Planning Ahead: Choosing the Community College Degree with the Best Career Potential

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Planning Ahead: Choosing the Community College Degree with the Best Career Potential
We analyze 10 of the top community college degrees that provide excellent future professional potential.
If you are looking for a job with serious career potential for the 21st century, a community college might be just the place to start. Two-year schools offer a wealth of degree options for in-demand industries for the local workforce and beyond. Check out these 10 community college degrees with excellent future potential.
Plumbing may not be the first thing you think of when you are considering lucrative careers for the 21st century, but guess what? This industry is predicted to grow by more than 25 percent over the next 10 years, according to Yahoo Finance. The average annual salary can go up to more than $67,000 as well. While some enter the plumbing industry through an apprenticeship or on-the-job experience, an associate degree from a local community college could sweeten the pot on the employment front.
Veterinary Technician
If you love animals, a career as a veterinary technician might be the perfect choice. These professionals work alongside veterinarians, offering support with regular checkups, performing diagnostic examinations and assisting during surgery. A two-year degree from the right community college can launch your career in this growing field. According to Money Crashers, the projected growth for veterinary technicians over the next 10 years is around 35 percent, with an average annual salary of $30,000.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
These healthcare professionals utilize ultrasound equipment to screen and diagnose a number of conditions. As this technology has grown and evolved to encompass a large number of diagnostic purposes, the need for medical sonographers has also grown. According to a report at 24/7 Wall Street, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an increase of around 45 percent in the number of diagnostic sonographers needed between 2010 and 2020. The average annual salary for this field is around $64,000, with the highest paid sonographers making more than $88,000 annually.
Electricians are doing much more than hooking up the lights these days – with increased technology also comes the need for more connectivity in homes and businesses alike. Electricians are also starting to work with alternative energy sources like solar and wind energy, according to Yahoo Finance. As demand increases so does the need for training in this field. A two-year degree from a local community college might be an effective way to get your foot in the door of this expanding industry, which is expected to grow by around 23 percent over the next 10 years.  
Dental Hygienist
The position of the dental hygienist makes it on nearly every current career list, due to stellar job growth, flexibility and a high annual income. According to 24/7 Wall Street, this field is expected to grow by an outstanding 37.7 percent over the next 10 years. In addition, the average annual income of more than $68,000 encompasses full-time, as well as part-time, professionals. Dental hygienists work directly with patients in dentist offices, providing cleaning, preventative care and patient education.
Environmental Science and Protection Technician
Yahoo Finance explains that environmental science and protection technicians “monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination, including those affecting health.” These professionals may begin their career path with a two-year degree in public safety technology, which prepares graduates for a career in environmental protection, as well as fire science, homeland security and administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nearly 20,000 more jobs will be added to this industry by 2020, with a current average annual income of more than $41,000.
Registered Nurse
Nursing is a career that simply never goes out of style, and the next decade will be no exception. The difference today is that many nurses are now getting their start in this rewarding career from a two-year school with a robust healthcare program. Nurses enjoy incredible versatility, working in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and clinics. Some even offer home care to patients who are unable seek medical care out of their homes. The average annual salary for registered nurses ranges from $53,000 to more than $80,000. Job growth over the next 10 years is expected to continue at a rate of around 26 percent.
Biomedical Engineering Technician
Biomedical engineering technicians provide service and repair to a broad range of medical equipment used in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. Although some companies require a bachelor’s degree to land a position in this field, many technicians get their foot in the door with an associate degree as well. The position is expected to grow significantly over the next decade – at a rate of nearly 67 percent, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Professionals in this field can expect to earn an average annual salary of more than $83,000.
Physical Therapist Assistant
This is another position that makes its way to a number of career lists today, due to its exponential growth and seemingly endless possibilities. Physical therapy assistants work alongside physical therapists, overseeing exercises and administering care to help patients recover from surgery, injury or illness. The field is expected to grow at a rate of more than 47 percent through 2020, with an average annual salary ranging from $41,000 to around $60,000.
Computer Information Technician
The technology sector will continue to grow over the next decade, which is good news for those pursuing a degree in computer information technology. A two-year degree will launch you on a rewarding career in computer security, PC support or networking. Entry-level information technology analysts make an average annual salary of $60,000 or more, and job growth is predicted at a rate of 30 percent over the next decade, according to Ivy Tech Community College.
Community college is an excellent place to find a career that will grow with you into the future. These hot fields are in demand today and show plenty of promise in the years to come.
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