The job field is changing. One or the reasons is due to the increase of jobs in the STEM fields, creating more opportunities opening up for workers that are skilled in so many technical fields. Most jobs requiring a two-year degree, or in some cases only a specialized certificate, earn between $30,000 per year to more than $100,000, depending on the field and position within that field.

Why Are These Jobs Hot?

Besides the opportunity for great pay, basically two of the key factors include job growth and professional advancement opportunities.

1. Job Growth

The sheer number of technical skilled positions is rapidly and exponentially growing. For example, a wind turbine technician job (which requires an associate degree and pays on average $52,910 per year) has a current job growth of 7% but is predicted to grow by 61% by 2029 as the green energy field continues to rapidly expand.

2. Professional Advancement Opportunities

In many of the technical skilled fields, there is significant opportunity for advancement. Much of the advancement in these fields is organic in nature, meaning the person is offered a promotion within his or her field as they gain experience and show their potential for advancement. Using our wind turbine technician as an example, it is fairly common to start out as an installer but work up to foreman of an installation or maintenance team or even oversee a particular geographic area if working for an alternative energy electricity provider.

Hot Skilled Trade Job List

As to be expected, half of the jobs in this list are in the healthcare industry, as it is one of the fastest growing technical fields. It has been a rapidly growing career field for the last several years and as the baby boomers continue to age and more people enter that age group, it will continue to grow well into the future. Let’s look at six of the hot jobs in this list.

Skilled Trade Median Salary Projected Employment Change Out to 2029 Projected Job Growth Jobs Requiring Less than a Four-Year Degree
$67,490 221,900 7% 77%
Web Developer $73,760 14,000 8% 33%
Dental Hygienist $76,220 13,300 6% 80%
Radiologic Technologist $62,280 16,800 7% 93%
Paralegal $51,740 35,300 10% 42%
Personal Trainer $40,390 57,600 15% 56%

Why a Two-Year Degree?

Aside from the obvious reason of going to school half as long or less as for a four-year degree, two-year degrees and certificates have a good Return on Investment (ROI) when comparing earning potential to the money spent getting the training.

Second, especially in the case of veterans being generally older and having a family, it gets them into the field sooner so they can earn a livable wage and support their family better.

Third, it uses half the amount of GI Bill benefits or less for veterans using that education benefit. This means veterans need less entitlement to fund their own education and are able to transfer some of it either to a spouse or dependent children while still serving. Or they can keep what is left to further their own education down the road to increase skills or promotion potential, such as taking managerial or supervisory courses later.

Not everyone is cut out to go to college for four years; earning a two-year degree or a specialized certificate is a good choice for those falling into that category.  Good wages, plenty of jobs, and promotion potential – what is not to like?!

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.