Employment in Rhode Island
Rhode Islanders benefit from above-average salaries and a strong economy. Rhode Island's major industries include biomedical sciences, cybersecurity and data analytics, maritime fields like shipbuilding and environmental preservation, and business services. Transportation and tourism also have strong growth projections.
Rhode Islanders earn salaries above the national average. The mean annual wage in Rhode Island exceeds $60,000, compared to the national mean of $56,310. As of Jan. 2021, the state's 7.2% unemployment rate slightly exceeds the national unemployment rate, and its 110.6 cost of living also exceeds the national average.
By earning a college degree, Rhode Islanders increase their career options and earning potential. More than 1 in 3 Rhode Islanders possess a bachelor's degree or higher, and many of the state's highest-paying and fastest-growing careers require a bachelor's-level education. As the data below show, several of Rhode Island's fastest-growing careers offer six-figure salaries.
The following information covers some of the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Rhode Island. Salary information applies specifically to Rhode Island, while job growth data pertains to the United States.
Top 10 Fastest-Growing, Highest-Paying Careers in Rhode Island
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
||Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)
||Annual Mean Salary (2020)
|Medical and Health Services Managers
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers
|Computer and Information Systems Managers
|Computer Systems Analysts
|Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists, All Other
|Financial and Investment Analysts, Financial Risk Specialists, and Financial Specialists, All Other
|General and Operations Managers
|Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric
Online Associate Degrees in Rhode Island
Many Rhode Island colleges also offer online associate degrees. An associate degree offers foundational training in business, technology, the liberal arts, and engineering. The Community College of Rhode Island offers online courses at a significant discount compared to four-year tuition rates.
After completing associate degrees, graduates can enter the workforce in fields like allied healthcare, applied technology, or other vocational fields. A transfer-ready associate degree often meets the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree. With an associate degree, students can transfer into four-year colleges and complete bachelor's degree in about two years.
Online Graduate Degrees in Rhode Island
Rhode Island's universities offer many online graduate programs in diverse disciplines. For example, graduate students can earn an online master's in healthcare management or an online master's in library and information studies from the University of Rhode Island. Roger Williams University offers online graduate degrees in subjects like criminal justice, public administration, and cybersecurity. These programs prepare graduates for careers in growing industries in Rhode Island.
Online programs appeal to working professionals seeking career advancement or to transition into a new career. The flexible schedule of an online program makes it easier to work while completing graduate courses. Many online programs accept transfer credits, which can shorten the degree timeline and save students money.