Six Career Switches That Could Double Your Salary

2021

With the right preparation, you could pursue a career that pays double your current salary - whether you're currently making $30K, $40K, or $50K.

By Jennifer Berry

Have you ever wondered what it would take to double your salary? Yes, I said "double" - and no, it's not impossible.

"Doubling your salary is achievable, but it does take time," says Laura Lee Rose, time management and career expert and author of "TimePeace: Making Peace With Time." That means you can't expect to simply go out tomorrow and find a job that pays twice what you're currently making. But with a little effort and the right plan, a high-paying career is within reach.

Julie Erickson, management consultant, career coach, and owner of myrightfitjob.com, agrees. "If you want to double your salary, you need to do a strategic plan for yourself," she says. "Once you have a career goal, figure out what you need in order to pursue it. Do you have the education? Experience?"

Ready to double your salary? Here are a few career ideas, whether you're currently making $30K, $40K, or $50K a year.


If You're Making $30K, But Want $60K:

Registered Nurse

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10th Percentile Annual Salary*:
$45,040
Median Annual Salary*:
$65,470
90th Percentile Annual Salary*:
$94,720

You've never been hesitant when it comes to helping someone else. So why not pursue a career as a registered nurse? Their typical duties include coordinating patient care and providing advice to patients and their family members, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And by pursuing a career as an RN, you could potentially get your salary to the $60K mark.

Why It Pays: "RNs need a variety of skills ranging from strength, agility, dexterity, medication knowledge, the ability to provide special procedures," Rose says. She adds that RNs also need the ability to provide patient and family teaching, counseling and therapeutic intervention, as well as psychiatric and behavioral knowledge.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Education Options: So what does it take to prepare to pursue this career? Well, according to the Department of Labor, most RNs have either a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. The Department also notes that registered nurses must be licensed.

Market Research Analyst

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10th Percentile Annual Salary:
$33,280
Median Annual Salary:
$60,300
90th Percentile Annual Salary:
$113,500

Are you fascinated by how a company's marketing can affect consumer spending habits? As a market research analyst, you could help companies understand what products people want and at what price, according to the U.S. Department of Labor - and earn a healthy salary doing so.

Why It Pays: "Technology and market trends are shifting and evolving quickly, and it's only going to move faster in the future," says Rose. "Being able to properly forecast the 'next generation' allows the company the time to not only create the product but hold a larger market share by being the first out there," she says. Those are valuable skills and, as Rose explains, skills employers will pay good money for.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.

Education Options: Think this is the career path for you? According to the Department of Labor, to get started in this field you'll typically need at least a bachelor's degree in market research or a related subject. The Department also says many jobs require a master's degree in marketing research or another field, such as statistics, marketing, or business administration.


If You're Making $40k, But Want $80K:

Health and Medical Services Manager

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10th Percentile Annual Salary:
$53,940
Median Annual Salary:
$88,580
90th Percentile Annual Salary:
$150,560

You've got administrative skills, and you're interested in pursuing a career in health care. As a health and medical services manager, you could oversee an entire health care facility, according to the U.S. Department of Labor - and it might even increase your salary substantially.

Why It Pays: When asked why a job as a health and medical services manager pays so well, Erickson says, "It's difficult keeping track of all the regulations, billing, staff, records. As a manager you're really responsible for bottom line. You have a lot of things to juggle."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, you'll typically need at least a bachelor's degree in health administration to get started. The Department also says that master's degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration are common.

Art Director

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10th Percentile Annual Salary:
$43,870
Median Annual Salary:
$80,880
90th Percentile Annual Salary:
$162,800

If you have a good eye for design, fashion, and color, you might consider preparing to pursue a career as an art director. In addition to having a hand in creating the visual style of images in magazines, movies, or TV shows - which is what the U.S. Department of Labor says art directors typically do - you could also have the opportunity to raise your salary.

Why It Pays: There's a lot riding on the art director's work, which plays a part in why they're paid so well, says Erickson. This is especially true when it comes to digital art, she says.

"Everyone needs websites - something that looks good. Even companies that you wouldn't necessarily think of as needing an art director, if they're going to do websites in house, will need someone who's going to be rebranding, putting new content up, making it look good." But she adds that in addition to talent, you'll need experience to start earning the big bucks.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Art Program.

Education Options: Ready to get started? According to the Department of Labor, many art directors start out in a field like graphic or set design or work as fine artists or photographers. They usually earn a BA or BFA (bachelor of arts or fine arts) to gain the appropriate education. Some art directors also get an MFA (master of fine arts) or an MBA (master of business administration), the Department notes.


If You're Making $50K, But Want $100K:

Human Resources Manager

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10th Percentile Annual Salary:
$59,020
Median Annual Salary:
$99,720
90th Percentile Annual Salary:
$173,140

If you could see yourself planning, directing, and coordinating the administrative functions of an organization - some of the responsibilities of a human resource manager as described by the U.S Department of Labor - you may want to think about pursuing this career. The most exciting part? This career could pay $100K or more.

Why It Pays: When asked why HR managers take home such a good salary, Erickson says it's "because you're dealing with law, compliance, and people." It's a complicated field, and there's not a lot of room for error, especially when you're responsible for administering someone's salary, health insurance, or retirement plan, she says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

Education Options: If you think you'd make a great HR manager, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration to get started, according to the Department of Labor. Some higher-level jobs require a master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or business administration (MBA), the Department adds.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

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10th Percentile Annual Salary:
$74,940
Median Annual Salary:
$120,950
90th Percentile Annual Salary:
$152,380

It takes a special type of mind to work well with both technology and people. If you think you can handle both, consider preparing to pursue a career as a computer and information systems manager. This role plans and coordinates computer-related activities in an organization, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And pursuing it could potentially up your salary to $100K.

Why It Pays: "All companies are going paperless. All monetary transactions are moving to automatic billing and online purchases. All brick-and-mortar retail shops have a Web presence," says Rose. Because of this, they need skilled computer and information systems managers to keep business running smoothly, she says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Education Options: If this sounds like your dream job, you'll need a bachelor's degree in computer or information science plus some related work experience to get started, according to the Department of Labor. The Department also notes that many organizations require their computer and information systems managers to have a graduate degree, like an MBA (master of business administration).

* All salary information is based on the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012.

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