Best Two-Year Degrees Offered by Community Colleges

Community colleges are a great investment for anyone who is looking for higher education but is turned off by a double-digit tuition price. If you don’t want to spend $10,000 annually for a degree, here are five of the best degrees offered by the cheaper community college option. 

Mechanical Engineering

A degree in mechanical engineering gives you the knowledge and skills that employers look for, especially in manufacturing. It isn’t unreasonable for someone with a two-year degree in engineering technology to earn a salary of around $55,000. This salary can even increase when companies are willing to do on-the-job training. Additional training with CNC machines and CAD software can increase this salary by up to $40,000 a year!

Dental Hygiene

Getting a two-year or four-year degree in a medical field is a smart option for anyone looking into higher education. While dental hygiene positions are considered entry level positions, you can still get a salary of up to $66,000 annually. Currently, dental hygienists only need a two-year degree, and many offices are willing to train you to get further experience. This experience helps you to increase your salary and gain more skills to further your knowledge in the field. Another benefit of this career track is that the pay is consistently increasing. Since 2012, the average median salary has risen over $1,000 annually, and the outlook is that this number will continue to grow.

Radiation Technology and Medical Imaging

Radiation technology and medical imaging is a huge field that is only getting bigger. Diagnostic medical sonographer, radiation therapist, and nuclear medicine technologist are three high-paying positions that only require this two-year degree. On average, radiation therapists can earn around $77,000 annually, and this salary is increasing each year. Sonographers can make $65,000 a year, and nuclear medicine technologists can earn as much as $70,000. This is pretty remarkable since the average cost of a two-year degree is only anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000. If you do choose to continue your education, these salaries will continue to increase as well.

Plumbing and Heating

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is a booming field, and plumbing is as well. Those who get a two-year degree in either plumbing or HVAC are basically guaranteed a job where they will receive anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 per year. Often, experience is required for these employment opportunities, but companies are much more likely to train someone that has a college degree. It shows that they are determined to learn and passionate about what they know. There are also registered apprenticeship programs for plumbing and HVAC that allow you to move straight into employment after you graduate.


While you may not realize it, a registered nurse only needs a two-year degree in nursing to practice in the United States. These programs are completed in 5-6 semesters and may also be completed online, although some clinical components are required to be completed on-site. Before you enter into an online program, you will need to do some research to ensure that it is accredited. The average median salary for registered nurses is over $60,000 and is expected to increase by 19% for the next ten years