Associate degree programs are two-year programs that are commonly found in community colleges and technical schools. While some associate degrees prepare students for immediate transfer to four-year colleges and universities, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree prepares students for careers directly after graduation. Opportunities are also available for AAS graduate to continue their education and earn promotions in their respective fields.
Computer specialists are responsible for troubleshooting computers and finding the solutions to repair hardware and software problems. In addition to having strong technical skills, computer specialists also must have good communication skills in order to work with computer owners and understand technical problems. Students in an associate degree program in computer information technology learn about operations systems, wireless communications, computer applications, information systems and computer technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer specialist earned a median salary of $77,010 in 2009.
Nuclear technicians work with nuclear energy and operate diagnostic imaging equipment to treat patient diseases. Technicians use radiopharmaceuticals to indicate the presence of diseases. Additional duties include explaining the procedure to patients and placing them in the proper position. An associate degree in nuclear technology combines academic coursework with on-the-job training and teaches students about applied nuclear physics, nuclear medicine technology, nuclear medicine instrumentation and radiation physics. The BLS reports that nuclear technicians earned a median salary of $67,910 in 2009.
Dental hygienists assist dentists in treating patients' living with teeth and gum issues. Duties of dental hygienists include removing stains, applying fluorides and educating patients about proper nutrition and dental care. The Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene includes courses in dental radiology, dental materials, dental ethics and dental hygiene theory. After graduating with a dental hygienist degree, individuals can earn certification through the Dental Hygienists Association. The BLS reports that in 2009, dental hygienists earned a median salary of $67,340 per year.
Radiation therapists are part of a medical team and use radiation to reduce the size of cancerous tumors in patients. This treatment may be used in combination with chemotherapy and surgery. Courses in a radiation therapy program include radiation oncology, radiation therapy, radiation physics, and radiobiology and protection. Certification is available through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). In 2009, the BLS reports that radiation therapists earned a median salary of $74,010 per year.
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