30 Highest Paying Jobs with an Associates Degree

 

best_paying_associates_degree_jobsIn today’s fast-paced world, it is difficult to imagine spending the better half of your twenties stuck in a classroom. You want to put high school behind you, jump ahead into better things, set your life on the fast-track for success. You want to be able to support yourself and your family without carrying the weight of student debt on your back.

Here at EDsmart, we get it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top-paying jobs that you can get with just an associate’s degree. Knowing what to aim for makes the little time you spend in post-secondary school both worth-it and straightforward. When you know where you’re headed, it takes less time to get there.

So, take a look at the career options we’ve got laid out for you and see if anything catches your eye. These are some of the best, most well-respected professional paths you can take, and you can get there with only require two years of collegiate-level academic mastery under your belt. Plus, the less time you spend fooling around in college, the more time you get to spend contributing to the world and making a good life for yourself. Get started building your future today.

Highest Paying Jobs with an Associates Degree

1. Air Traffic Controller

Salary: $120,830

The primary responsibilities of air traffic controllers include enforcing correct taxiing procedures on the airways, providing aircraft with the proper landing instructions and protocol, and performing visual monitoring of local airspace surrounding the air towers of airports. On average, air traffic controllers earn an annual salary of $125,000, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $178,600 per year. In terms of education, this job typically requires a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Over the next six years, the market will experience a 4% growth, meaning air traffic control is a relatively lucrative field to get into. Ultimately, this is a career for those who are fully invested in both their personal and professional success, and who take pride in a job well done.

2. Information Systems Security Technician

Salary: $96,917

Information systems security technicians are responsible for establishing individual user access in computer systems for typically big-name, corporate clients. Security technicians also analyze systems’ collective data, maintain security files, log access requests, and keep track of trending user activity for future security purposes. To become a security technician, one must have a basic understanding of network security, firewall administration, routers, hubs, switches, and more. The median annual salary for these individuals is $96,000, while some of the highest-paying positions earn upwards of $188,000 per year. Information systems security technicians are hardworking individuals who typically have high levels of expertise and intelligence, as well as an innate drive for success.

3. Biomedical Technician

Salary: $88,550

Biomedical technicians are in charge of monitoring, servicing, repairing, and setting up medical equipment in hospitals, clinics, and private health organizations or corporations. These individuals are typically well-versed in technology, highly ambitious, and success-oriented. The average annual salary for most biomedical technicians is $48,600, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $95,000 per year. Ultimately this is a growing field, and it is expected to experience a 4% increase within the next six years. Ideal education requirements usually include an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology, though it is possible to attain a stable position with apprenticeships or on-the-job training. Ultimately, those who choose to pursue a career as a biomedical technician are motivated to succeed and hold themselves to high standards of both personal and professional excellence.

4. Fashion Designer

Salary: $87,610

Becoming a fashion designer is no easy feat. It takes guts, drive, endless amounts of creativity, talent, and patience. This is a hard industry with high stakes and high levels of competition. Fashion designers are students of style, responsible for creating new clothing designs, setting trends, and combining colorful, visual, and physical elements to form new concepts with clothing. Annual salaries average around $72,700, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $155,470 per year. Typically, fashion designers have professional certificates or associate’s degrees in the fine arts, fashion design, or even interior design. The fashion design industry is expected to experience a 3% growth within the next six years, making it a relatively lucrative field. Ultimately, this profession is for only the most creative of minds, those who have the drive to push their imaginations into reality.

5. Radiation Therapist

Salary: $86,730

If you are the type of person that wants to help people and can deal with difficult situations in a professional manner, then a career as a radiation therapist might be the path for you. This job consists of administering radiation therapies and treatments, most often to cancer patients in hospitals or other cancer treatment facilities. The average annual salary of a radiation therapist is around $82,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $124,300 per year. Within the next six years, the job field will likely experience a 13% increase, meaning now is the time to enter into this field, as professional radiation therapists are in high demand. In terms of education, radiation therapists typically have at least a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Ultimately, this is a job for those who can manage patients with patience and diligence and successfully handle the stresses of the position.

6. Registered Nurse

Salary: $75,510

Registered nurses are the heart and soul of any hospital, managing patients’ day-to-day care and often providing emotional support to family, friends, and other hospital guests in times of crisis. Registered nurses earn an annual salary of $70,000, on average, while some of the highest-paying positions earn upwards of $98,400 per year. In terms of education, the position typically requires a bachelor’s degree. The field is expected to experience an astounding 15% growth within the next six years, meaning demand will be high, and registered nurses will be hired practically everywhere. Ultimately, this type of career is for individuals who can handle emotional situations with professionalism and grace, as well as those who are proficient in and determined to be successful at the medical practice.

7. Dental Hygienist

Salary: $75,500

If you would consider yourself to be proficient in the art of dental hygiene, then you might want to consider pursuing a career as a dental hygienist. These individuals are responsible for regular patient teeth-cleanings, customer service, and oral health administration. Typically, the position requires a minimum of professional certification or an associate’s degree. Annual salaries average around $74,800, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $107,800 per year. Overall, the field is expected to experience a 20% growth within the next six years, meaning it is a highly lucrative field to enter into, and the demand for dental hygienists will be high over the next few years. Ultimately, this job is ideal for hardworking individuals with a drive to succeed and provide themselves and their families with long-term financial stability.

8. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Salary: $73,860

A diagnostic medical sonographer is responsible for managing special imaging tools that pass sound waves through the body of a patient in order to diagnose and treat various symptoms. This is more commonly known as an ultrasound, sonogram, or echocardiogram. Annual salaries for diagnostic medical sonographers average around $72,500, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $100,400 per year. In terms of education, the position typically requires at least a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Overall, the field is expected to experience a 23% growth in the next six years, meaning this is a highly lucrative field to get into. Ultimately, the job is a stable means of financial security and long-term professional success.

9. Computer Forensics Specialist

Salary: $72,869

Would you consider yourself highly capable when it comes to technology and interpreting or managing computer systems? If you do, then a career as a computer forensics specialist might just be perfect for you. These individuals are responsible for assisting law enforcement and other federal or international government agencies with criminal investigations, both domestic and foreign. For example, as a computer forensics specialist, you might be recruited by the CIA to work on terrorist issues. On average, a computer forensics specialist’s annual salary is around $73,000, while top-paying positions earn upwards of $114,000 per year. This job requires professional certification or an associate’s degree. Overall, those who pursue a career in this field are hardworking and highly committed to their work.

10. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist

Salary: $72,230

A magnetic resonance imaging technologist is someone who specializes in the operation and data analysis of magnetic imaging machines often used for medical purposes and diagnoses. Typically, these individuals work in tandem with radiologists to perform x-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs. Annual salaries average around $71,600, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $99,100 per year. In terms of education, this position requires a minimum of a professional certificate or associate’s degree. As far as the prospectivity of this assignment, the field is predicted to grow by 13% within the next six years. Overall, this is a highly stable profession that will provide you and your family with financial security for the long term.

11. Cardiac Catheterization Technician

Salary: $68,000

Do you think you have what it takes to be present in an operating room during a procedure? If you do, then you might be suitable for a career as a cardiac catheterization technician. These individuals are responsible for aiding in the diagnoses and treatments of patients’ hearts, and they are often present in the operating room to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and general well-being of patients’ cardiovascular systems throughout procedures. Annual salaries average around $70,200, while some of the highest-paying positions earn upwards of $80,200 per year. This position requires a minimum of an associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology. All in all, this field is expected to experience a 10% growth over the next six years, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field that will provide financial security and professional success for the long term.

12. Fashion Buyer

Salary: $67,249

Do you think you have the designer’s eye that it takes to set trends? If you do, you might want to consider a profession in the fashion buying industry. Fashion buyers are responsible for purchasing the clothing items that are stocked, as well as formulating and evaluating buying plans, fashion trends, maintaining relationships with potential suppliers, and keeping track of product pricing. Annual salaries average around $67,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $101,300 per year. This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. Ultimately, this is a career for responsible individuals with an eye for style, a positive attitude, and a drive for success.

13. Avionics Technician

Salary: $65,330

Are you the type of person that enjoys working with their hands and is highly interested in technology? Do you like planes and other types of aircraft? If you answered yes, then a career in avionics technology may be the perfect path for you. These individuals are primarily responsible for repairing, maintaining, and assessing aircraft electronic systems. These include radios, antennas, navigation equipment, and much more. Annual salaries average around $59,800, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $96,000 per year. These positions require a professional certificate or an associate’s degree. Within the next six years, the field is expected to experience a 6% growth, meaning this is a relatively lucrative field. All in all, this is a profession for those who prioritize hard work and long term success.

14. Electrical Engineering Technician

Salary: $65,050

An electrical engineering technician is primarily responsible for assembling various electrical equipment, designing electrical systems, creating prototypes, testing equipment, and repairing instruments. These individuals typically work for major electricity corporations or companies. Annual salaries average around $61,100, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $85,000 per year. In terms of education, the position typically requires an associate’s degree in electrical engineering technology. Overall, the field is expected to experience a 2% decrease within the next six years, meaning the demand will not be as high, but all electrical engineering technicians will still be highly valued in their respective positions. Ultimately, this is the type of job that requires diligence, responsibility, and expertise.

15. Electrical Drafter

Salary: $64,400

Are you looking for a career that will enable you to combine artistic elements with your love of technology? The two fields don’t have to be separate, and electrical drafters officially bridge the gap. These individuals are responsible for illustrating helpful diagrams that instruct electrical instrument users on how to set up and operate their appliances and other various electrical products. Annual salaries average around $56,000, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $66,480 per year. The market is expected to experience medium levels of growth within the next six years, meaning this is a relatively lucrative field. In terms of education, the position requires a minimum of an associate’s degree or a two-year training program. Ultimately, this is a field for those who are determined to intertwine their creativity with their professional and technical skills to achieve long term success.

16. Advertising Sales Agent

Salary: $63,360

Do you think you have what it takes to be a salesman? Are you motivated, sociable, hardworking, and responsible? If you are, then a career as an advertising sales agent might be the perfect path for you. These individuals are responsible for selling advertising space to companies and businesses. This involves contacting potential clients, compiling and carrying out sales pitches and presentations, managing client accounts, and meeting quotas and deadlines. Though this field is expected to experience a 3% decline within the next four years, it is still a relatively lucrative field. Advertising sales agents are only required to have a high school diploma or a GED, meaning this is one of the easier positions to get. Annual salaries average around $48,500. All in all, this is the type of career for someone who is invested in their long term success and is willing to work hard to achieve it.

17. Respiratory Therapist

Salary: $62,500

Do you think you are cut out for a career in healthcare? Are you the type of person that enjoys administering care to individuals? If you are, then you might want to consider pursuing a career in respiratory therapy. This job involves treating patients who suffer from respiratory system ailments, such as emphysema, heart attacks, shock, drowning, strokes, and more. Annual salaries average around $60,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $83,500 per year. The position most often requires a professional certificate or an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy assisting. Overall, the job market is expected to experience a 23% increase within the next six years, meaning it is a highly lucrative field to enter into. Ultimately, this job takes compassion, patience, expertise, and levelheadedness, but it also offers chances at long term success and financial stability.

18. Court Reporter

Salary: $62,390

A court reporter is responsible for transcribing the happenings of the courtroom, most often using a stenotype machine to capture the transcript verbatim. These individuals typically provide real-time broadcasting closed-captioning for sporting events, political speeches, entertainment events, conferences, and other live televised programs. Annual salaries average around $57,100, while some of the highest-paid positions earn upwards of $104,400 per year. Most court reporters are required to have a professional certificate or associate’s degree. The job market for this field is expected to experience a 4% growth over the course of the next six years, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field. Ultimately, those who pursue this career are responsible, hardworking, and driven to succeed.

19. Lodging Manager

Salary: $62,270

Would you consider yourself a people person? Do you think you would be successful in managing the goings-on of a resort or hotel? If so, then a career as a lodging manager might be the perfect option for you. These individuals are responsible for making their hotels hospitable and inviting, and for attending to the needs of their guests. They also oversee the management of other hotel employees and staff. Annual salaries average around $49,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $85,300 per year. Most lodging managers have bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management and related studies. Overall, the job market is expected to experience a 4% increase over the next six years, so this is a relatively lucrative field to enter into. Ultimately, this is a job for those with a strong sense of personability and a drive for success.

20. Executive Administrative Assistant

Salary: $61,550

Would you consider yourself to be a highly responsible individual with corporate experience? Do you think you could perform everyday office activities? If you do, then you might want to consider a career as an executive administrative assistant. These individuals are responsible for receiving calls, taking messages, and doing a variety of secretary work for corporate executives. Annual salaries for these individuals average around $36,500, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $74,000 per year. The minimum education requirement for this position is a high school diploma or GED. The market is expected to experience a 3% increase over the next four years, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field. Ultimately, those who choose to pursue a career in this field are responsible, determined, accountable, and reliable.

21. Radiologic Technologist

Salary: $61,540

A radiological technologist is responsible for taking care of MRI machines, X-rays, CAT scans, and other helpful procedures within a hospital setting. Most often, these individuals work under the supervision of a professional physician, doctor, or radiologist. Annual salaries average around $59,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $86,900 per year. The minimum level of education required for this position is a professional certificate or an associate’s degree. Over the next six years, this field is expected to experience a 12% growth, meaning it is a highly lucrative field. Overall, it takes a responsible and driven individual to pursue a career in this field, but the rewards and long term success are worth it.

22. Occupational Therapy Assistant

Salary: $60,410

Would you consider yourself the type of person that can interact easily with lots of different types of people? If you do, then a career as an occupational therapy assistant might be the perfect career for you. These individuals are responsible for diagnosing, prescribing, and interacting with therapy patients in rehabilitation or injury recovery. Annual salaries average around $60,200, while some of the highest-paying positions earn upwards of $91,500 per year. The minimum level of education required is a professional certificate or an associate’s degree, most often in psychology. Within the next six years, the job market will likely experience a 29% increase, meaning this is an extremely lucrative field to enter into. Overall, those who pursue a profession in this line of work are capable, responsible, caring, and driven to succeed in every aspect of life.

23. Electro-mechanical Technician

Salary: $60,240

Do you enjoy doing work with your hands? Would you consider yourself to be a detail-oriented person? If you answered yes, then a career as an electromechanical technician might be the path for you. These individuals are responsible for maintaining, repairing, operating, and testing electrical equipment for businesses, corporations, manufacturers, and other industries. These positions require a minimum education of a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Annual salaries average around $57,800, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $88,900 per year. Though this field isn’t predicted to experience much growth within the next six years, it is still a profitable profession to enter into. Ultimately, it is a job for those who can work in collaborative settings, are responsible, capable, and possess in-depth knowledge about their trade.

24. Food Service Manager

Salary: $58,960

A food service manager is responsible for overseeing the operations and day-to-day services of food chain restaurants, cafes, or other foodservice venues. They direct and give instructions to employees and other staff, and are primarily responsible for the particular location to which they are assigned. Annual salaries average around $48,700, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $97,600 per year. The minimum level of education required is a high school diploma or GED. Ultimately, this is a job for those who are willing and able to manage and direct large groups of people in relatively stressful situations, those who are responsible and capable, as well as driven to succeed in all aspects of life.

25. Cardiovascular Technologist

Salary: $58,730

Are you interested in pursuing a profession in the medical field, but don’t want to empty your bank account or spend years at a university to do it? If so, you might want to consider a career as a cardiovascular technologist. These individuals are responsible for aiding doctors and surgeons with diagnoses, both invasive and non-invasive procedures, and operating cardiological equipment such as ultrasounds to diagnose patients. Annual salaries average around $56,800, while some of the highest paying positions earn upwards of $93,100 per year. The minimum level of education required for this position is a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Over the next six years, the field is predicted to grow 12%, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field to enter into. Ultimately, it is a career for those who are personally accountable, capable, and hardworking.

26. Mechanical Engineering Technician

Salary:$58,240

If you enjoy completing hands-on projects, developing new and inventive ways of mechanizing everyday products, and collaborating with other people, then you might want to consider a career as a mechanical engineering technician. This profession consists of working with professional mechanical engineers to design, plan, construct, and test mechanical devices and appliances. Annual salaries average around $56,200, while some of the highest-paid positions earn upwards of $85,400 per year. Within the next six years, the field is expected to experience a 3% increase, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field. Overall, this is a job for those who learn easily, are willing to collaborate, and hold themselves to a high professional standard.

27. Mechanical Drafter

Salary: $58,150

Are you the creative type? Would you enjoy a career that requires you to be always designing and drawing up plans? If you answered yes, then a career in mechanical drafting might be the perfect path for you. Mechanical drafters are responsible for designing, calculating dimensions, constructing models, and drawing up plans for complicated automated systems. The position’s annual salary averages around $55,100, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $ per year. The field is expected to experience a 5% increase within the next six years, meaning it is a relatively lucrative field. The minimum level of education required for the position is a professional certification or an associate’s degree, but higher education levels tend to correspond to higher-level positions within the field. Ultimately, those who pursue careers as mechanical drafters are creative, detail-oriented, and mechanically-minded individuals with inherent drives for success.

28. Wind Turbine Service Technician

Salary: $58,000

Wind turbine service technicians are essential contributors to the global movement towards sustainable energy. Their job primarily involves installing preventative features and specialized technology that resists malfunction within modern wind turbine designs. When something goes wrong with a wind turbine, service technicians are there to diagnose the problem, troubleshoot, repair, and keep up with the maintenance of wind turbines. Annual salaries average around $54,300, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $83,500 per year. Over the next six years, the field is expected to experience an astounding 95% increase, making this one of the top-grossing fields on this list. The minimum level of education required for this profession is a professional certificate or associate’s degree. Ultimately, this is a job for those with an inherent drive for success and a willingness to work collaboratively.

29. Production Agriculture Salesperson

Salary: $57,838

Do you consider yourself to be the type of person that can sell products and ideas relatively easily? Are you capable of representing a major corporation and working under supervisors? If you are, then you might want to consider a career as a production agriculture salesperson. These individuals are typically responsible for advertising and selling products related to food production or agriculture, working as representatives for larger companies. Annual salaries average around $58,500, while some of the highest-paid positions earn upwards of $122,700 per year. The minimum level of education required for this position is a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness or agriculture. Over the next years, the field is expected to experience only a 2% growth, but it is still a sold profession to enter into for any ambitious, confident, and reliable individual.

30. Physical Therapist Assistant

Salary: $57,750

Do you enjoy assisting people? Would you consider yourself to be cut out for a job that requires personability, patience, and a baseline medical knowledge? If so, then a career as a physical therapist assistant might be the perfect path for you. These individuals provide customer service to patients and perform organizational receptionist duties in a physical therapy office. Often, patients are survivors of traumatic incidents, car crashes, and other tragedies. A physical therapist assistant must be able to handle the stresses associated with emotionally involved patients. Annual salaries average around $58,000, while some of the top-paying positions earn upwards of $99,700 per year. The minimum level of education required is a certificate or associate’s degree in biology. The field is expected to experience an astounding 31% increase over the next six years, meaning now is the opportune time to enter into this field if you have what it takes.

List of 96 Jobs with an Associates Degree

Jobs Salary
Air Traffic Controller $120,830
Information Systems Security Technician $96,917
Biomedical Technician $88,550
Fashion Designer $87,610
Radiation Therapist $86,730
Registered Nurse $75,510
Dental Hygienist $75,500
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $73,860
Computer Forensics Specialist $72,869
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist $72,230
Cardiac Catheterization Technician $68,000
Fashion Buyer $67,249
Avionics Technician $65,330
Electrical Engineering Technician $65,050
Electrical Drafter $64,400
Advertising Sales Agent $63,360
Respiratory Therapist $62,500
Court Reporter $62,390
Lodging Manager $62,270
Executive Administrative Assistant $61,550
Radiologic Technologist $61,540
Occupational Therapy Assistant $60,410
Electro-mechanical Technician $60,240
Food Service Manager $58,960
Cardiovascular Technologist $58,730
Mechanical Engineering Technician $58,240
Mechanical Drafter $58,150
Wind Turbine Service Technician $58,000
Production Agriculture Salesperson $57,838
Physical Therapist Assistant $57,750
Cardiovascular Physical Therapy Assistant $57,430
Hydroelectric Plant Technician $57,000
Robotics Technician $56,740
Architectural Drafter $56,700
Cardiopulmonary Technologist $56,465
Clinical Social Work Aide $55,947
Crop Production Specialist $55,813
Occupational Health and Safety Technician $55,270
Computer Support Specialist $55,050
Environmental Engineering Technician $54,800
Textile Designer $54,734
Civil Engineering Technician $54,670
Petroleum Technician $53,300
Medical Equipment Repairer $52,710
Chef $52,160
Landscape Technician $52,000
Chemical Technician $51,670
Civil Drafter $51,090
Customer Service Superviso $50,444
Architectural Technician $50,194
Manufacturing Technician $50,009
Web Designer $49,811
Neurodiagnostic Technologist $49,579
Office Supervisor $49,086
Surgical Technologist $49,040
Paralegal $48,132
Audio & Video Equipment Technician $47,530
Retail Sales Supervisor $47,500
CAD Technician $47,287
Computer Network Technician $46,825
Desktop Publisher $46,750
Broadcast Technician $46,730
Greenhouse Manager $46,535
Environmental Science and Protection Technician $46,170
Solar Photovoltaic Installer $46,010
Photonics Technician $45,000
Pastry Chef $44,807
Fitness Instructor $44,580
Mapping Technician $44,380
Surveying Technician $44,380
Community Service Specialist $44,275
Childcare Center Director $43,767
Orthopedic Technician $43,725
Computer Maintenance Technician $43,549
Soil and Water Technician $43,165
Ophthalmology Technician $42,916
Photographic Equipment Repairer $42,540
Medical Laboratory Technician $41,700
Human Resources Assistant $41,620
Food Science Technician $40,860
Family Service Assistant $39,281
Forest Technician $39,180
Library Technician $36,080
Solar Thermal Technician $35,900
Veterinary Technician $35,560
Health Information Technician $35,009
Medical Assistant $34,540
Allergy Technician $34,470
Turf Management Technician $34,470
Human Service Assistant $33,750
Social Service Assistant $32,463
Dietetic Technician $30,130
Preschool Teacher $29,780
Teacher Assistant $28,750
Photovoltaic Technical Salesperson $26,500
Special Education Assistant $21,355
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