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September 16, 2010
25 Highest-Paying Jobs Requiring an 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.

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Nine of the highest-paying occupations have “technicians” or “technologists,” in their titles, with nuclear medicine technologists (3rd on the list) the highest paid among these. Most of the occupations on the list require technical skills related to engineering, electronics, mathematics, 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 radiation therapists (2nd on the list), dental hygienists (4), registered nurses (8), and diagnostic medical sonographers (9).

The few highest-paying occupations that don’t fall into the above categories include fashion designers (7), insurance appraisers, auto damage, (14) , funeral directors (16) and commercial divers (21).

The chart below reflects the median hourly and annual wages in 2009 for the highest-paid occupations requiring post-secondary training or an associate’s degree.

Median Wages, 2009
1 Computer Specialists, All Other $37.02 $77,600
2 Radiation Therapists $35.66 $74,200
3 Nuclear Medicine Technologists $32.65 $67,900
4 Dental Hygienists $32.38 $67,400
5 Nuclear Technicians $32.37 $67,300
6 Commercial Pilots N/A $65,800
7 Fashion Designers $30.90 $64,300
8 Registered Nurses $30.65 $63,800
9 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers $30.30 $63,000
10 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay $29.94 $62,300
11 Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other $27.66 $57,500
12 Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians $27.39 $57,000
13 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers $26.71 $55,600
14 Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage $26.63 $55,400
15 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians $26.36 $54,800
16 Funeral Directors $26.14 $54,400
17 Respiratory Therapists $25.64 $53,300
18 Geological and Petroleum Technicians $25.60 $53,200
19 Radiologic Technologists and Technicians $25.59 $53,200
20 Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians $25.39 $52,800
21 Commercial Divers $25.26 $52,100
22 Electrical and Electronics Drafters $25.04 $52,100
23 Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment $24.39 $50,700
24 Avionics Technicians $24.31 $50,600
25 Occupational Therapist Technicians $24.16 $50,300

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