Fast-growing jobs for associate's degree holders

Individuals who earn associate's degrees may land many fast-growing careers, such as that of a dental hygienist.
Individuals who earn associate's degrees may land many fast-growing careers, such as that of a dental hygienist.

Adults who decide to go back to school and enroll in an associate's degree program may be able to land a job in a number of fast-growing fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some of the most rapidly expanding positions for individuals who hold this credential include dental hygienist, paralegal and registered nurse.

Dental hygienists are responsible for teaching people how to take care of their mouths, while also examining their teeth and gums and recording the results. The need for these professionals is growing rapidly, as job opportunities for dental hygienists are predicted to increase by 36 percent in the next seven years, the BLS states. Individuals who are interested in advancing their dental hygiene careers can pursue higher learning, such as a bachelor's or a master's degree in the field, which can open doors to teaching, clinical practice or research positions.

Another fast-growing position for associate's degree holders is that of a paralegal. These professionals help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, closings and meetings. They may also draft separation agreements, contracts and mortgages. In the next seven years, the number of jobs for paralegals is expected to increase by about 28 percent, the BLS reports.

Individuals who want to enter the growing healthcare industry may use their associate's degree to launch a career as a registered nurse. These individuals help treat patients and educate them about their medical conditions and the rehabilitation process. Registered nurses may also record patients' medical histories, perform diagnostic tests and administer treatment. Employment opportunities for individuals who have an associate's degree in nursing are expected to rise by 22 percent through 2018, according to the BLS.

Still, there are many other expanding careers for associate's degree holders. The BLS reports that positions such as radiation therapist, network and computer systems administrator and police officer will grow in the next seven years.