12 Most Rewarding Jobs That Only Require 2 Years of College
As the price of four-year universities continues to rise, more and more young people are looking into jobs requiring only 2 years of college. If you are looking for 2-year degree jobs that provide more than just a paycheck, you have some great options!
This 2-year degree careers list covers which jobs are most in-demand based on a 10-year job outlook so that you can make smart choices for your future. A 2-year program gives you real-life skills to enter the job market and start making money sooner rather than later.
Best Jobs That Only Need a 2-Year Degree
What degree can you get in 2 years? We’re glad you asked! You may be surprised at the number of excellent 2 year degree careers, such as working as an environmental data analyst or a veterinary technician. Working to help keep the environment clean or take care of animals can be very rewarding and give you a sense of purpose. Many of these meaningful, 2 year degree jobs also pay well, from careers in the medical field to working with computers.
- Data Analyst
- Veterinary Technician
- Aquaculture Technician
- Web Developer
- Animal Shelter Attendant
- Wastewater Technician
- Junior Aquarist
- Medical Assistant
- Renewable Energy Technician
- Environmental Science and Protection Technician
- Fire Inspector
- Dental Hygienist
If you are looking for 2 year degrees that pay well, consider data analytics. Technology jobs such as data analyst and computer programmer are high-paying, and some require no college at all as long as you have the technical skills needed to do the job well. If you want to learn to analyze and interpret data but don’t want to commit to a 2-year degree, you could enroll in a data analytics certificate program instead and start working even sooner.
Data analysts work in a variety of fields. If you are interested in helping to fight climate change, consider a career as an environmental data analyst. They collect and analyze data on weather patterns and other environmental factors in order to predict future changes. They share this information to inform public policy and help reduce the effects of global warming.
Data analysts need to be able to use various technology tools such as Python and SQL. While data analysts are not programmers, knowing basic code such as HTML or CSS will also come in handy when analyzing, visualizing, and sharing data with others.
For animal lovers, veterinary technician is one of the best jobs that only require a 2 year degree. While some jobs helping animals such as wildlife biologist usually require a bachelor’s degree, you can become a vet tech with just an associate degree.
Vet techs usually work in clinics or animal hospitals under the leadership of a veterinarian. They assist with everything from surgeries to administering vaccines. When you visit the vet’s office, it’s usually the vet tech who weighs your pet and does the initial check-up. This job requires a strong understanding of animal behavior, biology, and medicine.
Being a vet tech can be really fun at times. You get to hang out with animals every day. However, the job can also be difficult. Vet techs are often responsible for preparing animals for surgery and assisting families with the end of a pet’s life. This job requires compassion for animals and people, and even when difficult, it is important, rewarding work.
Not sure if animal care is right for you? Try our online, 5-week introductory animal care course to see if a career as a vet tech or wildlife biologist is right for you.
The exciting world of sustainable aquaculture may be unfamiliar to many, but it is essential for the future of the planet’s oceans and waterways. Aquaculture is farming aquatic organisms (i.e. fish, algae, and other plants and animals that live in water). Just like other forms of sustainable agriculture, sustainable aquaculture provides important resources to people without harming natural ecosystems.
This is one of the most in-demand two-year degree careers. Increased awareness of the harmful effects of overfishing has led to an increase in aquaculture farms. Farming fish in aquaculture facilities managed by trained technicians helps preserve aquatic animals and their habitats. Biodiversity is essential to a wealthy planet, so aquaculture technicians are doing important conservation work.
Fish farmers and other aquaculture technicians are often self-employed or work for other farmers who own their own facilities. This job requires knowledge of aquatic plants and animals as well as aquaculture farming laws and regulations. The majority of aquaculture jobs are in coastal states like California, Florida, and Texas, but there are some inland fish farms in the U.S. as well.
As with many technology jobs, web developers are 2-year degree jobs in demand. Furthermore, the need for good web developers is likely to continue to be high for the next ten years at least.
As a web developer, you have many options of what kind of company you can work for. For example, you may choose to design a website for a non-profit that advocates for sustainability or for a for-profit business that makes sustainable clothing. Many web developers are self-employed. This allows for flexible hours and only taking on projects that interest you.
Animal Shelter Attendant
Working at an animal shelter is not for the faint of heart. The job often requires helping animals that have been injured, neglected, or abused. Animal shelter attendants work directly with animals every day. They care for them by cleaning their cages, feeding them, and bathing them. You will get dirty doing this job, but it will be worth it!
Some animal shelters are owned by local governments, while others are privately owned. Large animal rescue organizations such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society employ many animal shelter attendants across the country.
Many animal shelter attendant jobs only require a high school diploma or GED. However, getting an associate degree in veterinary technology can help you stand out among the competition and increase your earning potential.
Wastewater technician is another environment-focused job that only requires two years of college. These workers help keep our water clean and safe for drinking by following treatment plans. They usually work for local governments in water treatment plants. Water treatment plants exist all over the country and are essential to our society, so wastewater technicians are needed everywhere.
Wastewater technicians clean and repair equipment and test water quality. They ensure that waste is properly disposed of and that the plant is following all water treatment laws and regulations. This job is a mix of strenuous manual labor and data collection and analysis. It will challenge you both mentally and physically, but the work is rewarding. You will be directly helping people and the environment every day.
Aquarists are like zookeepers but for aquariums. This is an ideal job for anyone that loves aquatic animals. The job is very unique and may require you to scuba dive into large tanks and exhibits to clean them, feed animals, or perform water quality tests.
Many aquarist jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some entry-level junior aquarist positions only require a 2-year degree. As a junior aquarist, you may do a lot of the dirty work of cleaning tanks and completing paperwork about the animals. You may also interact with aquarium visitors to do feeding demonstrations and educational presentations.
Looking for higher-paying jobs helping animals? Learn about exciting high-paying careers working with animals from Unity College.
Are you interested in working in human medicine? Becoming a doctor requires many years of schooling, but there are several rewarding medical careers that take 2 years of college. Getting a certificate or associate degree in medical assisting allows you to choose from several specializations including administrative work or optometry (eye care) assistance.
- Average Salary: $37,190
- Recommended Degree: A.S. in Medical Assisting
Medical assistants often work in doctor’s offices. Others work in hospitals or outpatient care centers. They work directly with patients daily, so good interpersonal skills are critical to a successful career. Medical assistants perform tasks such as measuring blood pressure, administering medications, and updating patient medical records.
Working as a medical assistant could be a stepping stone to other higher-paying two-year degree careers in the medical field. These include radiation therapist, medical sonographer, and MRI technologist. With a 2-year degree in medical assisting, you will be on your way to becoming certified in one or more of these specializations.
Renewable Energy Technician
There are two main types of renewable energy technicians:
- Photovoltaic technicians work to install, maintain, and repair solar panels.
- Wind turbine technicians work to inspect, maintain, and repair wind turbines.
While there are 2-year degrees for both types of aspiring renewable energy technicians, many of these jobs only require a certificate. Electric power companies like General Electric most often employ wind turbine technicians. Solar panel technicians usually work for electrical contractors. The job may require travel to various locations to install solar panels or repair equipment.
- Average Salary: $56,260
- Recommended Degree: A.S in Renewable Energy
These are physically demanding jobs. You will work outside in windy and/or sunny places. You may have to climb up wind turbines or onto roofs to do repairs, so caution is vital. This job is not for anyone with a fear of heights! If you think you can handle the work, this is a great career choice for stability as the number of renewable energy technician jobs is expected to increase much faster than other jobs in the next ten years.
Environmental Science and Protection Technician
Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and address dangerous incidents such as oil spills. If you are passionate about helping people and the environment and you enjoy being outdoors, this may be the right career for you. This is an entry-level job that only requires 2 years of college.
- Average Salary: $47,370
- Recommended Degree: A.S. in Environmental Science
Environmental science and protection technicians protect natural resources including water and air quality all over the country. They spend a good amount of time in the field collecting samples and transporting them back to the lab for analysis.
You can choose to work in the public or private sector. Environmental science and protection techs primarily work for local governments in the public sector. In the private sector, they work for consulting companies and laboratories.
Fire inspectors help prevent fires by inspecting buildings inside and out for fire hazards. This includes testing fire alarms and sprinkler systems. Fire inspectors also ensure that businesses and buildings have safe evacuation plans in place. The job requires having a strong knowledge of fire codes.
- Average Annual Salary: $63,080
- Recommended Degree Program: A.S. in Fire Science
If you are interested in working outdoors, consider a career as a forest fire inspector. They inspect public areas such as national parks for potential wildfire risks and help to reduce those risks. Global warming has increased the frequency and severity of wildfires in the U.S., increasing the demand for forest fire inspectors.
Many fire inspectors work as EMTs or firefighters first to build their on-the-job experience. Training programs to become an EMT or firefighter can be completed in only a few months, so you can work while completing your 2-year degree in fire science.
Dental hygienists work in dentists’ offices to assist with patients as needed. This includes doing teeth cleanings, taking dental x-rays, and updating patient records. One dentist’s office may employ many dental hygienists depending on the size of the practice. Dental hygienists work closely with dentists during dental procedures, so to succeed in this career, you will need to be a team player.
- Average Annual Salary: $77,810
- Recommended Degree Program: A.S. in Dental Hygiene
Some dentist offices specialize in working with children. If you want to help care for kids and teach them about dental hygiene, look for work at a pediatric dentist. Other dentists specialize in orthodontics which includes braces.
To become a dental hygienist, you will need to pass a test to get a license after completing your associate degree. While this extra step may add a bit of time to your two-year plan, it may pay off in the long run. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of dental hygienist jobs is increasing much faster than average, which means there will be more demand for dental hygienists in the next few years.
Explore 2 Year Programs at Unity Environmental College
Jobs that only require 2 years of college range from working as a technician in the field helping the environment to office jobs using data and technology to solve complex problems. Careers that only require 2 years of college like data analyst and aquaculture technician are in high demand and will continue to be stable options in the next decade.
Don’t waste time on an expensive, traditional four-year university when you don’t have to. Unity Environmental College offers affordable courses with in-person, online, and hybrid options to meet the needs of each unique student. At our technical training institute, you will learn hands-on skills that you can start using on the job right away. From marine careers for water lovers to careers fighting climate change on land, Unity Environmental College can prepare you for a rewarding future.