degrees for high school grads; these could just as well be credentials for older individuals who are already in professions, but might be looking for a smart job transition in as short amount of time as possible. In this article, “AA Degrees for High School Graduates” is the term we’re using to get the attention of new graduates, but anyone can benefit with degrees for these high-demand professions. Below is a list and description of only a few smart AA Degrees for high school graduates found to be the most profitable and provide the best options for advancement.
Some employers are reporting difficulty finding individuals who have knowledge in specific trades, and electrical work is one of them. “As the market is bouncing back, we’re seeing more of our grads get hired in the trades areas,” says Wendy Cullen, Vice President of Employer Development for Everest College. “In the trades we offer, electrical technicians have the highest increase in earnings over a 15-year period. There are a lot of opportunities for them right now.” The median salary of an electrical technician is just over $46,000 per year. In addition, apprenticeships for high school graduates are available so that someone entering the field can gain the equivalent of a four-year college education without the student loan debt that often accompanies it. Learning a trade is one of the most valuable degrees available at the community college level.
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries today, yet many individuals are not interested in the cost and years it requires to enter nursing or to become a doctor. However, there are careers in the healthcare industry that allow you to provide health services to those in need without the expense of a four-, six-, or eight-year college tuition. Radiology technicians earn a median salary of over $52,000 per year and positions in the industry are expected to grow by 17 percent over the next ten years. Most positions include full benefits and the ability to work in either a hospital setting or in private organizations. A radiology program at a community college for high school graduates who want to work in the medical field is an excellent option.
Paralegal or “Legal Assistant”
Just as a four-year college for high school graduates who want to enter the medical field may be out of the question, the same is true for the legal field. However, working as a paralegal is an option for those who may not want the expense and time of a law degree but want to work in the field. Paralegals help prepare cases, organize file, draft contracts and maintain a relationship with clients. Paralegals earn a median salary of just over $46,000, but there are areas of the country where a paralegal can earn as much as $74,000 per year, further indicating how these are AA degrees with job demand.
For those who enjoy travel or who have an interest in tourism, hospitality managers are another of the AA degrees with job demand. A two-year degree in hospitality management is an excellent way to advance in the hospitality industry. The median salary for a hospitality manager is more than $46,000 per year in food service and in hotels. However, some major brands in some markets pay hospitality managers as much as $100,000 per year.
Computer Support Specialist
High graduates who have a knack for technology will find an AA degree in computer science helpful when it comes time to seek employment. A two-year degree can help you find a position in IT with a major corporation or at a local computer repair shop. You can even start your own repair business with the knowledge and skills developed during your two-year college studies. Computer support specialists can make as much as $44,000 per year, with some salary ranges higher depending on specialty knowledge you may develop as you learn.
AA Degrees for High School Graduates
These AA degrees with job demand are a smart choice for any high school graduates who don’t intend to go to a four-year college or university. Because tuition at community college is significantly lower than four-year colleges, students who earn AA degrees often have lower student loan debt and some have none at all, making a two-year degree even more attractive to some high school graduates.