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Top Jobs in Demand for Associate Degrees

Dec. 13, 2012
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Dreaming of a new career? Unfortunately, we all know education isn’t cheap, but with a little research, you can get the best bang for your buck. NerdWallet’s Jobs in Demand Study aggregated all high growth jobs and found that occupations requiring an associate degree had the highest average growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the average growth rate of all jobs from 2010 to 2020 will be 14.3% — with high growth jobs requiring an associate degree increasing an average of 35%.

[Want more career advice? Check out our Job Search Guide for Gen Y.]

The majority of the jobs on the list were in health care. This is due to the aging baby boomer population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2020, much of the baby boomer population will have transitioned into the 65 and older demographic. By then, the 65 and older population will have increased to 55 million, a 36% rise from 2010. The aging population will necessitate more health care jobs. The expansion in the health care field will open up jobs requiring specialization in aiding major functions in the health setting.

Top Jobs Requiring an Associate Degree

Three high-demand jobs appeared on the lists for best salary and growth. It’s no surprise that these occupations all fall within the health care category.

Registered Nurse

Assesses, monitors and records patient health, care and medication.

  • Annual Median Salary: $64,690
  • Growth Rate (2010-2020): 26%
  • Total Jobs Projected in 2020: 3,449,300

Medical Sonographer

Performs ultrasounds to generate images for patient diagnosis.

  • Annual Median Salary: $64,380
  • Growth Rate (2010-2020): 44%
  • Total Jobs Projected in 2020: 77,100

Dental Hygienist

Cleans and polishes teeth, examines gums and takes X-rays.

  • Annual Median Salary: $68,250
  • Growth Rate (2010-2020): 38%
  • Total Jobs Projected in 2020: 250,300