10 Fast-growing Careers that Require Two Years (or less) of Education

Some of these jobs pay big wages and require advanced degrees while others require no training and pay very little.

But right in the middle are many jobs that pay good wages and require two years or less of education. Registered nurses, funeral service directors and drafters are just a few examples. And although it’s still true that jobs in healthcare, education and computer technology dominate the top 50, there are also some surprising fast-growing careers that haven’t received as much attention.

For our list, we picked some of the fastest-growing jobs that require an associate degree, certificate, or diploma. Every one of these jobs offers the potential to earn $40,000 or more a year and is expected to grow much faster than average over the next ten years, and you can get training for all of them right in your backyard at Piedmont Technical College. 

vetVeterinary Technologist

52% growth nationally
30% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $18,600 - $44,500

Work: Veterinary technicians play a critical role in animal health. They work in areas like clinical medicine, laboratory animal medicine, emergency medicine, pharmaceutical sales, and many other areas.

Education: Associate Degree


hvacHeating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer

34% growth nationally
23% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $30,500 - $54,000

Work: HVACR technicians install and repair heating, cooling and refrigeration systems in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

Education: Certificate or Associate Degree program


cardioCardiovascular Technologist

29% growth nationally
29% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $23,700 - $75,000

Work: Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes.

Education: Associate Degree


radRadiologic Technologists

28% growth nationally
20% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $34,700 - $69,600

Work: Take X-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes.

Education: Associate Degree


respiratoryRespiratory Therapists

28% growth nationally
27% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $39,200 - $69,900

Work: Assess, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

Education: Associate Degree


nursesRegistered Nurses

26% growth nationally
25% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $41,300 - $78,500

Work: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records.

Education: Associate Degree


lpnLicensed Practical Nurses

22% growth nationally
19% growth in South Carolina

Annual Earnings Range: $29,000 - $48,200

Work: Care for ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions.

Education: Diploma Program


massageMassage Therapist

20% growth nationally
17% growth in S.C.

Annual Earnings Range: $17,500 - $49,700

Work: Massage customers for therapeutic purposes.

Education: Certificate


surgicalSurgical Technologist

19% growth nationally
31% growth in S.C.

SC Annual Earnings Range: $27,000 - $47,300

Work: Surgical technologists may help set up operating rooms, prepare and transport patients for surgery and assist with other tasks related to surgery.

Education: Diploma Program


computerComputer Support Specialist

18% growth nationally
8% growth in S.C.

SC Annual Earnings Range: $26,400 - $71,400

Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.

Education: Certificate or Diploma


*Adapted from CareerFocus Magazine