CTAE DepartmentCareer/Post Secondary Resources
In-Demand, High-paying Careers for Associates Degrees
Paralegal — Top pay: $75,410 Most frequent pay: $46,990 Lowest pay: $29,240
Paralegals may not go to law school, but they do the legal prep work behind the scenes. Pay is high because of their probing and investigative mind and critical thinking skills. Most have an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies.
Registered Nurse — Top pay: $94,270 Most frequent pay: $65,470 Lowest pay: $45,040
RNs need technological knowledge, empathy, attention to detail, and the ability to operate medical equipment, record patient medical information and educate patients on continuing care. RNs earn a bachelor of science, an associate's degree in nursing, or an approved nursing diploma program. RNs must also have a license.
Police Officer — Top pay: $89,310 Most frequent pay: $55,270 Lowest pay: $32,350
Cops respond to calls, enforce laws, write reports, and testify in court. They must be high school graduates, 21 years old, and pass a rigorous physical exam. Candidates must also graduate from the local police academy. Many agencies require some college coursework.
Dental Hygienist — Top pay: $96,280 Most frequent pay: $70,210 Lowest pay: $46,540
This career takes less time than dental school, but still pays big. Dental hygienists clean and examine teeth, look for signs of oral disease and educate patients on preventing disease. State licensing and an associate's degree in dental hygiene are typically needed.
Computer Programmer — Top pay: $117,980 Most frequent pay: $74,280 Lowest pay: $42,850
To be a computer programmer, you must understand computer languages, know how a computer works and be able to communicate that to others. Many employers require a 4-year degree, but some accept an associate's.
Medical Records Technician — Top pay: $56,200 Most frequent pay: $34,160 Lowest pay: $22,250
The people who record data about caregivers and patients and who can access and understand medical financial information are needed because of regulations on health care. These technicians usually need a postsecondary certificate or associates degree, ability to pass an exam and personal certification.
Steve Jobs' Valuable Employee Message
Ken Rosen, a managing partner at the consulting agency Performance Works, remembers an important lesson he learned from his boss, Steve Jobs, when the two worked together at NeXT before Jobs went back to Apple as CEO. "In preparing a keynote speech," says Rosen, "Steve told me five specific technology features he wanted to include in the presentation. My tech team worked for a couple of days, and then we realized we could do all but one." Rosen had no choice but to tell Jobs that only four out of the five tasks could be accomplished in time for the keynote. "I would never want to tell him something couldn't be done if, in fact, there was any way to accomplish it." Here's how Jobs reacted, according to Rosen: He put his hand on my shoulder in this very fatherly-and-to-the-point kind of way, and said, 'We need to do that one, too,' and then he just walked away." How to build your motivation: Rosen felt annoyed at first, but, of course, he went back to his team and continued working on the problem.
"The bottom line is we figured out how to do it. Here’s what I learned from that experience," says Rosen. "You can do things you don't think you can do, but you must be motivated to find a way."
Get positive about yourself. Raise your self-esteem by doing something that makes you feel successful.
Get rewarded. Find a way to get a reward at the end of the task or process, perhaps by taking a break or sharing your accomplishment with a friend who compliments you.
Get peer pressure. Let your friends in on your lack of motivation so they can help you kick into gear.
Action: What role does motivation play in your own success at school or at work? Think of something you need to do, or something from the past you wish you had done. Using this experience, how would you accomplish each of the recommendations in Nos. 1 through 3.
Adapted from TimeWhat is your chosen career? What additional education and training do you need after high school?
Adapted from Yahoo.com. Salary information from U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2012 / Career Solutions Publishing
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