17 Degrees for Making Money

By Joe AguilarEducation Articles

Few people dream of spending their entire professional lives selling cheeseburgers. If you want a top-tier career, you have to invest in the right college degree. Take a look at our list of some of the top degrees that can prepare you to rake in the bucks. We also list the median salaries enjoyed by professionals in these fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov, 2012).

RankDegreeAvg. SalaryDescription
1 Medicine $145,600
All those years in medical school pay off: doctors and surgeons make one of the highest incomes in any industry. Nurses and healthcare administrators don't do too poorly either.
2 Dentistry $132,140
Plenty of baby-boomer dentists should retire within the next decade, freeing up hiring opportunities for newly minted dentists. Dental Assistants also make very high salaries with minimal training required.
3 Law $102,470
Put your silver tongue to good use by attending law school. In addition to formal coursework, your law school may give you practice in supervised mock trials.
4 Pharmacy $94,520
In addition to working at retail drugstores, many pharmacists find jobs with mental health centers, nursing homes, and family clinics. You can start out as a pharmacy tech.
5 Physician Assistant $74,980
With a bachelor's degree, you can gain enough career training in just two years to become a physician's assistant.
6 Software Engineering $79,780
(Applications Software)

(Systems Software)
Listen up, computer nerds: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an enormous 38 percent job increase in software engineering within the next decade.
7 Master's in Business Administration (MBA) $63,000
According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AAACB), over 74 percent of MBA graduates work as managers.
8 Education Administration $77,740
Educational administrators ensure both students' academic success and teachers' job satisfaction. Remember, many administration jobs require advanced degrees.
9 Construction Management $73,700
Plenty of colleges offer bachelor's degrees in construction-related fields, and roughly 60 schools have graduate programs in construction management.
10 Veterinary Science $71,990
The BLS reports that job opportunities for veterinarians should be especially strong in feline medicine.
11 Finance $66,590

(Personal Advisors)
You can boost your hiring potential in this competitive field through career training in finance, statistics, or mathematics.
12 Art Direction $68,100
Who says that artists have to starve? Not only do art directors make respectable incomes, they can expect fast job growth in the next decade.
13 Computer Systems Analysis $69,740
Computer systems analysts can quickly solve companies' computer problems, from networking glitches to viruses.
14 Civil Engineering $68,600
Due to common ground in engineering disciplines, certified civil engineers may also choose to explore mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.
15 Industrial Engineering $68,620
From hospitals to factories, industrial engineers help streamline diverse businesses. During industrial engineering school, you can take courses in statistics, engineering writing, and business analysis.
16 Computer Programming $65,610
Brush up on Java and C++ by earning a certificate, bachelor's degree, or master's degree in computer programming.
17 Sales Management $65,510
If you're a salesperson looking for career advancement, consider studying sales management. Your employer may even offer free on-site management training.

"MBA Starting Salaries," CollegeJournal.com
"Occupational Outlook Handbook," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
"Value of Management Education," AACSB

About the Author
Joe Aguilar is a writer in Corvallis, Oregon. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Oregon State University.

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