According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for all employees in the U.S. was $38,640 as of May 2018. High-paying careers exceed this amount, and there are a surprising number of high-paying careers you may not be aware of. Many of them do not require completing graduate school. There are actually many jobs with wages much higher than the national median income level, and some of them only require an associate’s degree that can be completed in 2 years. 

Software Engineers

The BLS reported that software developers earned median salaries of over $105,000 as of 2018. These high-income professionals must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science. Within this field, there are opportunities to specialize. Those interested in a career in avionics software will be required to complete the do-178c training. This is a highly specialized certification that covers the requirements for avionics software. Software engineers are professionals who make computer programs. They produce every type of software program, from phone apps to video games to the programs that help planes fly. Demand for these professionals is extremely high, and the BLS reports that between now and 2028, job growth in this field will be more than 4 times the median job growth rate for all occupations. 

MRI Technologists

You can prepare for a career as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologist by earning an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. MRI technologists often enter the healthcare field as radiologic technologists and advance to the role of MRI technologist. These professionals use MRI scanners, such as the full-body scanners by Ezra, to produce detailed scans of a person’s body. They tests they perform are used to diagnose cancer, strokes, multiple sclerosis and other medical conditions. The BLS reported MRI technologists enjoyed a median annual salary of $71,670 as of May 2018. MRI technologists with the highest salaries were earning over $99,000 per year, and the best news is that there is a high demand for these professionals. The BLS projects job growth for MRI technologists will be faster than the average job growth rate for all occupations through until 2028. 

Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical therapist assistants work under the direction of a physical therapist. They work directly with patients who require physical therapy. Their duties involve assisting patients with exercises that can improve their mobility and balance, and monitoring patients for progress. They update medical charts and teach patients how to use assistive devices. Physical therapist assistants complete an associate’s degree before entering this field. As of 2018, the BLS reported a median annual income of over $58,000 for these professionals. The BLS also projects job growth through to 2028 which is more than five times the national median job growth rate. Some physical therapist assistants work in hospitals or nursing homes, but the majority work in medical offices.

Elevator Installers and Repairers

A high school diploma is all you need to begin an apprenticeship as an elevator installer and repairer. After completing the apprenticeship and licensing requirements, you will be a professional in this field. The BLS reports job growth for elevator installers and repairers is anticipated to be double the median job growth rate for all occupations between now and 2028. These professionals provide routine maintenance for elevators and comparable systems, such as escalators. They assemble and disassemble lifts, escalators, and elevators. When equipment isn’t working properly, they inspect it, determine the source of the problem, and complete the required repairs. As of 2019, the average salary for elevator installers and repairers is over $72,000 per year. 

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

You typically need a bachelor’s degree to begin acquiring the experience needed to become an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator. Some of these professionals study law while others prepare with a business degree. Relevant experience in law or a specific industry, such as the insurance or finance industry, is beneficial. Arbitrators resolve conflicts between parties. They have the ability to issue a binding resolution the parties have to abide by. Mediators and conciliators do not have the same authority. Their focus is on helping opposing parties come to an agreement. Mediators may work with the parties involved in a divorce, for example. These professionals typically earn over $62,000 per year and the demand for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is expected to outpace the average rate of job growth for the next decade. 

When it comes to high-paying careers, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Beyond dentists, doctors, and other typical professions, there are quite a few ways to earn a comfortable living.