Top Careers for All Degree Levels
Level of education is one of the most important factors employers consider when assessing potential employees and determining benefits packages, particularly salaries. Experience plays an important role as well; but when it comes to advancement opportunities, degreed employees are usually at the top of the list.
High school graduates with no college education typically make anywhere from 15-30 percent less than individual’s with an associate degree and there are few advancement opportunities available in most companies, businesses, and organizations.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, bachelor's degree holders earn nearly double what high school diploma holders earn. Depending on the industry, bachelor's degree holders typically earn 15 to 30 percent more (overall) than associate's degree holders during their working lifetime.
Master’s and doctorate degree holders are usually hired to work in upper management or other top positions, so they typically earn 30 to 50 percent more than most other degree holders. Associate degree holders may earn less than bachelors and advanced degree holders in a number of different industries, but unemployment rates for all college degree levels are significantly less than rates for individuals with no college experience at all.
The unemployment rate for individuals with less than a high school diploma is 14.5 percent for 2010. For individuals with a high school diploma (but no college), the unemployment rate is 10.8 percent for 2010. For associate degree holders the unemployment rate is 8.2 percent and for bachelors, masters, professional, and doctoral degree holders, the unemployment rate is a mere 4.9 percent for 2010.
No matter which degree you aim for, there are a number of rewarding careers for all degree levels. In many cases, associate degree holders use this two-year degree to get a foot in the door. They work in entry-level positions while gaining valuable experience in their respective fields or while earning a bachelor’s degree.
Many of the top careers for associate degree holders are in the medical and technical fields. Due to the nature of these positions, the average salaries may be higher than most other industries.
Just a few top positions for associate degree holders include:
- Computer Specialist-Support Position ($46,370 per year)
- Dental Hygienist ($66,570 per year)
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer ($61,980 year)
- Engineering Technician ($42,960-$56,080 per year)
- Nuclear Technician ($66,660 per year)
- Radiation Therapist ($72,910 per year)
- Immigration and Customs Inspectors ($59,930 per year)
- Loan Officer ($53,000 per year)
- Paralegal and Legal Assistant ($46,120 per year)
- Radiologic Technologist/Technician ($52,261 per year)
Bachelor’s degree holders have their choice of a number of different careers in the business sector, computer technology, education, the art industry, multi-media, medical-healthcare, advertising, public relations, sales, marketing, communications, publishing, and many others.
Some of the top positions for associate degree holders include:
- Civil Engineer-non research ($71,710 per year)
- Computer Security Specialist ($64,690 per year)
- Computer Software Engineer, Systems Software ($89,070 per year)
- Computer Systems Analyst ($73,090 per year)
- Management Analyst ($71,150 per year)
- Financial Analyst ($70,400 per year)
- Registered Nurse ($60,010 per year)
- Web Administrator ($71,510 per year)
- Web Developer ($71,510 per year)
- Sales Agents, Financial Services ($90,380)
Much like bachelor’s degree holders, master’s degree holders have their pick of careers in all industries. Master’s degree holders work in federal departments, in the medical field, in computer technology, in education, in public relations, and in business and finance.
Top jobs for master’s degree holders include:
- Computer and Information Systems Manager ($108,070 per year)
- Computer Software Engineer, Systems Software ($89,070-$125,750 per year)
- Environmental Scientist-except college teaching & research ($61,120-$94,670)
- General and Operations Manager ($88,700 per year)
- Human Resources Manager ($94,910-$145,600 per year)
- Instructor, Associate Professor ($72,310 per year)
- Marketing Manager ($104,400 per year)
- Medical and Health Service Manager ($94,780-$127,830 per year)
- Physical Therapist ($72,790 per year)
- Public Relations Manager ($86,470 per year)
Some of the top jobs for doctorate and first professional degree holder’s are as follows:
- Anesthesiologist ($145,600+ per year)
- Attorney/Lawyer ($106,120+ per year)
- Biochemist and Biophysicist ($82,840 per year)
- Environmental Scientist-Teaching and research ($100,000+ per year)
- Family and General Practitioners ($145,600+ per year)
- Pharmacist ($106,410+ per year)
- Physician ($145-600+ per year)
- Professor ($100,000-$120,580+)
- Prosthodontist ($145,600+ per year)
- Psychiatrist ($145,600+ per year)
For specific information for education and salary requirements for 800 jobs, pick up a copy of the Salary Facts Handbook by JIST Works. You may also visit the JIST Publishing website at www.jist.com.