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The top 5 jobs in Utah for those without a bachelor’s degree

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Posted at 10:28 PM, May 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-22 18:55:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY – FOX 13 News took a look at the best employment opportunities in Utah for those without bachelor's degrees and compiled a list of the top five jobs.

Officials with the Utah Department of Workforce Services helped create the list, which is based on each jobs' wages, stability and growth potential.

No. 5 is work as a rotary drill operator in the oil and gas fields. Those in that job can start at about $24 an hour and have an annual income of almost $50,000. The median wage for the position is $28 an hour. Caleb Nelson is an operator at Anadarko, and he said the job is a good fit for him.

"No one in my family works in the oil fields at all,” he said. “I'm the first one, and it's just something… college didn't interest me at all, and this interests me, and they're well-paying jobs, so I went with it."

Dental Hygienists take the No. 4 spot, and those who start in that field can expect to make about $28 an hour or an annual income of $58,240. The median wage for the field is $33 an hour, which amounts to annual income of $68,640 for a full-time employee.

“If you go and you look, you'll see that dental hygiene is not only ranked as one of the top professions, but it's one of those that's projected to grow for the next ten to 15 years,” said Brent Molen of the Utah College of Dental Hygiene.

The Utah College of Dental Hygiene only offers bachelor's degrees, but there are other schools that offer associates degree programs.

The third spot on the list goes to the transportation industry. Those starting in the industry can expect to make about $28 an hour, about $58,240 a year, with a median wage of $37 an hour, or $76,960 a year.

The second spot on the list goes to workers in the electrical field, who can count on a starting wage of about $30 an hour or $62,400 each year. The median wage is $36 an hour or $74,880 each year.

Tim Cardon is an apprentice with Rocky Mountain Power, and he said he prefers this work to his previous job as a junior accountant.

He said it’s a job that requires expertise: "There's just a lot to learn. You've got to make sure you understand how the electricity works and where it's going and why it's going there."

And the best job in Utah for those without a college degree according to the figures from the Department of Workforce Services is: air traffic controller.

In the past 12 months, more than 20 million passengers passed through Salt Lake International Airport, and they were shepherded through by a small army of air traffic controllers. Those who take the job must be U.S. Citizens who began their training before their 31st birthday, and they must pass a medical exam and a background check. They must also have work experience.

Air traffic controllers start out at about $40 an hour, or $83,200 each year. The median wage is $56 an hour with an annual income of about $116,480.

FOX 13 News' Bob Evans has a more in-depth look at the list, see the videos above for his two-part report.