Friends Jumping

With cash-strapped state governments looking for any way to support their budgets, it’s no wonder that university students around the country are protesting higher tuition rates. So if you want to go to school, or go back to school, but don’t want to spend the rest of your life in debt, what are your options?

Believe it or not, there are lots of great careers out there that only call for an Associate’s degree. Unlike a Bachelor’s degree, which will eat up 4 years of your time (and money), Associate’s degrees will get you a diploma and get you working in approximately 24 months.

The 5 jobs listed below not only require an Associate’s degree, but best of all, they are among the 30 fastest growing occupations in the United States. How do I know? Because there’s an awesome government agency known as the BLS (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which is dedicated to investigating labor economics and statistics, that told me so. And these jobs aren’t just growing now; these projections go all the way through 2021

Veterinary Assisting Careers

From the mistreated pit bull to the aging golden lab, veterinary assistants assist veterinarians in caring for all the animals brought to their clinics. Sometimes referred to as “pet nurses,” vet techs play a major role in administering pet care, processing tests, making diagnoses and helping with treatment. If you’re an animal lover and you have a passion for science and health care, this could be the perfect career for you.

Pharmacy Technician Careers

We’ve all read the warnings on our prescription bottles: a few milligrams of one medication mixed with another can be a recipe for disaster. That’s why the role of the pharmacy technician is so important. Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to prepare medications, fill prescriptions, and educate patients about their medicine and how to take it. Through a two-year Associate’s program, pharmacy technicians gain the education they need to work in pharmacies, nursing homes, or assisted-living facilities.

Fitness Trainer Careers

As the emphasis on wellness and preventative health care grows, so do the opportunities for fitness trainers (aka personal trainers). These individuals help their clients run, sweat and climb their way to physical fitness. In the process of doing so, they ward off a whole host of afflictions, including obesity and heart disease. While some companies will hire fitness trainers with only a certification from a fitness training program, Associate’s degrees in exercise science or a related field are recommended for those who want to advance (and make more money).

Physical Therapist Assistant Careers

Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with a medical condition isn’t surgery or treatment; it’s recovery. Physical therapists and physical therapists assistants work with patients to help them rebuild their bodies and their lives after illnesses and injuries of all kinds. During an Associate’s program, physical therapy students learn how to perform ultrasound scans, assist patients during weight training, analyze treatment progression and more-all of which prepares them to work as physical therapist assistants when they graduate.

Dental Assistant Careers

That’s right, those patient and gentle workers who fight tooth decay, wage war against plaque and polish your smile started their careers with an Associate’s degree. Dental assistants are required to enroll in an accredited dental assistant program, which awards an Associate’s degree upon graduation.

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