Let’s face it, many people choose to go to college and pursue a particular major because they want to make a lot of money. While we aren’t all cut out to join the ranks of the thousands of medical professionals that enter the field each year, there are still many very rewarding careers that can be both personally and financially fulfilling.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following industries are amongst the fastest growing and highest paying. Here’s a guide on careers in those industries and resources you can use to pursue them:
COMPUTER SCIENCES/INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY — Average Salary Range: $75,000 – $150,000
It should be no surprise that in this day and age, careers in the computer science and information technology (IT) fields are in high-demand and compensate well. Positions include computer programmers & engineers, business analysts, technical support, network analysts, and database administrators. As the world continues to advance in technology, the need for experts in the field is growing, and so are their salaries. Successfully entering the world of IT, at the very least, requires an Associates degree in a related area of study and the necessary certifications. Information Technology Jobs in America: Corporate & Government Career Guide (Partnerships for Community, Inc.; $24.95) is a great resource for persons interested in entering the field of Information Technology.
LANDSCAPING — Average Salary Range: $80,000 – $107,000
Certainly a step above just cutting grass, careers in landscaping can include both domestic and commercial beautification of exterior lawns, gardens, parks, and other outdoor facilities. Their tasks include planting, weeding, decorating, maintaining irrigation systems and consulting. With a few reliable contracts, landscapers receive handsome salaries in return for their hard manual labor. Aside from an immense passion for all things Green, it’s very important that landscapers have training and certification in areas related to horticulture, aesthetics, and landscaping design. Visit Thelandlovers.org for excellent information on how to pursue a career in landscaping.
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS — Average Salary Range: $60,000 — $100,000
Not to be confused with Medical Assistants, Physician Assistants perform medical care under the supervision of physicians and surgeons and are a much more affordable option for clinics, nursing homes, and other smaller medical facilities. Their ability to review medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, and make diagnoses keep them in high demand and well-paid. Most Physician Assistant educational programs take about two years to complete. Admission requirements vary so it’s best to do your research. The American Academy of Physician Assistants is a great resource for prospective and current Physician Assistants.
CIVIL/STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING — Average Salary Range: $75,000 – $100,000
As our country continues to expand its urban infrastructures, the need for capable civil and structural engineers is on a significant rise. The increasing use of multi-purpose buildings, transportation hubs, and high-traffic roadways has resulted in a high demand for experienced and licensed engineers. Entry-level civil and structural engineers make such an attractive salary that the pursuit of a graduate degree is optional but not an absolute necessity in order to live comfortably. Most engineering positions require a Bachelor’s degree and state licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE). Check out The American Society for Civil Engineers for valuable information on the breaking into the industry.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL ADVISERS — Average Salary Range: $65,000 – $80,000
In an economy where people have experienced significant financial loss, many are turning to the advice of professional financial advisors. The hope is that the advice of an expert can prevent further loss and ideally generate financial growth for one’s personal portfolio. Families and individuals fear that they’ll be hit by the effects of this economic downturn and are turning to Personal Financial Advisors to be their saving grace. Financial advisors are generally required to have a Bachelor’s degree and should have excellent analytical and mathematical skills. The Financial Planning Association (fpanet.org/professionals) provides in-depth tools on how to successfully pursue a career as a financial adviser.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.