Six High-Paying Jobs On The Rise

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Want a stable job earning the big bucks? Check out how to pursue these careers that could pay very well.

By Jennifer Berry

Work makes up a big part of most of our adult lives, so why not find a job that can compensate you well for your efforts? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are a good variety of growing careers whose median annual salaries reportedly pay $75K or more.

These careers span all kinds of industries, from health to information technology to construction, but they have one thing in common.

"These higher-salary levels are typically inline with the complexities of performing the specific job, as well as the job's impact on a company's bottom line," says Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, owner of CareerTrend (a company specializing in professional and executive resume writing and interview coaching).

And not only do these careers typically demand a high salary, but according to the U.S. Department of Labor, many of them are growing steadily despite recent developments in the economy.

Of course, salaries of $75K and up are not guaranteed for everyone who enters these growing careers. That figure represents the dead center of the pack, which is why we've also included figures for the lowest ten percent of professionals in the field and the highest ten percent. Salaries could vary depending on the employer as well as your specific skills and experience.

Still wondering what it takes to qualify for a high-earning, rapidly growing career? Read on to learn about six jobs where it's possible to bring in $75K or more, and what you need to do to pursue them.

Career #1 - Software Developer

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$89,280
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$54,980
Top 90th percentile of earners
$136,490

Maybe you love working with computers, but you're more interested in helping to build them than in using them to send emails and play Angry Birds. No problem - as a software developer, you could use your imagination and your technical savvy to create software for all kinds of applications.

Software developers earn the big bucks because, as Barrett-Poindexter says, "software development is at the heart of product development, which spurs revenue and profit growth."

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Growth Factor: The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment of software developers to grow 30 percent from 2010 to 2020. That means 270,900 new jobs should be created for software developers during that time.

"This career is growing because of the technology and Internet explosion - particularly with the mobility of technology," she adds. "There is a need to develop software across a multiplicity of platforms, from PC to Macintosh to mobile (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry)."

Education Options: Software developers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field - and strong computer-programming skills - according to the Department of Labor. A degree in math is also considered acceptable.

Career #2 - Management Analyst

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$78,490
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$43,920
Top 90th percentile of earners
$141,780

Some people have a natural gift for seeing problems and figuring out how things could run more smoothly. If that sounds like you, you could be the hero who swoops in and sets a troubled company back on the right path as a high-earning management analyst.

Management analysts might interview and observe employees to figure out what they need in terms of equipment, personnel, and methods, ultimately helping a company become more efficient and profitable, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Growth Factor: The Department of Labor projects employment of management analysts to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. That translates to 157,200 new jobs created for management analysts during this time.

So why is this field multiplying? "Need is increasing for outsourced expertise in this area," Barrett-Poindexter says. Management analysts are integral in pinpointing areas for an organization's improvement and opportunities for growth and revenue expansion. Why? "Bottom line, these roles drive change," she says.

Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, most management analysts have at least a bachelor's degree. It is common for them to major in business, management, statistics, accounting, marketing, economics, computer and information science, or engineering, since few colleges offer programs in management consulting. The Department also notes that some employers prefer to hire people with a master's in business administration (MBA).

Career #3 - Construction Manager

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$84,240
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$50,650
Top 90th percentile of earners
$149,070

Do you have construction experience and want a high-level, high-earning career? It takes experience and good leadership to shepherd a big, complicated construction project to completion, but if you've got the right skills, the lucrative career of construction manager might be right for you.

Because today's building projects are becoming increasingly complex - the role of the construction manager is more important than ever before, says Barrett-Poindexter.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Construction Management Program.

Growth Factor: The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment of construction managers to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. That means we should see around 86,600 new jobs for construction managers during this time.

"Business and population growth will demand new construction of all kinds of buildings, from homes, to offices, to shopping centers, to hospitals and schools," according to the Department of Labor. And, as Barrett-Poindexter notes, not only will we need more construction managers to take on these new projects, we'll need to replace the construction managers who've retired from the industry during the downturn.

Education Options: The Department of Labor reports that more and more employers prefer to hire construction managers with both work experience and a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field like construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. The Department also notes that although it is not required, certification is becoming increasingly important.

Career #4 - Information Security Analyst

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$77,990
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$42,770
Top 90th percentile of earners
$124,860

Let's face it, the world is changing - and so is crime. If you're technically savvy and interested in standing up to the bad guys to keep our country safe, you might want to consider a highly paid career as an information security analyst.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, cyber attacks have recently become a lot more frequent - and a lot more sophisticated. Information security analysts help keep computer networks safe from outside attacks. To do so, they keep up on the latest security trends and install software to protect sensitive information.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Programming and Software Program.

Growth Factor: The Department of Labor expects employment of information security analysts to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, which means an estimated 65,700 new jobs should be created in that time. It may not be a staggering numerical figure, but the high growth percentage suggests this job is expanding at a rapid pace. And Barrett-Pointdexter has a good idea why.

"We will see more need for information security analysts to protect companies from cyber attacks," Barrett-Poindexter says. "It is a global need based on the plethora of confidential information being hosted on the Web and in the cloud."

Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor's degree in programming, computer science, or a related field to get started. The Department also notes that some employers prefer to hire people with related work experience and/or a master's of business administration (MBA) in information systems.

Career #5 - Civil Engineer

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$77,990
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$50,370
Top 90th percentile of earners
$119,620

Did you love playing with building blocks as a child? Here's a high-earning career where, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, you might design and supervise large construction projects. The construction materials - and expertise needed - have grown up, but as a civil engineer, you could find even more satisfaction building real bridges, tunnels, or skyscrapers.

But these engineers don't earn the big bucks for nothing. The job is difficult and very demanding. According to Barrett-Poindexter, "This career is highly technical and requires tenacious problem-solving abilities to ensure large-scale projects stay on course, weather storms, and result in timely, cost-effective solutions."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

Growth Factor: The Department of Labor expects employment of civil engineers to grow 19 percent from 2010 to 2020. That works out to be an estimated 51,100 new jobs created during that time period.

Barrett-Poindexter explains why growth in this field looks steady: "Directing the expansion of our nation's infrastructure as the population grows - and leading repairs on worn-down roads, bridges, levees, and dams - will require a steady stream of qualified professionals." 

Education Options: If you want to pursue a career as a civil engineer, you'll need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties and (typically) a graduate degree for promotion to managerial positions, says the Department. If you sell your own services publicly, you'll also need to be licensed.

Career #6 - Medical and Health Services Manager

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By The Numbers*:

Median annual wage
$86,400
Bottom 10th percentile of earners
$52,730
Top 90th percentile of earners
$147,890

Are you a natural leader who's always looking out for your fellow man? You've probably heard that health fields are booming, but have you heard that good managers are needed to ensure quality health care? You can put your big heart - and your leadership skills - to good use as a medical and health services manager.

As a medical and health services manager, you might take care of work schedules, deal with patient billing, and improve health care services in your facility, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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

Growth Factor: The Department of Labor projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, adding 68,000 new jobs along the way.

Why the boom? Because of another, earlier boom: "People are living longer and health care services must expand to meet needs of a growing, aging, baby-boomer population," Barrett-Poindexter says.

Education Options: Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration, says the Department. The Department does note, however, that master's degrees in health services, public health, long-term care administration, public administration, or business administration also are common.

Barrett-Poindexter also has some insight on the credentials and skills needed to be a medical and health services manager: "This job requires more than on-the-job training. It requires, in many cases, a bachelor's or a master's degree, true problem-solving skills, and an ability to execute on well-thought-out plans."

* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2011.

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