7 Quick College Degrees That Offer Great Career Options

Attending university is often touted as the path toward a satisfying, high-paying job. Research backs this claim up, indicating that college graduates in 2017 had high pay waiting for them. Data also showed that during this time, the average starting salary of a little under $50,000 for new jobs for college graduates was at its highest, particularly in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Earning a conventional college enables graduates to measure up to job expectations. The truth, however, is that the college journey isn’t exactly all fun. College students struggle with time management, homesickness, and social issues. Perhaps the most crippling of all is the student loan amounting to a collective $1.48 trillion owed by more than 44 million people.

Another issue faced by numerous college students is the amount of time required of them to spend in university to earn their degree. Conventionally, bachelor’s degree holders would have spent at least four years in school. In the school year ending 2018, colleges and universities are expected to have 1.9 million graduates of bachelor’s degrees who might struggle with underemployment as they begin to shape their careers.

In this fast-paced world, a lot of people simply do not have the luxury of time and money for a conventional four-to-six-year college degree. The good news is, there are college degrees that can now be completed for much less amount of time. Indeed, bypassing the long college journey has its perks, considering the fact that there are less-than-four-year college degrees that lead to fulfilling careers.

Here are 7 college degrees you can earn for less than three years—and expect to land on well-paying job upon completion:

Associate’s Degree in Information Technology – Computer Support

Associate's Degree in IT

As businesses rely heavily on computers and technology now more than ever before, Information Tech experts are high in demand. With an Associate’s Degree in IT – Computer Support, graduates are expected to be highly proficient, and eventually acquire specific Certifications, in computer operating systems, computer hardware, network technologies, databases, mobile computing, and help desk. New graduates of this Associate Degree are potentially fit in Computer Technician, Help Desk Support, Computer Applications Specialist, Computer Support Specialist, or Software Trainer jobs with an average starting salary of $32,864 and median pay of $42,735 per year. Usually, they move on to a related yet different and higher position in 20 years.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing

Associate’s Degree in Nursing

Interested in the health care field but not quite up for a full course in Nursing? An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) can be earned in just two to three years. Courses will include a mix of lecture and practical training mainly in Biology, Nutrition, Anatomy, and Physiology. It requires each graduate to pass the NCLEX-RN, the national nursing examination, so they can jumpstart work in entry-level Registered Nurse position. In the in-demand nursing work environment, nurses with the ADN degree are being supervised by an experienced nurse with Bachelor’s Degree as they provide patient care. A practitioner with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing gets a median pay range of $68,450 and usually works hospitals, outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices, residential care facilities, and educational or government services.

Associate’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Operations

Associate’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Operations

An Associate’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Operations is usually awarded by many community colleges and includes trigonometry and college algebra as required courses. The Associate’s Degree granted to graduates are recognized by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or ABET. There are also vocational and technical institutes offering programs and coursework. For added training and certification required by employers, graduates earn their certificate in post-secondary schools. Aerospace engineering and operations specialists can expect their career to have a positive outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Factors making this career favorable include the rising need for experts in designing, testing, computer simulating, testing, and maintaining aerospace products, parts, communication systems, and equipment, as well as in aircraft or spacecraft architectural and engineering. California pays the highest annual mean salary for Aerospace Engineers and Operations Technicians at $69,570.

Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Does the paralegal field interest you? Earn an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies in as short as 15 months and maximum of 41 by and learn to conduct research, collate data, gather information, and prepare the necessary documents to assist lawyers in legal trials. This Associate’s Degree blends education courses and a specialized paralegal studies course including Law Office Management, Legal Research, and Legal Writing. Graduates are expected to be proficient in legal analysis, investigation, witness interviewing, and litigation. Those who have earned this degree usually take the next step by earning Certification and even moving on to getting a Bachelor’s Degree to become a paralegal professional. Work experience is a must in this field. Graduates get ahead in the game by volunteering in advocacy offices and giving entry-level positions, such as legal firm secretary, to lay a solid foundation toward being a paralegal professional.

Associate’s Degree in Web Development

Associate’s Degree in Web Development

Web development is one of the most highly in-demand jobs these days, considering the unprecedented rise in computer and related technologies. Earning a degree opens doors for a lucrative career in this field but if time or money isn’t on your side, get an Associate’s Degree in Web Development. Graduates of this degree are expected to possess skills in website building and editing, developing proper web content and graphics, as well as an understanding of its underlying structures. A career in this field offers an annual median pay of $66,130 and 13 percent job demand growth expected through the year 2026. This affordable educational option is attainable in a short time. As opposed to a full-blown, more expensive, four-year degree, it is a crucial step to achieving that dream career in Web Development sooner than later.

Associate’s Degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology

Associate’s Degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology

Many institutions offer the Associate Degree in Magnetic Resonance mostly as part of the diagnostic medical imaging course or radiology programs. This degree requires two years to complete with up to 95 credits, depending on the academic institution. Upon graduation, degree holders become eligible to obtain a Certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, a professional organization. Earning an ARRT Certification increases a graduate’s chances of getting employed and becoming a licensed MRI Technologist. MRI Technologists are tasked to view scanned MRI scans and ensure the safety and comfort of their patients. With a median pay of $70,490 annually, MRI technologists are usually in surgical hospitals, general hospitals, physicians’ offices, diagnostic laboratories, and specialty hospitals.

Associate’s Degree in Funeral Service Education

Associate's Degree in Funeral Service Education

College requirements vary for individual with an Associate Degree in Funeral Service Education. However, it goes without saying that holders of a degree enjoy a huge advantage over non-holders. An Associate Degree in Funeral Service Education includes course work consisting of 25% general, non-technical course work with curriculum that includes the Sciences, Business (for funeral home management), Law and Ethics, and Social Sciences. According to the American Board of Funeral Service Education, practitioners should also complete their practicum program in a funeral home. As a Funeral Director, Embalmer or Facility Manager, graduates earn as much as $73,469 annually for planning, directing, or coordinating funeral home services.

Earning college degrees in a short time puts you on an education journey that is manageable money- and schedule-wise, while also resulting in marketable skills. Here’s why it’s worth exploring:

Find US colleges and universities offering these short-term degrees so you don’t spend more than the time and money that your circumstances allow. If you can get your degree fast and start making money sooner than most college graduates, why not?