Highest paying jobs that require a 2 year degree in Knoxville

Written by:
September 16, 2021
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Highest paying jobs that require a 2 year degree in Knoxville

The American economy is increasingly becoming one in which a high school education is simply not enough. Of the 55 million job openings expected from 2010 to 2020, only 36% will require a high school education or less, 30% will require some college or an associate degree, while 35% will require at least a bachelor's degree, according Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workplace.

Attaining an associate degree or better for 25- to 29-year-olds increased from 38% to 46% between 2000 to 2017, while bachelors degree attainment or better increased from 29% to 36%, and attainment of master's degrees or higher grew grown from 5% to 9%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. While the largest percentage of U.S. workers only hold a high school diploma-with the second-highest percentage belonging to those with baccalaureate degrees-the number of holders of an associate or technical degree is rising.

Fortunately, the number of associate degree-friendly positions is growing. Stacker compiled a list of the highest and lowest paying jobs that require a 2-year degree in Knoxville using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage. Job descriptions are from O*NET.

With many people finding the cost of a four-year education too high, given the rising cost of tuition and stagnant wage growth, it's encouraging to know that there are obtainable, well-paying professions for those with a two-year degree. While a bachelor's degree holder can be expected to make about $500,000 more in lifetime earnings compared with an associate degree holder, the jobs we have listed show the exceptions.

Keep reading to learn about some well-paying gigs you can land with an associate degree.

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Maria Sbytova // Shutterstock

#33. Veterinary technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $30,010
- #268 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 480

National
- Annual mean salary: $37,860
- Employment: 109,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA ($56,020)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($53,580)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($53,440)
- Job description: Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.

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Queryzo // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Forest and conservation technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $34,320
- #72 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $42,780
- Employment: 30,150
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Utica-Rome, NY ($57,580)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($56,750)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($54,780)
- Job description: Provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources. May compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts under the direction of foresters, or train and lead forest workers in forest propagation and fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats.

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CHRISTOF STACHE // Getty Images

#31. Preschool teachers, except special education

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $35,770
- #120 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 500

National
- Annual mean salary: $36,550
- Employment: 370,940
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Midland, TX ($58,080)
--- Odessa, TX ($54,120)
--- Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV ($52,350)
- Job description: Instruct preschool-aged students, following curricula or lesson plans, in activities designed to promote social, physical, and intellectual growth.

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Rawpixel.com //Shutterstock

#30. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $43,120
- #104 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 190

National
- Annual mean salary: $44,170
- Employment: 108,470
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($55,950)
--- Ithaca, NY ($55,450)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($55,410)
- Job description: Compile and keep personnel records. Record data for each employee, such as address, weekly earnings, absences, amount of sales or production, supervisory reports, and date of and reason for termination. May prepare reports for employment records, file employment records, or search employee files and furnish information to authorized persons.

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#29. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $44,820
- #155 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 200

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,940
- Employment: 55,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA ($104,430)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($89,930)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($88,450)
- Job description: Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic, therapeutic, or research purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.

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#28. Broadcast technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $45,200
- #48 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,250
- Employment: 25,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($67,430)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($65,510)
--- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($63,680)
- Job description: Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to acquire, edit, and transmit audio and video for radio or television programs. Control and adjust incoming and outgoing broadcast signals to regulate sound volume, signal strength, and signal clarity. Operate satellite, microwave, or other transmitter equipment to broadcast radio or television programs.

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#27. Medical equipment repairers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $46,910
- #117 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 180

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,090
- Employment: 48,510
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($89,250)
--- Modesto, CA ($83,280)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($74,310)
- Job description: Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.

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#26. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $48,750
- #319 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 500

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,840
- Employment: 206,720
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($120,270)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($116,250)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($114,850)
- Job description: Take x-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's bloodstream for diagnostic or research purposes. Includes radiologic technologists and technicians who specialize in other scanning modalities.

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#25. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $49,510
- #56 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 120

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,570
- Employment: 17,070
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($80,200)
--- Anchorage, AK ($76,450)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($75,350)
- Job description: Apply theory and principles of environmental engineering to modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems, including waste treatment and site remediation, under the direction of engineering staff or scientists. May assist in the development of environmental remediation devices.

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Kitawit Jitaton // Shutterstock

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

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $51,430
- #34 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,790
- Employment: 13,210
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($95,610)
--- Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA ($93,380)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($84,670)
- Job description: Repair, install, or maintain mobile or stationary radio transmitting, broadcasting, and receiving equipment, and two-way radio communications systems used in cellular telecommunications, mobile broadband, ship-to-shore, aircraft-to-ground communications, and radio equipment in service and emergency vehicles. May test and analyze network coverage.

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#23. Chemical technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $51,490
- #87 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 230

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,700
- Employment: 63,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Billings, MT ($85,460)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($75,430)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($74,780)
- Job description: Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

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Dmytro Zinkevych // Shutterstock

#22. Respiratory therapists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $51,690
- #245 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 420

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,640
- Employment: 131,890
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($104,200)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($100,710)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($100,080)
- Job description: Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

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#21. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $52,560
- #119 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,880
- Employment: 39,880
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($83,570)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($83,310)
--- Albuquerque, NM ($81,560)
- Job description: Apply theory and principles of mechanical engineering to modify, develop, test, or adjust machinery and equipment under direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.

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#20. Civil engineering technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $54,160
- #121 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 410

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,590
- Employment: 67,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($87,120)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($76,230)
--- Warner Robins, GA ($75,840)
- Job description: Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.

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Anze Furlan // Shutterstock

#19. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $54,170
- #51 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,000
- Employment: 24,560
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($93,870)
--- New Haven, CT ($89,570)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($81,970)
- Job description: Perform various tasks to arrange and direct individual funeral services, such as coordinating transportation of body to mortuary, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, aiding with the selection of officials for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.

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#18. Paralegals and legal assistants

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $54,450
- #90 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 850

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,610
- Employment: 332,720
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Napa, CA ($93,110)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($90,280)
--- Trenton, NJ ($77,970)
- Job description: Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.

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#17. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $55,950
- #211 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 600

National
- Annual mean salary: $68,310
- Employment: 115,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bakersfield, CA ($90,130)
--- Salinas, CA ($87,550)
--- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA ($85,190)
- Job description: Apply electrical and electronic theory and related knowledge, usually under the direction of engineering staff, to design, build, repair, adjust, and modify electrical components, circuitry, controls, and machinery for subsequent evaluation and use by engineering staff in making engineering design decisions.

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Arjuna Kodisinghe // Shutterstock

#16. Computer network support specialists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $56,590
- #231 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 730

National
- Annual mean salary: $71,040
- Employment: 184,220
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($92,550)
--- Greeley, CO ($92,240)
--- Barnstable Town, MA ($90,600)
- Job description: Analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), cloud networks, servers, and other data communications networks. Perform network maintenance to ensure networks operate correctly with minimal interruption.

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#15. Physical therapist assistants

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $57,350
- #183 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 370

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,440
- Employment: 92,740
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($81,510)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($78,370)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($78,240)
- Job description: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with state laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

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#14. Industrial engineering technologists and technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $57,680
- #81 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 290

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,920
- Employment: 62,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS ($94,500)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($84,600)
--- Albuquerque, NM ($81,910)
- Job description: Apply engineering theory and principles to problems of industrial layout or manufacturing production, usually under the direction of engineering staff. May perform time and motion studies on worker operations in a variety of industries for purposes such as establishing standard production rates or improving efficiency.

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#13. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $57,880
- #152 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $75,960
- Employment: 39,270
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($140,980)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($126,590)
--- Modesto, CA ($112,080)
- Job description: Operate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. Monitor patient safety and comfort, and view images of area being scanned to ensure quality of pictures. May administer gadolinium contrast dosage intravenously. May interview patient, explain MRI procedures, and position patient on examining table. May enter into the computer data such as patient history, anatomical area to be scanned, orientation specified, and position of entry.

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Hitdelight // Shutterstock

#12. Architectural and civil drafters

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $58,110
- #88 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 180

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,120
- Employment: 99,180
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Anchorage, AK ($74,170)
--- Danbury, CT ($72,760)
--- Evansville, IN-KY ($72,370)
- Job description: Prepare detailed drawings of architectural and structural features of buildings or drawings and topographical relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and public works. Use knowledge of building materials, engineering practices, and mathematics to complete drawings.

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photodiem // Shutterstock

#11. Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $58,890
- #15 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $50,960
- Employment: 31,860
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($74,530)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($72,010)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($70,850)
- Job description: Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.

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#10. Occupational therapy assistants

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $62,450
- #94 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $63,420
- Employment: 42,750
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($89,380)
--- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($86,850)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($84,370)
- Job description: Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with state laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

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Rawpixel.com //Shutterstock

#9. Web developers and digital interface designers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $63,360
- #149 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 220

National
- Annual mean salary: $85,490
- Employment: 156,220
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($138,070)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($113,910)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($112,440)
- Job description: Develop and implement websites, web applications, application databases, and interactive web interfaces. Evaluate code to ensure that it is properly structured, meets industry standards, and is compatible with browsers and devices. Optimize website performance, scalability, and server-side code and processes. May develop website infrastructure and integrate websites with other computer applications.

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SofikoS // Shutterstock

#8. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $63,770
- #197 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 270

National
- Annual mean salary: $77,790
- Employment: 73,920
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($138,130)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($126,610)
--- Stockton-Lodi, CA ($121,710)
- Job description: Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians. Includes vascular technologists.

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#7. Electrical and electronics drafters

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $65,160
- #39 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,720
- Employment: 23,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($94,960)
--- Colorado Springs, CO ($83,220)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($82,680)
- Job description: Prepare wiring diagrams, circuit board assembly diagrams, and layout drawings used for the manufacture, installation, or repair of electrical equipment.

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#6. Funeral home managers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $65,380
- #31 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 130

National
- Annual mean salary: $91,530
- Employment: 10,010
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($128,250)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($112,350)
--- Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA ($102,030)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the services or resources of funeral homes. Includes activities such as determining prices for services or merchandise and managing the facilities of funeral homes.

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Gearstd // Shutterstock

#5. Mechanical drafters

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $67,410
- #27 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,490
- Employment: 51,620
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($105,360)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($80,820)
--- Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS ($78,680)
- Job description: Prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, fastening methods, and other engineering information.

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#4. Nuclear medicine technologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $68,750
- #86 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $82,080
- Employment: 17,510
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($139,410)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($136,650)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($135,660)
- Job description: Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.

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#3. Dental hygienists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $71,310
- #195 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 400

National
- Annual mean salary: $78,050
- Employment: 194,830
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($133,730)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($120,340)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($118,980)
- Job description: Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.

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#2. Radiation therapists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $73,710
- #69 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $94,300
- Employment: 17,390
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($150,950)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($145,420)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($141,130)
- Job description: Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiation oncologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

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#1. Nuclear technicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $75,990
- #5 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 230

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,810
- Employment: 6,160
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($102,240)
--- Richmond, VA ($93,840)
--- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ($90,260)
- Job description: Assist nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory, power generation, or electricity production activities. May operate, maintain, or provide quality control for nuclear testing and research equipment. May monitor radiation.

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