Most college students have two dreams when it comes to their career: They want something that makes them happy, and rakes in big bucks while doing so. Though the happiness part is entirely up to you, pinpointing careers with high earnings potential is something we can help with. From the medical field to computer sciences to marketing, these five high-paying careers have the chance to give you a pleasing bank balance.
Working as an anesthesiologist means that you literally hold lives in your hands every single day. When a patient is under general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist controls everything for them, including their breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, fluid balance and more. The responsibility of keeping patients alive and pain-free during even marathon surgeries is one of the reasons anesthesiologists pull in big paydays - as of May 2012, they earned a median national wage of more than $187,199 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/oes, 2013)
- Notable Program: The University of California San Francisco has made a name for itself with a medical school that includes an anesthesiology and preoperative care program. Since 1941, UCSF has grown from four faculty members and 10 residents in the anesthesiology department to over 100 faculty, 72 residency positions and 15 research trainees and fellows. Anesthesiologist students also get hands-on training at the UCSF Medical Center.
Marketing managers work hand-in-hand with promotional and advertising departments to create the best marketing strategies for companies, enterprises and organizations. The BLS predicts job growth of 14 percent, nationally, for marketing managers from 2010 to 2020 (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). With more and more people turning to the Internet to buy almost anything you can imagine, marketing managers who have some experience with interactive and digital marketing might see even better job prospects. The pay isn't peanuts, either: marketing managers made a national median annual wage of $119,480 as of May 2012, according to the BLS (bls.gov/oes, 2013).
- Notable Program: The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is ranked as having the best undergraduate business programs in the nation according to a spring 2012 survey by U.S. News and World Report (usnews.com, 2013). An impressive faculty list stands ready to teach at the bachelor's, master's or doctorate level in the marketing department. Four significant research centers dedicated to marketing make this a well-rounded program for prospective marketing managers.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
In a fast-paced world filled with technology, no company can survive without an IT department. And not many IT departments can survive without computer and information systems managers leading the way. These tech gurus oversee computer hardware, software, training, electronic records, technology plans and more -- if it keeps you connected, they can handle it. Not only did they make a nice median national annual wage of $120,950 in May 2012, they also have projected national job growth of 18 percent from 2010 to 2020 (bls.gov/oes, 2013, bls.gov/ooh, 2012).
- Notable Program: Ferris State University offers a Computer Information Systems program for students who want to enter the IT world with a bachelor's degree. Internships and real-world experience are both parts of the program, and that may lead to an edge at hiring time. But it's not just about the computers -- it's also about revving up your business savvy with management courses that can help set the stage for advancement.
The Internet is absolutely everywhere, and it's becoming more a part of our day-to-day life. In fact, Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that one-third of American adults have a tablet, 56 percent have smartphones and one in four teenagers use their mobile phone as their primary device to access the Internet. With those kind of numbers, is it any wonder that software developers made our list of lucrative careers?
It's also one of the faster-growing occupations: The BLS projects 30 percent national job growth from 2010 to 2020, and those who focus on systems software can expect national growth of 32 percent (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). The pay is just as nice, with software developers of applications bringing home a national median salary of $90,060 per year as of May 2012, and those who focus on systems software earning $99,000 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).
- Notable Program: Head to the heart of the software world by enrolling in the computer science program at the University of California Berkeley. In addition to programs on the bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels, the university is practically next door to some of the biggest tech companies on the planet. That could very well open doors to internships and employment opportunities you simply can't find anywhere else.
Medical and Health Services Manager
Everyone knows doctors, surgeons and yes, those anesthesiologists have some of the highest paying careers around. But who works behind the scenes to manage the hospitals and clinics in which they work? That's the medical and health services manager, a person who needs both medical knowledge and management savvy. The job allows entry with a bachelor's degree, so you can bypass all those tedious years of medical school. The BLS reports national job growth of 22 percent for the position, as well as a median national annual salary of $88,580 (bls.gov/oes, 2013, bls.gov/ooh, 2012).
- Notable Program: In the heart of Washington D.C., Georgetown University offers numerous opportunities for students to hone their management skills with either health policy or health administration tracks, opportunities to study abroad and the ability to study under impressive faculty -- all just a few steps away from the halls of government, where health care policy is made. The senior internship at one of the many renowned hospitals around D.C. is an added bonus to any resume.
Whether you set out to work in hospitals, build the next big brand on a marketing team or learn everything there is to know about computer software, these professions are at the top of the food chain for lucrative careers. A college education can be a good first step, so now is the time to check out schools that may help you become happy with both your job and bank account.
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"Tablet Ownership 2013," Pew Internet, June 10, 2013, Kathryn Zickuhr, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Tablet-Ownership-2013.aspx
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"Best Undergraduate Business Program Rankings," U.S. News & World Report, Accessed July 1, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-overall
Not sure what types of careers would be a good fit for you? Try this career assessment test to help determine what professional fields match your personality and skills.