15 fast-growing, high-paying jobs where you only need an associate’s degree

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Many medical occupations don’t require a bachelor’s degree and are set to grow a lot in the next decade. John Minchillo/AP
  • If you’ve lost your job and looking for a new high-paying job, you don’t need to go back to school first.
  • Many of the fastest-growing jobs in the US don’t require an increasingly expensive four-year degree.
  • Student Loan Hero found 15 fast-growing, high-paying jobs you can get with just an associate’s degree.
  • Jobs in medicine — including dental hygienists, MRI technologists, and licensed practical nurses — were high on the list.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You don’t necessarily need an Ivy League degree to land a high-paying job. With the coronavirus pandemic throwing millions out of work, you don’t necessarily need to go back to school and learn new skills for a new job, because there are high-paying ones that don’t require an education beyond an associate’s degree.

Personal finance website Student Loan Hero ranked 15 high-paying and rapidly growing jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree to apply. The ranking is based on 2018 median wage data and projections for the future number of job openings between 2018 and 2028 from the Bureau of Labour Statistics.


15. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists earn a median wage of $US71,670 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 2,700

Training required: None


14. Nuclear medicine technologists earn a median wage of $US76,820 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 1,200

Training required: None


13. Diagnostic medical sonographers earn a median wage of $US72,510 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 5,800

Training required: None


12. First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers earn a median wage of $US76,330 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 4,800

Training required: Moderate-term on-the-job training


11. Web developers earn a median wage of $US69,430 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 15,100

Training required: None


10. Nuclear technicians earn a median wage of $US79,140 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 900

Training required: Moderate-term on-the-job training


9. Funeral service managers earn a median wage of $US79,180 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 1,900

Training required: None


8. Electrical and electronic repairers earn a median wage of $US80,200 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 2,100

Training required: Moderate-term on-the-job training


7. Radiation therapists earn a median wage of $US82,330 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 1,100

Training required: None


6. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earn a median wage of $US46,240 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 66,300

Training required: None


5. Dental hygienists earn a median wage of $US74,820 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 17,900

Training required: None


4. Medical assistants earn a median wage of $US33,610 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 99,700

Training required: None


3. Nursing assistants earn a median wage of $US28,540 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 190,700

Training required: None


2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earn a median wage of $US43,680 per year.

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Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 238,400

Training required: Short-term on-the-job training


1. Air traffic controllers earn a median wage of $US124,540 per year.

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Education required: Associate’s degree

Projected average annual job openings between 2018 and 2028: 2,300

Training required: Long-term on-the-job training