High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With Two-Year Degrees

It’s always tantalizing to fantasize about a career change, but only so many people can be astronauts or Yankees outfielders, so it’s more reasonable to think about going back to school and getting a more reasonable job.

Yahoo compiles several gigs you can get with two-year community college degrees. Here are some jobs on the list, with average hourly wages:

*Loan officer ($30.39) — Whenever you feel bad for turning people away from financing they need to buy their dream home, take heart that you’re doing your part to save what’s left of the economy.

*Diagnostic medical sonography ($30.60) — Wrangle the ultrasound equipment that checks up on babies’ development and reassure parents the measurements reveal their little ones will grow up to be pro athletes who moonlight as Nobel prize-winning singer/songwriters.

*Nursing ($31.99) — Yahoo says the market for nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent in the next 8 years. The future is no longer in plastics, but bedpans.

*Nuclear technician ($32.07) — If it’s good enough for Homer Simpson, it’s good enough for you. Sorta scary this only requires a two-year degree, no?

If you’ve pulled out of the workforce to go back to school, tell us your plans.

Earn $30 or More an Hour with These Two-Year Degrees


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    I work in purchasing, and we have a really hard time finding people with the right certifications. If you hae a 2-year business degree, go get a CPIM or CPM certificate.

    • sixsevenco says:

      i don’t mean to be a jerk about this, but I know a lot of CPMs that are clueless. I’d rather hire someone with a business degree that has a specialization in strategic sourcing over an ISM cert any day of the week.

      • FatLynn says:

        It really depends on the position, but if you need someone to create PO’s and then track shipments, harass the vendor, etc., you are better off with someone at a lower level. If you are talking about actual “strategic” sourcing, that’s a different story.

      • Dory says:

        One problem is that quite often HR draws up the job description and has a veto over hiring decisions. If HR decides you need a specific certificate or credential, even if an applicant can demonstrate that they have or can obtain that credential, if it isn’t on their resume, they might not get through. (Of course, this is more of a problem in huge organizations than it is in smaller businesses.)

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I think things are too specialized now although you need somekind of credential and training. Decades ago the company would get you trained and certified now in many cases you wind outsourcing your company training by taking courses on your own.

  2. benh999 says:

    ~$60k/yr qualifies as high-paying? Much better than many jobs, but still a far cry from what I would call high-paying.

    • rrayda says:

      Actually, depending on where you live, $60k a year can be a very well-paying job. I’m in North Dakota right now and that’s a great paycheck around here. Granted, the cost of living here is probably half of that in say, San Francisco, that’s why it’s good pay. Sure, you won’t get rich off of it, but it would be very comfortable.

      • benh999 says:

        Not saying it isn’t good pay. I know people who get by in the northeast on less. Just hard for me to think of is as high-paying.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Remember it’s an average, so plenty of people are above that number.

        • dolemite says:

          I think of 60k as high paying. Most “professional” jobs in my area start around 30k, median is around 40, and most top out around mid 50s.

          Then again, you can buy 4-5 bedroom houses for 150k all day long, and it takes you 10 minutes to get home.

      • jnads says:

        A decent apartment in San-Fran would run you $1500-2000/mo. In the midwest, 500-700.

    • TailsToo says:

      The average HOUSEHOLD income is like in the mid $40k range, so while that might not sound like a lot, it’s really better paying than many.

      How did people ever afford houses again?

      • Elcheecho says:

        um, no it’s not. unless you’re pointing to a very specific part of the US, then i might believe it. but in general, no, it’s not. Census Bureau across all regions across all races: median is about $50k and mean is about $68k.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          That still seems pretty good then considering some households are dual income. 60K still puts you above the median and with only one salary.

      • excaza says:

        They couldn’t, that’s why we have this mortgage mess ;)

      • AstroPig7 says:

        I seriously doubt that figure. I make $60K without a degree or any certification, and I’m only half of a household. I don’t work with anyone who makes less than $40K, and some of them are working entry-level IT jobs.

        • halfcuban says:

          Actually he’s off by a little bit, but the MEDIAN household income in America bounces around in the 40’s to 50’s range. The average is higher than that due to the weight of those on the highest end. But yes, most people don’t actually make all that much money.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      On the surface it seems high paying because you’ve spent two years in education to achieve the pay someone spent four years in education for, but when it comes time for promotion or additional education, you’re two years behind if you need graduate-level education.

      • VeganPixels says:

        Below the surface it seems like another long-term debt. The majority of institutions providing the degree for 3 of the 4 jobs listed are private, for-profit outfits that will result in a bill of around $20K. And the hourly wages aren’t entry-level pay by any means.

      • gurupitka says:

        As far as Nursing goes, that’s not entirely true. In NYC, for example, the difference in pay between an RN with an Associate’s vs. one with a Bachelor’s is….$0.50 an hour. Not a huge amount considering the additional cost of schooling.
        BTW, before I went to college, the most I ever earned was $16.75 an hour; and that was with ten years of experience in my field. College pays, people.

    • ames says:

      it’s more than I’ve ever made, and I have both a 4-year degree and a JD.

      • Skankingmike says:

        Public defender than? why would you do that to yourself :P

        • huadpe says:

          The modal starting salary for an attorney in all fields is about $40,000. Throw in some geography (i.e. not in a high cost/salary state), and I can easily see a non-PD lawyer making under $60k 5-10 years into a career. Law salaries are an almost perfect bimodal distribution, and if you don’t go into BigLaw, you tend not to make a ton of money.

          This is pre-crash, but still fascinating:


          • EarlNowak says:

            Postcrash, I’m seeing salaries for attorneys in my region hover between $30k and $40k. A lot of them are probationary, even- $25,000 for a year, no benefits, and if it works out you graduate up to $30,000, with health if you’re lucky. I’m also seeing associate positions as hourly jobs, not salaried, those are trending $10-15/hr.

            You’d think BP litigation would buoy the legal market on the gulf coast, but supply is outstripping demand ten times over. Kids, don’t go to law school.

            • East_Coast_Midwesterner says:

              I have friends that have JD’s from low tier schools that barely crack 40k in Boston

          • Skankingmike says:

            All that graph tells you is what JD graduates earned. Not that what jobs they had, or if their jobs had a JD requirement.

            I know law firms that hire JD graduates who haven’t passed the bar, and pay them nothing to be glorified paralegals.

            It also shows only 57% of the graduating populace. My wife graduated law school and went into a clerkship program thus her salary was only 40k a year (1 year term of employment) Thus this shows nothing really, because many JD graduates fill these clerkship’s around the country on yearly bases. Some last longer than a year some can have no end to the term. So I again doubt the accuracy of these statistics.

        • ames says:

          There are so many reasons to take a job in the public sector. Not everyone is motivated by money.

        • Skankingmike says:

          Sorry I know the NYC metropolitan area so NJ, NY, and CT. Public Defenders make 30-50 a year.

          My wife’s an attorney and while she does by no means work for a large firm (barely midsized) she makes way more than these numbers. But compared to her friends she makes pennies.

          She did graduate from a Tier 1 law school though.. Guess it does make all the difference.

    • tbax929 says:

      It’s less than I earn, but I’d still call it pretty well-paying, at least it is in Tucson, where I live. It’s higher than the average household income here.

      • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

        That’s more than twice the average household income where I live.

        Also I work for a utility that operates a number of nuclear reactors and I have no idea what a `nuclear technician` is. Each site has a reactor engineering department and headquarters has a centralized nuclear engineering group. All of us have at least 4-year degrees and many have master’s degrees. It might apply to a research assistant at a national lab or something like that, but with the level of scrutiny the nuclear power industry is under I don’t think any utility would be willing to accept the “risk” in hiring someone into a nuclear engineering job without at least a 4-year engineering or physics degree (even though I do believe it would be possible to adequately train someone with less of an education background).

    • brinks says:

      Depends where you live. You can afford a mortgage payment on a smaller but decent house in the ‘burbs of Columbus, OH if you make $40,000.

    • jefeloco says:

      Depends on where you live. Here is the southern Idaho region the average household brings in ~$44k a year and $60k a year is more than enough to live comfortably.

      Just to put something into perspective, my wife was in engineering at Micron before she got laid off a couple of years ago. She made about $54,000 a year after 12 years of promotions and was making average for her department. The same exact job in the Italy plant paid the US equivalent of ~$86,000 at the time, which is awesomely similar to engineering jobs at other firms that do the kind of work she did.

  3. UnicornMaster says:

    High paying jobs with zero career paths?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Not true. Those all have management potential, even if the job itself doesn’t go betyond Sr. Job X.

      All those jobs qualify you for project management and general management position.

      Management positions lead to senior management, and then corporate management positions.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Nursing has no career path?

      There’s plenty of growth opportunities in nursing. Not sure that you can go too far without the bachelor’s, but nursing is a fine career with a lot of mobility these days.

      • jefeloco says:

        And you can always get your degree while being an LPN or RN and go for a LNP. From there you can set up practice along with a supervising MD just like a PA could. There are several flavors of LNP to choose from too, so you’re not just stuck with one job out of your licensing program.

    • OneBigPear says:

      Some people want a good job, hopefully that they like, with enough money to have a nice home and some luxuries… not everyone wants a career. :)

      • Pax says:


        Not everyone wants to be “a Captain of Industry”.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I think that’s the problem today. Everyone is told they can have a ‘career’ by doing x,y & z which is how the college industry sells their product-a degree. The word career is bantied about rather carelessly even to the point of defining the person by their job, not by their personal life, community involvement, relationships or even how they act on THE JOB.

        But most importantly I wish people would worry about their job at hand in front of them rather than continously looking down the road to the next promotion. If you look at the biographies of many of these corporate executives they’ve bounced around all over the place. The ‘professional careerist’ tends to have the opposite problem of over specialization and that is no specialization or lack detailed knowledge on many facets of the business they supposedly are leading. Corporate America has been using professional careerist for decades and look where their companies and our economy is now.

        And you can advance, now sometimes yeh without a 4 year degree or a BA right out of high school you will be looked upon a differently. But you have a JOB, a means of earning money to pay for things and live the way you want even if at a bargain basement level. Think about a JOB FIRST then worry about advancement for your ‘ career ‘

        • halfcuban says:

          I disagree strongly, and find the notion that having a career outlook as meaning you’re a corporate flunky as way off the mark. As someone who went six years for my degree (B.A./MSW) I am going to end up working for peanuts for the initial part of my career. But my opportunities for career advancement far outweigh many other people. In two years and after going through another round of licensure and supervision, I can start charging people (and more importantly insurance) for individual and group therapy on top of my full-time job. I also have a number of other opportunities in time when it comes to training and teaching that you aren’t going to get with the degrees listed above, atleast not without additional and significant classroom time.

          In fact too few people I find have a view towards having a career, and don’t take into account the ancillary opportunities certain careers provide. I’m certainly not going to be limited to just what my fulltime day to day position allows me to do.

          • c!tizen says:

            I can get behind your argument here, but at the same time there are a lot of holes in it too. First, a 2 year degree will get your foot in the door pretty much anywhere, but while someone who went for the 4 year degree is spending money on 2 more years of classes, doing projects and learning theory, the person with the 2 year degree is out getting actual experience. And, as everyone learns when they get out of school, there is a HUGE difference between the theory you learn in a closed controlled environment at school and the wide open variations and unpredictability of deploying those tactics and skills in a real world environment.

            In my experience school is no match for actual hands on training and real world experience, hence the term “real world” experience. A 4 or 6 year degree will certainly give you more of an edge as far as theory goes, but aks any experienced professional and they’ll tell you that 2 years of actual experience is worth at least 4 years of school. This is exactly why you make peanuts when you get out of school, because you have no experience. School gives you “other people’s experience” which is a great way to prep for your field of choice, but it’s in no way more beneficial aside from how it looks on paper. Besides, do you think your professors are preaching crap they read in books or their own experience? The ones that teach the latter are always the best teachers.

            But make no mistake, in some professions you need to be in school for years… namely doctors and surgeons, and if your title has anything to do with “nuclear” or “fusion” I’d hope there are at least 5 or 6 Master’s degrees on your wall.

            • mdovell says:

              “Besides, do you think your professors are preaching crap they read in books or their own experience? The ones that teach the latter are always the best teachers. “

              I’d say it would depend. Reading books isn’t “crap”. If someone cannot distil the information of what they have accomplished in text then I’d say something is wrong. If everyone learned solely by doing then the human race would be dead. Just the concept of fear actually protects us as a deterrent. If someone watches someone get hit by a truck I think they’d probably look both ways for the rest of their life.

              There’s nothing wrong with experience but if it cannot be quantified then what is the point? More importantly if a form of employment has a small variance then it can easily be summarised. Then there is also the argument of the intensity of the experience. If someone works as a commodity trader on the CBOT and doesn’t work on ends (end of week, end of month, end of quarter, end of half, end of year) then I know they haven’t had the full experience. Ends are always busier in every business.

              With education there are grades and people are judged on grades and it isn’t asking too much if an employer wishes to see them. With employment it’s the opposite. There is no mandate for reviews…companies do not have to share information about others as there’s no real mandate to.

              Institutes of academia are less likely to close up shop than businesses. With this being the case it can be a sure thing to be able to check credentials. Dean’s list vs…employee of the month..what looks better?

              If there is no variance with employment then it could just become a somatic. With any form of education you don’t stop learning. No professor would ever say “Yeah just keep reading chapter 1 that’s ALL we need to know”. There’s a limit in some fields in terms of how much can really be seen before it gets to be redundant. If we take say two mid level managers at a company. One with 10 years in and the other with 15 years in. What “extra” comes from the extra five years? If the person can’t prove a higher worth in some metric (performance appraisal, testing etc) then what is the point of a higher value?

              I find it odd that programming is there..much of it has been outsourced (just see elance.com) but I think the rest of the article is fair. Nursing does well but it is important to emphasise being a nurse rather than “nursing”. Nursing homes don’t actually require nurses.

          • u1itn0w2day says:

            I’m not saying don’t educate yourself or get licenses etc but you have to get your priorities straight to survive. The world ain’t here so some one can become CEO or a zillionare-it’s about survival, especially if you have kids.

            Just like I said before you have to triage your life and career actually more frequently than most think. Too many fart around as a professional student. Too many use their career goal as an EXCUSE for not working or not admitting they are not working in their desired field. You can only plan so much. But I agree you can plan too little as well.

            I must admit the corporate flunkies did plan for THEIR career but did they really improve their skill let alone improve their life. Many Enron and AIG execs will be in court the rest of their lives because of their ‘career’ . I’ve worked for a couple Fortune 500 companies and I’ve seen so much time wasted on planning ie spend company time working on things like transfers, promotions, alleged benefit problems ie tuition reimbursement , politicing for the required training and flatout jamming their nose up somebody’s butt. And when they do get into another or higher position since they never took the time to deal with the details of their last job they’re useless.

    • NickelMD says:

      In the case of nursing no.

      Step 1: Get nursing associates degree from a community college and become an RN.
      Step 2: While making a decent wage, do one of the many RN to BSN programs and get your bachelors in 2-4 years (while having a decent apartment, a car that runs etc.)
      Step 3: Decide what you’d like to do with your BSN…. administration/management, continued hospital nursing, public health nursing, etc.
      Alternate step 3: Decide to pursue a masters program to become a Nurse Practitioner (again 2-4 years during which you can make enough money to live by with your RN.)

      I’m happy I’m a physician, but were I to do this again, I might consider that route. I work with two excellent NPs, and a good friend is just finishing her NP program this semester using exactly that route.

  4. aja175 says:

    I’m doing pretty good for myself without a degree (better than the jobs above anyway), but my boss told me to get one because he can’t promote me any further without it.

    • Lollerface says:

      I hate that mentality. No matter how skilled you are you can’t advance because you didn’t go to school. I work in a software dev environment and I know some damn good programmers with nothing more than a HS diploma. They’re forced to take online courses (studying what they already know) just so they can get a promotion.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      I teach at a CC, I get a lot of students with your problem. It totally aggravates me because I don’t really see what they’re getting from the degree that they don’t already have from their work experience or that their employer couldn’t train them in, other than a credential.

      I mean, it’s awesome to have a liberal arts education, I’m not saying its not, but this is just credentialism run amok. They don’t really care if my students become better critical thinkers, they just want them to have a pretty certificate.

      • Skankingmike says:

        That’s why most educational degrees are crap. A degree in business? Seriously last I checked some of the greatest business men out there never finished or stepped foot in a class room.

        What we need is an education overhaul with a major shift in focus to apprenticeships.

        Even a law school is moot. Most of those classes are worthless baring a few really important ones, but ultimately every lawyer I know learned more from their required internships and then those who went on to clerkship’s, even more.

        It’s why those with the best internships and clerkship’s can get jobs over those who don’t.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think where this can go wrong is if someone goes into a two-year degree program thinking “this is it. I only have to do this, and then I’ll be set.” That’s foolish because a two-year program might get you in on the ground floor, but you’ll require more education and certification if you actually want to move up in pay and past an entry-level position. I think some people go into it thinking that this is all they’ll need, and they don’t realize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Exactly, learning, training and certifications are a life long process. That’s why you shouldn’t frown on going to school part-time or dimiss single courses and seminars. This is why corporate America is so fracked because most of your ceos have a 4 year they got 20 years ago. And I’d venture to say many of them jammed the course work into about 4 nights of cramming.

      Rather than going to the bar after work go to school THEN a bar.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        I don’t think America is effed because executives don’t have more undergrad classes under their belts.

        If anything, most of what people “study” at universities (so-called top school grad here) is rubbish. The problem with American corporations is the overlying philosophy of short-term gain to make shareholders happy in the pants every quarter.

        I have two degrees and still take classes and study in my free time. I still learn a ton more at work.

        • SolidSquid says:

          I don’t think u1itn0w2day is just referring to university courses, but also to certification courses and specialisation things (in IT an example would be Microsoft’s MCTS courses). These tend to have a more practical focus than those in universities, and since there’s a range of them then usually you can find one which focuses on specific work you have to do.

          In this case, one example might be getting a CEO to do a course in sourcing product or management methods (or in some cases basic IT skills). This means that a) a CEO is constantly improving their skills and b) they have to accept others might know things they don’t (too many will toss out suggestions from others which conflicts with their ideas, even if the other person has a much better idea of what’s going on)

          I don’t think I’d agree that this is what’s screwed over US businesses, as it’s a problem globally, but it could certainly make a CEO far more effective in their job

  6. jason in boston says:

    Oh Phil…how did I know you wrote this without even looking at the author.

    Nuclear Tech =/= working on a reactor. The education isn’t even close. Although, to work on a Naval Nuclear ship, you do need 2 years of 60 hours a week schooling. It’s called the Naval Nuclear Power Program.

    • Algae says:

      And to apply to work in the reactor at our local plant, they need at least 6 years of boiler experience. Combine the certifications with the 6 years of experience, and it’s not exactly a 2-year degree path.

      • jason in boston says:

        I don’t know how the civilian world works, just Navy / DoD reactors. 6 years boiler work seems high though. Is that with no prior experience?

        • Algae says:

          I’m assuming no prior experience; I’m basing this mostly off of my dad’s experience. He had 9 years Nuclear Navy before being hired at the local nuclear power plant. He’d told me that 6 years on a boiler (any boiler) was the minimum, and then you needed the Nuclear Certifications. When dad was hired, practically all of the reactor operators had come from the Navy. Our local community college has added a Nuclear Tech program, so I’m not sure how true this is anymore.

          It’s not really an easy “go to school for 2 years and get a job” because I know they still require several years’ experience before you can even apply (a quick Google showed at least 3 years and as many as 5 years prior control room experience). And it’s not like the plants are always hiring – just replacing as others leave. Since there’s not usually a bunch of nuclear plants in one area, once you’ve chosen your plant, the guys tended to stay there.

          • jason in boston says:

            Every 6 months, I apply for reactor operator at MIT. Maybe by the time I am 60 I’ll get a second look. I did my time as a Nuke in the Navy and would love that job.

  7. pot_roast says:

    Hah. Pretty much the same list as years past. We’re still seeing “computer programming” on these lists… that’s if your job/project doesn’t just get outsourced. :/

    Many new nurses are having difficulty finding jobs, though. This really depends on your geographical location. You might have to give up the city lifestyle to find a job. Older nurses are putting off retirement, and many have come out of retirement because their retirement plans (401k) were decimated by the economy. So it’s not like you can just go “Oh, I’m going to be a nurse!” and jump into a two year program at the drop of a hat. There are waiting lists for the nursing programs as well.

    • VA_White says:

      There is a shortage of experienced nurses – emphasis on the experienced. New grads even with 4 year degrees are having a hard time finding jobs. Nursing is not a ticket to a fat paycheck right out of school.

      • Jevia says:

        I’ve heard that most places are significantly favoring the 4+year nursing degree program over the 2 year program.

        • Walking Dead says:

          Mostly it’s a way for places to be more selective in hiring. Healthcare knows it needs more nurses but it is also waiting to see what happens financially with the national healthcare movement.

  8. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Mortuary science!

  9. diasdiem says:

    And you can get all of these lucrative degrees at University of Phoenix!

  10. ash says:

    RN at a community college no longer takes 2 years. The programs are packed and competitive so nationwide, they usually require you to do all pre-requisites (2 years) then apply and you may not get in. or there’s a waitlist that’s several years long.

    • pop top says:

      RNs aren’t the only nurses around. You have nurse practitioners, advance practice nurses, certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and clinical nurse specialists; most of those jobs can be had with a two-year degree/certificate.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        NP’s need far more education than most LNs or RNs. In fact, new NP’s today are graduate-level (master’s) or higher.

        • mandy_Reeves says:

          Right….nurse practitioner is like one step below md I think. Lots of ERs have them in place of md’s now

          • jnads says:

            LPN’s are basically RN’s that can write prescriptions. A few might get mad at that explanation.

            Hospitals stay away from LPN’s because they have to pay them more.

      • Kuchen says:

        Nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists require advanced degrees (masters or higher), and you have to already be an RN to become either of those. Nursing assistants are not nurses, and many hospitals in my area are trying to move away from licensed practical nurses at the bedside.

      • BluePlastic says:

        I think starting in 2015 a nurse practitioner will have to have a doctorate. So a lot more than 2 years.

        I’m actually 1 year into a 2-year associate degree in nursing program. In my area they do accept a 2-year RN. But I am hoping to work and get a BSN if I ever manage to graduate!

  11. Promethean Sky says:

    2 years for a nuclear technician only sounds scary to someone who is ignorant of what the job entails. The great thing about technicians is that they don’t need to understand what they’re doing, they just need to do it reliably. It’s scut work. While I don’t fully understand the job description, not being in the field myself, I’d imagine that a lot of the job involves things like handling radioisotopes in hospitals.

    • Firethorn says:

      I’d disagree; they DO need to understand what they’re doing, but what they’re doing doesn’t require extensive knowledge of nuclear reactions.

      They simply need to know how to keep the reactor within tolerances and the steam flowing.

      A pilot doesn’t need to know how to rebuild an engine; he needs to know how to handle failures with the engine gracefully until he can get it on the ground, when professional mechanics(or nuclear scientists with the big degrees) can go to work on fixing it.

  12. Kitty Conner says:

    An Associate in Nursing doesn’t take two years. Two years of NURSING classes, yes. But an additional two years of pre-reqs.

    Everyone always recommends nursing as this quick way to a good-paying job, but it’s not. Neither the former or the latter.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Never mind that nursing is very physically and mentally demanding work.

      • Kitty Conner says:

        It is. And the compassion/empathy componant is huge. It’s a hard job, and really isn’t for everyone.

        Almost 100% of the nurses I know (and I know/work with a lot) don’t actually want to do what would normally be considered “nursing”. (i.e. working on a hospital unit, caring for patients.) That’s where they have to start, but the minute something else is available, they’re so so happy to move on.

        The people who really want to nurse, and are really good at it, are few and far between.

  13. cynical_reincarnation says:

    I hear there is lots of money in computers!

  14. NarcolepticGirl says:

    My uncle has a GED and made about that much doing welding and currently makes about that much working in the elevator union.

    My mother was a machinist in the 80’s and made about $25/hr. She never graduated high school.

    Dad made about $100k a year as a finance manager at a car dealership.
    His college degree was in a totally unrelated field.

    • brinks says:

      My stepfather dropped out of high school and is a truck driver. He makes a TON of money.

      I went to college and I’m unemployed. Even when I was employed, I never came close to making even HALF of what he makes.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        That’s not exactly an argument in favor of not going to school, though.

        • brinks says:

          There’s no way I could handle long-distance truck driving. However, the pay beats anything I’ll ever earn. If you can handle it, don’t go to college.

          Otherwise, you are correct.

          • halfcuban says:

            Are you serious? Truck driving has to be one of the most vicious job markets out there with low wages relative to the expense of being an independent contractor. Its one of the reasons why the Teamsters were and are so organized over long-haul and delievery drivers; because without them wages for driving would be almost nonexistent.

            The gross pay some trucking jobs offer sounds generous until you take out fuel, the expense of owning the truck, as well as the vagaries of the shipping industry and/or the product you’re shipping which may be high in volume during certain periods and less during others.

  15. pugnurse says:

    Also about nursing: Many (most) hospitals are no longer hiring nurses with associates degrees in favor of bachelor and masters/doctorate nurses and nurse practitioners. Nursing is not “bedpans,” but serious, direct and autonomous patient care. Whereas hospitalist physicians may do a drive-by a couple times a day, they spend their time having conferences to figure out diagnoses and treatment plans. Its the nurse who identifies changes, performs treats, and ultimately manages the patient’s care. ICU nurses have one patient, sometimes up to 12 IV meds, IM meds, not to mention procedures to manage. ED nurses tend to run the show despite what you see on television. Front line nurses (not bed side nurses) have up to 3-5 patients to manage, and more.

    Please, stop perpetuating the myth of the nurse as bedpans. It’s not true, we’re not handmaidens, butt-wipers, nurse ratcheds, or whatever else you see on the television.

    Most of the “bedpaning” is left to the nurses aid or patient care associates.

  16. APFPilot says:

    At the hospital where my wife works they are requiring everyone to have an RN, soon to be BSN

  17. dolemite says:

    I find that really strange about nurses. Every hospital I am aware of (my wife works at one) in about a 70 mile radius has had a hiring/pay freeze for the last year+.

  18. Anonymously says:

    How about *any* jobs you can 6 years of eduction in archaeology and library science?

  19. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    B.A. Theatre Arts. I don’t work in the field. Go figure.

    • tbax929 says:

      BA in English, and I work as a director in a corporate office. However, the ability to write well certainly hasn’t hurt me.

  20. LuckyLady says:

    In my area, you have to be at the top of your game to get into any type of clinical training program at the technical colleges. Not only do you have to ace your science and math classes, you have to have volunteer hours and even clinical recommendations to get into a program like sonogram technican, radiology technician or nursing (LPN or RN). The reason is that there’s only so many spots available for practicals, so there is a limited number of students who can be accepted each term.

  21. Cristie says:

    This info coming from Yahoo HotJobs, on whose “Top 100” list sits a known Pyramid Scheme company which has bilked a lot of people. I submitted this information to Consumerist.com. Yahoo HotJobs was also informed and chose not to respond.

    Google “American Income Life”. It’s scary.

    • brinks says:

      Hey! They email me every time I refresh my resume on Hotjobs!

      Only the pyramid schemes and insurance companies do.

    • MamaBug says:

      worked there, and went so over my head in debt that I had to move 400 miles away to live with my father. Worked a total of two months and got $3000 in debt. yeah. f*ck them.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Yeah, when I worked retail, a rep for this company would come by every month or so to try to recruit employees there. Skeevy skeevy skeevy

  22. ScottyB says:

    How can I obtain a high-paying position with my two B.A. degrees and my M.A. degree?

    • brinks says:

      Don’t mention you have a masters.

      An acquaintance was told just that by a consulting firm.

      She told them to go **** themselves.

  23. Nighthawke says:

    It’s a very, very competitive environment to get into a RN program right now. One local college has openings for 40 slots and they get over 400 applicants each time, both repeats and first timers. Entry-level types may have better luck with getting a LVN through their local CuCo or a vocational school.

  24. drjeff says:

    I gave a presentation to a group of first-year Dental Health Science students yesterday. Turns out that their two years of classes net them 65K+ yearly when they get out of school and become hygienists. Who knew?

    (This comment makes more sense here than in the “remember the milk” post, where I just submitted it by accident!)

  25. u1itn0w2day says:

    Think of find your place in the JOB market as that of a medical emergency room. The first thing you have to do is triage the patients and THEN give detail treatment.

    Assuming you want to be an active participant in the economy ie pay for things especially the necessities like food and shelter the first thing you have to do in the job market IS find a JOB that will do exactly that-pay for the necessities THEN worry about the Mercedes.

    Worry about surviving on a daily basis rather than a yearly trip to the Carribean. If you want to be a boss coach a little league team if want to live your life managing people but can’t find a job doing so.


  26. TheGreySpectre says:

    Technician and Engineer are two very different things. Techs to maintenance and simple tasks nothing more complicated then any of the other two year degrees you listed, sorta scary that you can’t tell the difference isn’t, no?

  27. no_wallmart says:

    Let me warn would-be graphic designers: Find something else to do! There’s a cap on what you can earn and there aren’t many rungs on the ladder.

  28. Heresy Of Truth says:

    Yeah, I’m just leaving nursing. Everyone else can have it. It depends on what kind of nurse you are. Anything less than an RN will not get you that kind of wage. Even then, there are a lot of places that are less than that.

  29. Selbs says:

    Commercial Nuclear Reactor Operators usually only require a high school diploma. Just brave 6 years in the Nuclear Navy and you can easily clear $150K/year. And after that, the GI Bill will pay for your degree.

  30. brinks says:

    I was chatting with some people while we were waiting for a job interview. One woman had just graduated from nursing school and NO ONE would hire her because she ONLY had a 2 year degree and she didn’t have real-world experience.

  31. evnmorlo says:

    They also list fashion design, which is pretty much proof that they are BSing.

  32. ash says:

    Nursing assistant is not considered a nurse–you can get a certificate quickly, but the average salary is far below a RN–less than $30K. To become a advanced practice nurse or nurse practitioner, you need to become a RN first. LPN is 1 year (and still is competitive).

    So basically…the majority of nursing jobs require 2 years of post high school education minimum, but become a nurse in 2 years or less is more and more rare. As another poster mentioned, most hospitals are not hiring LPNs any more (LPNs are still hired at nursing homes, etc but there is less demand for LPNs now).

  33. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    “computer-programming jobs don’t necessarily require formal education”

    WTF? LOL, maybe in the 1980s but I can’t even imagine anyone even getting interviewed if they do not have a BS or higher. I used to code without a degree but that was because I was the only person available who could write programs to control the customers’ production robots. Nobody else knew C++. In this century, what places would hire someone in a programming position without a degree? I’d really like to know. (I may apply ;^)

    • brinks says:

      That WAS my fiance’s career. He is completely self-taught and has years of experience but no degree. He got laid off, and literally NO ONE will talk to him now. A degree is absolutely a requirement in an ultra-competitive market.

  34. VashTS says:

    I have a BA in Psych and Journalism and even did a year and a half for xray technician(Not getting in, my 2.8 gpa is crap compared to other kids in the program). I did in total seven years of college No one wants to hire me for a real job. I did internships, I busted it and now I currently make $13 per-hour scanning products part timefor a sucky job that I hate, still living at home. My poor mom and dad supports me and my brothers. What does a hard working honest guy have to do to live. I cannot afford cable, or any form of entertainment.

    Something tells me I am not alone on Consumerist.

  35. JANSCHOLL says:

    Nursing two year degree? Really? You need to talk to the people at Hurley Med Center in Flint, Mi who were just let go because they were merely only armed with a two year LPN degree. Some were just weeks and months from full retirement with benefits. http://www.mlive.com/business/mid-michigan/index.ssf/2010/06/hurley_medical_center_official.html

  36. trencherman says:

    Physical Therapist Assistant is a good job. Typically it requires a year or two of prerequisites to get into the program, then an additional two years in the program to get your associates degree. A good friend and former coworker is a PTA, and was recently hired as the Rehab Director at a hospital in Florida. Makes ~95K. Granted, she has an great personality, and this is the exception, not the rule.

  37. consumeristjames says:

    I wonder where Yahoo got their information? Because I was a mortgage loan officer and did several loans and never approached $30/hr, everything was commission only.

    The other 3 jobs I agree with, but loan officers are usually commission only positions so you’ll have to be doing amazingly well to make $30/hr

  38. u1itn0w2day says:

    Sometimes it’s a matter of actual certifications and not necessarilly the degree. When I say certifications I mean not just stuff like A+, C+ etc actual CERTIFICATIONS from the manufacturers you will be maintaining or installing. I know people who have gotten trained and certified or switched networks from Siemens, Nortel, Lucent etc and had just as much security as the local guru. These employers want proof beyond a degree or experience so they can cover themselves liability wise and have proof for their customers ie a selling point.

    Yeh if you’re doing alot of design work, programing or code work I can see a degree although there’s probably alot talent out there without all those degrees because you have to keep up with tech anyway. The problem with tech is that there are so many certifications out there that if you don’t have a few or don’t update regularly you’re done.

  39. psykomyko says:

    A family member just spent 2 years getting her Pathologist’s Assistant degree. Now, she already had a Bachelor’s degree, but for another 2 years of school she doubled her income.