SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Stacker compiled the highest paying jobs for high school graduates in Springfield, MO using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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 Springfield, MO using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2021 annual mean wage.

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#16. Preschool teachers, except special education

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $33,220
– #265 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 300

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)

#15. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $36,200
– #370 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 ($60,080)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($55,410)
— Napa, CA ($54,120)

#14. Paralegals and legal assistants

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $45,500
– #325 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 350

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)

#13. Medical equipment repairers

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $46,790
– #158 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 70

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)

#12. Mechanical drafters

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $50,600
– #216 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 180

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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#11. Civil engineering technologists and technicians

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $50,890
– #215 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

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)

#10. Physical therapist assistants

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $51,950
– #403 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 130

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)

#9. Occupational therapy assistants

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $51,960
– #220 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

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)

#8. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $52,580
– #414 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 430

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)

#7. Architectural and civil drafters

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $54,640
– #202 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

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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#6. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $56,190
– #69 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

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)

#5. Computer network support specialists

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $58,450
– #321 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 350

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)

#4. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $63,870
– #159 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 70

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)

#3. Electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $65,620
– #152 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

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)

#2. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $66,800
– #270 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 110

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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#1. Dental hygienists

Springfield, MO
– Annual mean salary: $73,120
– #242 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 310

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)