These associate degree majors earn more than many 4-year college grads. Here’s what to know.

There are 17 associate degree majors with which graduates, four years after they receive their diploma, are earning more than the typical bachelor’s degree holder, according to new research from The HEA Group. Founded by Michael Itzkowitz, the former director of the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, HEA provides data on college costs and other topics.

Many of the top-earning associate programs are focused on STEM subjects, with the physical science technologies at the top of the heap. This degree helps students prepare for a number of technical jobs, such as in chemical research or radiochemistry. Nursing degrees also pay off, although nurses with bachelor’s degrees earn about $76,000 annually four years after graduating — about 14% more than those with associate degrees in nursing.

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