A two-year, or associates degree, allows students to pursue a professional career in a short time frame. Some degrees may earn more money, while others may contribute more to the community. The best associates degrees play on an individuals strength and passions while still providing a good source of income.

10) Fashion Designer

Fashion designers make lots of money, perks and potentially fame. An associate degree in fashion design provides fashion advice, contacts, and a working knowledge of how the industry works. The one downside to this otherwise amazing degree comes with its competitiveness; the fashion industry takes a lot of work, patience and perseverance. A person with talent and work ethic can thrive at this career, but those who want more of a guarantee might pick something else.

9) Massage Therapist

Massage therapists set their own hours, pick where they work, and make lots of money. As independent contractors, massage therapists can choose where they work, from their own apartment to a cruise ship, and with the growth of alternative medicine some therapists are moving in alongside doctors offices.

8) Teaching Assistants

People who love children should consider a degree in teaching assistance. Teaching assistants can make roughly $25,000 a year, offer support to teachers, and directly inspire children. Check with local schools to make sure they hire teaching assistants before completing a degree; though many schools completely rely on teaching assistants, others do not have the funding to hire them at this time. Working as a teaching assistant provides a meaningful way to make lasting impacts in children lives.

7) Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapists make good money and help people beat cancer. Their critical job in the hospital involves administering radiation, monitoring progress and gently dealing with frightened patients. An associate's in radiation therapy fits perfectly with individuals who wish to play a critical role in the health care field.

6) Court Reporting

Though different states have different laws, most only require two years of higher education and background checks to practice court reporting. Court reporters document important court proceedings while making a great salary roughly $22 an hour. People with fast typing skills excel at this job.

5) Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapists work to help patients regain movement following an injury. Their assistants help document patients' progress, help patients stretch and chart the course for their care. However, though it has an hourly wage of $20, this career requires additional training beyond an associates degree in some states.

4) Ultrasound Technician

Averaging an hourly salary of a little less than $30, ultrasound technicians show women their soon-to-be children in-utero and check for heart and other problems. Consistently in demand, technicians can find employment at hospitals or gynecologists' office.

3) Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapists help patients balance and set up medications, suction breathing tubes, and may even preform percussion therapy. An important part of the medical team, therapists are are hugely in demand in hospitals nationwide.

2) Dental Hygene

No matter how the market looks, everyone needs to see a dentist. Though dentistry takes years of schooling, dental hygienists only need two years to enter one of the most in-demand fields around--all for a wage of almost $30 an hour.

1) Nursing

Nursing may be the best associates degree option. Not only do nurses make decent money, they are in extremely high demand and are a critical part of the patient care team. Someone with the capacity to nurture and the desire to take care of others should consider nursing as the top job with an associate degree.

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