Air traffic controllers employed at airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson International have the highest median wage for jobs that typically require less than a bachelor's degree.

5 highest-paying jobs you can get in Atlanta with an associate degree

If you'd like a job that pays well but don't necessarily have the time or money to invest in a bachelor's degree, there are still plenty of good jobs to be had in metro Atlanta if you have an associate degree. The following are five of the highest paying jobs you can get with a two-year degree, according to Business Insider:

»RELATED: AJC Top workplaces in Atlanta 2017

Air traffic controller

Air traffic controllers have the highest median annual wage of jobs in which a bachelor's degree isn't typically needed. These professionals monitor and direct the movement of aircraft and earn a median annual wage of around $122,950. Long-term on the job training is required, however, and you'll need to be a U.S. citizen and pass medical and background checks. You'll also need to pass exams and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) course.

Atlanta, of course, is home to Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world's busiest airport. A record 101.5 million passengers came through Hartsfield-Jackson in 2015, which handled more than 882,000 flights.

Air traffic controllers employed at airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson International have the highest median wage for jobs that typically require less than a bachelor's degree.

Architectural and civil drafters

As a drafter, you'll use software to convert designs into technical drawings that can include renderings of buildings, highways or bridges.

Recent job openings in Atlanta for architectural and civil drafters include opportunities to help design commercial construction projects as well as pipeline and petroleum terminal operations. The median annual salary for drafters is around $53,470.

Diagnostic medical sonographers

Ultrasound technology is perhaps best known as a way to check babies in utero, but it's also used to help diagnose many types of medical conditions. Sonographers can specialize in creating non-invasive images of specific parts of the body, such as the heart, vascular or nervous system and work in hospitals, outpatient care centers and doctors' offices.

Recent job listings in Atlanta include hospitals and doctors' offices looking to hire cardiac, vascular and breast ultrasound technologists. Sonographers can expect to earn a median salary of around $67,530.


Paralegals provide help and support to lawyers through services such as conducting research and drafting documents. Over 6,000 paralegals provide legal services in Georgia, and the metro Atlanta area has the fifth highest employment level in the country for this profession.

Most paralegals have an associate's degree or have earned certification in paralegal studies. Their median annual wage is around $48,810, and recent job listings for paralegals in metro Atlanta include openings for paralegals who specialize in immigration and worker's compensation cases, as well as a job with the Atlanta office of Geico staff counsel.

Radiation therapists

Radiation therapists administer radiation treatments to help treat cancer and other diseases. They also work with technology such as CAT scans. They're employed in settings such as hospitals, doctors' offices and outpatient centers. The career has been described by a chief radiation therapist as "a perfect balance between patient care and great technology."

With many major hospitals located in metro Atlanta, healthcare jobs are often plentiful. In fact, the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metropolitan area ranks near the top for employment of radiation therapists, with an annual mean wage of $80,220.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.