See How You Could Boost Your Earning Potential


See how the right education could help you pursue a career with high earning potential.

By Tony Moton

Do you have what it takes to boost your earning potential?

With the right education, preparation, and experience, a rewarding career with great earning potential could be well within reach.

Career #1 - Registered Nurse

Registered nurses (RNs) make up the largest share of workers in the nursing field (2.6 million), and their overall career opportunities are considered excellent for years to come.

The Education: Earn a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN), associate's degree (ADN), or nursing diploma. Passing a national licensing exam is required for all nurses after graduation.

Average Earnings: RNs have an average annual income of $62,450*.

Search for Nursing schools near you.

Career #2 - Criminal Investigator

Criminal investigators and detectives help put away the bad guys by gathering evidence for criminal cases. Typical responsibilities include examining records, gathering facts, and conducting interviews.

The Education: In some cases, a high school education may be enough, but looking into criminal justice programs - some of which focus on forensics, could also be helpful.

Average Earnings: The average annual income for criminal investigators and detectives in 2008 was $60,910*.

Find Criminal Justice programs near you now.

Career #3 - Market Research Analyst

Opinion seekers value what people think, and the information that market research analysts gather - using online, in-person, or telephone surveys - helps determine the cost of goods and services in the marketplace. Many people in this field pursue employment with companies who value their advice when communicating with customers.

The Education: A bachelor's degree is considered the minimum requirement. A degree that focuses on business administration or marketing and communications could serve you best in this field.

Average Earnings: The average annual income for market research analysts is $61,070*.

Find Marketing degree programs now.

Career #4 - Multi-Media Artists/Animators

Today's film and television programming often requires sophisticated special effects, which are conceived and created by multi-media artists and animators. Web sites and mobile phones are also venues for the work of these talented, creative professionals.

The Education: If you possess a vivid imagination, an associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic design, web design, or animation might be right for you. A degree program will give you a strong grounding in the current software and graphics programs used by pros in this field.

Average Earnings: The average annual income for salaried animators and multi-media artists is $56,330, but can vary by location. Artists in Washington, New York, and Nevada, for example, have an average income of over $60,000 per year.

Career #5 - Budget Analyst

Career prospects for budget analysts appear strong as the need for quality financial advice becomes increasingly important for companies and government agencies. Nonprofit organizations might be a great avenue for those looking to pursue the field.

The Education: A bachelor's degree in a variety of majors could offer excellent preparation for entry-level positions, including accounting/finance, business, public administration, economics, and statistics.

Average Earnings: Budget analysts have an average annual income of $65,320*. Promotions based on experience and professional development classes could improve earning potential.

Search for Accounting degree programs.

Career #6 - Computer Network/Systems Administrators

Companies depend on these administrators to keep their computer systems online and running. At a time when the IT (information technology) field is still growing, those with an interest in computers should consider this a viable option.

The Education: Formal career preparation varies, but in most cases, relevant computer skills are a must. A bachelor's degree in a computer-focused field, such as software engineering or network administration, is a great start for those pursuing an entry-level position. An associate's degree with some related work experience could attract employers as well.

Average Earnings: The average annual income for computer network/systems administrators is $66,310*.

Find Technology and IT programs now.

Career #7 - Commercial/Industrial Designers

A flair for design and an eye for the beauty of practical objects are great for delving into this field. The pros in this business have a blend of creativity and technical know-how that lets them design the shape and function of everyday objects from cars to cameras to cookware.

The Education: Most entry-level commercial and industrial design positions require a bachelor's degree. Majors include industrial design, architecture, and engineering. Preparation involves learning the latest design technologies, including the use of computer-aided design (CAD) tools and computer-aided industrial design (CAID) tools.

Average Earnings: The average annual income for commercial and industrial designers is $57,350*. The figure spikes, however, depending on the location. In Massachusetts and Utah, for example, designers average at $68,680 a year and $65,510 a year, respectively.

Search for local and online colleges now!

All average income data from U.S. Department of Labor.

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