Highest-Paying Jobs to Keep School Short: Training in 2020

Apr 15, 2020 by

Picking your career is a big decision that changes the outcome of the rest of your life. According to Statista, in the United States, 36.6% of women and 35.4% of men completed four years or more of college in 2019.

Yet, according to an article in Forbes last year, a staggering 78% of us are still living paycheck to paycheck. Another Forbes article from earlier this year reported that the average graduate of 2018 owes $29,200 in student loans (making this the second-highest consumer debt).

These numbers may lead you to question if investing in more school is really the best decision? Check out these high-paying jobs that keep school shorter:

Healthcare Professionals:


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs as a healthcare provider are expected to add more jobs in the United States than any other occupation. These jobs are projected to grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028.

Many jobs in the medical field are likely to require Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Therefore, it may be best to get your PALs certification online. By taking an online course to get your PALS certification, medical professionals and those finishing up their studies in healthcare can become prepared for pediatric emergencies on their schedules.

Hearing and Communication

While working as an audiologist will require a doctoral degree, according to the BLS, working as a speech-language pathologist only requires a master’s degree. Speech and language pathologists earned a median annual salary of $77,510 in 2018 and the median salary for an audiologist was $75,920. Clinical audiologists don’t just consider the money, however. Being an audiologist means giving people their lives back through hearing loss treatments, cochlear implants, hearing aids, tinnitus treatment, balance issues, and much more.

Dental Hygienist

The BLS says that the median annual salary for a dental hygienist in 2018 was $74,820. Pretty impressive. Especially when considering the fact that, according to the American Dental Association, this job generally only require an associate’s degree (with training) and a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. This type of schooling typically only takes about two years (although it could take longer depending on your state’s requirements and if you lack the pre-requisite science classes).

Registered Nurse

According to the BLS, Registered Nurses (RN)’s made an annual median salary of $74,730 in 2018 and this career path generally only requires a bachelor’s degree. However, according to an article published in Forbes late last year, the annual salary for an RN depends largely on the state you live in. For example, the article listed the average annual salary for an RN in California is a whopping $106,950 whereas in South Dakota it is a mere $58,340.

Respiratory Therapist

As a respiratory therapist, you will provide life-saving treatments to people having respiratory distress. You will provide treatment from basic patient assessments (as well as pediatric assessments) to life support functions like ventilators. According to the BLS, respiratory therapists made a median annual salary of $60,280 and the schooling is only an associate’s degree.

Emergency Medicine Technician (EMT)

Are you interested in emergency medicine? To become a paramedic/EMT, you will only need a high school diploma and to take (and pass) a certification course. According to the BLS, EMTs made a median annual salary of $34,320 in 2018. As an EMT, you will learn advanced CPR and how to deal with other emergent situations.

Technical School Professionals:


Many consider trade schools to be a better financial investment as they don’t take nearly as long to complete as traditional college (so they fit into your busy schedule), but you still end up with a worthwhile salary at the end and more potential job opportunities.


According to the BLS, electricians must pass a test to be licensed and must complete apprenticeship (but this is generally paid). The median annual pay for an electrician in 2018 was $55,190 and the job growth is expected to go up by 10% by 2028.


According to the BLS, in most states, plumbers also must be licensed and have 2-5 years of experience (generally, through a paid apprenticeship) before working independently. Plumbers made an annual median salary of $53,910 in 2018 and the job growth is expected to go up by 14% by 2028.


According to the BLS, there are some schools that offer associate’s degrees in carpentry and there are some programs for carpenters to become apprentices. The main requirements, however, are a driver’s license and completion of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s safety course. Carpenters made an annual median salary of $46,590 in 2018 and the job growth is expected to go up by 8% by 2028.

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