There are several opinions about this question. In my humble opinion the answer is yes. I got an Associates Degree in 1983 and it has provided me with a very comfortable living. As in most professions, experience is what matters. It is my opinion that since technology changes so fast that by the time you finish a 4 year degree the stuff you learned in the first year is out dated. While basic system design and programming methods change more slowly, the speed that systems and languages are developing is quite rapid. Here's the way I see it. Let's say you get a 2yr degree and the go out and find a position using that degree. Two years later you apply for a job where the other applicant has a 4 year degree but no experience. 9 times out of 10, your production environment experience will be valued higher than an additional 2 years of college. Thus at the end of the 4 years that you would be going to school, your Associates degree plus 2 years experience will put you at a higher starting salary than if you just had a 4 year degree with no experience.
Recent data supports this answer. Especially in the healthcare field which offers a wide range of well paying careers that can be entered with an AA (associates degree). Even more important may be that healthcare jobs are in demand now and well into the future. Nursing, technicians, administration and assisting positions primarily make up the list of careers that can be obtained with an associates meaning it can be completed in two years or less and should cost less then more advanced forms of education.
There are many positions one can get with an associates degree in Criminal Justice, provided they have the skill and the drive. I work in the New York Distric Attorney's Office and can tell you that many of our employees went no higher than getting their associates degree due to financial constraints or other limiting factors. Yet, because of their dedication to their city and their job they are nonetheless extremely useful, productive individuals. They range from city clerks to assistant trial lawyers, and everything in between. And while a dedicated individual with a bachelors degree or higher will most likely beat out a dedicated individual with an associates degree (this goes for most fields), that is a far cry from saying that an associates degree is not nearly enough to get, and hold, a well-paying, title-bearing job that you and your family can be proud of.
Computer engineering degrees are a great college program to take if you are looking for a career track that is high-tech, leads to well-paying jobs, and challenging. Computer engineering is a combination of electrical engineering and computer science. Electrical engineering focuses on the hardware side of things, like how to design and build computers. Computer science is more about software – how to program computers. Either of them, separately, would be a good high-tech field to go in to. When you take them together, as a computer engineering course, they give you the skills necessary to lead computer design teams, as project leaders have to be able to understand how the hardware works with the software, and vice-versa. Getting a computer engineering degree may be a little harder than some other types of degrees. In 2004, there were 170 accredited computer engineering programs in the United States. This is a field that is in very high demand, and so has expanded some since then. If you are looking for a computer engineering degree, you will want to check with your local college or university of choice to find out if they offer that degree. Like many degrees, it can be obtained from many different colleges, but some are considered to be better or more reputable than others. You may want to check out a list of the best colleges for computer engineering, like the one at http://education-portal.com/articles/Top_Schools_for_Computer_Engineering.html. Opinions vary on how important it is to go to a major university, but it is at least something to consider. In general though, it is better to go to a school that is primarily technical. CNBC says that computer engineering is the 5th best paying degree in 2010 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/29408064/Highest_Paid_Bachelor_s_Degrees_2010?slide=7). With an average starting salary of around $60,000, computer engineering has consistently been ranked as one of the top paying degree programs. Computer engineers are in high demand because of the fast-paced growth of the technology industry, and the difficulty of the degree. If you like math and science, and are good with computers, then computer engineering may be a great degree, but it is difficult, and is definitely not for everyone.
This question cannot be answered. There are many different types of associate's degrees, and many different majors for each type. According to careerinfonet.org, the 10 highest paying jobs with an associate's degree in 2005 include radiation therapists, nuclear technicians, dental hygienists, fashion designers, registered nurses, commercial pilots, and computer specialists. HOWEVER, all of those professions require an Associate's of Applied Science (AAS) degree. You can't get an Associate's Degree in General Studies and become a radiation therapist, for example. You will need an AAS in Radiation Technology.
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