If you could spend up to $ 26,820 a year at a public university or $ 3,750 a year at a community college, which would you choose? What if we said you could make a six-figure income if you went to the cheaper school?
Obtaining a bachelor's degree seems to be the purely American way to get college education. But keep in mind the following: The College Board says you get an average of $ 10,440 back from government tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 school year – or $ 26,820 if you pay tuition and fees outside of the state.
In contrast, average tuition and fees at public two-year colleges between 2019 and 2020 range from $ 1,430 in California to $ 8,210 in Vermont. This makes two-year institutes, in which tuition and tuition fees average $ 3,750 per year, a bargain, even in the upper price segment.
Here is a list of the jobs that you can get with a maximum of two years of training. According to the latest figures, you pay significantly above the average US wage.
1. Air traffic controller
Stoyan Yotov / Shutterstock.com
Average annual wages: $ 124,540
If you want to earn serious money, you become an air traffic controller. These experts help planes fly and earn a six-figure income.
Some of these professionals may have a bachelor's degree, but you can also get one of these jobs with an associate's degree from the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative, according to the United States Department of Labor Statistics.
Given the importance of the job, air traffic controllers also need to undergo medical and background checks and take exams and courses at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Academy.
2. Radiation therapists
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Average annual wages: $ 82,330
Advances in medical technology mean that doctors use high-tech devices to diagnose and treat diseases. You need trained employees to operate these special machines.
These workers include radiation therapists. After two years of training, they are able to provide radiation treatments for cancer and other diseases and receive an average hourly wage of $ 39.58.
3. Nuclear medical technologists
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Average annual wages: $ 76,820
Nuclear medical technologists mainly work in hospitals and prepare radioactive drugs that are used to monitor, diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer.
An associate degree from an accredited nuclear medicine program is the typical training for these specialists.
4. Diagnostic medical sonographs
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Average annual wages: $ 72,510
Diagnostic medical sonographs are another type of worker who can be trained to use special medical equipment in two years.
They operate ultrasound devices that not only give expectant parents a look at a developing baby, but also generate images of other parts of the body. The images are used to help doctors identify and diagnose medical problems.
5. MRI technologists
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Average annual wages: $ 71,670
MRI technologists (magnetic resonance imaging) are trained to use MRI scanners to get diagnostic images of patients. The best paid employers for this specialty include outpatient care centers, hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories and medical practices.
MRI technicians require a two-year associate degree. Students wishing to pursue this career path can prepare for courses in math and science, particularly anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology and physics.
6. Web developer
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Average annual wages: $ 69,430
If computers are your thing, how about a career as a web developer?
These are the people who design the websites you visit (like this one) and make sure everything looks and runs exactly as it should.
An associate degree is all you need to learn the basics for a job that pays an average annual wage of $ 69,430 or about $ 33.38 an hour.
7. Avionics technician
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Average annual wages: $ 64,140
Avionics technicians have another well-paid profession in the field of flying.
These employees are responsible for testing, repairing, and maintaining electronic devices in aircraft and other aircraft. They can also be used to inspect aircraft for defects and interpret flight data.
8. Specialist in computer network support
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Average annual wages: $ 62,770
California by far has the most people in the profession, followed by Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida.
The industries that pay the most for computer support positions include telecommunications, data processing and hosting, computer system design, finance and insurance, and corporate management.
A bachelor's degree may help, but many companies will accept applicants with an associate's degree, says the BLS.
9. Fire inspectors and investigators
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Average annual wages: $ 62,510
If you're looking for a job that gets you out of the office, you can become a fire inspector or investigator.
As the name suggests, these workers inspect the property for regulatory compliance and inspectors can investigate the cause of a fire.
Most fire investigators and inspectors must have previously worked as firefighters, says the BLS. You need a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate before you can start training in the workplace. Depending on the employer, a two or four year degree in fire science, engineering or chemistry may be required.
10. Respiratory therapists
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Average annual wages: $ 60,280
From premature babies with underdeveloped lungs to adults with emphysema, a large number of patients benefit from the work of respiratory therapists.
These professionals measure lung capacity and consult doctors to develop and implement a treatment plan. You get paid well and only have to go to school for two years to be employable. In all states except Alaska, respiratory therapists must be licensed by the state.
11. Occupational therapy assistants
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Average annual wages: $ 60,220
An aging population is also expected to boost employment growth for occupational therapy assistants. These staff assist occupational therapists with exercises and therapies that are designed to improve a person's ability to perform daily tasks.
12. Radiological technologists
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Average annual wages: $ 59,520
Radiological technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging tests and typically take X-rays of patients in a medical setting such as a hospital or clinic. You can also become a mammographer who uses low-dose X-rays to create diagnostic images of breast tissue.
MRI technologists (see slide # 5) often work as radiological technologists in their field, according to the BLS.
To be a radiological technologist, you need an associate degree and must also be licensed or certified in most states.
13. Assistant to the physiotherapist
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Average annual wages: $ 58,040
In some states, physiotherapists require a doctorate. Nationwide, however, their assistants only need an associate degree from an accredited program.
Physiotherapy assistants can expect explosive employment growth in the coming years as baby boomers get older and their need for physiotherapy increases.
14. Funeral director
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Average annual wages: $ 57,580
Not everyone may think this is a glamorous job, but someone has to do it.
Funeral directors offer services that are always in demand. They're usually pretty well paid.
In order to work in this area, you need an associate degree in funeral or funeral services. Every state except Colorado has license requirements for local workers. Colorado offers a voluntary certification program.
15. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians
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Average annual wages: $ 56,850
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians use medical devices to take pictures of the heart and lungs. You only need a two-year associate degree for this job, which paid an average wage of $ 56,850 in 2018.
Outpatient clinics, medical practices, hospitals and diagnostic laboratories are among the highest paid employers for this specialty.
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Average annual wages: $ 55,550
Draftsmen work with software to convert construction plans into technical drawings.
They can specialize in architectural, mechanical or electrical drawing and their services are used in a variety of industries. First, get an associate degree from a community college or technical school.
17. Geological and petroleum technicians
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Average annual wages: $ 53,300
Either an associate's degree or a two-year post-secondary education in an area of applied science or science-related technology are all you normally need to get started in that area, says the BLS.
Geology and petroleum engineers work with engineers and scientists to collect and analyze information about natural resources that can help them explore an area for the extraction of its natural resources.
18. Paralegals and legal assistants
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Average annual wages: $ 50,940
Working as a lawyer is really big money. But paying legal assistants isn't too shabby.
Paralegals and legal assistants do a lot of the work for lawyers: researching laws, creating and submitting correspondence and court documents.
Often only an associate degree in paralegal studies is required.
19. Chemical technician
Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock.com
Average annual wages: $ 48,160 a year
Science-oriented career seekers may also enjoy becoming chemical technicians. A two-year post-secondary education or an associate degree is often all you need to get started.
In collaboration with chemists or chemical engineers, technicians often help companies with research and development. They help with laboratory experiments and collect results, which are then used to create new products and processes. According to the BLS, they can monitor the production process in pharmaceutical or chemical plants.
What jobs have you seen that pay off and require only two years or less of college or training? Let us know in a comment below or at Money Talks News on Facebook.