Highest paying jobs that require a 2 year degree in Chicago

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July 15, 2022
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Highest paying jobs that require a 2 year degree in Chicago

Although it all depends on what you make of it, choosing to further your education may lead to higher paying job opportunities. An associate’s degree takes just two years and offers more affordable tuition rates than a four-year school. As of April 2022, the average yearly salary for an individual with an associate’s degree comes out to $45,989.

Students have a plethora of specialties to choose from when obtaining a 2-year degree, from industry-specific roles in health care or IT or a more generalized education path. Salaries differ between areas of study, job type, experience, and, of course, location. A Georgetown University study that looked at job growth and education requirements through 2020 stated that 30% of job openings required “at least some college or an associate’s degree.” Students can choose to head right into the workforce after earning an associate’s, or continue their education toward earning a bachelor’s degree.

The unemployment rate for associate’s degree holders is only 2%, according to research from the Education Data Initiative. Having an associate’s degree under your belt is proven to increase one’s chance of holding a professional or management position in any number of industries, among them education and health, wholesale retail and trade, and professional and business services.

Stacker compiled a list of the highest and lowest paying jobs that require a 2-year degree in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2021 annual mean wage.

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#36. Dietetic technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,530
- #93 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 610

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,920
- Employment: 26,430
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($55,550)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($52,700)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($48,370)
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CHRISTOF STACHE // Getty Images

#35. Preschool teachers, except special education

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $36,650
- #153 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 15,230

National
- Annual mean salary: $36,550
- Employment: 370,940
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($49,990)
--- Ocean City, NJ ($49,720)
--- Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ ($49,560)
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Rawpixel.com //Shutterstock

#34. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $42,200
- #178 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,880

National
- Annual mean salary: $44,170
- Employment: 108,470
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($60,080)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($55,410)
--- Napa, CA ($54,120)
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Maria Sbytova // Shutterstock

#33. Veterinary technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $44,600
- #21 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,260

National
- Annual mean salary: $37,860
- Employment: 109,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($57,990)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($52,220)
--- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA ($51,340)
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Lighthunter // Shutterstock

#32. Medical equipment repairers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $50,090
- #138 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,760

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,090
- Employment: 48,510
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($84,820)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($84,030)
--- Reno, NV ($83,450)

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Queryzo // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Forest and conservation technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $50,760
- #13 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 330

National
- Annual mean salary: $42,780
- Employment: 30,150
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($68,370)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($66,570)
--- Corvallis, OR ($62,260)
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Dragon Images // Shutterstock

#30. Broadcast technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $50,810
- #25 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 530

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,250
- Employment: 25,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($75,430)
--- Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY ($70,990)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($69,950)
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photodiem // Shutterstock

#29. Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $51,360
- #60 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 500

National
- Annual mean salary: $50,960
- Employment: 31,860
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Kennewick-Richland, WA ($79,780)
--- Huntsville, AL ($78,320)
--- Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($76,970)
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#28. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $55,530
- #38 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 240

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,570
- Employment: 17,070
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($82,240)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($81,340)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($74,280)
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Dragon Images // Shutterstock

#27. Chemical technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $57,120
- #57 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,780

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,700
- Employment: 63,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Billings, MT ($86,340)
--- Alaska nonmetropolitan area ($79,390)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($78,000)

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Halfpoint // Shutterstock

#26. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $59,000
- #97 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,710

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,940
- Employment: 55,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA ($99,130)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($94,400)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($92,140)
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#25. Physical therapist assistants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $61,470
- #129 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,220

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,440
- Employment: 92,740
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($85,960)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($78,740)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($76,390)
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GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#24. Paralegals and legal assistants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $61,920
- #38 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 11,990

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,610
- Employment: 332,720
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($90,640)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($76,960)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($75,640)
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Gearstd // Shutterstock

#23. Mechanical drafters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $63,130
- #70 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,220

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,490
- Employment: 51,620
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($104,540)
--- Corpus Christi, TX ($90,720)
--- New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($82,590)
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#22. Occupational therapy assistants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $64,700
- #82 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,930

National
- Annual mean salary: $63,420
- Employment: 42,750
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($85,570)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($77,720)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($77,650)

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Dmytro Zinkevych // Shutterstock

#21. Respiratory therapists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $65,100
- #108 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 4,010

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,640
- Employment: 131,890
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($113,450)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($109,330)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($101,690)
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GOLFX // Shutterstock

#20. Desktop publishers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $66,040
- #4 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $50,600
- Employment: 7,090
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($70,880)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($68,860)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($66,400)
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Anze Furlan // Shutterstock

#19. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $66,980
- #14 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 740

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,000
- Employment: 24,560
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area ($82,420)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($79,240)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($73,940)
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Oil and Gas Photographer // Shutterstock

#18. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $67,220
- #32 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,320

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,880
- Employment: 39,880
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($112,580)
--- North Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area ($91,580)
--- New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($91,550)
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Hitdelight // Shutterstock

#17. Architectural and civil drafters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $67,470
- #16 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,000

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,120
- Employment: 99,180
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC ($76,060)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($75,700)
--- Anchorage, AK ($75,650)

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#16. Industrial engineering technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $67,530
- #34 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,100

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,920
- Employment: 62,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS ($94,360)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($90,460)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($86,020)
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Andrei Agape // Shutterstock

#15. Avionics technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $67,720
- #25 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

National
- Annual mean salary: $69,180
- Employment: 21,390
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($92,470)
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($87,670)
--- California-Lexington Park, MD ($83,930)
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lenetstan // Shutterstock

#14. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $69,190
- #73 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 6,380

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,840
- Employment: 206,720
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($127,890)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($118,480)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($118,100)
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anyaivanova // Shutterstock

#13. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $70,270
- #91 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,200

National
- Annual mean salary: $68,310
- Employment: 115,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Northeast Virginia nonmetropolitan area ($99,890)
--- Fort Collins, CO ($91,980)
--- Bakersfield, CA ($90,780)
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#12. Civil engineering technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $70,480
- #25 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,340

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,590
- Employment: 67,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,190)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($83,250)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($81,340)

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Arjuna Kodisinghe // Shutterstock

#11. Computer network support specialists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $73,530
- #50 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 9,500

National
- Annual mean salary: $71,040
- Employment: 184,220
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($94,120)
--- Barnstable Town, MA ($93,670)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,190)
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#10. Electrical and electronics drafters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $75,330
- #13 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 380

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,720
- Employment: 23,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($98,380)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($86,920)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($83,760)
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#9. Dental hygienists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $79,540
- #124 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 6,960

National
- Annual mean salary: $78,050
- Employment: 194,830
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($125,750)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($122,660)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($119,320)
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#8. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $80,350
- #44 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,870

National
- Annual mean salary: $75,960
- Employment: 39,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($133,590)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,930)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($120,550)
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SofikoS // Shutterstock

#7. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $85,190
- #68 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,380

National
- Annual mean salary: $77,790
- Employment: 73,920
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($138,110)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($137,140)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($131,080)

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#6. Funeral home managers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $86,700
- #18 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 220

National
- Annual mean salary: $91,530
- Employment: 10,010
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($116,760)
--- Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ ($115,400)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($112,820)
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#5. Nuclear medicine technologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $87,470
- #25 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 570

National
- Annual mean salary: $82,080
- Employment: 17,510
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($149,860)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($148,240)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($135,080)
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#4. Radiation therapists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $87,510
- #39 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 460

National
- Annual mean salary: $94,300
- Employment: 17,390
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($169,080)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($159,660)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($131,960)
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#3. Electro-mechanical and mechatronics technologists and technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $87,920
- #4 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 240

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,800
- Employment: 13,160
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($99,720)
--- West Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area ($99,380)
--- Midland, TX ($98,040)
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Kitawit Jitaton // Shutterstock

#2. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $95,360
- #1 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,790
- Employment: 13,210
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($95,360)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($82,470)
--- Trenton, NJ ($80,110)

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Burben // Shutterstock

#1. Air traffic controllers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $158,210
- #1 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 720

National
- Annual mean salary: $127,440
- Employment: 22,190
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($158,210)
--- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX ($154,180)
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($153,770)

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