(Stacker) — 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 Lafayette, LA using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2021 annual mean wage.

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#17. Veterinary technologists and technicians

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $26,210
– #439 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 330

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)

#16. Preschool teachers, except special education

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $27,000
– #472 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 310

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)

#15. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $39,390
– #223 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

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)

#14. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $40,280
– #246 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 70

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)

#13. Medical equipment repairers

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $44,760
– #170 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

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)

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#12. Paralegals and legal assistants

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $47,260
– #274 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 440

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)

#11. Physical therapist assistants

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $48,210
– #439 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

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)

#10. Electrical and electronics drafters

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $48,940
– #93 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 50

National
– Annual mean salary: $65,720
– Employment: 23,020
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($98,380)
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($86,920)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($83,760)

#9. Chemical technicians

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $49,340
– #162 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 80

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)

#8. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $51,300
– #435 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 350

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)

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#7. Respiratory therapists

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $54,510
– #333 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 200

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)

#6. Architectural and civil drafters

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $55,950
– #160 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

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)

#5. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $56,670
– #278 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 240

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)

#4. Occupational therapy assistants

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $58,550
– #157 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

National
– Annual mean salary: $63,420
– Employment: 42,750
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($85,570)
— Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($77,720)
— San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($77,650)

#3. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $62,570
– #328 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 130

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)

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#2. Computer network support specialists

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $63,810
– #191 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 100

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)

#1. Dental hygienists

Lafayette, LA
– Annual mean salary: $74,990
– #202 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 190

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)

Article has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/?ref=chooser-v1