People Innovation Excellence

Six High-Earning Careers That Are Within Reach

Jobs That Earn Top Dollar

Looking to move up and earn more? These six positions could be within reach.

By Anne Wynter


Maybe you’re still working out exactly what you want to do with your life, or perhaps you’re looking to make a strategic career change. Whatever the case may be, one thing is likely true: you want a job that will put you in a comfortable financial position – whether that means  starting your child’s college fund, taking some great vacations, or purchasing your dream home.

The good news is there are careers in a variety of fields that pay median salaries of $80,000 and up. But before you start browsing job listings, keep in mind that these aren’t entry-level positions. Many of the careers require you to achieve a certain level of expertise or possess several years of experience.

However, if one of these high-paying careers strikes a chord with you, you might want to think about how to start working your way toward it, so you could one day enjoy some handsome returns.

Career #1: Information Security Analyst

Median Annual Salary: $86,170
90th Percentile: $135,600
10th Percentile: $49,960

These days the words “cyber attack” have a way of striking fear in the hearts of leaders and managers at all levels, whether they’re running a local bakery or the United States government. If you’ve got a talent for tech and you’re interested in earning more, pursuing a career as an information security analyst could be a great option.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, information security analysts stay informed about trends in cyber attacks and determine which technology will protect companies and organizations from these threats.

Why The Solid Earnings? Thanks to an increase in cyber attacks and other types of technology terrorism, companies and organizations need these professionals to anticipate and prevent these threats, says Roy L. Cohen, a career counselor, executive coach and the author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach.”

The Career Path: To go after one of these promising positions, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or a similar area, notes the Department of Labor. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master of business administration in information systems. The Department also notes that information security analysts usually need previous experience in a related position.

Career #2: School Principal

Median Annual Salary: $87,760
90th Percentile: $130,810
10th Percentile: $58,530

Are you fired up about education? Do you get excited when you think about helping hundreds or thousands of students achieve academic success? If so, pursuing a career as a school principal could be a solid choice for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a principal leads all the teachers and staff members and measures the school’s progress toward meeting their goals and objectives.

Why The Solid Earnings? Principals often have to serve as jacks-of-all-trades, which is one reason they can pull in such strong salaries. “Like CEOs, they oversee organizations made up of many departments and numerous areas of expertise,” says Cohen. “Their performance is under constant surveillance to ensure that students achieve pre-established standards and goals.”

The Career Path: Most elementary, middle, and high schools require principals to hold a master’s degree in education administration or education leadership, according to the Department of Labor. If they plan to work in a public school, they’re also required to possess a state-specific school administrator license. Additionally, the Department says many principals have work experience as teachers.

Career #3: Actuary

Median Annual Salary: $93,680
90th Percentile: $175,330
10th Percentile: $55,780

Do you find yourself trying to calculate the risk associated with jaywalking across a major street? Are you constantly reminding your friends that correlation does not equal causation? You might be cut out for the high-paying career of actuary.

This career involves using statistical data and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur and design business strategies, such as insurance policies, to cut back on a company’s risk, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why The Solid Earnings? Actuaries must draw from in-depth, advanced knowledge of mathematics and statistics to calculate risk, Cohen notes. They are well paid because companies use actuarial analysis to inform major decisions about capital and resources, he adds.

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The Career Path: Ready to start crunching numbers? If you want to pursue a career as an actuary, the Department of Labor notes that you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, math, statistics, or business. You may also be required to pass several actuarial exams before working in this position.

Career #4: Marketing Manager

Median Annual Salary: $119,480
90th Percentile: $187,199 or greater
10th Percentile: $62,650

Are you a creative type who loves to keep up with trends in new services and products? Then you should consider pursuing the high-earning role of marketing manager.

The U.S. Department of Labor notes that these professionals initiate marketing research, estimate demand for products or services, create pricing strategies, and monitor trends to determine whether new products and services are needed.

Why The Solid Earnings? Cohen notes that these professionals “must be knowledgeable in a range of disciplines, including both traditional product development and brand management as well digital and social media strategy.” Marketing managers use these skills to increase a company’s revenue and bottom-line performance, adds Cohen, which is why employers are willing to compensate them with high salaries.

The Career Path: If you want to get into this field, you’ll probably need to have a bachelor’s degree, as according to the Department of Labor, most marketing managers have one. While the Department doesn’t mention specific majors, coursework in management, business law, accounting, finance, economics, math, and statistics are advantageous. It also notes that these professionals often have job experience in marketing, advertising, promotions, or sales.

Career #5: Training and Development Manager

Median Annual Salary: $95,400
90th Percentile: $164,640
10th Percentile: $54,070

If you like the thought of matching up professionals with the right knowledge and skills they need to complete their jobs, you could be cut out to pursue a lucrative career as a training and development manager.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, training and development managers determine what kind of training employees need, develop and evaluate various training programs, and ensure that the training and development costs are under budget.

Why The Solid Earnings? “Training and development managers convey and cultivate skills to mid-level managers, directors, and VP levels, helping save billions of corporate dollars in recruiting, hiring, training and consulting expenses,” notes Iqbal Atcha, a career consultant and author of the book “The Diamond Factor.” Because having an effective training and developing manager in place can save a company so much money, employers are willing to provide high salaries for these professionals, he adds.

The Career Path: So what do you need in order to pursue this position? The Department of Labor reports that a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for many training and development manager positions and that often these managers major in business administration, human resources, or a related field. Some jobs may require a master’s degree, adds the Department.

You’ll also need to come to the table with relevant work experience as the Department says many positions require experience in a human resources field, management, information technology, training and development, or teaching.

Career #6: Administrative Services Manager

Median Annual Salary: $81,080
90th Percentile: $143,070
10th Percentile: $44,330

So you’re a natural leader with a knack for keeping track of all those little details that other people tend to miss. If that’s the case, a high-paying career as an administrative service manager could be right for you.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that administrative services managers – sometimes called business office managers in small organizations – take care of planning and coordinating all of those support services of a business. This includes buying and distributing office supplies, making sure the workplace is safe, overseeing equipment maintenance, and supervising the administrative staff.

Why The Solid Earnings? Atcha points out that companies offer strong salaries to these professionals because they “not only help save companies millions of dollars in waste, but [they] also ensure compliance with federal, state, and industry investigators.”

The Career Path: If this sounds like it’s right up your alley, the Department of Labor notes that employers typically require candidates to hold a high school diploma or GED, although some administrative services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree. Managers who pursue a bachelor’s degree typically study business, facility management, or engineering. Potential managers should also possess experience that demonstrates their managerial skills.

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