This is the second post in a series about the best jobs by ed level for 2012. See the original post here. Keep in mind that the data for 2012 is a projection.
Our goal for this post is to highlight 2012’s best-performing jobs by growth and income that require either an associate’s degree or a postsecondary vocational award (PSV).
Now, as we point out in our introductory post, many of the employees in these occupations actually do have more than an associate’s degree. Not only that, but (unlike the data implies) some of these jobs actually require more than an associate’s degree. Take registered nurses, for example. Registered nurses are typically associated with associate’s degrees. However, in this day and age, much more than an associate’s is often required to work as a nurse. This just means that a lot of the people who currently work as nurses (think older workers) received an associate’s to get those jobs. As time passes and educational standards go up, so will the reported qualification.
NOTE: Our analysis is based solely on labor market data from EMSI’s 2012.1 Covered Employment release, which is drawn from over 80 state and federal data sources.
Total Job Growth
Below is a list of the associate’s-level occupations that grew by at least 8,000 jobs since 2008. A few immediate takeaways:
- Registered nurses added 194,000 new jobs (8% growth) between 2008-2012. No other job comes close.
- The next closest job, nursing aides, created 98,000 jobs.
- Most of the occupations are related to healthcare (SOC codes 29 and 31).
- Almost all of the occupations grow steadily year to year, but a couple break the pattern. Preschool teachers declined in 2008 and didn’t recover ground until suddenly adding over an estimated 10,000 jobs in 2011-12. Similar story with fitness trainers & aerobics instructors, which wavered back and forth 2008-2011 and then shot up over 9,000 estimated jobs in 2011-12.
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Greatest % Growth
- Physical therapist assistants grew by 13% and added 9,000 new jobs.
- Massage therapists grew by 12% and added 6,400 new jobs.
- Occupational therapist assistants grew by 11% and added 3,000 new jobs.
Note the overlap between this table and the last one. This means that a number of the occupations that are piling on the jobs are also growing by the greatest percent. The best overall growth belongs to emergency medical technicians, dental hygienists, and paramedics and registered nurses.
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This table shows all the associate’s-level jobs that pay more than $27/hour (2011 median hourly wage). It leads off with computer specialists ($37.25), radiation therapists ($35.88), dental hygienists ($33.15), nuclear medicine technologists ($32.88), and nuclear technicians ($32.48).
- Six out of 12 highest-paying jobs are related to healthcare (SOC code 29).
- Aerospace engineering & operations technicians and fashion designers are both in decline.
Taking growth and wages together, the best associate’s-level jobs are registered nurses and dental hygienists. Jobs with jumbo growth spurts (not necessarily the best pay) are in healthcare, while the best wages (not necessarily the best growth) are in healthcare occupations, as well as jobs like computer specialists and commercial pilots.