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10 Highly Profitable Two-Year Degrees

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Think a bachelor's or master's degree is the only way to advance your career? Think again.Whether you're looking for a fresh start in a new, more lucrative field or enrolling in college for the first time, a two-year associate's degree from a community college is one of the quickest routes to bringing home more bacon each week.

"Associate's degrees are much cheaper, and the entry requirements are not as onerous as they are for getting into a bachelor's program," says Dr. Laurence Shatkin, author of more than a dozen books for job hunters, including "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs."

Not only that, associate's degrees are incredibly convenient. Besides being right in your neighborhood, many two-year programs offer part-time, evening, weekend and online classes -- good news for those already holding down a job and caring for a family.

So which two-year degrees offer the most job opportunities and will earn you the most green after graduation? Read on.

1. Physical therapist assistant. While every other job sector slashed their workforce in 2008, the health care field added nearly 400,000 jobs. According to Shatkin, job openings for physical therapist assistants are expected to grow by 33 percent in the next decade, especially as Baby Boomers age and "get a bit more creaky." Most physical therapist assistants either work in a hospital or a physical therapist's office. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

2. Web designer. As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code, and maintain their websites. Though many Web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year.

3. Electrical or electronic engineering technician. These technicians comprise a third of all engineering technician jobs. They often work in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories, taking calculations, running tests, modifying equipment and otherwise assisting the engineers on their team. Average salary: $47,163 a year.

4. Registered nurse. If it's a high-growth field you want, you can't beat registered nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are the largest occupation in the health care field, with 2.5 million jobs out there, about 587,000 new jobs expected to open up by 2016, and 59 percent of RNs working in hospitals. Average salary: $55,276 a year.

5. Computer support specialist. Such specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

6. Executive or administrative assistant. In the business sector, there's no shortage of administrative jobs. "You're talking a quarter of a million job openings every year," says Shatkin. And though you may start as the low man or woman on the totem pole, once you're in the door you're in a prime position to prove your worth and climb the ranks. Average salary: $37,669 a year.

7. Dental hygienist. While would-be dental hygienists must obtain a state license on top of their two-year degree, it's well worth the investment: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of the country's dental hygienists work part-time and many enjoy flexible work schedules. Even better, this is one of today's fastest growing occupations. Average salary: $57,148 a year.

8. Surveying or mapping technician. Although the construction industry took some big employment hits in 2008, if all the infrastructure work President-Elect Obama has promised comes through, there will be a huge need for surveying and mapping technicians. Such technicians do much of their work in the field (a boon for those who don't want to sit in an office all day), collecting data, taking calculations, and assisting with computer-aided drafting. Average salary: $42,104 a year.

9. Veterinary technician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this field to grow significantly during the next decade. Vet technicians often work in a private veterinary practice (zoo and aquarium work is harder to come by), performing lab tests and clinical procedures. Vet techs must pass a state exam and the salaries aren't as high as the other jobs on this list, but for those who want to help animals, the trade-offs are well worth it. Average salary: $33,363 a year.

10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for experienced, full-time workers and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

Michelle Goodman is a Seattle-based freelance writer. Her latest book is "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" (Seal Press, 2008).

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2. Web designer. As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code, and maintain their websites. Though many Web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year.

...

5. Computer support specialist. Such specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

Anyone smart enough to be a good web developer and/or a good computer support specialist is good enough to take the next step and be even better. In the IT industry, those average salaries are actually quite low and there is a lot more money to be made if one is willing to spend another two years getting a four-year degree. There is such a waste of good talent out there, it's depressing.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Where's the Messiah's "careers"....No ditch digging, light bulb changing (uh, Energy Star Technician), bridge/overpass Master Painter or roadside Flagman (person?)? All those UAW guy's will be relieved that Obama has a "plan", a "jobs" plan. They can be retrained to dig a hole, then refill it, all at taxpayers expense! What a deal! Oh, wait a minute...that's what they already did, didn't they? :lol:

How about Solar Panel farmer (we need lots of "free" energy and everyone knows that Solar Panels can be grown in place of those pesky bean crops).... :wacko:

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Where's the Messiah's "careers"....No ditch digging, light bulb changing (uh, Energy Star Technician), bridge/overpass Master Painter or roadside Flagman (person?)? All those UAW guy's will be relieved that Obama has a "plan", a "jobs" plan. They can be retrained to dig a hole, then refill it, all at taxpayers expense! What a deal! Oh, wait a minute...that's what they already did, didn't they? :lol:

How about Solar Panel farmer (we need lots of "free" energy and everyone knows that Solar Panels can be grown in place of those pesky bean crops).... :wacko:

Kaydee, you should go back to school. Your engineering degree lost its meaning about 30 years ago.

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2. Web designer. As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code, and maintain their websites. Though many Web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year.

4. Registered nurse. If it's a high-growth field you want, you can't beat registered nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are the largest occupation in the health care field, with 2.5 million jobs out there, about 587,000 new jobs expected to open up by 2016, and 59 percent of RNs working in hospitals. Average salary: $55,276 a year.

5. Computer support specialist. Such specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

They make a lot more than that here in sunny southern Calif! I know we are paying web developers up to around 75k a year. Support staff are making close to the same and my friend's wife is a RN and is making close to 100K a year with her OT


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United States & Republic of the Philippines

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." John Wayne

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2. Web designer. As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code, and maintain their websites. Though many Web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year.

4. Registered nurse. If it's a high-growth field you want, you can't beat registered nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are the largest occupation in the health care field, with 2.5 million jobs out there, about 587,000 new jobs expected to open up by 2016, and 59 percent of RNs working in hospitals. Average salary: $55,276 a year.

5. Computer support specialist. Such specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

They make a lot more than that here in sunny southern Calif! I know we are paying web developers up to around 75k a year. Support staff are making close to the same and my friend's wife is a RN and is making close to 100K a year with her OT

:thumbs: Yep. Those average salaries are a bit deceiving. It really depends where you live.

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:thumbs: Yep. Those average salaries are a bit deceiving. It really depends where you live.

No kidding. I don't know any Administrative Assistants in my hometown that make that kind of money, unless they are working for the Federal government.

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Camera operator...

i assume more $$ in the porn industry and you get a raise daily...


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But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

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10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

This is what I've been shopping in the Inland Northwest cos my degree gives me these skills. Unfortunately the market here for that is deceptive and I have a four year degree in it. Right now most TV stations need camera operators but they are offering to pay them only $7.00 an hour, especially when you're right out of college. I feel this is incredibly out of balance. How am I supposed to eek a living off of that and pay back student loans in the first year? I haven't looked in other markets yet. I mean hell if I could start out and make that kind of money I'd be willing to relocate for sure otherwise it's another year of college for me to prep for graduate school in film. Part of this is due to the signs of the economic times.


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10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

This is what I've been shopping in the Inland Northwest cos my degree gives me these skills. Unfortunately the market here for that is deceptive and I have a four year degree in it. Right now most TV stations need camera operators but they are offering to pay them only $7.00 an hour, especially when you're right out of college. I feel this is incredibly out of balance. How am I supposed to eek a living off of that and pay back student loans in the first year? I haven't looked in other markets yet. I mean hell if I could start out and make that kind of money I'd be willing to relocate for sure otherwise it's another year of college for me to prep for graduate school in film. Part of this is due to the signs of the economic times.

What about doing camera work on a low budget film for practically nothing? It would be something to put down on a resume and would most likely lead to other opportunities. :)

Camera operator...

i assume more $ in the porn industry and you get a raise daily...

...the excitement would wear rub off.

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10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

This is what I've been shopping in the Inland Northwest cos my degree gives me these skills. Unfortunately the market here for that is deceptive and I have a four year degree in it. Right now most TV stations need camera operators but they are offering to pay them only $7.00 an hour, especially when you're right out of college. I feel this is incredibly out of balance. How am I supposed to eek a living off of that and pay back student loans in the first year? I haven't looked in other markets yet. I mean hell if I could start out and make that kind of money I'd be willing to relocate for sure otherwise it's another year of college for me to prep for graduate school in film. Part of this is due to the signs of the economic times.

What about doing camera work on a low budget film for practically nothing? It would be something to put down on a resume and would most likely lead to other opportunities. :)

Camera operator...

i assume more $ in the porn industry and you get a raise daily...

...the excitement would wear rub off.

Eww..

Anyways...

I've had some offers like that through networking but they are all wanting to go abroad. I've been keeping an eye out in the Northern panhandle region I'm in. The only low budget films being made are students ones which is fine. The last film I know for certain they did in my region was where these men come together and they bring a guest who happens to be a famous rapper whose name I can't recall and they hunt him in the wilderness of Hell's Canyon. He outsmarts them and lives. I wish I could remember the rappers name or the name of that film. Any ideas?


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2. Web designer. As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code, and maintain their websites. Though many Web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year.

4. Registered nurse. If it's a high-growth field you want, you can't beat registered nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are the largest occupation in the health care field, with 2.5 million jobs out there, about 587,000 new jobs expected to open up by 2016, and 59 percent of RNs working in hospitals. Average salary: $55,276 a year.

5. Computer support specialist. Such specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year.

They make a lot more than that here in sunny southern Calif! I know we are paying web developers up to around 75k a year. Support staff are making close to the same and my friend's wife is a RN and is making close to 100K a year with her OT

:thumbs: Yep. Those average salaries are a bit deceiving. It really depends where you live.

Of course we will be laying off people so some of those salaries are definiately inflated :blink:


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United States & Republic of the Philippines

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." John Wayne

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10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

This is what I've been shopping in the Inland Northwest cos my degree gives me these skills. Unfortunately the market here for that is deceptive and I have a four year degree in it. Right now most TV stations need camera operators but they are offering to pay them only $7.00 an hour, especially when you're right out of college. I feel this is incredibly out of balance. How am I supposed to eek a living off of that and pay back student loans in the first year? I haven't looked in other markets yet. I mean hell if I could start out and make that kind of money I'd be willing to relocate for sure otherwise it's another year of college for me to prep for graduate school in film. Part of this is due to the signs of the economic times.

What about doing camera work on a low budget film for practically nothing? It would be something to put down on a resume and would most likely lead to other opportunities. :)

Camera operator...

i assume more $ in the porn industry and you get a raise daily...

...the excitement would wear rub off.

Eww..

Anyways...

I've had some offers like that through networking but they are all wanting to go abroad. I've been keeping an eye out in the Northern panhandle region I'm in. The only low budget films being made are students ones which is fine. The last film I know for certain they did in my region was where these men come together and they bring a guest who happens to be a famous rapper whose name I can't recall and they hunt him in the wilderness of Hell's Canyon. He outsmarts them and lives. I wish I could remember the rappers name or the name of that film. Any ideas?

I don't know, but I'd say if I were looking to establish myself as cameraman, I'd look for opportunities that are high profile (beyond student films) but offer little or no pay, but with the hope that doing so would open more doors. I wouldn't bother doing TV work...just seems too methodical and non-creative. Just my two cents. :)

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
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10. Camera operator. While competition to break into TV broadcasting and film can be stiff, the continued rise of Web content means more opportunities for camera operators. Television and film work often involve long or unusual hours. For that reason, many camera operators gravitate toward commercial advertising or corporate videos. The more computer skills a camera operator has, the better their job prospects. Average salary: $42,558 a year.

This is what I've been shopping in the Inland Northwest cos my degree gives me these skills. Unfortunately the market here for that is deceptive and I have a four year degree in it. Right now most TV stations need camera operators but they are offering to pay them only $7.00 an hour, especially when you're right out of college. I feel this is incredibly out of balance. How am I supposed to eek a living off of that and pay back student loans in the first year? I haven't looked in other markets yet. I mean hell if I could start out and make that kind of money I'd be willing to relocate for sure otherwise it's another year of college for me to prep for graduate school in film. Part of this is due to the signs of the economic times.

What about doing camera work on a low budget film for practically nothing? It would be something to put down on a resume and would most likely lead to other opportunities. :)

Camera operator...

i assume more $ in the porn industry and you get a raise daily...

...the excitement would wear rub off.

Eww..

Anyways...

I've had some offers like that through networking but they are all wanting to go abroad. I've been keeping an eye out in the Northern panhandle region I'm in. The only low budget films being made are students ones which is fine. The last film I know for certain they did in my region was where these men come together and they bring a guest who happens to be a famous rapper whose name I can't recall and they hunt him in the wilderness of Hell's Canyon. He outsmarts them and lives. I wish I could remember the rappers name or the name of that film. Any ideas?

I don't know, but I'd say if I were looking to establish myself as cameraman, I'd look for opportunities that are high profile (beyond student films) but offer little or no pay, but with the hope that doing so would open more doors. I wouldn't bother doing TV work...just seems too methodical and non-creative. Just my two cents. :)

The only thing I can think that I've gotten offers like that are from the advertising/marketing companies in Boise that come to my region to do shoots and want me to be a production assisstant for no pay. Do you mean take jobs like that?


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