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

Many medical occupations don't require a bachelor's degree and are set to grow a lot in the next decade.

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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.
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PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

You don’t necessarily need an Ivy League degree to land a high-paying job.

As artificial intelligence gets smarter and more commonplace, a pricey STEM degree might not guarantee you a job. A recent Brookings report found white-collar jobs in science and finance were most at risk for getting replaced by AI (in addition to manufacturing jobs).

Many of the fastest-growing jobs in the US don’t require a bachelor’s degree. As tuition prices and student loan debt continue to swell, considering a job that requires just two years of school might not be a bad idea.

Here are 15 relatively fast-growing, high-paying jobs that don’t require an education beyond an associate’s degree, according to Student Loan Hero. 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 Labor Statistics.


15. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists earn a median wage of $71,670 per year.

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NIH Image Gallery/flickr

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 $76,820 per year.

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 $72,510 per year.

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 $76,330 per year.

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 $69,430 per year.

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Reuters

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 $79,140 per year.

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 $79,180 per year.

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Scary Side of Earth/flickr

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 $80,200 per year.

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US Airforce/flickr

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 $82,330 per year.

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 $46,240 per year.

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Getty Images

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 $74,820 per year.

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MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

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 $33,610 per year.

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Getty Images

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 $28,540 per year.

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Theo Heimann/Getty Images

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 $43,680 per year.

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Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

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 $124,540 per year.

Education required: Associate’s degree

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

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