10 High-Paying Jobs

Still wondering if that college degree is worth the cost of tuition? A study from online salary database PayScale.com found that people who hold four-year college degrees will earn approximately 50 percent more than a high school grad over the course of their careers.

Even if you graduate with the average level of education debt — about $21,000, according to The Project on Student Debt — there are a range of jobs out there to help you pay it off before the term of the loan is up, if you’re diligent.

Here are ten jobs that earn at least $70,000 per year, according to PayScale, in industries that are expected to grow through 2018.

Nursing Home Manager – $75,300

If you are service-oriented, enjoy solving problems, and want your work to have meaning, consider a career in long term care management. According to the National Association of Boards of Examiners of Long Term Care Administrators (NABWEB), the increasing number of aging Americans and their improved longevity mean that demand for long term health care is on the rise. “Long term care administration exercises management and leadership skills on a daily basis to operate a business that is truly caring for people who have critical needs,” notes Steven Chies, vice president of operations, Long Term Care Services, Benedictine Health System.

Video Game Producer – $73,200

If you don’t mind working so others can play, developing gaming software may be your ticket to a good paycheck. Think it’s a niche market? The International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the largest nonprofit membership organization serving individuals who create video games, reports that interactive entertainment takes in about $9 billion dollars in the US alone. According to IGDA data, “Games are expected to surpass film box-office revenues in the next couple of years, making it the fastest growing segment of the entertainment market, and an excellent field for career advancement.”

Market Research Manager – $71,900

Want to know what makes people tick? Then there’s no better career than analyzing market research data for a business or an advertising agency. It’s a rapidly growing field, too, thanks to the competition between companies to grab market share in a tough economy. According to the BLS, demand for market and survey researchers is projected to grow 28 percent in the next few years, much faster than the average. Even better, there is no single path to entry into the field, though a business degree with a concentration in marketing is helpful. Likewise, earning a Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) from the Marketing Research Association can help you stand out from the competition.

Department Store Buyer – $70,100

Who says retail is struggling? Recent market research suggests that consumers are less uptight about spending as the post-recession. Amid this optimism, the BLS indicated the outlook for the buying and purchasing job market will enjoy 7 percent growth as we head into the next decade. Becoming a buyer for a major retail outlet usually requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or other relevant area. Many senior-level execs began their careers as assistant buyers, but remember to turn your years of toil in a store into an asset as many entry-level jobs require general retail experience.

Regional Sales Manager – $72,600

If you enjoy working with people and have a persuasive personality, you’re probably a natural salesperson. Add in organizational and managerial expertise and you can snag the big bucks. Years of sales experience in any industry often count as much as an undergraduate degree in this expanding field. The BLS indicates that sales and marketing managers and their departments constitute some of the most important personnel in an organization and are less subject to downsizing or outsourcing than are other types of managers. Though competition is keen, the BLS estimates the field to grow by 15 percent through 2018 and certification from the National Association of Sales Professionals can put you ahead of the pack.

Geologist – $79,600

The increasing need for energy sources, environmental protection, and responsible land and water management will spur employment demand for geologists by 18 percent over the next decade. Geologists with a bachelor’s degree often begin their careers in field exploration or as research assistants or as lab technicians. Though only a handful of states require licensure, in order stay on top of the latest technologies and scientific findings, geologists should pursue continuing education and advanced credentialing according to the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

Financial Controller
– $72,000

If you’ve got a head for numbers you’ll be indispensible to a variety of businesses. Almost every company and government agency employs one or more financial managers to oversee preparation of financial reports, direct investment activities, and implement cash management strategies. That’s also the reason the job market for this role is expected to grow by 8 percent through 2018, according to the BLS. A four-year degree is required to land an entry-level position but continuing education is critical to be able to keep up with global trade trends and changes in federal and state laws and regulations. Professional certifications from the likes of the CFA Institute can also broaden skills and boost earning power.

FBI Agent – $76,700

There’s no such thing as a typical day when you work for the FBI, according to the agency. FBI special agents are responsible for conducting sensitive national security investigations and for enforcing over 300 federal statutes including public corruption, civil rights, bribery, fugitive and drug-trafficking matters. With a college degree, three year’s work experience, and qualifying under one of the special agent entry programs, including accounting, information technology, language, and law, you could be on your way to an exciting and high-paying career.

Systems Analyst
– $75,400

Computer geeks will be laughing all the way to the bank if they land a job as one of the growing number of systems analysts who help businesses and other organizations determine which computers and software to buy, and integrate into their existing systems. Demand for analysts will increase by 20 percent alongside the development of sophisticated technologies and the need to protect information. Employers are looking for candidates with degree in a technical field such as computer science, applied mathematics, engineering, or management information systems (MIS).

School Principal – $78,400

As a generation that’s even more populous than the Boomers, Millenials (born between 1981-1999) are the reason many schools are bursting at the seams. That’s why the BLS is predicting the demand for school principals to grow by 8 percent in the next decade. A master’s degree in education is required for the position and states require that principals to be licensed as school administrators.

Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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