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If you're ready to buckle down and get a higher education, you don't have to break the bank to do so. Plenty of career opportunities are available for people with an Associate of Arts (AA) degrees. These degrees are obtainable at two-year community colleges.
An associate's degree is essentially the equivalent of the first two years of a bachelor's degree education – but you don't have to complete the next two years to lock down a solid career. Associate's degrees come at three levels: an Associate of Arts, which covers more general subjects; an Associate of Science (AS), which focuses on math and science subjects; and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), which targets specific vocations. Getting an associate's degree can be a smart move, both career-wise and financially, seeing as community colleges, on average, cost about a third of a four-year education ($3,520 versus $9,650).
As far as associate's degrees go, AS and AAS degrees tend to lead to the most diverse career options. But an AA would still qualify you for a number of vocational paths.
Receiving your AA in criminal justice or a similar field might be your first step toward working as a police officer. Police officers reel in a $60,000 salary on average, and they're always in demand. On top of that, protecting people and property can make for a deeply fulfilling career, though the job is physically and emotionally taxing and, at times, dangerous.
Advertising Sales Agent
If you pursue an AA in marketing, it could qualify you to work as an advertising salesperson in the media industry. You'd get to hone your communication skills and work with all types of people – plus, ads representatives, on average, make a salary of about $49,000.
Childcare Center Director
If you complete an AA in early childhood education, you might be well on your way to make a business of childcare. Running a childcare center entails finding customers, addressing parents' concerns, tracking payments and managing a staff. These positions make a $35,000 salary on average.
Executive Administrative Assistant
This career is made possible via an AA in administrative assistance, and it's ideal for people who obsess over management and organization. As an executive assistant, you'd be expected to bring perspective and creativity to the job, as well as problem-solving abilities and the usual clerical skills. The average salary for a position like this is $41,000.
Fashion Buyer or Designer
Earn your AA in fashion merchandising or design and it'll get your foot in the door to buying or designing fashion. Fashion buyers assess sales reports and trends to determine which clothing retailers should carry, as well as what their prices should be. Buyers make an average of $69,000 per year. Designers take on the more artsy end by actually creating the clothing. Their salaries range around $49,000, on average.