Thursday, November 26, 2009

Money in the Bank: 5 Careers for $60K+ Salaries

by Patricia Cecil-Reed

While it comes as no shock that everyone would like to make a little more money, it may be surprising to learn that 83 percent of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national mean salary was $42,270. Those surveyed in the study said that they would need to make $250 to $1,000 more per paycheck to live comfortably.

But what if you could increase your salary to $60,000 or more per year? If the mean national average just isn't cutting it anymore, consider investing in online education or further career training to shift into a job with a higher income. Below are five diverse career options for those who want more out of their paychecks.

Postsecondary Education Teacher

Shattering the notion that teachers make poor salaries, this career offers a nice salary and much faster than average job growth, with 23 percent growth expected between 2006 and 2016. Postsecondary education teachers instruct in areas related to education, such as counseling, curriculum, guidance, and English as a second language. Some teach exclusively while others do a combination of teaching and research.

Education requirements can vary widely based on specialty. A master's degree will likely be required for university teachers, while those teaching at career institutes will mostly need to demonstrate experience and expertise in their field. If you have an inquiring mind and enjoy instructing others in your favorite subject, this may be a fulfilling career path for you to consider.

Mean annual salary: $60,080.

Registered Nurse

This is the largest health care occupation in the U.S., and the one expected to see the most job growth in coming years. Registered nurses help the sick and assist doctors and other medical professionals, usually in a hospital setting. You may be familiar with the basic duties of a nurse, from treating patients to recording health information to educating and supporting patients and family members. RNs often specialize in a particular area, such as geriatric or pediatric care. This is a vital career within the health care system, and a promising path for those who enjoy helping others.

There are several paths to becoming a registered nurse, from earning an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) to a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN).

Mean annual salary: $65,130.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators can be found in offices, small businesses, and government organizations -- really, anywhere where a computer system is vital to business operations. In today's society, this is just about everywhere, perhaps explaining why this career is expected to see much faster than average growth over the next seven years. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining an organization's computer systems. They usually need a bachelor's degree in an area like computer science or information systems. Without a degree, prior experience in the field is considered essential.

Mean annual salary: $69,570

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These professionals enforce the rules for health, safety, and environmental regulations in the workplace. Their job description is primarily concerned with keeping workers and the general public safe, and may include designing work spaces, testing air quality, or inspecting machinery. Additionally, they aim to save the organization money by reducing absenteeism, keeping equipment running properly, and lowering insurance premiums.

Training for this career can vary from an associate's to a master's degree. Some employers prefer a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or a related field like engineering or biology.

Mean annual salary: $63,030.

Technical Writer

Putting technical or specialized information into understandable terms is the main duty of a technical writer. They make technical manuals, catalogs, and assembly instructions easily digestible for the general reader. Technical writers are mainly found in the information technology industry, planning and editing technical materials, and overseeing the layout of these publications.

A college degree is usually desired for writers, and for technical writers, a degree or certification in their technical area is becoming more of a standard in the field. It is common for scientists, technicians, and engineers with good writing skills to transition into technical writers.

Mean annual salary: $64,210.

Now that you have some ideas for exciting, high-paying jobs, consider how you can parlay your interests and talents into a $60,000 or higher paycheck. In addition to the financial cushion, you may find yourself more fulfilled in a career that reflects your true potential.

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