A few months ago we wrote about the highest-paying jobs requiring an associate’s degree — a top 10 list (see below) that has generated a considerable amount of interest. The BLS assigns one of 11 education or training categories for all 800-plus occupations, which is what we used as a basis for our post.
|SOC Code||Description||2009 Jobs||2010 Jobs||Change||% Change||Current Median Hourly Earnings|
|15-1099||Computer specialists, all other||235,778||239,025||3,247||1%||$34.03|
|29-2033||Nuclear medicine technologists||22,604||22,734||130||1%||$31.24|
|29-2032||Diagnostic medical sonographers||52,053||52,416||363||1%||$30.03|
|17-3029||Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other||69,692||70,229||537||1%||$27.43|
|19-4041||Geological and petroleum technicians||14,285||14,360||75||1%||$26.28|
|17-3023||Electrical and electronic engineering technicians||153,445||150,617||(2,828)||(2%)||$26.06|
As a few commenters noted, however, the training required for some the featured occupations has changed, or at least isn’t as clear-cut as it seems in some cases.
To get a better handle on this issue, we used EMSI’s Analyst to look at the distribution of education/training for a few of the related O*NET occupations codes. (Users can find these breakdowns by going to the Career Pathways section of Analyst and selecting an occupation in “occupation profile.” Once the report comes back, click on “training” to see the distribution.)
It should be noted: the percentages for each O*NET job title are national figures derived from the BLS and O*NET Data Collection Program. For the BLS’ methodology in assigning ed categories for detailed occupations, see this guide. (Also helpful is this table of education measurements by occupation for workers 25 years and older, using educational attainment data from the American Community Survey.)
Here are charts showing the distribution for three healthcare-related occupations that made our top 10 list. The education level that makes up the highest percentage in each is associate’s degree — but notice for diagnostic medical sonographers, only 43% were reported under the associate’s category. For registered nurses, 29% are accounted as earning bachelor’s, a percentage that’s likely trending upward.
Next, here are two O*NET occupations related to geological and petroleum technicians (SOC 19-4041), another profession that made the top 10 highest-paying list for jobs requiring associate’s degrees. For both, the education distribution is much more diverse than you’d realize if just looking at the assigned education category.
Computers Specialists, All Other
Finally, we wanted to show a breakdown for O*NET occupations related to computer specialists, all other. Since this is an “all other” occupation, it doesn’t tie directly to one O*NET code but rather four more detailed job titles.
Although the average ed level for computer specialists is a two-year degree, the key thing to point out with these series of charts is how much bachelor’s level training factors into everyone of them — particularly software quality assurance engineers/testers and computers systems engineers/architects.
If you’d like to see the breakdown for each of the top 10 occupations highlighted, see this excel file.
For more on education and training levels, contact us or leave a comment/question below.