The 30 highest-paying jobs you can get with an associate degree

Read full story

Don't have the time or money to get a bachelor's degree?

It turns out that plenty of two-year associate degrees have a high return on investment.

According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 30 highest-paying jobs that require only an associate degree.

Each has a median annual salary of at least $48,000.

This is an update of a story originally written by Vivian Giang.

View As: One Page Slides

30. Respiratory therapy technicians

30. Respiratory therapy technicians

They provide respiratory care under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Median annual wage (2015): $48,490

Projected job openings (through 2024): 1,100

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

29. Environmental engineering technicians

29. Environmental engineering technicians

They modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems like waste treatment and site remediation under the direction of engineering staff or scientist.

Median annual wage (2015): $48,650

Projected job openings (through 2024): 6,400

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

28. Paralegals and legal assistants

28. Paralegals and legal assistants

They do a variety of tasks to support lawyers like maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Median annual wage (2015): $48,810

Projected job openings (through 2024): 82,700

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

27. Civil engineering technicians

27. Civil engineering technicians

They plan, design, and oversee construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.

Median annual wage (2015): $49,260

Projected job openings (through 2024): 21,600

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

26. Architectural and civil drafters

26. Architectural and civil drafters

They prepare detailed drawings of architectural and structural features of buildings or drawings and topographical relief maps used in civil engineering projects like highways, bridges, and public works.

Median annual wage (2015): $50,710

Projected job openings (through 2024): 11,100

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

25. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

25. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

They repair, install, or maintain mobile or stationary radio transmitting, broadcasting, and receiving equipment and two-way radio communications systems used in cellular telecommunications, mobile broadband, ship-to-shore, aircraft-to-ground communications, and radio equipment in service and emergency vehicles.

Median annual wage (2015): $51,660

Projected job openings (through 2024): 2,100

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training

24. Electro-mechanical technicians

24. Electro-mechanical technicians

They install, troubleshoot, repair, and upgrade electronic and computer-controlled mechanical systems, like robotic assembly machines.

Median annual wage (2015): $53,340

Projected job openings (through 2024): 3,700

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

23. Mechanical drafters

23. Mechanical drafters

They prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, fastening methods, and other engineering information.

Median annual wage (2015): $53,520

Projected job openings (through 2024): 7,800

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

22. Industrial-engineering technicians

22. Industrial-engineering technicians

They help industrial engineers implement designs to use personnel, materials, and machines in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices.

Median annual wage (2015): $53,780

Projected job openings (through 2024): 16,300

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

21. Mechanical-engineering technicians

21. Mechanical-engineering technicians

They design, develop, test, and manufacture industrial machinery, consumer products, and other equipment.

Median annual wage (2015): $53,910

Projected job openings (through 2024): 12,800

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

20. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

20. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

They use imaging technology to help physicians diagnose cardiac and blood vessel ailments in patients.

Median annual wage (2015): $55,170

Projected job openings (through 2024): 54,700

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

19. Physical-therapist assistants

19. Physical-therapist assistants

They help patients who are recovering from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries regain movement and manage pain.

Median annual wage (2015): $55,170

Projected job openings (through 2024): 54,700

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

18. Geological and petroleum technicians

18. Geological and petroleum technicians

They provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources, like minerals, oil, and natural gas.

Median annual wage (2015): $55,610

Projected job openings (through 2024): 8,000

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training

17. Radiologic technologists

17. Radiologic technologists

They perform diagnostic imaging examinations, like X-rays, on patients.

Median annual wage (2015): $56,670

Projected job openings (through 2024): 54,400

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

16. Respiratory therapists

16. Respiratory therapists

They care for patients who have trouble breathing like premature infants with undeveloped lungs or elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock.

Median annual wage (2015): $57,790

Projected job openings (through 2024): 43,300

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

15. Occupational-therapy assistants

15. Occupational-therapy assistants

They aid work under the direction of occupational therapists in treating patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.

Median annual wage (2015): $57,870

Projected job openings (through 2024): 23,600

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

14. Avionics technicians

14. Avionics technicians

They install, inspect, test, adjust, or repair avionics equipment, like radar, radio, navigation, and missile-control systems in aircraft or space vehicles.

Median annual wage (2015): $58,540

Projected job openings (through 2024): 3,100

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

13. Electrical and electronics drafters

13. Electrical and electronics drafters

They prepare wiring diagrams, circuit-board-assembly diagrams, and layout drawings used for the manufacture, installation, or repair of electrical equipment.

Median annual wage (2015): $59,520

Projected job openings (through 2024): 5,200

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

12. Electrical and electronics-engineering technicians

12. Electrical and electronics-engineering technicians

They help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment.

Median annual wage (2015): $61,130

Projected job openings (through 2024): 34,100

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

11. Computer-network-support specialists

11. Computer-network-support specialists

They analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, like local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and internet systems, or a segment of a network system.

Median annual wage (2015): $62,250

Projected job openings (through 2024): 36,900

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

10. Web developer

10. Web developer

They design, create, and modify websites.

Median annual wage (2015): $64,970

Projected job openings (through 2024): 58,600

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

9. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians

9. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians

They operate and maintain equipment used in developing, testing, and producing new aircraft and spacecraft.

Median annual wage (2015): $66,180

Projected job openings (through 2024): 3,200

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

8. Magnetic-resonance-imaging technologists

8. Magnetic-resonance-imaging technologists

They monitor patient safety and comfort and view images of areas being scanned to ensure quality of pictures.

Median annual wage (2015): $67,720

Projected job openings (through 2024): 9,800

Work experience: Less than five years

On-the-job training: None

7. Diagnostic medical sonographers

7. Diagnostic medical sonographers

They use special imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient's body to assess and diagnose various medical conditions.

Median annual wage (2015): $68,970

Projected job openings (through 2024): 27,500

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

6. Funeral-service managers

6. Funeral-service managers

They plan, direct, or coordinate the services or resources of funeral homes.

Median annual wage (2015): $70,890

Projected job openings (through 2024): 7,400

Work experience: Less than five years

On-the-job training: None

5. Dental hygienists

5. Dental hygienists

They clean teeth, examine patients for oral diseases like gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care.

Median annual wage (2015): $72,330

Projected job openings (through 2024): 70,300

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

4. Nuclear-medicine technologists

4. Nuclear-medicine technologists

They use a scanner to create images of various areas of a patient's body. They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients undergoing the scans.

Median annual wage (2015): $73,360

Projected job openings (through 2024): 4,200

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

3. Radiation therapists

3. Radiation therapists

They check equipment, observe patients' reactions to treatment, and document sessions.

Median annual wage (2015): $80,220

Projected job openings (through 2024): 6,200

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: None

2. Nuclear technicians

2. Nuclear technicians

They assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear production.

Median annual wage (2015): $80,260

Projected job openings (through 2024): 2,800

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training

1. Air-traffic controller

1. Air-traffic controller

They monitor and direct the movement of aircraft.

Median annual wage (2015): $122,950

Projected job openings (through 2024): 7,500

Work experience: None

On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training

Add Comment()

Comments ()

X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.