25 Best 2 Year Degrees [2020 Guide]

We’ve identified the 25 best 2 year degrees. Find out what the top picks are and what jobs you can get with your associate’s degree.

2 Year Degrees

Earning your associate degree in one of these fields can help you enter the workforce with in-demand skills or set you up to finish a bachelor’s degree right away or some time in the future.

What Are the Best 2 Year Degrees?

These are the best 2 year degrees you can get. Click on one you’re interested in to jump to that part of the page.

  1. Accounting
  2. Business Administration
  3. Child Development
  4. Computer Science
  5. Criminal Justice
  6. Special Education
  7. Engineering
  8. Entrepreneurship
  9. Fashion
  10. Fire Science
  11. Graphic Design
  12. Health Services
  13. Hospitality Management
  14. Human Services
  15. Information Technology
  16. Legal Studies
  17. Liberal Arts
  18. Marketing
  19. Medical Assisting
  20. Medical Coding
  21. Network Administration
  22. Paralegal
  23. Pharmacy
  24. Retail and Sales Management
  25. Small Business

Each of these degrees come as a two year, or associate degree, though the exact type will differ according to the field of study. Some are Associate of Arts degrees while other are Associate of Science or other types of two year degrees.


bookkeeper arranging documents in an office

Put your love for numbers and organization to work for you with a career in the accounting field. Accounting professionals can keep records of financial transactions, help people with their taxes, and perform clerical duties related to payroll.

In a two-year accounting program, you’ll begin to study cost accounting and managerial accounting. You’re sure to study topics like taxation and economics as well. The curriculum may include business classes on law, ethics, computer systems, and information technology.

Bookkeeping is an entry-level job to consider after completing this degree. On average, bookkeepers earn $40,240 each year. Another path to consider is being a payroll or timekeeping clerk, for which you might earn around $45,050 annually.

If you’d like to continue your studies with a bachelor’s program, consider an accounting or business major. Eventually, you may accumulate enough accounting-related college credits to become a certified public accountant.

Business Administration

business professionals working together in an office

Are you interested in working in an office or helping organizations reach their financial goals? If so, a degree in business might be for you.

A two-year business degree will introduce you to fundamental concepts that are applicable in many career paths. You’re likely to get an overview of accounting, business law, economics, business math, and finance.

Other topics may include human relations, management, marketing, and taxation. You may also learn to use software and communicate effectively through business writing or speaking.

Business is a broad field, so your post-graduation job options will be varied. One idea is to get started in an office setting as an administrative assistant or a clerk. On average, administrative assistants earn $38,880 annually.

A business degree can lead to several different four-year programs. A Bachelor of Business Arts is one option. Other majors to consider include accounting, finance, human resources, public relations, or marketing.

Child Development

early childhood education teacher assisting her students

If you enjoy working with young children, then you might make an excellent teacher. In this role, you’ll have the privilege of helping kids build a foundation for academic success as they get to know the world around them.

As an early childhood major, you’ll learn about working with babies, preschoolers, and kids who are just starting elementary school.

Early childhood students take classes in child development and psychology. You’ll also need to learn how to organize a classroom, manage behavior, and deliver effective instruction. Lessons on classroom observation will prepare you to learn from experienced teachers.

With this degree, you could become a preschool teacher or a daycare worker. On average, preschool teachers make $29,780 annually, and childcare workers earn $23,240.

After completing this program, you may want to get a bachelor’s degree, so you can pursue licensure. Majors to consider include early childhood or elementary education.

Computer Science

web developers working on computer

Become more tech-savvy and help businesses achieve their networking goals by earning a degree in computer science. Jobs in computers and information technology are growing at a rate of 12%, so you can expect the skills you learn to be in demand by employers.

The curriculum will cover computer architecture, networks, and databases. You’ll study the fundamentals of programming languages and may learn to use one or more of them. The choices may include C++, Java, and HTML.

Since this is a scientific program, you can expect to take several math classes and a technical writing course.

Being a web developer is one example of a job that you can do with an associate’s in computer science. The average salary for this job is $69,430.

If you choose to continue your education instead of pursuing an entry-level position, consider transferring your associate’s degree into a computer science bachelor’s program.

Criminal Justice

security guard on duty

Are your sights set on being a police officer or playing a role in the legal field? A two-year criminal justice degree can help you get there.

This program will cover topics like criminal law, policing, criminology, and forensic psychology. You’ll discuss corrections and remediation for juvenile offenders and talk about how to carry out criminal justice processes in diverse or global settings.

The classes will also help you develop an ethical framework for your criminal justice practices.

You may be able to apply for a job with a police force after finishing this program; patrol officers can earn around $61,380 each year. If you choose to go into corrections, your annual salary might be around $44,330 annually. As a security guard, you could earn $28,490 each year.

For a bachelor’s degree program, consider extending your criminal justice studies or pursuing a homeland security or corrections major.

Special Education

special education teacher teaching her student how to write

Put your care and concern for children into practice in a special education associate’s degree program. You’ll start learning how to work with kids who need extra attention or personalized accommodations in the classroom.

Your curriculum will include general education classes that cover topics like child development, learning theories, classroom observation, and teaching strategies. You’ll also gain skills specifically for working with students who have special needs.

The classes may provide an overview of disabilities and exceptionalities, and they may also cover early intervention and other educational strategies that can support students who have special needs.

Earning this degree can be useful for classroom aides and childcare workers. As a teacher assistant, you might earn around $26,970 each year.

Transferring to a bachelor’s degree after graduation can prepare you for teacher licensure in your state. You could pursue a special education, early childhood, elementary, or secondary teaching degree.


Engineering technician fixing a machine

If you’re a student who’s strong in math and science, you may be successful in an engineering program. Your courses could prepare you to work in industrial, electrical, or mechanical engineering or one of the many other engineering domains.

To earn your degree, you’ll need to take multiple math and science classes, such as calculus, differential equations, chemistry, and physics. You’ll also study engineering skills like computer modeling, circuit design, computer programming, electrical systems, and construction materials.

Some of these may be offered as electives so you can pick the courses that are most applicable to your future career goals.

Engineering technicians can be successful with just a two-year degree. One of the top-paying technician disciplines, aerospace engineering, and operations, pays an average salary of $67,010.

A two-year engineering degree can be good preparation for a bachelor’s degree program in engineering or another science-based discipline.


Entrepreneur working on her laptop

Starting your own business is exciting but risky. Increase your chances of success with college courses designed to prepare you for the ups and downs of small business leadership.

In an entrepreneurship two-year degree program, you’ll study business basics, such as office technology, accounting, human resources, management, and business law.

You’ll learn to be creative and effective with your marketing through channels like social media and sales teams. Other courses may teach you about getting an idea off the ground and bringing a project to completion.

You may use these skills to launch your own business after graduation. Your skills will also be applicable in many business settings. For example, as an advertising sales agent, you might earn around $51,740 each year.

The courses you take for this associate’s degree may transfer into a variety of bachelor’s programs. These may include entrepreneurship, business, marketing, organizational leadership, finance, or management.


fashion designer working in her studio

Are you crazy about clothes and passionate about helping people look their best? When you pursue a fashion degree, you can boost others’ confidence by outfitting them with great clothing.

For this program, you’ll take classes in color theory and design fundamentals. Additionally, you’ll learn to use materials and assemble pieces, and you may practice using digital tools to experiment with designs.

Retail management and selling may be other topics that your studies will cover. Your degree program may focus on a specific aspect of this discipline, such as merchandising or design.

You could get an entry-level job with a fashion design firm or go into retail and merchandising. Retail sales managers may earn about $39,630 annually. Another idea is to become a buyer who decides which items a store should carry.

Consider extending your studies with a bachelor’s degree program in fashion design, fashion business, or textiles and fabric.

Fire Science

firefighters putting out a fire

If rescuing people was what you were born to do, then getting your associate’s program in fire science is the training that you need. Having this degree may give you an advantage over other candidates when applying for in-demand firefighting jobs.

Your studies will include courses on the way that fire behaves. That includes how combustion happens, and a fire spreads. You’ll also study strategies for preventing blazes, techniques for putting them out, and strategies for being prepared for a disaster.

You may also study how to inspect and analyze the debris that’s left behind after a fire.

After graduation, you can look for work with a fire services agency. This might be in a community setting or with a forestry organization. Fire inspectors earn about $60,200 each year, and firefighters make $49,620.

For a bachelor’s degree, consider fire science, fire management, or another emergency-services program.

Graphic Design

Graphic Designer working on her laptop

If you have a creative spirit and an eye for layouts, then channel that artistic ability into a graphic design career. Others will count on you to make their publications and advertisements pop.

You’ll gain a better appreciation for art history and the works of the masters. As you study others’ creations, you’ll also review the fundamentals of eye-pleasing designs. Your courses will introduce you to software used for creating layouts and editing images.

In addition to creating still images, you may also learn about animation. During your studies, you may begin building a portfolio of your work to show potential employers.

Graphic designers make an average of $50,370 annually, but a bachelor’s degree is required for most positions. With your associate’s degree, you may be able to work as a design assistant.

For a related four-year degree, consider visual art, graphic design, or interaction design.

Health Services

healthcare administrator working on a laptop

You can help healthcare organizations achieve their missions by working in an office or administrative role. A degree in health services will introduce you to the skills and tools needed for this job.

To get started, you’ll need to learn healthcare fundamentals like privacy laws, human anatomy, and medical terminology. Other classes will help you learn about the systems that are used for healthcare delivery and reimbursement in the U.S.

You’ll study administrative procedures, medical records programs, and management skills. Plus, you’ll also learn how to interact with patients in professional and ethical ways.

With an associate’s degree, you might be able to work as a medical records technician. The median pay for that role is $40,350 per year.

Earning a bachelor’s degree may qualify you to take a position as a health services manager. Consider a four-year degree in health services, healthcare administration, or business.

Hospitality Management

hospitality management instructor talking to students

Pursuing a career in the hospitality industry means that you will spend your career creating a welcoming environment for others. Whether you want to work in restaurants, hotels, tourism agencies, resorts, casinos, or event venues, a degree in hospitality management can help you get there.

The curriculum will cover business principles, management, and marketing. You may learn to use spreadsheets and other office software that can streamline your operations.

If you’re interested in a particular area of hospitality, you may be able to take electives like Hotel Management, Conference Hosting, and Restaurant Operations. Whatever your area of focus, you will surely learn about delivering high-quality customer services.

This degree presents diverse career options. For example, you could be a concierge, earning about $30,400 each year. Alternatively, as a restaurant manager, you might make $54,240 annually.

For a related bachelor’s program, you could consider studying tourism, restaurant management, or hospitality.

Human Services

psychologist talking to a patient in his office

If you care deeply about others and want to help them improve their lives, you might make a good caseworker or program manager. With a career in human services, you can help people get through hard times and connect with community resources.

Human services associate’s degree programs will equip you with skills for working with people. Having a better understanding of psychology and sociology will help you with that. You’ll explore addiction and other struggles, such as addiction, that can make daily activities challenging.

Your classes will teach you to conduct assessments and design beneficial interventions or programs that can help people in need.

Human services assistants earn a median salary of $33,750 each year. This job category includes titles like caseworker aide and social work assistant. You might work with people who are facing addiction, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, or disabilities.

Bachelor’s programs to consider include human services, social work, and psychology.

Information Technology

IT support specialists working in a modern office

Organizations rely on digital systems to store and transmit information. With a degree in information technology, you’ll be prepared to carry out the essential work of designing, maintaining, and troubleshooting these systems.

After taking introductory classes that cover IT fundamentals, you’ll dig into concepts like network design, cybersecurity, and programming languages. The courses will teach you to use modern office applications, head up projects, and develop software programs.

You may have the opportunity to complete an internship in the IT department of an organization.

Web development is a popular career path after graduating with an IT associate’s degree. You could also work as a computer support specialist who helps others use technology and fixes their computer problems. The average pay for this job is $53,470 per year.

To further your IT education, consider transferring your credits into a bachelor’s program related to computer science, network administration, or information technology.

legal assistant working in court

Although becoming a lawyer takes years of study, you can enter the legal field with just a two-year degree. After an associate’s program in legal studies, you can become an integral part of a legal team.

The classes for this degree program may include Introduction to Legal Studies, Writing for Legal Settings, and Legal Research Strategies. You may also study criminal and civil law, software for legal settings, ethics, torts, and software programs.

The most common jobs for people with this degree are paralegal and legal assistant. The average salary for those positions is $50,940 per year. You could also use your legal knowledge to become a legal secretary, making $46,360, or a title examiner, earning about $47,130.

In a four-year degree program, you can continue your pursuit of a legal studies degree. You may also be able to transfer your credits into a pre-law or political science program.

Liberal Arts

liberal arts student working on his laptop

For a generalist associate’s program, look into studying liberal arts. This degree can be a great choice for students who know they want to earn a college degree but don’t have their sights set on a particular major. It’s also a versatile transfer degree.

In a liberal arts program, you’ll take a variety of foundational classes. These are likely to include studies in literature, science, history, composition, and philosophy. You may get to round out your degree program with multiple electives of your choosing.

A degree in liberal arts doesn’t prepare you for any one particular career. Even still, you may be able to land a higher-paying job once you’ve graduated. On average, people with associate’s degrees earn 18% to 26% more than those without a degree.

Because of the general nature of this degree, it can be easy to transfer into a variety of Bachelor of Arts programs.


social media marketing specialist working on her laptop

If you have the power of persuasion, then you can put those skills to work for you in a marketing career. Marketing may also be a great choice if you’re interested in consumer behavior or product trends.

A marketing program will offer classes like Marketing Fundamentals, Marketing Communications, and Global Business. You will learn about using social media for marketing purposes, conducting market research, and thinking creatively.

The courses will give an overview of the various domains of marketing, including advertising and public relations.

With a two-year degree, you could take an assistant or junior marketing position. Other career options include retail sales manager or social media specialist. As a wholesale sales representative, you might earn about $61,660 annually.

The classes you take may someday help you earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Your credits may also be useful in a related program like business administration or public relations.

Medical Assisting

medical assistant looking at a tablet

Medical assistants take care of important responsibilities in a healthcare setting. Choosing this career path will allow you to support doctors and nurses in their work and make a difference for patients.

To get started with a job in medical assisting, you’ll need to learn about human anatomy, medical terminology, and basic procedures. The courses will help you learn about the software and systems that may be used in the office of your facility.

You’ll also explore the reimbursement structures used in U.S. healthcare and become familiar with medical coding. You’ll probably need to gain hands-on clinical experience.

As a medical assistant, you might work in the office of a healthcare facility, or you could perform clinical services for patients. Medical assistants earn an average annual salary of $33,610.

Later, your associate’s studies and your professional experience may help you succeed in a bachelor’s program in healthcare management or nursing.

Medical Coding

medical coders in a meeting

Healthcare billing and coding can be complicated, but you’ll be an expert who’s up to the task after earning a degree in medical coding. Gaining this knowledge will make you a valuable member of a healthcare administration team.

Your classes may include Introduction to Coding, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Health Records Systems. You’ll gain in-depth practice with coding systems and styles, and you may complete practicum experiences in which you can exercise your skills.

Other courses will cover patient privacy laws, insurance structures, and healthcare databases.

With this degree and the proper certification, you can pursue work as a medical records or health information technician. The median annual pay for that job category is $40,350.

To continue your studies, consider transferring to a four-year program in health informatics, healthcare management, or healthcare administration. These programs can prepare you to take supervisory roles in a medical office.

Network Administration

network administrator fixing cables in data room

Without strong networks, an organization’s productivity will be affected. You can study network administration so you’ll be prepared to maintain the software and hardware that keep networks running smoothly.

Network professionals work with operating systems regularly, so you may learn about Windows and Linux. You’ll also become more knowledgeable of network architecture, routing, and switching.

Learning how computers process information will equip you to communicate with digital systems and build software programs.

Although some companies require a bachelor’s degree for their network professionals, other organizations may consider your associate’s degree sufficient for a position as a network or computer systems administrator.

The average pay for that job is $82,050 per year. Alternatively, you could enter this field as a network support specialist.

After finishing your associate’s degree, you may want to return to school for a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or computer forensics.


Paralegal and lawyer working together

Some students know they want to be involved with the legal field, but they may not be sure exactly what role they want to play. Those students may opt for an open-ended legal studies degree.

Others, knowing specifically that a paralegal career is for them, may consider a paralegal degree program to be the better choice.

If you choose to get a paralegal associate’s degree, you’ll take classes in paralegalism and legal research. The courses will give you an overview of disciplines like criminal law and family law. You may also study what it takes to provide leadership among legal support professionals.

As a paralegal, you may earn about $50,940 annually. You could work in a law office, a corporation, or a government agency.

To continue your paralegal career, you may not need additional schooling. To shift into a slightly different role, you could get a bachelor’s degree in legal studies.


pharmacist giving medicine to a customer

Technicians carry out many tasks in a pharmacy setting. To learn how to work with medications, and interact with customers, consider going to school for a pharmacy technician associate’s degree.

The studies for this program will include an overview of healthcare, patient care, and illnesses. You’ll learn about medications that are used to treat diseases and how to calculate their dosages. Plus, you’ll talk about pharmacy ethics and discover how to maintain patient privacy.

After graduation, you should be ready for your certification as a pharmacy tech. In that job, you may earn around $32,700 each year. Job openings are increasing at a rate of about 7%.

This can be a terminal degree that prepares you for a long-term career as a pharmacy technician. If you choose to switch tracks, your studies and experience may give you a good foundation for applying to pharmacy school to become a licensed pharmacist.

Retail and Sales Management

Sales Manager checking inventory

Succeeding in a store environment or leading a team of sales representatives takes knowledge and skill. You can develop those strengths in an associate’s program dedicated to retail and sales management. If you thrive on the high energy of a sales environment, then this might be the career path for you.

You will take classes that help you become a better salesperson, a competent businessperson, and a strong leader. These courses may cover topics like communication, management, and interpersonal relations.

Studying marketing and consumer behaviors can help you refine your ability to sell products or services to others. Taking accounting classes can prepare you to keep your store’s books in order.

You could work in a retail or other sales environment after graduation. Sales managers in some settings can earn $124,220 or more each year.

To build on your studies with a bachelor’s program, consider management, business, hospitality, or sales.

Small Business

business owner checking receipts at store

Do you have dreams of owning your own business and being your own boss? Running a small business can be challenging, but getting a college education can help spur you on toward success.

This type of associate’s program will include courses in accounting, business culture, and communications. A course in merchandising can help you learn about pricing your goods and promoting them.

You may develop your skills in working with employees and other business leaders, and you’ll learn to conduct supply chain negotiations. Hopefully, by the end of the program, you’ll have developed the confidence to launch a business and grow it over time.

Small business owners are self-employed, and salaries can vary widely. Some business owners pay themselves a minimal salary for several years while getting their organizations off the ground.

For future education, you could consider a bachelor’s degree in business administration, retail management, or entrepreneurship.

Career Outlook for 2 Year Degree Jobs in Demand

Career Outlook for 2 Year Degree Jobs in Demand

A two-year degree doesn’t need to limit your job opportunities. There are a number of high-paying, in-demand careers for which you need only an associate’s degree.

Career Median Annual Salary
Sales Manager $124,220
Network Administrator $82,050
Dental Hygienist $74,820
Web Developer $69,430
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician $67,010
Patrol Officer $61,380
Respiratory Therapist $60,200
Fire Inspector $60,200
Occupational Therapist Assistant $57,620
Restaurant Manager $54,940
Paralegal $50,940
Firefighter $49,620
Physical Therapist Assistant $48,090
Health Information Technician $40,350

Besides your education, you earnings will also depend on your level of experience, industry, and location.

Accreditation for 2 Year Degrees

logos of the 7 accreditation boards

There are many 2 year degree jobs in demand — but only for those whose degree comes from a reputable college.

The way to know whether a school is good is to make sure that it holds regional accreditation. This means that the college has been approved by an official accrediting body.

There are seven regional accrediting organizations:

Choosing an accredited program is especially important if you want the option to transfer your credits into a bachelor’s degree program.

Financial Aid for an Associates Degree

screenshot of FAFSA website

Earning 2 year degrees online can be an excellent way to jumpstart your career without shelling out big bucks for tuition at a four-year college. Even still, an associate’s degree costs money, and you may need help affording it.

Government assistance can be quite valuable. State governments and the federal government have programs for distributing funds to students in need. Grants don’t need to be repaid, but loans do.

Government loans usually carry low-interest rates, which can make them more affordable than private loans. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be your first step in securing government assistance.

You can also apply for scholarships. This gift money may come from your school or an outside source. You may qualify based on your merits — such as getting good grades, showing leadership qualities, or being a star athlete — or your financial need.

Scholarship applications may require you to submit an essay about your career goals or your positive qualities.

If you need guidance about applying for assistance, talk to your school’s financial aid department. They may be able to recommend scholarship opportunities or suggest a payment plan for your tuition.

Questions Related to Earning an Associate Degree in Accounting Online

Here’s some information you might need to know before starting your associate’s coursework.

What Is the 2 Year Degree Name?

If you’re wondering, “2 years of college is what degree?” then you’re not alone. Many people are curious about the 2 year degree name. This is typically called an associate’s degree.

You may earn your associate’s degree from a college that offers both two- and four-year programs, or you may earn it from a community college or trade school that specializes in two-year offerings.

What Degree is 2 Years of College?

If you’re enrolled in an associate’s degree program, you can earn a degree in approximately two years. The course of study is typically equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s program.

For that reason, when transferring your completed associate’s credits into a four-year college, you may be able to start as a junior and be finished after just two more years.

Is There a 2 Year Engineering Degree?

Yes, there is a 2 year engineering degree. With just two years of college, you can get started with your engineering career. Options include an Associate of Science in Engineering, an Associate in Engineering Science, and an Associate of Science in Engineering Technology.

These degrees may prepare you to earn an engineering bachelor’s degree or to work as an engineering technician. As a technician, your area of specialty might be aerospace operations, electronics, industrial engineering, or another branch of this field.

Can You Have Two Associates Degrees?

Yes, you can earn multiple associate’s degrees. In fact, some students enroll in both Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) programs so that they will broaden their general knowledge base and learn more about their chosen field.

Having a few associate’s degrees may increase the chances of getting into a particular bachelor’s program or increase your appeal to potential employers.

What Are the Best Two Year Degrees?

graduating associate degree student with her parents

Earning an online associate’s degree can help you launch a successful career that brings in a reliable income.

The best two-year program for you will depend on what you’d like to do after graduation. Choosing a discipline that allows you to draw on your strengths can help you can go far in life.

After exploring the above suggestions for two-year degrees, you might decide that studying engineering, health services, industrial technology, legal studies, or hospitality management is the right course of action for you.

Next up, submit applications to two-year schools, and get ready to become a college student!

Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins