Short Career Programs That Lead to High-Paying Jobs

Primary duties: A surgical technician helps medical staff members operate on patients during surgery. Before the operation begins, technicians disinfect the surgical tools and organize them for easy access. They also track the progress of the surgery.

Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Top High-Paying Jobs With Little Schooling

Many people believe that they have to spend several years getting a degree to get a high-paying job. However, this is not always the case. There are several positions you can begin with only a few years of formal education. Here, we will outline several careers that offer high-paying jobs with little schooling and the time you need to get certified.

A civil engineering technician provides support for licensed civil engineers as they develop and inspect building projects. These professionals also manage cost estimations and organize project plans. A two-year associate degree course in civil engineering technology will make you a certified civil engineer.

High-Paying Jobs With Little Schooling Required

Highest paying jobs categories

Following, you’ll find some of the best-paying careers with little schooling required. For many, all you need is a simple two-year associate degree. And a months-long diploma or certificate program is often enough for some of the fastest careers to get into.

Salary and job growth numbers are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections data. Employment in each of the 15 careers below is projected to increase at a rate that’s equal to or above the average of four percent for all occupations between 2019 and 2029. Salaries are based on estimates from May 2020, listed in the form of median pay (median means 50% of those employed in a specific career make more than what’s stated and 50% make less). Keep in mind that what you can earn might vary depending on which part of the country you work in and how much experience you have.

1. Dental Hygienist

Cleaning teeth, inspecting mouths for signs of disease, and educating patients about proper oral care are the primary duties for people with this career. For quick degrees that pay well, this is a popular option.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

3. Registered Nurse

With just an associate degree, you can enter the world of providing and coordinating essential care for patients in places like hospitals, nursing facilities, and other healthcare settings.

4. Web Developer/Digital Interface Designer

Building attractive and functional websites requires plenty of technical skill but not necessarily much schooling, especially if you already enjoy teaching yourself new tricks. Depending on how motivated you are, this could be one of the quickest careers you can get into in tech.

5. Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists help patients breathe effectively, whether they are helping with rehabilitation in a private clinic or placing someone on a ventilator to save their life. COVID-19 has dramatically increased the need for RTs, both on the front lines in hospitals and in treating lingering or lasting lung damage in those affected by the virus. This means the demand for RTs is high and expected to stay high for some time.


Primary duties: A boilermaker is a trade professional who installs and inspects boilers atop large vessels. Using blueprints, boilermakers measure the space to place or remove boilers. They also fix leaks and ensure the valves align properly.

Primary duties: A massage therapist is a licensed professional who performs relaxing exercises on the body to release tension and reduce pain. Following a client’s treatment plan, massage therapists suggest ways to improve posture. They also help the body recover from injuries.

Graphic Designer

Using design software or creating by hand, graphic designers can become employed in a variety of capacities. Graphic designers work in the digital, marketing, print, trade, and many other spaces. Although there are bachelor’s degrees available in graphic design, most community colleges offer 2 year associate’s degrees where the programs focus solely on the industry, instead of having to take core subjects such as math and sciences. Many graphic design students obtain their initial experience through internships which usually serves them well once they are looking for their first job.

The average annual salary for graphic designers was $59,970 in 2021, however, with education, experience, and talent it’s not uncommon for this career to pay a lot more. With the top 10% of graphic designers earning over $98,260 annually. Find a graphic design program.

Final Words

Wrapping up, most traditional degrees aren’t all they are made out to be. While research shows that STEM students rarely end up working in the same fields that they studied for, humanities students have it even harder. They need to augment their degrees further before landing a job.

If one thinks broadly and puts some faith in vocational schooling, the return on investment is much higher. We’ve provided a detailed guide of some of the best paying jobs, which show potential for growth but don’t require a lot of formal education.

Based on your choice, you should decide whether there are additional courses you can enroll for or places you can gain experience from. Following this list will help you snap out of indecision regarding your career, so you can seize the day.