For many people college is a means to a more prosperous future. Many of today’s college students, especially older students who are 25+, do not have 4-6 years to invest in an education. Many students want to earn a two-year associate’s degree and enter the workforce and start earning a livable wage.
Economists at the United States Department of Labor indicate that the following ten occupations are the fastest growing fields that require a two year college degree. Growth is measured by people retiring from an existing position as well as expansion that requires a new position be created.
1. Registered Nurses
The aging population of baby boomers has caused the need for healthcare services to explode. You can become an RN in as little as two years although it realistically takes three because of nursing school prerequisites. The projected number of openings from 2008-2018 is expected to be over one million.
2. Nursing Aids
These people are also called CNA’s or nursing assistants. The number of job openings is expected to be approximately 420,000. The aging population is expected to drive the growth in this career field.
3. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
LPN’s and LVN’s perform duties similar to RN’s. The number of jobs is expected to increase by 391,000 through 2018. Healthcare required by the elderly and an increasingly unhealthy child population continues to spur growth.
4. Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists are also commonly called help desk technicians. They earn around $15-18 per hour with a two-year associate’s degree. The number of job openings expected to come available from 2008-2018 is approximately 240,000.
Students can earn a cosmetology degree at a community college, trade school, or beauty school. Economists expect the number of jobs to increase by 220,000.
6. Automotive Service Technicians
Automobiles are becoming more and more technologically advanced. That means the need for more qualified technicians to work on them. Auto techs can study at community colleges or automotive training schools. Jobs are expected to grow by 182,000.
7. Pre-school teachers
It is now common for both parents in a family to have full-time positions. That means the need for quality preschool teachers is going to continue to rise. Experts predict that 180,000 preschool teacher jobs will come available through 2018.
8. Insurance Sales Agent
Insurance agents can specialize in one type of insurance such as auto or they can choose to sell a wide variety of financial products such as life, auto, and home. The number of jobs is expected to increase by just over150,000.
9. Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technicians
These guys work on home and commercial units. The pay averages about $45,000 per year which is fairly good for a two-year degree. The number of jobs predicted to come up through 2018 is 136,000.
10. Real Estate Sales Agent
Real estate positions are expected to increase as the housing market recovers as well as retirement and high turnover. New positions are expected to grow by 128,000 from 2008-2018.