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December 29, 2008
25 Highest-Paying Jobs Requiring Associate's Degree
Computer specialists top the list of the 25 highest-paying occupations requiring post-secondary training or an associate's degree, while technicians of various kinds dominate the list, according to a report by the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Eleven of the 25 highest-paying occupations have "technicians" or "technologists," in their titles, with nuclear technicians (3rd on the list) the highest paid among these. Most of the occupations on the list require technical skills related to engineering, electronics, mechanics, or science.

The balance of the list--with a few notable exceptions--consists of occupations in the health care and medical industries, such as dental hygienists (4th on the list), registered nurses (8), diagnostic medical sonographers (9), and respiratory therapists (19).

The few highest-paying occupations that don't fall into the above categories include fashion designers (6), insurance appraisers (auto damage) (15), funeral directors (17) and fish and game wardens (24).

The chart below reflects the median hourly and annual wages in 2007 for the highest-paid occupations requiring post-secondary training or an associate's degree.

Median Wages, 2007
1 Computer Specialists, All Other $34.38 $71,500
2 Radiation Therapists $33.66 $70,000
3 Nuclear Technicians $31.80 $66,100
4 Dental Hygienists $31.12 $64,700
5 Nuclear Medicine Technologists $31.09 $64,700
6 Fashion Designers $30.20 $62,800
7 Commercial Pilots N/A $57,500
8 Registered Nurses $27.54 $61,600
9 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers $28.85 $60,000
10 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay $28.35 $59,000
11 Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other $26.95 $56,100
12 Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians $26.41 $54,900
13 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers $25.99 $54,100
14 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians $25.07 $52,100
15 Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage $24.76 $51,500
16 Geological and Petroleum Technicians $24.50 $51,500
17 Funeral Directors $24.21 $50,400
18 Radiologic Technologists and Technicians $24.16 $50,300
19 Respiratory Therapists $24.07 $50,100
20 Electrical and Electronics Drafters $23.68 $49,300
21 Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians $23.56 $49,000
22 Avionics Technicians $23.13 $48,100
23 Fish and Game Wardens $23.00 $47,800
24 Industrial Engineering Technicians $22.83 $47,500
25 Mechanical Engineering Technicians $22.73 $47,300

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