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Top 10 growing jobs you can obtain
with an associate degree

Sept. 30, 2015

Nursing student working on SIM Man. Nursing is one of the top 10 jobs in Rhode Island that one can obtain with an associate degree from CCRI.

The U.S. Department of Labor has identified projections for growth through 2022 in several areas of employment, including many that require only an associate degree to enter. After comparing that list with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training's Labor Market Information 2022 Occupational Outlook, these are the top 10 growing jobs in the Ocean State that you might obtain after completing an associate degree program at the Community College of Rhode Island.

1. Registered nurses

Description: Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. They work in hospitals, physicians' offices, home health care services and nursing care facilities. Others work in correctional facilities, schools or serve in the military.
Job outlook: Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for health care services from the baby boomer population living longer and more active lives.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 1,052,600
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 4,125
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $36.39
CCRI degree program: Associate in Science in Nursing

2. Preschool teachers, except special education

Preschool teacher with studentDescription: Preschool teachers educate and care for children, usually ages 3 to 5, who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach reading, writing, science and other subjects in a way that young children can understand. They work in public and private schools, child care centers and charitable organizations. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, but some work the full year.
Job outlook: Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 17 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Expected growth is due to a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education and the growing population of children ages 3 to 5.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 199,400
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 506
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $14.41
CCRI degree program: Associate in Arts in Early Childhood Education and Child Development

3. Dental hygienists

Dental hygienist working on patient.Description: Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all dental hygienists work in dentists' offices. More than half work part time.
Job outlook: Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 33 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventative dental services, which are often provided by dental hygienists.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 113,500
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 411
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $33.85
CCRI degree program: Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene

4. Paralegals and legal assistants

Paralegal with law book.Description: Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research and drafting documents. They are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies. Most usually work full time, and overtime is sometimes needed to meet deadlines.
Job outlook: Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be strong. Experienced, formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 91,200
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 371
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $22.45
CCRI degree program: Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies

5. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians

Description: Medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances. About half of all medical laboratory technicians were employed in hospitals in 2012. Others worked in doctors' offices or diagnostic laboratories.
Job outlook: Employment of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is projected to grow 22 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. An increase in the aging population will lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions such as cancer or Type 2 diabetes through laboratory procedures.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 90,200
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 280
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $28.72
CCRI degree program: Associate in Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology

6. Radiologic technologists

Radiologic technician with machineDescription: Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations such as X-rays on patients. They work in health care facilities, and more than half work in hospitals.
Job outlook: Employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 21 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As the population grows older, there will be an increase in medical conditions, such as breaks and fractures caused by osteoporosis, which can require imaging to diagnose them.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 69,600
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 227
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $32.08
CCRI degree program: Associate in Applied Science in Radiography

7. Web developers

Description: Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site and technical aspects such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website's speed and how much traffic the site can handle, and. They also may create content for the site. About a quarter of Web developers were self-employed in 2012. Others work primarily in the computer systems design and related services industry.
Job outlook: Employment of Web developers is projected to grow 20 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will be driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices and e-commerce.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 50,700
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 206
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $33.87
CCRI degree program: Associate in Science in Computer Information and Technology with a concentration in Web Technologies

8. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Description: Diagnostic medical sonographers operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests whose results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. Some technologists assist physicians and surgeons during surgical procedures. Most work full time and were employed in hospitals in 2012, while others worked in health care settings such as physician's offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
Job outlook: Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow 39 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 35,300
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 152
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $34.83
CCRI degree program: Associate in Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

9. Computer network support specialists

Man fixing computer.Description: Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems. Most have full-time work schedules but many do not work typical 9-to-5 jobs. Because computer support is important for businesses, many support specialists must be available 24 hours a day.
Job outlook: Employment of computer support specialists is projected to grow 17 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. More support services will be needed as organizations upgrade their computer equipment and software.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 39,600
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 138
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $24.64
CCRI degree program: Associate in Associate in Science in Computer Information and Technology with a concentration in Information Technology Support Specialist

10. Respiratory therapists

Description: Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing from a chronic respiratory disease such as asthma or emphysema. Their patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning or shock. Most work in hospitals; others work in nursing care facilities or travel to patients' homes.
Job outlook: Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. These respiratory disorders can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.
Projected job openings nationally 2012-2022: 40,100
Projected job openings in Rhode Island 2012-2022: 136
Median Rhode Island hourly wage: $29.81
CCRI degree program: Associate in Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy

This list is based on information from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Labor Market Information 2022 Occupational Outlook for Rhode Island and Occupational Wage Report.


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Last Updated: 8/25/16