CHICAGO, January 31, 2013 – Do you need a four-year degree to earn a big paycheck? Economic Modeling Specialists released a list of the most lucrative professions that don’t require a bachelor’s and top-paying jobs that do. The study uses EMSI’s extensive labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers.
Best-Paying Jobs Requiring an Associate’s Degree
While job requirements and pay will vary by organization, top-paying jobs based on median salary in the U.S. include:
- Air Traffic Controller – $113,547 – manages air traffic to ensure safe flying1
- Radiation Therapist – $76,627 – treats cancer and other diseases with radiation
- Dental Hygienist – $70,408 – examines patients, cleans teeth and provides other dental care
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist – $69,638 – prepares and administers radioactive drugs and uses this when scanning patients for abnormalities
- Nuclear Technician – $68,037 – assists in nuclear research and production
- Registered Nurse – $65,853 – provides patient care and educates patients about various health conditions
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – $65,499 – diagnoses medical conditions using special imaging equipment such as an ultrasound, sonogram, etc.
- Fashion Designer – $63,170 – creates clothing, shoes and accessories
- Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician – $61,547 – operates equipment used in developing and testing new aircraft and spacecraft
- Engineering Technician (except drafters) – $58,698 – help engineers and scientists in research and development, specializing in different areas
Best-Paying Jobs Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
- Petroleum Engineer – $122,242 – design methods for extracting oil and gas from the earth’s surface
- Airline Pilot, Copilot and Flight Engineer – $105,518 – flies and navigates aircraft
- Aerospace Engineer – $102,409 – designs aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles
- Nuclear Engineer – $99,715 – researches and develops ways to get benefits from nuclear energy and radiation
- Computer Hardware Engineer – $98,134 – designs, develops and tests computer equipment
- Software Developer, Systems Software – $96,034 – develops computer applications and underlying systems
- Chemical Engineer – $92,934 – applies chemistry, biology and physics to solve problems, typically involving the production of food, fuel, drugs, chemicals, etc
- Electronics Engineer (excluding computer) – $91,478 – designs and develops electronic components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace, acoustics, etc
- Actuary – $91,062 – analyzes the financial cost of risk and uncertainty
- Atmospheric and Space Scientist – $89,794 – investigates the atmosphere and meteorological data to prepare reports and forecasts; includes weather analysts and forecasters.
1 Occupation definitions are based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) is a company that provides industry-leading employment data and economic analysis via web tools and custom reports. EMSI has produced more than 1,200 comprehensive impact analyses for colleges and universities in the US and internationally, and its web tools — Analyst and Career Coach — are used by thousands of professionals in higher education, workforce and economic development, and the private sector.