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June 09, 2006


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The main reason there is a big financial advantage between a Bachelors degree and an Associate degree is that the people that get a bachelors degree are typically better performs than people that get an associate degree. For a person that is perfectly capable of getting a bachelors degree but chooses an associate degree because of their career goals they can actually end up way ahead because they avoid two years (or less) or tuition and start earning significant money two years earlier.

Homer Simpson is a nuclear technician and he only has a high school diploma! Not only that but he is, well, Homer :).

What they refer to as a "nuclear technician" may be in the area of radiology -- the people in the hospitals who run the X-ray machines and the MRI scanners. I'm not certain of that, but terminiology in this field has been changing.

As for those salaries -- $58,350 for a dental hygienist? Not in our community! Around here they're lucky to get $32,000. Maybe the people who complied these stats found dentists who pay insurance and make 401k contributions for their employees, and they counted that all together as "compensation."

This can't be true. Well, it better not be, else my wife will kick me out the door. She has an Associates in Fashion Design, and if they make $55K+, she will make me move to NYC right away instead of doing a $25K clerical job in Philly!

Stock Mama I think you're right, I think for all of these jobs they are listing total compensation, including 401(k) match, health benefits, etc., as you note.

I am an engineering technician in the midwest and my base salary is 70K. However I been doing this for 27 years. I work with a lot of 4 year college grads and although they end up making more, it's your performanece that counts, not the degree on the wall. I know a few very educated engineers that have be fired for their lack of performance.

I am retired now, with a 7-figure portfolio, after a twenty-year career as a Certified Court Reporter. And I only worked part-time. I would say the pay scale right now is about 50,000 a year part-time, to over six figures if you want to do it full-time. It is a high-pressure job for some people, but I loved it. It's free-lance, so you meet a lot of great people. And being able to only go to school two years was a big plus for me, both time- and cost-wise, having been a single mom of 2 at the time.

Regarding the comments about dental hygenists... I worked in a dental office in high school and college (a few years ago), and even then an experienced hygenist could easily make $30+/hour plus benefits. However, they were required to have more than an associates degree. Maybe some states are different, but I've never lived anywhere that allows licensed hygenists to only have a two-year degree.

$50k for a part time job? Joel, i'm interested in your occupation. What state did you work in and how tough was the job?

Unlike Joel, I decided to use my stenography skills to become a television closed captioner instead of a court reporter. I have an Associates degree and I average around $100,000 a year. The best part is I work from home about 30 hours a week of actual on-air time. I LOVE my job and can't imagine doing anything else. Heck, I watch TV for a living! Can't beat that.

A Nuclear technician is not the one who administers an X-ray, it is close to the same feild but different. I am going to school to become a Radiologic Technologist right now,which is the proffesional who takes an x-ray and it only requires an associates degree. They start out around $40,000-$50,000 a year, and some with overtime have been reported of making around $80,000 a year or more. These salaries do not look far off at all, once I get my degree as an RT I plan to specialize as either an MRI Technologist or Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, and from what I've researched on their salaries, the pay mentioned is about right. If you become Chief or Supervisor of the department its even possible to make $70,000 or more with a degree in RT, especially if you specialize in something else which usually takes about another year of training, all with an associates degree. Sounds good to me.

The RN thing is not off. Your first year you probably make around 20$ an hour, but after that it can be easily 30$-40$ an hour. If your willing to travel up to 70$-80$ and hour. Making 100,000$ in a year as a nurse with a couple of years under your belt is not far fetched. it the computer specialist who have the best-paying job?????????wow...that's nice...cause i'm studying about computer..god bless.. ciao

Sounds accurate to me. Personally, I know certain I.T. skills pay very well in the Midwest. I'm studying Cisco Networking/Cybersecurity now which includes preperation for a handful of certifications as well as the AAS degree. Many of the students in my class have already been recruited for gigs close to $50K after getting only basic, "foundation" certifications such as A+ and Network+!

It's also nice to know that AAS degrees are no longer viewed as terminal degrees anymore. Most of the schools around here accept all the credits towards a bachelors degree as part of their articulation agreements. I.T. is your best investment.

It's pretty acuarate , at least in computer science, there are some advantages in a computer A.S. over a B.S., in those 2 years you can start in a company, and get some experience, luckly in the computer field you can teach yourself the skills you need, I'm an A.S form a comunity college, and I'm the boss of a bunch of B.S. from CSU kids

My daughter is a dental hygienist, she received her degree and it took 30 months she went to a technical school. She is now working in Colorado and earns almost $39.00 a hour and that is without her benefits. It totally depends on the area of the country. When she moved to Colorado from the midwest she was earning about $10.00 a hour less in the midwest. It is a hard field to get full time positions in and sometimes even finding a job.

This list is incorrect....Completely INCORRECT... No Associate degree bearing person is offered $55K for a Designers position, they are lucky to get 25K for a Design Assistant position with a Bachelors...and a Master's degree holding person might be lucky to start at 30's with no previous work experience... I want to know where these positions are at because I want to apply and work there...

Truth is nobody knows for sure about these jobs how much they pay because jobmarket conditions change from year to year, even faster sometimes.

an areospace engineer sounds like a pretty tough thing to do, 2 years sounds unlikely

Its 2008, two years after this was posted and I agree with most of these. My girlfriend went two full years and a summer to be a hygentist and makes $39 an hour + full benefits. I'm a dental tech which is also a 2 year degree and I make $15 an hour + health insurance after 10 years. Our community college is starting a new associates program called Energy Production Technology that they say will quailify you to start at $25-32 an hour + full benefits as a Nuclear technician.

Its 2008, two years after this was posted and I agree with most of these. My girlfriend went two full years and a summer to be a hygentist and makes $39 an hour + full benefits. I'm a dental tech which is also a 2 year degree and I make $15 an hour + health insurance after 10 years. Our community college is starting a new associates program called Energy Production Technology that they say will quailify you to start at $25-32 an hour + full benefits as a Nuclear technician.

These figures aren't off as a whole. Remember the the area you live in dictates how close you are to that average. As Shamalamadingdang mentioned a lot of colleges are now offering bridges from these degrees right into their bachelor's counterpart degree.
I do have some doubts about the fashion designer thing though. It seems like those who do "make it" in fashion design (even on the discount department store designer level) would make decent incomes but most wouldn't "make it".
That would be like saying that being a rock star or movie star is a great paying non-degree career. Sure it is if you can get work.

A friend of mine is a nuclear safety inspector in Ohio and makes well over 110K per year. High school degree. Basically, there is a lot of room for advancement in a power plant and they will train you if you work hard.

I used to be paid interning with Prudential life for almost a year doing office work such as follow ups, filing, making new data base spreadsheets using excel, making spreadsheets for new clients and their monthly renewals, sending their anniversary letters to new companies and when they are renewed etc.

Do some RN's get paid more than that over time?

I do not know about the other career fields but you can definitely make a killing in xray.

I was making around $28/hr (as an ct/xray tech).
I'd been shooting for 6 yrs (florida/texas locations).

The easiest track would probably be through the military. The program is less than 2 yrs (but the test is harder than the civilian registry). I was trained in CT as well. They did offer to send me to mammo and ultrasound school but I declined. These days I am pursuing an accounting degree but I'm just chiming in to say that xray techs can do VERY well.

I graduated with a 2-year degree in dental hygiene this May. Now I'm making $56k in a horrible economy (western New York). I also get full benefits, 401k match, paid holidays, etc.

I'm not sure about these jobs, but seems like a lot of the salary scale articles I've seen are actually less than the actual earnings. I am an Occupational Therapy Assistant and I make $72K with full benefits, 5 yrs experience, and 5 weeks paid vacation time starting out with a new company. The Occpational Outlook Handbook put out by the Dept of Labor is reporting our top income in the low 50's, and I live in rural Alabama! In addition, I am a RN as well and choose to only work prn (as needed) on the weekends because I make more money as an OTA. i.e...these salary reports are definitely off.

I think RNs should be required to have an BSN and not an ASN.

The wide range of salaries for any given field of study should be noted. I graduated from Penn State with an AS in Medical Laboratory Technology. I started working in Cincinnati for $11.07/hr. When I left to move to Boston, I was making $12.85/hr base pay. In Boston I was immediately making $21.50/hr. I moved an hour away and was scoping out salaries and the same job paid $16.64/hr. A few years later (right now) I am making $20.50/hr after 6 years with the same company in NH. I work night shift so I am somewhere around $23-24 depending on weekday or weekend.

I know this has been out for awhile but how about opticians? It is a two year degree( or you can apprentice for two years), take your state board exam and START off making 18.00 plus a year. get into management and with bonus plans on what the store makes you can earn over 60,000.

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