These Fast-Growing Jobs Pay More Than $20 an Hour, and Some Don’t Require a 4-Year College Degree

The economy will add more than 8 million jobs over the next five years, according to a new report from CareerBuilder. Most of the growth will happen in either high- or low-wage occupations, while the number of middle-wage jobs – those that pay between $14.18-$23.59 an hour – will shrink. Job prospects look especially good for workers with in-demand skills in fields like software engineering, nursing, and accounting.

Over the next few years, employers will be on the hunt for people who can do the following jobs, and they’ll be willing to pay more than $20 an hour to fill them. Even better, some of these high-paying jobs don’t require a four-year college degree.

The fastest-growing jobs are STEM-related occupations

Nurse smiling at Patient
A nurse talks to a patient. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The fastest-growing jobs are largely – but not exclusively – STEM-related occupations, or those that relate to science, technology, engineering, and math. Demand will be particularly strong in two fields.

Registered nurses: Employers will need to hire an additional 255,047 registered nurses over the next five years, according to CareerBuilder. It’s one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, and it pays well too. Registered nurses earn a median of $33.55 an hour, roughly $70,000 a year.

Many registered nurses start out by earning a 2-year associate’s degree in nursing, though it’s not uncommon for RNs to go on to complete a four-year degree, especially if they want to advance in their career. 

Software developers: The number of jobs for software developers will increase by 15.57%, as employers look to fill 143,466 new jobs. The median hourly earnings for this career are $48.49 – about $100,000 a year. You typically need a bachelor’s degree to land a job in this field.

Non-STEM jobs are growing too

Those who aren’t technically minded needn’t despair. Nurses and software developers aren’t the only growing careers with wages above $20 an hour. These jobs will also be in demand:

  • Postsecondary teachers: Jobs for post-secondary teachers (those who teach beyond the high school level) will grow by 7.25%, an increase of 110,955. The median hourly wage is $33.53, or $69,742 a year.
  • Accountants and auditors: Companies will need 86,079 more accountants and auditors in the next five years. The median wage is $32.33, or about $67,000 a year.
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists: Demand for marketing specialists will increase by 12.6%, an increase of 83,187 jobs. The median hourly wage is $30.21 an hour, or just under $63,000 a year.

$20-an-hour jobs that don’t require a four-year degree

A plumber fixes a sink. | iStock/Getty Images

Most of the fast-growing and high-paying jobs on CareerBuilder’s list require a four-year college degree. But for some jobs, a certificate program, two-year degree, or on-the-job training is sufficient. In addition to registered nurses, you won’t need a bachelor’s degree to land these well-paying, in-demand jobs.

  • Computer user support specialists: An associate’s degree or certificate can get you in the door in this fast-growing occupation, which will add 54,044 jobs by 2023. (Some positions do require a bachelor’s degree.) The median pay is $24.16 an hour, or $50,000 a year.
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: Demand for plumbers in on the rise. The number of jobs will increase by 43,625 over the next five years. Some plumbers attend a trade school, while others learn on the job as part of an apprenticeship, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median hourly wage is $23.72, or just under $50,000 a year.
  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses: Some nursing jobs require a four-year or advanced degree, but the training you need to become a licensed practical or vocational nurse can be completed in as little as one year. Once you get a job, you can expect to earn a median wage of $21.56 an hour, or about $45,000 a year.

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