In today’s economy, it can feel as if there are few jobs to be had, much less ones with six-figure salaries attached. However, there are careers to be found in a range of fields that can boost your earning power. What’s more, you can achieve a high income without a doctorate or a law degree.
Of course, achieving a six-figure salary will always require hard work and motivation. There are no free rides or successful get-rich-quick schemes. Sometimes continuing your education is the best way to prepare for a new career.
Below are some steps that may help you take your current salary to new heights.
Consider the benefits of online education.
Online training programs offer an alternative to traditional in-classroom education that can be very appealing for working students. Pursuing an online degree, whether it’s a bachelor’s, associate’s, or higher, allows you to study from home, at your own pace, so you can keep your current job while training for a better one.
Scenario 1: Earn a two-year associate’s degree.
Believe it or not, there are some high-paying careers out there that you can prepare for with about two years of study. For example, court reporters are known to pull in six-figure salaries, and often train for their careers with just one year to 33 months of study. If you’re surprised to see this career on the list, consider that court reporters often take on freelance work in addition to their regular hours to significantly boost their incomes. While the average salary for a court reporter technically weighs in at about $48,000, many use freelance opportunities to top the $100,000 mark.
Scenario 2: See where a bachelor’s degree can take you.
Train for a career in fine arts, finance, or technology, and find high-paying careers in each area. Art directors average about $83,000 annually, with the top 25 percent earning over $100,000 per year. Many art directors hold a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Some begin their careers as graphic artists in advertising, publishing, design, or film, and work their way up to the position of art director while proving themselves through experience and hard work.
In the financial sector, actuaries pull in hefty salaries assessing risks and their financial impacts while often working for insurance companies. The mean annual salary for an actuary is $95,420. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, actuarial science, or business should offer solid footing for you to embark upon this career path.
If your interests lie in technology and IT, consider becoming a Web systems manager. The mean annual salary for this career is $113,880, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 25 percent can earn over $136,000 per year. A bachelor’s degree is a common requirement for IT managers, along with a strong knowledge of computers and management practices. A degree in management information systems may be especially helpful.
Scenario 3: Looking beyond a bachelor’s — let education take you higher.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree and are looking to advance within your current field, consider the options that might be possible with a master’s degree.
Becoming an educational administrator can be a great option for teachers looking to advance their careers with a two-year master’s degree. In most cases, a master’s in educational administration or educational leadership is required, as well as related experience in teaching or school administration.
A high school principal might expect to earn around $92,000 annually, according to the BLS, while a chief academic officer can earn over $140,000 per year.
Look into further career training.
Research your potential new career, what further experience you might need, and how to get it. In today’s fast-paced job market, current job skills are essential, especially if your career involves using computers or technology in any way. Many professionals remain at the top of their careers with short educational stints or extra certifications in their fields.
Do what makes you happy — the money will follow.
You’ve heard it from everyone from your mom to Oprah: Do what makes you truly happy, and the financial side of things will fall into place. While it may be difficult to swallow this notion when you’re about to leap into a career change, you will likely be happy you did, especially if you follow these guidelines.
by Patricia Cecil-Reed, FindtheRightSchool.com