Jul 172015

Highest-Paid Careers Cover

You will be so surprised to learn inside the top highest-paid career for taking you to the next level in 2015, according to a well-researched jobs trends and careers tracking source.

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CareerCast.com, the longstanding definitively-researched job portal for several decades, says information technology software engineers, computer systems analysts, medical and dental professionals, and occupational therapists, are good bets in regards to competitive average incomes and favorable hiring outlooks, according to the job portal’s deeply researched analysis of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

This should come as no surprise to anyone following employment trends in recent years, as these high technology sectors have been the most promising careers.

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Source: Joint Venture, Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2015

But astonishingly, these Silicon Valley technical careers are not the highest-paid one in 2015. That professional achievement goes to the select few who have chosen their career as a surgeon, garnering a whooping $349,090 in annual income. This is a substantial 49.7% raise in annual salary in 2015 compared to a surgeon’s $233,150 annual income in 2014, identified by CareerCast.com

This is a surprise finding of the CareerCast job portal, having twenty years of experience compiling its extensive annual jobs report, exclusively in 2015 rating careers based on work environment, stress level, and hiring outlook.

By choosing a career path as a surgeon, however, the projected seven-year growth in placement in this highly specialized medical field is substantially promising at 17.90 percent going into 2022.

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Be that as it may, summarized below are the 25 highest-paid career changes for you in 2015, according to CareerCast.com. Annual career income and U.S. BLS projected growth outlook in hiring in the coming seven years into 2022 are charted.

9 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Projected Growth to 2022 on 9 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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#1 Surgeon

Average Annual Salary = $349,090 ($233,150, #1 in 2014), Diagnoses ailments and performs operations to repair, reconstruct, remove, or replace organs, limbs, and bodily systems. Projected Growth = 17.90%

#2 Psychiatrist

Average Annual Salary = $203,052 ($178,950, #3 in 2014), Studies, diagnoses, and treats mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Projected Growth = 17.52%

#3 Military General

Average Annual Salary = $201,011, As a high-ranking leader in their branch of the armed forces, they command troops through military training operations and into battle. Projected Growth = -0.89%

#4 Public Relations Executive

Average Annual Salary = $191,144, Helps governmental bodies, businesses and individuals maintain a positive image with the public. Projected Growth = 12.44%


#5 Physician (General Practice)

Average Annual Salary = $177,213 ($187,200, #2 in 2014), Performs examinations, diagnoses medical conditions, and prescribes treatment for individuals suffering from injury, discomfort or disease. Projected Growth = 19.13%

#6 Corporate Executive (Senior)

Average Annual Salary = $172,155, Formulates the policies and directs the operations of private and publicly held companies. Projected Growth = 11.55%

#7 Dentist

Average Annual Salary = $146,161 ($146,340, #5 in 2014), Examines, cleans, and repairs teeth, and diagnoses and treats diseases and abnormalities of the mouth. Projected Growth = 16.61%

#8 Petroleum Engineer

Average Annual Salary = $132,258 ($130,280, #6 in 2014), Plans drilling locations and effective production methods for optimal access to oil and natural gas. Projected Growth = 27.58%

#9 Orthodontist

Average Annual Salary = $129,114 ($149,310, #4 in 2014),  Diagnosis and corrects deviations in dental growth, development and position. Projected Growth = 16.14%


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012

10-20 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Projected Growth to 2022 on 10-20 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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#10 Data Scientist

Average Annual Salary = $124,149, Combines information technology, statistical analysis and other disciplines to interpret trends from data. Projected Growth = 14.97%

#11 Air Traffic Controller

Average Annual Salary = $120,158 ($122,530, #7 in 2014), Manages and controls all air traffic at the airport and within the air space near an airport. They also direct the movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established. Projected Growth = 1.58%

#12 Pharmacist

Average Annual Salary = $119,065 ($116,670, #8 in 2014), Advises physicians and patients on the affects of drugs and medications; prepares and dispenses prescriptions. Projected Growth = 13.65%

#13 Podiatrist

Average Annual Salary = $118,296 ($116,440, #9 in 2014), Diagnoses and treats problems of the feet, through corrective devices, medication, therapy, and surgery. Projected Growth = 23.96%

#14 Judge

Average Annual Salary = $117,431, Arbitrates legal matters coming under the jurisdiction of the federal government, using a thorough knowledge of federal statutes and legal precedent. Projected Growth = 3.31%

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#15 Airline Pilot

Average Annual Salary = $115,112, Flies and navigates airplanes or helicopters. Airline pilots fly for airlines that transport people and cargo on a fixed schedule. Projected Growth = -1.88%

#16 Attorney

Average Annual Salary = $114,240 ($113,530, #10 in 2014), Counsels clients in legal matters; using interpretation of laws and rulings to advise and represent businesses and individuals. Projected Growth = 11.40%

#17 Physicist

Average Annual Salary = $110,231, Researches and develops theories concerning the physical forces of nature. Projected Growth = 10.31%

#18 Astronomy

Average Annual Salary = $110,227, Uses principles of physics and mathematics to understand the workings of the universe. Projected Growth = 14.27%

#19 Online Sales Manager

Average Annual Salary = $109,256, Directs online organizations’ sales teams. They set sales goals, analyze data, and develop training programs for the organization’s sales representatives. Projected Growth = 7.56%

#20 Purchasing Manager

Average Annual Salary = $104,177, Buys products for organizations to use or resell, and evaluates suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review product quality. Projected Growth = 3.77%

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Source: “Is the United States Still the Land of Opportunity?” by Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren (Harvard); Patrick Kline (UC Berkeley), Nicholas Turner (U.S. Office of Tax Authority), WSJ January 23, 2014.

21-25 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Projected Growth to 2022 on 21-25 Highest-Paid Careers in 2015

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#21 Aerospace Engineer

Average Annual Salary = $104,132, Designs, develops, and tests new technologies concerned with the manufacture of commercial and military aircraft and spacecraft. Projected Growth = 0.32%

#22 Mathematician

Average Annual Salary = $102,182, Applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational, or industrial climate. Projected Growth = 22.82%

#23 Nuclear Engineer

Average Annual Salary = $102,134, Conducts research, designs, and monitors the operation and maintenance of nuclear reactors and power plant equipment. Projected Growth = 6.34%

#24 Optometrist

Average Annual Salary = $101,256, Diagnoses visual disorders and prescribes and administers corrective and rehabilitative treatments. Projected Growth = 25.56%

#25 Human Resources Manager

Average Annual Salary = $101,200, Plans, directs, and/or coordinates all human resource activities and staff of an organization. Projected Growth = 11%

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Jobs Paying Over $100,000 without a college degree.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data recently released, there are 2.9 million job openings out there right now.

However, only less than half of these openings are being filled, even with some 95 million folks still out of work, finds some national labor market statistical sources.

And, 58.2% age 55 and over, 39.4% age 16-24, and 16.9% age 25-54, say they don’t want a job, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.


“We are already seeing a widespread skills gap emerging in the U.S. job market,” says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Highly-skilled professionals, like doctors, lawyers, business entrepreneurs, research scientists, oil industry engineers, and software industry engineers, requiring higher pay, push at one extreme of the job market gulf.

The “engineering physics” major is something of a catch-all engineering program for young professional career hopefuls interested in gaining a wider knowledge base, before specializing in a particular area of engineering and construction management, according to CareerCast.

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“A degree in biomedical engineering is highly specialized, but the field is projected to be one of the highest growth professions of the next decade,” CareerCast Publisher Tony Lee tells ABC News.

Lower-skilled workers, like home nursing aides, fast-food service providers, and store clerks, requiring lower pay, pull at the other extreme of this labor market gap.

Currently, the U.S. economic challenge for consumers and businesses is for those falling in between the gap contrasting these career skills and lifetime pay.

Fortunately, now upon further reflection and additional research, their outlook may not be as bleak for non-college degree holders, as some might at first think.

As David Quilty inside his book,”Money Crashers,” identifies in the chart below, eleven careers paying a range of annual salaries over $100,000 without a college degreethere are indeed some great moderately high-paying careers out there too, as industrial unit supervisors, postal workers, and staff administrators.

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Source: David Quilty, “Money Crashers”

What additional indicators of highest-paid career potential do we see in 2015?

Occupational Therapy job openings fall into the grand-challenge technology area we call “elder technology”, which is moving people, ideas, and things for an aging society of shifted demography and heightened engagement with an uncertain environment.

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This is especially so during times of “stressed conditions” of “man-made” or natural disasters, like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and national emergencies, like the recent Asiana Airlines and Southwest Airlines crash evacuations, the Malaysia Airlines MH17 aviation disaster recovery, Boston Marathon bombings, schools and public access area gun violence shootings, and unanticipated 9-11 disaster or large urban area “rolling blackout,” power outages, and rioting unrest events.

In all of these cases, we called upon trained professionals of “elder technology” to move people quickly, to create good “life-saving ideas” virtually online fast oninfluence and social media, and to get “access to things” like food, water, clothing, shelter, and various other occupational and transportation technologies fast to where they are needed most during disaster recovery.

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Diagnostic Medical technology jobs are emerging rapidly in what the top-ranked and best university medical centers, like UCLA are calling “population-based” medical care or “never enough” patient care, or even private philanthropic medical enterprises, likeCancer Treatment Centers of America are advocating as hope and faith-based “A Mother’s Love” patient care.

Such “relationship-based” health care and/or “holistic quality-of-life” patient care jobs of the future will be designed to elevate community-based health services inside a “population-based” age of Affordable Care (commonly known as ‘Obamacare’).

Here, “consistency drives predictable patterns of care, and ultimately, generates customer satisfaction,” UCLA medical enterprise and Cancer Treatment Centers of America leaders promote.

Bottom-Line Takeaways

Once upon a time, an employee could stay with an employer for thirty years – that’s a generation – until that employee reached retirement age with that employer’s gold watch, as a parting gift of thanks for the wonderful memories of fine service to the firm.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau, March 2015, Cornell University

However, in the age of stressed national income, high unemployment and under-employment, two wage-earner families, and highly debt-leveraged household administration both in the public-sector and the private-sector, more professionals are seriously considering mid-life career changes nowadays.

This is especially acute in the age of demography shift in the workforce, which has been sharply affected over the last seven decades. Alarmingly, a declining trend in the nation’s workforce is revealed by the latest 2012 U.S. BLS labor participation rates, showing a significant 15 percent drop from well over 85 percent in 1948 to just under 70 percent as of 2012, particularly among historically-accepted male household bread-winners.

In 2023 the immigrant share of the U.S. population (increasing the diversity of the national labor force) will hit its highest level in U.S. history (at 14.8 percent, or over 47.9 million immigrants) and continue to rise, projected to 15.8%, or 56.9 million immigrants in 2030; 17.1%, or 65.1 million immigrants in 2040; 18.2%, or 72.3 million immigrants in 2050; and 18.8%, or 78.2 million immigrants in 2060, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau Population Projections.


Source: Decennial censuses from 1900 to 2000, American Community Survey for 2010, U.S. Census Bureau Population Projections, released March 2015.

Making a career change in one’s professional life is a daunting endeavor. This is especially critical, if the change is being forced by a layoff, personal life event or related economic necessity.

By identifying your knowledge skills and personal branding that are most transferable, you can target new industries that will value both your skills and your experience. Extracting this value will allow you to create, deliver, transfer, and sustain your value inside a new organization using your skills and experience in new ways, as you innovate inside a new mid-life career.

Above all else, education for life still matters most in not only taking our careers to the next level in mid-life, but also reaching our highest potential throughout our professional careers. This is according to the Wall Street Journal (August 8, 2014), sourcing the U.S. Labor Department and the U.S. Commerce Department (data for age 16 and older, as of July 2014, and not seasonally-adjusted. Wherein, the overall seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2 percent that July).

Summarized below are latest 2012 fully-compiled federal government findings on unemployment rates by education (considering a mean rate of 6.5 percent) charted against mean earnings by education.

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Sources: U.S. Department of Labor (unemployment rates); U.S. Department of Commerce (meaning earning), Age 18 and older, 2012 data; Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2014.

Less than high school education yields 14% joblessness (with fortunate job holders potentially can only expect $21,384 in earnings);

High school graduates, no college yields 7.9% unemployment (with expected job holders yielding between $32,630 to $33,749 in household incomes);

Some college or associate degree garners 6.1% folks out-of-work (but associate degree holders bring home mean incomes of $40,085);

And finally, college graduates only produce 3.8% jobless rates (with bachelor’s degree holders mean earning $60,159; masters earning $75,008; doctorates pulling in $113,971; and professional degree holders yielding the highest-paid career incomes at $139,682).

For mid-life career changers and young professionals, considering taking their careers to the next level, below are college degree majors that are projected to yield the highest-paid careers in 2015 in terms of highest starting median annual wages shown, according to Georgetown University.

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#1 Architecture and Engineering, $50K

#2 Computers, Statistics and Mathematics, $43K

#3 Health, $41K

#4 Business, $37K

#5 Social Sciences, All Majors, $33K

#6 Physical Sciences, Education, $32K

#7 Law and Public Policy, $31K

#8 Communications and Journalism, Humanities and Liberal Arts, Agriculture and Natural Resources, $30K

#9 Biology and Life Science, $29K

#10 Psychology and Social Work, Arts, $28K

#11 Industrial Arts, Consumer Services and Recreation, $27K

#12 High School Graduate, $22K 

For professionals looking into the above highest-paid career changes for taking their careers to the next level, or looking into the above best-paying potential fields as a major in continuing college education in anticipation of a potential mid-career change, consider this closing inspirational advice,

How far you go in life, depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life, you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University, National Academies Lifetime Inductee


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