Although it all depends on what you make of it, choosing to further your education may lead to higher paying job opportunities. An associate’s degree takes just two years and offers more affordable tuition rates than a four-year school. As of April 2022, the average yearly salary for an individual with an associate’s degree comes out to $45,989.

Students have a plethora of specialties to choose from when obtaining a 2-year degree, from industry-specific roles in health care or IT or a more generalized education path. Salaries differ between areas of study, job type, experience, and, of course, location. A Georgetown University study that looked at job growth and education requirements through 2020 stated that 30% of job openings required “at least some college or an associate’s degree.” Students can choose to head right into the workforce after earning an associate’s, or continue their education toward earning a bachelor’s degree.

The unemployment rate for associate’s degree holders is only 2%, according to research from the Education Data Initiative. Having an associate’s degree under your belt is proven to increase one’s chance of holding a professional or management position in any number of industries, among them education and health, wholesale retail and trade, and professional and business services.

Stacker compiled a list of the highest and lowest paying jobs that require a 2-year degree in Fort Collins, CO using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2021 annual mean wage.

#26. Preschool teachers, except special education

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $35,560
– #184 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 280

National
– Annual mean salary: $36,550
– Employment: 370,940
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($49,990)
— Ocean City, NJ ($49,720)
— Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ ($49,560)

#25. Veterinary technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $39,880
– #86 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 440

National
– Annual mean salary: $37,860
– Employment: 109,490
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($57,990)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($52,220)
— Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA ($51,340)

#24. Forest and conservation technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $44,770
– #72 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $42,780
– Employment: 30,150
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($68,370)
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($66,570)
— Corvallis, OR ($62,260)

#23. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $45,340
– #72 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 100

National
– Annual mean salary: $44,170
– Employment: 108,470
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($60,080)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($55,410)
— Napa, CA ($54,120)

#22. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $46,820
– #53 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,790
– Employment: 13,210
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($95,360)
— Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($82,470)
— Trenton, NJ ($80,110)

#21. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $51,950
– #58 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

National
– Annual mean salary: $56,570
– Employment: 17,070
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($82,240)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($81,340)
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($74,280)

#20. Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $52,440
– #52 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 220

National
– Annual mean salary: $50,960
– Employment: 31,860
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Kennewick-Richland, WA ($79,780)
— Huntsville, AL ($78,320)
— Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($76,970)

#19. Chemical technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $53,100
– #94 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 160

National
– Annual mean salary: $53,700
– Employment: 63,490
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Billings, MT ($86,340)
— Alaska nonmetropolitan area ($79,390)
— Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($78,000)

#18. Civil engineering technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $55,010
– #163 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $56,590
– Employment: 67,270
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,190)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($83,250)
— Baton Rouge, LA ($81,340)

#17. Paralegals and legal assistants

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $57,660
– #73 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 220

National
– Annual mean salary: $56,610
– Employment: 332,720
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($90,640)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($76,960)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($75,640)

#16. Architectural and civil drafters

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $58,190
– #114 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $59,120
– Employment: 99,180
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC ($76,060)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($75,700)
— Anchorage, AK ($75,650)

#15. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $59,640
– #94 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,880
– Employment: 39,880
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Baton Rouge, LA ($112,580)
— North Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area ($91,580)
— New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($91,550)

#14. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,140
– #93 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,940
– Employment: 55,980
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA ($99,130)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($94,400)
— Santa Rosa, CA ($92,140)

#13. Physical therapist assistants

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,720
– #149 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 50

National
– Annual mean salary: $59,440
– Employment: 92,740
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($85,960)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($78,740)
— Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($76,390)

#12. Medical equipment repairers

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $61,270
– #34 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

National
– Annual mean salary: $55,090
– Employment: 48,510
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($84,820)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($84,030)
— Reno, NV ($83,450)

#11. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $63,560
– #136 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 260

National
– Annual mean salary: $64,840
– Employment: 206,720
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($127,890)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($118,480)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($118,100)

#10. Respiratory therapists

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $68,480
– #83 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 130

National
– Annual mean salary: $65,640
– Employment: 131,890
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($113,450)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($109,330)
— Santa Rosa, CA ($101,690)

#9. Electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $69,280
– #11 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $62,800
– Employment: 13,160
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($99,720)
— West Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area ($99,380)
— Midland, TX ($98,040)

#8. Mechanical drafters

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,540
– #16 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 50

National
– Annual mean salary: $61,490
– Employment: 51,620
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($104,540)
— Corpus Christi, TX ($90,720)
— New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($82,590)

#7. Computer network support specialists

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $72,090
– #62 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 110

National
– Annual mean salary: $71,040
– Employment: 184,220
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($94,120)
— Barnstable Town, MA ($93,670)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,190)

#6. Industrial engineering technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $72,490
– #17 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

National
– Annual mean salary: $59,920
– Employment: 62,980
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS ($94,360)
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($90,460)
— Baton Rouge, LA ($86,020)

#5. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $76,430
– #57 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

National
– Annual mean salary: $75,960
– Employment: 39,270
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($133,590)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,930)
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($120,550)

#4. Dental hygienists

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $87,150
– #67 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 260

National
– Annual mean salary: $78,050
– Employment: 194,830
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($125,750)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($122,660)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($119,320)

#3. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $89,840
– #45 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 80

National
– Annual mean salary: $77,790
– Employment: 73,920
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($138,110)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($137,140)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($131,080)

#2. Radiation therapists

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $90,750
– #31 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $94,300
– Employment: 17,390
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($169,080)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($159,660)
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($131,960)

#1. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians

Fort Collins, CO
– Annual mean salary: $91,980
– #2 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $68,310
– Employment: 115,270
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Northeast Virginia nonmetropolitan area ($99,890)
— Fort Collins, CO ($91,980)
— Bakersfield, CA ($90,780)


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