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Vocational school training can take you to a steady career with salary prospects that could reach six figures. This list includes employment projections, salary ranges and training or degree requirements.

The 10 Good-Paying Careers for Vocational School Grads

By Kay Easton
RWM Columnist
Apr 12, 2011

These 10 occupations have been identified by the Department of Labor as the highest paying careers for graduates of vocational schools. Each career profile includes median salaries for 2009 as well as a salary range. Factors that can boost salaries to the high end of a range include:

Employment projection for all careers are for the decade from 2008 to 2018, courtesy of Department of Labor data. Fifty percent of the 10 top paying careers are in health care, one of the nation's largest industries. Between 2008 and 2018, health care occupations are expected to generate 3.2 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

#1. Computer specialist

Salary: $77,000 (Range: $41,700 - $115,000)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 13 percent increase

You can work as a computer specialist with an associate degree, but 44.3 percent of the professionals in this field have a bachelor's degree.

#2. Radiation therapist

Salary: $74,200 (Range: $50,000 - $107,200)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 27 percent increase

Radiation therapists are about evenly divided in terms of education; 40.3 percent have an associate degree and 37.7 percent have a bachelor's degree.

#3. Nuclear medicine technologist

Salary: $67,900 (Range: $48,700 - $90,600)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 16 percent increase

Forty-five percent of nuclear medicine technologists have an associate degree; 19.4 percent have a bachelor's degree.

#4. Dental hygienists

Salary: $67,400 (Range: $44,900 - $92,900)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 36 percent increase

More than half of dental hygienists (56.3 percent) have an associate degree; 30.5 percent have a bachelor's degree.

#5. Nuclear technicians

Salary: $67,300 (Range: $41,300 - $92,600)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection:
9 percent increase

Although some nuclear technicians have an associate degree (12.6 percent), 29.7 percent have a bachelor's degree.

#6. Commercial pilots

Salary: $65,800 (Range: $32,500 - $120,600)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 19 percent

In addition to a vocational education, commercial pilots must be at least 23 years old and be licensed by the federal government. Some commercial pilots have associate degrees (8.3 percent) but most, 59.2 percent, have bachelor's degrees.

#7. Fashion designers

Salary: $64,300 (Range: $32,300 - $130,900)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 1 percent increase

In this very competitive career, most fashion designers have a bachelor's degree (42.5 percent) although 14.1 percent have associate degrees.

#8. Registered nurses

Salary: $63,800 (Range: $44,000 - $93,700)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 22 percent increase

Registered nurses are about evenly split in terms of education level; 37.3 percent have associate degrees while 42.4 percent have bachelor's degrees.

#9. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Salary: $63,000 (Range: $44,000 - $85,900)
Vocational education: Associate or bachelor's degree
Employment projection: 18 percent increase

Most diagnostic medical sonographers have an associate degree (45.3 percent), although 19.4 percent have a bachelor's degree.

#10. Electrical/Electronics Repairers (Powerhouse, Substation and Relay)

Salary: $62,300 (Range: $43,500 - $81,600)
Vocational education: Vocational training or associate degree
Employment projection: 12 percent increase

Most professional in this field have vocational training (66.9 percent) although 19.8 percent have an associate degree.