All numbers referenced are based on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010.
Do you dream of controlling the skies? Air traffic controllers do just that—control air traffic on and within the vicinity of airports. If you also want to put dinner on the table, you’re in luck—with a median annual wage of $108,040, air traffic controllers earn the most of all occupations for which the typical entry-level education is an associate degree. Employment in this area is expected to drop 2.9 percent overall between 2010 and 2020, but job openings due to growth and replacement needs will still account to around 102,000 jobs in that time period. Visit the Federal Aviation Administration website for more information on how to become an air traffic controller.
General and operations managers are usually the top dog in a given business or organization. They are responsible for overseeing all areas of operations, including daily tasks, high-level planning, and the direction of the entire company. With that much responsibility on their shoulders, it’s no wonder that these managers earn an annual median wage of $94,400. With expected growth of 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2020, those interested in the top management field can look for one of the 410,100 jobs opening up over the next few years. Generally these managers must have at least a year of experience in the field before advancing to management.
Again, the manager title comes in handy with the third-place finisher. Construction managers earn around $83,860 after gaining at least five years of experience in the construction field. This experience allows them to plan and direct construction of structures, facilities, and systems, from the conceptual design through organization, scheduling, budgeting, and implementation. This is a great option for the entrepreneurially minded, as more than 60 percent of construction managers are self-employed. This field is also expected to see healthy growth, with 16.6 percent more jobs overall and 1,204,000 jobs opening up due to growth and replacement needs between 2010 and 2020.
Radiation therapists provide—you guessed it—radiation therapy to patients, as prescribed by a radiologist. As highly conscientious workers in the health care field, they review the patients’ diagnosis, liaison between the physician and supportive care personnel, prepare equipment, and maintain important health records. This is a relatively small field overall, with just 169,000 radiation therapists in the country, but they earn an admirable median wage of $74,980 per year. The field is expected to grow 20.3 percent between 2010 and 2020, creating 34,000 new jobs in addition to the 33,000 jobs that will open due to replacement needs.
Haven’t you always wanted to wear a lab coat and brag about how you work in nuclear medicine? These technologists are often colleagues with radiation therapists, as they are responsible for the preparation, administration, and measurement of radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies. They’re the people who actually subject the patients to the radiation treatments and then study the results, and for this they earn a median wage of $68,560 per year. The field is expected to grow 18.9 percent between 2010 and 2020, and job openings due to growth and replacement needs in this period will reach 75,000.
Dental hygienists claim the second-largest field on this list, with 1,818,000 dental hygienists in the United States currently earning a median wage of $68,250. Chances are you’ve come face-to-teeth with one yourself, as they’re found in every dentist office and are responsible for cleaning teeth and examining the mouth for signs of oral disease. They may also educate patients on oral hygiene (we’ve all gotten the flossing lecture), take and develop x-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants. The dental hygiene field is expected to grow a whopping 37.7 percent between 2010 and 2020, meaning there will be more than a million job openings between 2010 and 2020. What a great reason to start flossing.
Nuclear technicians are the assistants to nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory or production activities. Since this career is dependent on the performance of nuclear work, usually at nuclear power plants, it is the smallest field on this list, with just 71,000 operating in the country. In fact, the job only exists in 14 states, with the highest concentration in California, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. But with a median wage of $68,090 and expected growth of 13.5 percent between 2010 and 2020, those interested in channeling their inner Homer Simpson (in a much, much safer way) may consider it a viable career option.
With more than 27 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States, this field blows all the others on this list out of the water in terms of sheer numbers. Every hospital, physician’s office, home health care service company, nursing care facility, and outpatient care center employs RNs, and their medical expertise is valued in a number of different kinds of jobs. Generally, RNs care for the ill, injured, convalescent, and disabled of the world. They assess their patients’ health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. The field is expected to grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, meaning approximately 12 million job openings in that time period. It can be a demanding profession, with long hours and odd shifts, but if the median annual wage of $64,690 makes a night shift look appealing, perhaps this is the field for you. RNs need to pursue at least an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and be sure to check out the specific licensing and registration requirements of your state.]]>
While there is no perfect formula for finding the degree that works best for you, there are certainly some things to consider.
Earning your associate’s can be the first step in a great education and rewarding career. Take the time to figure out what associate’s degree is right for you.]]>
However, getting into college an be a challenge these days. It can be competitive to get into a good school — even for an Associates degree. You need every edge you can get in order to get into school, especially if you want a good financial aid package. The good news is that if you know what to expect, and how to go through the college admissions process, you are more likely to get accepted. If you want more information on the college admissions process, and hints on how to get in, you can read these 50 college admissions blogs:
There are people and companies that make a living out of providing advice for those looking to get into college. If you want some insights, as well as some basic coaching, when it comes to college admissions, you can read these blogs from professionals.
If you want help from people who have been through the process as students, or who have made decisions about college admissions, these blogs can provide you with some helpful hints about what to expect, and what to do.
Learn more about what it takes to get into graduate school. If you are interested in moving beyond your undergraduate work, these blogs can help you learn more about grad student life, and how you can improve your chances of getting in.
If you can get help paying for your schooling, that can be a real bonus. Consider these blogs for tips on getting scholarships, and other ways you can get financial aid during the admissions process.
Get information on admissions and school policies right from the source. A number of administrators write blogs, and these are great sources of information about school life, and how you can increases your chances of getting into the school of your choice.