10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Associate’s Degree Grads

Job hunters with only a high school education are sometimes limited to low paying positions that come with career instability and dissatisfaction. Job hunters who earn an associate’s degree will find there are many technical and pre-professional positions open to them. Here are 10 of the highest paying positions for job hunters with two-year degrees.

1. Computer Engineering (CE)

Computer engineering technicians need knowledge of professional computer engineering principles and practices. They should have basic familiarity with information technology architecture, software design patterns, object-oriented analysis and electrical engineering concepts. Employers want computer engineering technicians who have experience in analyzing performance issues, implementing efficiency improvements, Python and C programming and embedded Linux development. They should have knowledge of systems engineering concepts related to software and hardware development. Computer engineering technicians will apply systems principles, software engineering concepts and hardware technologies to plan, organize and accomplish tasks.

2. Construction Management

Construction management degrees teach students how to oversee designs, plan projects, manage schedules and reach milestones. Students learn about capital infrastructure, work scopes, cost estimates and legal compliance. Construction management jobs are open to those who know how to oversee engineering surveys, conduct feasibility studies, analyze budget availability and work in the field with staff. Construction managers must ensure that project deadlines are met by continually reviewing progress, following up on tasks and using project management software. Construction managers will review permit applications in order to establish appropriate control measures.

3. Computer Programming

Computer programmers are responsible for the definition and implementation of software projects. Some computer programmers work in manufacturing facilities to meet client power, timing and manufacturing requirements. These computer programmers will need to be strong in automated and custom circuit design methods. They will leverage industry standard tools in order to invent new solutions that meet the pressing demands of modern manufacturers. These computer programmers will need knowledge of digital logic, computer architecture, scripting languages, UNIX environments and electronic engineering concepts. Computer programmers must mitigate potential risks by incorporating clear procedural guidelines into contracts.

4. Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists work in conjunction with dental and medical professionals to ensure that patients receive the highest standards of integrated health care. They are patient advocates who ensure that everyone is fully informed of proposed procedures, personal hygiene and potential cost and insurance ramifications. Dental hygienists provide clinical services related to oral home care techniques like flossing, brushing and nutrition. They work with topical fluorides, disease screening, cavity detection, periodontal pathology, medical history, radiograph mounting and surgical techniques. Each state has their individual education and licensing requirements for dental hygienists.

5. Economics

The field of economics isn’t limited to academic professors with doctoral degrees in abstract topics. Some economists are actually business consults who specialize in applied economics. Their work may use econometric analysis to develop business solutions for sales forecasts, asset valuation, inventory levels, subscription pricing and customer retention. They may work on long-term projects to research and create optimal pricing recommendations. These business specialists will use econometric approaches to solve problems, create value and help clients conduct research. They may help clients maximize margins, analyze operations, grow revenue or lower costs.

6. Electrical Engineering (EE)

Electrical engineering technicians apply design principles to develop and maintain electrical control systems and components. They typically focus on product safety, economy, reliability, quality and sustainability. Electrical engineering technicians’ typical project responsibilities include engineering design, layout, modeling, report writing and computations. They may assist in site investigations, perform power calculations, assess lighting systems, use cost estimating and conduct product research. Most electrical engineering technicians earn their associate’s degree from a two-year community college or technical school. Some states and employers may require job candidates to hold professional certifications.

7. Electronics & Communications Engineering

Electronics and communications engineering technicians assist with managing, maintaining and enhancing the design, function and architecture of communication systems. For example, they may work for a business or college to maintain websites that are globally accessed by millions of people. They may assist with server, network and electrical system maintenance and management. They will most likely work under the direction of IT architects and computer engineers to ensure that electrical systems are consistent across all organizational units and responsive to the expectations of all end users and stakeholders.

8. Engineering

Engineering assistants take direction from licensed engineers regarding schedules, budgets, assignments and process management. They coordinate with other team and department members to work on interdisciplinary projects. Some engineering assistants will need experience working on-site in buildings with foremen, equipment and construction staff. Engineering assistants may coordinate resource scheduling, monitor design budgets, provide staff with feedback, recommend project adjustments and enforce company standards. They may ensure that blueprint designs meet electrical code requirements, so they must analyze load calculations, protective devices, fault currents and lighting requirements.

9. Management Information Systems (MIS)

A management information systems technician may be responsible for implementing and managing computer, cloud and web development projects. For example, an MIS technician who works for an Internet marketing company will have a comprehensive understanding of SEO, PPC and social media tactics. Their strong interpersonal and communication skills will help them communicate project goals and progress to team members and management. They may be responsible for industry, market and competitor research regarding the development and assessment of Internet-based marketing strategies. MIS technicians may work on banner advertising, online micro-sites, website development, email campaigns and search engine marketing.

10. Occupational Health and Safety

An occupational health and safety specialist or inspector will provide program management and technical expertise to clients or public businesses. They will support and enforce local, state and federal safety and health regulations. These safety specialists must have a demonstrated ability to collaboratively work with employees, management and government staff. They may help clients plan, execute and monitor enhanced safety programs. They may use their professional knowledge to organize, schedule, control and audit safety programs. They must have a strong knowledge of compliance expectations, regulations and guidelines.

Related Resource: What Careers are Available in Health Informatics?

Some of the other highest-paying jobs for associate’s degree grads legal assistants, civil drafters, physical-therapist assistants, respiratory-therapy technicians, industrial-engineering technicians and cardiovascular technologists. Readers can learn more about the above mentioned 10 jobs here.