Kyle Grillot, AP
Registered Nurses have a median income of $64,690
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A college degree is increasingly perceived as essential to success in the job market, and statistics tend to agree. College degree holders tend to out-earn their high school diploma holding counterparts by large margins.

But while many in schools today tend to focus on earning bachelor's degrees, new studies are showing that if you want to make a decent wage, prospective students shouldn't overlook associate degree and related certificates.

A report from shows the first year earnings of two-year degree holders didn’t just net first year earnings equal to a four-year degree holder, they occasionally out earned them. Coupled with what is to be an explosion in growth for jobs that require an associate degree, suddenly that community college is looking very inviting.

If the idea of earning more money sounds appealing to you, but the thought of spending four years in school and building upwards of $20,000 in student debt doesn’t, consider getting a two-year degree and certification for one of these top-paying jobs that only require a two-year degree and accompanying certificates.

Ten high paying jobs that only require a two-year degree, with info on median earnings from’s ‘Jobs in Demand Study.”:

Registered Nurse: One of the most popular two-year job’s out there, an RN has a median income of $64,690 a year. Your job is to provide and coordinate care for patients.

Dental Hygienist: With a median income of $68,250 in exchange for assisting the dentist and providing teeth cleaning and care, Dental Hygienist is a job worth considering if you are up for putting your hands in a people’s mouths.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: $64,380 a year in exchange for providing sonogram tests to help diagnose medical concerns.

Radiation Therapist: Earning $74,980, Radiation Therapists are responsible for administrating radiation to cancer patients or those suffering from other illnesses.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist: Similar to Radiation Therapists in that your job is to administer radioactive drugs to patients, the median yearly earnings are $68,560.

Nuclear Technicians: And yet another job dealing with everyone’s favorite atomic reaction, Nuclear Technician’s assists nuclear physicist and/or engineers in their jobs for a not too shabby $68,090 a year.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians: $56,040 a year for assisting in the designing of electronic equipment.

Aerospace Engineering Technicians: You just may get the chance the work on something going into space, and you make $58,080 a year.

Construction Manager: As the housing and construction industries rebound from a near total collapse at the start of the recession, any career in construction can net a healthy pay, with Construction Managers making a yearly average of $83,860.

Air Traffic Controllers: In return for safely coordinating the various flight paths of the hundreds of planes crisscrossing the nation, a two-year degree holding Air Traffic Controller will make $108,040 a year.

Jobs in healthcare are a solid bet in the coming decade, with the elderly population expected to increase to 55 million by 2020, and as construction and engineering rebounds it is once again a career worth considering. Honorable mentions also go to computer technicians and graphic designers.

This article was paid for and produced by LDS Business College.