Air traffic controllers average more than $100,000 a year — without a bachelor’s degree, reports the Wall Street Journal. Also lucrative: radiation therapist, dental hygienist, nuclear medicine technologist and fashion designer.
Recent graduates with a technical or vocational associate degree average higher earnings than four-year graduates in three states analyzed by CollegeMeasures. In Virginia, the average technical associate degree graduate earned $49,000 a year between 2006 and 2010.
Community college degrees “are worth a lot more than I expected and that I think other people expected,” said Mark Schneider, president of CollegeMeasures and a vice president at the American Institutes for Research.
The job news gets even better for two-year graduates, reports Forbes.
This on the heels of stats from the Department of Labor from the fall that showed job growth for those with associate’s degrees was outpacing that of more advanced degree holders. The good news doesn’t stop there; the majority of the fastest growing occupations in the US, from dental hygienists to veterinary technologists, require only a community college education.
In 2010 – 2011, the average community college student paid $2713 in tuition and received, on average, $1700 in Pell Grant aid, Forbes notes. Most community college students don’t borrow to complete an associate degree and those who do don’t need to go heavily in debt.
The 10 top-paying jobs for associate degree graduates are lead by air traffic controller (median pay of $108,040), construction manager ($83,860) and radiation therapist ($74,980), according to NerdWallet.
Among fast-growing jobs, occupations requiring an associate’s degree had the highest average growth — 35 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health care jobs are driving the rapid expansion of jobs requiring a two-year degree.
Three careers made the high-pay and high-growth list: registered nurse, medical sonographer and dental hygienist.
Top Jobs Requiring an Associate’s by Median Pay
Is there a skills gap? Or a bunch of cheapskate employers offering low wages for high-level skills? Skills Don’t Pay the Bills writes Adam Davidson in the New York Times Magazine.
Earlier this month, hoping to understand the future of the moribund manufacturing job market, I visited the engineering technology program at Queensborough Community College in New York City. . . . As the instructor Joseph Goldenberg explained, today’s skilled factory worker is really a hybrid of an old-school machinist and a computer programmer. Goldenberg’s intro class starts with the basics of how to use cutting tools to shape a raw piece of metal. Then the real work begins: students learn to write the computer code that tells a machine how to do it much faster.
Computer-controlled machines have replaced low-skilled factory workers, writes Davidson. Manufacturers need “people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.”
Running these machines requires a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring and computer code. It also requires a worker with the ability to figure out what’s going on when the machine isn’t working properly.
Goldenberg’s students will find jobs, the instructor says. Nationwide, manufacturers say there are 600,000 jobs available for skilled workers. Both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney talked about the skills gap during the campaign.
But if employers really were desperate, they’d raise wages, argues Davidson. In most places, that hasn’t happened.
Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051 applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire 15. Part of Isbister’s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a “union-type job.” Isbister, after all, doesn’t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries. At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance.
When manufacturers raise pay, they can find enoughskilled workers — except in a few cities where the oil industry is booming, according to a Boston Consulting Group city. “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates is not a skills gap,” the study concludes.
Community college presidents average $167,000 in base pay, but blacks and Hispanics earn more, according to an American Association of Community Colleges survey. The median total compensation, which includes base salary plus other pay for fulfilling presidential duties, was $177,462.
That compares to $421,395 for public four-year college presidents in 2010-11, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. For four-year private-college presidents, the median total compensation was $385,909 in 2009.
Hispanic presidents reported the highest median base salary of any ethnic group, at $201,553, the study found. Black presidents had a median base salary of $190,000, and white presidents had a median base salary of $167,200.
. . . black and Hispanic presidents were more likely than their white counterparts to work at large colleges and in urban areas, and both factors are associated with institutions that pay higher salaries.
Female leaders of community colleges reported a median base salary of $170,000, slightly higher than male presidents, but men took a slight lead in total cash compensation.
Most presidents receive additional compensation.
Sixty-six percent said they received a college-provided car or car allowance, 58 percent said they received allowances for professional club dues, and 32 percent said they received college-provided housing or a housing allowance. Only 15 percent reported that their spouse or partner also received allowances.
Some 75 percent of community-college presidents plan to retire in the next 10 years.
Employers expect to hire 10.2 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook update.
Median starting salaries for the class of 2012 are up 4.5 percent to $42,569 a year, NACE reports. Engineering jobs pay the most — a median of $58,581.
Registered nurse leads Monster’s list of high-paying jobs with an associate’s degree.
Also on the list: dental hygienist (hygienist salaries), respiratory therapist (respiratory therapist salaries), programmer (programmer salaries), telecom installer (telecom installer salaries), industrial engineering technician (salaries for engineering techs), police officer (police officer salaries), HVAC mechanic (HVAC mechanic salaries) and paralegal (paralegal salaries).
Heating/air-conditioning techs may qualify via apprenticeship without a degree. Paralegals may find jobs with a certificate.
Community college graduates with associate degrees in health fields are finding good jobs, but other associate degree graduates are struggling, writes Community College Dean.
California Controller John Chiang has asked the state’s 72 community college districts to submit information on employee pay. Chiang is compiling a database of local government salaries.
“Compensation for chancellors of the state’s 15 largest districts ranges from $228,000 in Ventura County to more than $390,000 for Sacramento’s Brice Harris,” reports the Sacramento Bee.
New Jersey’s community college presidents average $186,000 a year plus perks such as housing and car allowances, reports AP. That’s more than the governor makes.
Nationwide, 80 percent of community college presidents get housing and car allowances, concluded a 2006 survey by the American Association of Community Colleges.
John Roueche, director of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas, said that those perks are standard, though other extras, like country-club memberships, are being trimmed across the country.
President of Brookdale Community College for 20 years, Peter Burnham got the college to pay for property-tax increases on his home after 2003; he also received $1,500 per month on housing. The college paid for his country-club membership and up to $40,000 a year for his children to attend college.
Burnham resigned in the spring after auditors alleged he charged personal expenses to the college. His lawyers are contesting the audit.
Burlington County College‘s Robert Messina Jr., who’s retiring next year after his 25th year on the job, got the college pay for his wife to travel with him to conferences as a “goodwill ambassador.” A college spokeswoman said that the benefit cost the school less than $1,000 last year.