With college tuition rates soaring, many people are reconsidering whether they need a four-year degree. Statistics show that adults with a bachelor's degree, in general, vastly out earn their lesser educated counterparts. But could you earn a good salary -- even up to six figures -- with just an associate degree from a less-expensive trade school or community college?
CareerBuilder (an AOL Jobs sponsor) recently gathered data from more than 90 national and state employment resources and found plenty of high-paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree, though some may require professional certification. The career website says these 10 occupations were tops when it comes to pay, based on median wages paid to U.S. workers.
Take a look and tell us: Are these jobs you'd consider?
10. Engineering Technician (except drafters): Helps engineers and scientists in research and development, specializing in various areas.
Median annual salary: $58,698
Educational requirements:* Employers typically require applicants to have an associate degree in the specific engineering discipline, i.e., civil engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.
Find a job as an engineering technician.
Median annual salary: $61,547
Educational requirements: Increasingly, employers are seeking candidates who have earned a degree or have earned certification from a trade school in a related field. Positions involving national defense may require security clearances.
Find a job as an aerospace engineer and operations technician.
8. Fashion Designer: Creates clothing, shoes and accessories.
Median annual salary: $63,170
Educational requirements: Post-secondary education isn't required, though most fashion designers have had some formal education -- design school, for example -- where they learn design skills, including how to use computer-aided design, or CAD, technology.
Find a job as a fashion designer.
7. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: Diagnoses medical conditions using special imaging equipment such as an ultrasound or a sonogram.
Median annual salary: $65,499
Educational requirements: Becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer requires an associate degree or a post-secondary certificate in the field. Many employers also require professional certification.
Find a job as a diagnostic medical sonographer.
6. Registered Nurse: Provides care and educates patients about various health conditions.
Median annual salary: $65,853
Educational requirements: Registered nurses usually take one of three educational paths: an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. RNs must also pass a national licensing exam.
Find a job as a registered nurse.
5. Nuclear Technician: Assists in nuclear research and production.
Median annual salary: $68,037
Educational requirements: An associate degree in nuclear science or a nuclear-related technology is typically needed to gain entry into the field. Nuclear technicians also go through extensive on-the-job training.
Find a job as a nuclear technician.
4. Nuclear Medicine Technologist: Prepares and administers radioactive drugs for use while scanning patients for abnormalities.
Median annual salary: $69,638
Educational requirements: An associate degree in nuclear medicine technology is typically required. Some states also require a license to work in the field, though requirements vary.
Find a job as a nuclear medicine technologist.
3. Dental Hygienist: Examines patients, cleans teeth and provides other dental care.
Median annual salary: $70,408
Educational requirements: An associate degree in dental hygiene is usually required to work as a dental hygienist. Each state also requires those in this field to be licensed, though requirements vary.)
Find a job as a dental hygienist.
2. Radiation Therapist: Treats patients cancer and other diseases through the use of radiation.
Median annual salary: $76,627
Educational requirements:Radiation therapists are required to complete a formal training program, which usually lead to an associate or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. Therapists must be licensed in most states; requirements vary.
Find a job as a radiation therapist.
1. Air Traffic Controller: Manages air traffic to ensure safe flying.
Median annual salary: $113,547
Educational requirements: Air traffic controllers must be U.S. citizens; complete an air traffic management degree from a Federal Aviation Administration certified school; earn a qualifying score on an FAA pre-employment test; and complete training at the FAA academy.
Find a job as an air traffic controller.
*Source for educational requirements: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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