The 20 Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees in 2023

July 5, 2023

Moments ago, you found yourself at a crossroads, searching the vast depths of the Internet for, “Highest paying associates degrees jobs?” And, “How to have low student debt?” Or,  more broadly, “What to do with life?” Now here you are, at the beginning of this nice list full of the highest paying associate’s degrees in 2023, the jobs those degrees lead to, and their median yearly salary according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Is this fate? Perhaps!

Let’s dive in and look at College Transitions’ list of the 20 highest-paying associate’s degrees.

20 Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees in 2023

1) Aeronautics

  • Salary: $129,750

Aeronautics programs focus on aviation principles, aircraft systems, air traffic control, and flight operations. Some programs may also include flight training or simulator experience. Air traffic controllers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of air traffic. Generally speaking, they monitor and direct aircraft, provide clear instructions to pilots, and coordinate takeoffs and landings. This one’s the highest of the highest paying associate’s degree jobs. But due to limited openings and a lot of competition, employment in the field is expected to decline 1% from 2020 to 2030.

2) Nuclear Technology

  • Salary: $99,340

Nuclear technology programs tackle topics like nuclear physics, radiation safety, and nuclear power operations. Practical training in nuclear laboratories or power plants is a key aspect of this degree. Nuclear technicians assist in the operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants, nuclear research facilities, or medical imaging equipment. They monitor radiation levels, conduct tests, and ensure compliance with safety protocols. This one’s the second highest of the “highest paying associates degrees jobs.” And nuclear technicians have a stable outlook, with a projected employment change of 1% from 2020 to 2030. Nuclear power remains a significant energy source.

3) Radiation Therapy Technology

  • Salary: $82,790

Radiation therapy technology programs explore radiation therapy techniques, patient care, anatomy, and radiation safety. Clinical training is also a crucial element. Radiation therapists are responsible for administering radiation treatments to patients with cancer or other diseases. They also work closely with oncologists and other healthcare professionals to ensure accuracy. With that median salary, radiation therapy is absolutely one of the highest-paying associate’s degrees jobs. And this profession has a projected growth of 7% from 2020 to 2030.

4) Nuclear Medicine Technology

  • Salary:  $78,760

Nuclear medicine programs cover nuclear medicine principles, radiopharmaceutical administration, patient care, and imaging techniques. Clinical internships provide practical experience in nuclear medicine departments. Using radioactive materials, nuclear medicine technologists diagnose and treat diseases. They prepare and administer radiopharmaceuticals, operate imaging equipment, and analyze the obtained images. This field also has an expected growth of 5% from 2020 to 2030, due to advancements in nuclear medicine technology.

5) Dental Hygiene

  • Salary: $77,810

Dental hygiene programs include coursework in dental anatomy, radiography, oral health education, and clinical practice. Students gain experience in dental clinics. Cleaning teeth, taking X-rays, educating patients on oral hygiene practices, and assisting dentists during procedures, are the primary duties of dental hygienists. Also, dental hygiene has a projected growth of 6% from 2020 to 2030.

Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees – 2023

6) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Salary: $77,360

MRI Technology programs cover MRI principles, patient care, anatomy, and imaging techniques. Clinical internships offer hands-on experience in MRI departments. Radiologic and MRI technologists operate imaging equipment to create diagnostic images of patients’ internal structures. MRI technologists specialize in using magnetic resonance imaging technology. They position patients, operate the MRI scanner, and ensure image quality. Driven by increased demand for diagnostic imaging services, this profession has a projected growth of 6% from 2020 to 2030.

7) Diagnostic Medical Sonography

  • Salary:  $75,380

Diagnostic medical sonography programs combine classroom instruction with clinical experience. Students learn about anatomy, patient care, and how to operate ultrasound equipment. Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound technology to create images of the body’s internal structures. They assist physicians in diagnosing medical conditions by performing ultrasound scans and interpreting the images. Since medical facilities increasingly rely on non-invasive imaging technology, this profession has an excellent projected growth of 17% from 2020 to 2030.

8) Mortuary Science

  • Salary: $74,000

Mortuary science programs cover mortuary practices, embalming techniques, funeral service management, and grief counseling. These programs may also offer practical training in funeral homes or mortuaries. Funeral home managers organize and conduct funerals or memorial services. Particularly, they coordinate logistics, prepare bodies for burial or cremation, and offer support to grieving families. The outlook is steady, with an anticipated employment change of 2% from 2020 to 2030.

9) Aerospace Engineering

  • Salary: $73,580

Aerospace engineering associate programs cover aerospace engineering principles, flight mechanics, aircraft design, and propulsion systems. Some programs may include projects or simulations. Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians assist aerospace engineers in designing and testing aircraft, spacecraft, or missile systems. They conduct experiments, analyze data, and assist in the development of aerospace technologies. The outlook is also stable, with an expected employment change of 1% from 2020 to 2030.

10) Aviation Maintenance Technology

  • Salary: $65,550

Firstly, aviation maintenance technology programs focus on aircraft maintenance, repair procedures, avionics systems, and safety regulations. Hands-on training allows students to work on aircraft systems. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians inspect, maintain, and repair aircraft to ensure their safe operation. Additionally, they troubleshoot mechanical issues, perform scheduled maintenance, and ensure compliance with aviation standards. Further, the job outlook is promising, with a projected growth of 3% from 2020 to 2030.

Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees – 2023

11) Electrical Engineering Technology

  • Salary:  $63,640

Electrical engineering technology programs cover electrical circuitry, electronics, digital systems, and power distribution, all hands-on subjects. Consequently, these programs typically offer training in laboratories or workshops. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians support electrical engineers in designing, testing, and maintaining electrical systems and equipment. Further, they troubleshoot electrical issues, assemble components, and conduct tests. Lastly, this field has a projected growth of 4% from 2020 to 2030.

12) Computer Science

  • Salary: $62,760

To earn an associate’s in computer science, students learn programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and software development. Students also gain practical experience through projects or internships. Computer network support specialists provide technical assistance and support to organizations’ computer networks. They install and configure network equipment, troubleshoot connectivity issues, and ensure network security. As businesses increasingly rely on technology and network systems, this profession has a projected growth of 8% from 2020 to 2030.

13) Engineering Technology

  • Salary:  $61,950

Engineering technology programs combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills. Students learn about engineering principles, computer-aided design, and manufacturing processes. Engineering technologists and technicians assist engineers in various stages of product development, testing, and manufacturing. They utilize specialized software, conduct experiments, and troubleshoot technical issues. Lastly, the outlook is stable, with an expected employment change of 3% from 2020 to 2030.

14) Respiratory Therapy

  • Salary: $61,830

Respiratory Therapy programs explore respiratory physiology, patient assessment, therapeutic techniques, and critical care procedures. Clinical rotations in hospitals or healthcare facilities are an essential element. Respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with respiratory disorders. They perform diagnostic tests, administer treatments such as oxygen therapy or breathing exercises, and provide education to patients. And this field offers another fantastic projected growth rate of 19% from 2020 to 2030.

15) Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Salary: $61,730

Firstly, for this degree, students complete a program that covers occupational therapy principles, anatomy, therapeutic techniques, and patient care. Clinical internships provide practical experience in occupational therapy settings. Occupational therapy assistants support occupational therapists and provide rehabilitative services to patients. They help patients perform therapeutic activities, teach adaptive techniques, and document progress. This field offers a fantastic projected growth of 21% from 2020 to 2030.

Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees – 2023

16) Cardiovascular Technology

  • Salary:  $60,570

Cardiovascular technology programs cover cardiovascular anatomy, physiology, diagnostic procedures, and patient care. Clinical internships provide experience in cardiac catheterization labs or echocardiography departments. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians assist cardiologists in diagnosing and treating heart conditions. They perform tests such as electrocardiograms, stress tests, or echocardiograms, and they monitor patients during cardiac procedures. The outlook is promising, with an expected growth of 5% from 2020 to 2030.

17) Mechanical Engineering Technology

  • Salary: $60,460

Mechanical engineering technology programs focus on mechanical engineering principles, materials science, computer-aided design, and manufacturing processes. Often, these programs also train students in laboratories or workshops. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians assist mechanical engineers in designing, developing, and testing mechanical systems and products. They utilize CAD software, perform experiments, and analyze data. And this field has another stable outlook with an expected employment change of 1% from 2020 to 2030.

18) Telecommunication

  • Salary: $60,360

Telecommunication programs explore telecommunication systems, network infrastructure, data transmission, and troubleshooting techniques. Hands-on training involves working with network equipment. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers install, maintain, and repair communication equipment such as antennas, transmitters, and receivers. Additionally, they ensure the proper functioning of communication systems and resolve technical issues. Another stable outlook, this field has an expected employment change of 1% from 2020 to 2030.

19) Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

  • Salary:  $60,290

CAD programs cover drafting principles, CAD software, and technical drawing techniques. Using specialized software, drafters convert designs and concepts into technical drawings. Mechanical drafters focus on creating engineering blueprints. Additionally, electrical and electronics drafters specialize in electrical system diagrams while architectural and civil drafters create plans for construction projects. The outlook for drafters is stable, with an expected employment change of 1% from 2020 to 2030. CAD technology continues to streamline design processes.

20) Industrial Engineering Technology

  • Salary:  $60,220

Industrial engineering technology programs explore industrial processes, quality control, production planning, and manufacturing systems. Training may involve working in manufacturing or logistics settings. Industrial engineering technologists and technicians support industrial engineers in improving efficiency and productivity. They analyze processes, collect and analyze data, implement quality control measures, and contribute to process optimization. Lastly, this profession has a projected growth of 3% from 2020 to 2030.

Highest Paying Associate’s Degrees 2023 – Final thoughts

And here you are at the end of your “highest paying associates degrees jobs” search. Next, consider looking into the best trade school jobs and other occupations by salary. Then take control of your fate and think about what career path excites you most. If you found this blog to be useful, you may also enjoy the following related posts: