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10 Best High-Paying Jobs for the Future (& How to Get There)

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Tips for Choosing a Major and Career Path


In our rapidly changing world, choosing a career path that will lead to financial stability is becoming increasingly important. It’s never too early to start thinking about potential careers and the steps you’ll need to take to get there


As overwhelming as this may sound, there are plenty of resources available to help you narrow down your choices. Career quizzes and personality tests are one quick way to discover a career that matches your disposition as they often take into account your values, skills, and interests. Additionally, they are just a fun way to learn more about yourself!  


Volunteer and internship experiences are also important, as they can not only help you build professional skills, but also allow you to “try out” a job or industry before you dive in. Take challenging classes that interest you and check out that club that you’ve always been curious about. Exploration is key when it comes to deciding on a career. 


Once you’ve identified your strengths, interests, and potential career paths that align, you can tailor your educational experiences to better prepare you for the future. And while money isn’t everything, balancing your financial goals with your personal strengths and interests will allow you to embark on a happy and healthy professional life that still pays the bills.


Keep reading for a list of the top 10 best high-paying jobs for the future!


Top 10 Best High-Paying Jobs for the Future


Data on projected growth and median annual wages comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


1. Physician Assistants

Education Required: Master’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 31.3%

Median annual wage: $112,260


Physician assistants (PA) play an integral role in today’s health care system and often serve as a patient’s main healthcare provider. PAs are licensed to diagnose illnesses, provide treatment plans, and prescribe medications. They often work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and medical offices. It is important for physician assistants to be compassionate and excellent problem solvers as they constantly care for individuals triage and care for individuals with diverse and complex medical conditions. 


To become a physician assistant you must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree and then earn a master’s degree from an accredited program. PA graduate programs tend to be competitive and typically take 3 academic years to complete!


2. Nurse Practitioners

Education Required: Master’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 52.4%

Median annual wage: $109,820


A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed graduate coursework and specialized in an area such as pediatric care, geriatrics, and emergency room nursing. Similar to PA’s, nurse practitioners work directly with patients and are trained to diagnose acute illnesses, provide counseling, order and interpret medical tests, and prescribe medications. They work in hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, and medical offices. Nurse practitioners, like PA’s, must be excellent problem solvers and compassionate individuals. However, it is even more important that nurse practitioners have high emotional intelligence (EQ) as they tend to spend additional time with patients.


To become a nurse practitioner, one must be a registered nurse (RN) and then complete a nurse practitioner-focused graduate program and pass a board exam.


3. Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and testers

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 21.5%

Median annual wage: $107,510


Software developers and quality assurance analysts play a key role in the advancement of technology in our society. Software developers can specialize in either front-end or back-end software developments in an effort to build their company’s products while quality assurance analysts oversee each phase of development to identify gaps and ensure quality performance. This role is best suited for individuals who have a creative mindset and can approach problems from a variety of angles! 


Most software developers and software quality assurance analysts have a bachelor’s degree either in computer science or computer programming.


4. Medical and Health Services Managers

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 31.5%

Median annual wage: $100,980


Providing clinical care to patients is only one side of healthcare. Medical and health services managers work behind the scenes, ensuring that patients are provided with adequate and coordinated care. Medical and health services managers are the planners and leaders overseeing hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities and making sure they run efficiently. 


Medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as health administration or business administration.


5. Information Security Analysts

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 31.2%

Median annual wage: $99,730


Information security analysts utilize their ingenuity and analytical skills to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems against cyberattacks and other e-threats. Information security analysts leverage software to keep up with the ever-evolving changes in technology. Analysts tend to work for companies in a variety of fields such as finance, insurance, healthcare, and consulting. It is important for information security analysts to be lifelong learners as threats to cybersecurity are always changing. 


To become an information security analyst you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer or technology-related fields such as computer science or management information systems. 


6. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Education Required: Master’s degree, Doctoral degree (preferred)

Projected growth (2019-2029): 20.5%

Median annual wage: $97,320


Postsecondary health specialties teachers instruct students in a wide variety of courses beyond the high school level such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry. Postsecondary teachers work in public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, junior or community colleges, and career and technical schools. A successful teacher tends to be very well-organized, empathetic, and an effective communicator as they will be working directly with students. 


Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master’s degree can be enough for certain institutions.

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7. Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 30.9%

Median annual wage: $94,280


Data scientists analyze, process, and model data to then interpret the results and create actionable plans for their companies. Another important role of data scientists is to develop models and algorithms to automate workflows. A data scientist needs a strong grasp of both technical computing skills and deep industry expertise to understand the data. Therefore, this job is most aligned for an individual that has strong analytical skills.


Data scientists tend to have a bachelor’s degree in data science, computer science, or a closely related field. 


8. Statisticians

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 34.6%

Median annual wage: $91,160


In our data-driven world, statisticians play a huge role in obtaining and analyzing data to help companies make better decisions. Statisticians can find a role in almost any type of company regardless of industry or size, as the usage of data analytics is expanding rapidly across businesses. Much like data scientists, it is important for statisticians to have a strong analytical foundation.

To become a statistician, a bachelor’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or data science is typically preferred.  


9. Operations Research Analysts

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 24.8%

Median annual wage: $84,810


Operations research analysts develop analytical models to improve the operational efficiency of their workplaces. They advise managers and other decision makers on how to solve problems within a company or organization. Again, these roles typically require a strong proficiency in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and/or economics. Additionally, these individuals must be naturally curious and problem solvers. 


For most operations research analyst positions, a bachelor’s degree is required in mathematics or computer science-related fields.


10. Genetic Counselors

Education Required: Master’s degree

Projected growth (2019-2029): 21.5%

Median annual wage: $81,880


A genetic counselor assesses and counsels individuals and families on their genetic risk for certain inherited diseases and health defects. Most genetic counselors work with patients in a clinical or hospital setting. Genetic counselors also interpret genetic testing, provide supportive counseling, and serve as patient advocates. Much like other careers within medicine, it is important for genetic counselors to be compassionate individuals with strong communication and critical thinking skills. This is because genetic counselors are often working with individuals or families that may have genetic disorders. 


Typically, genetic counselors have a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field and go on to complete their master’s degree. 


How to Find the Best Colleges to Prep You for These Careers


As most of these careers require a master’s degree, (especially those in healthcare) it is often helpful to choose an undergraduate program in a science or quantitative field as your coursework will often count towards graduate school prerequisites. Furthermore, many graduate programs require at least 1,000 hours of practical training, consequently gaining experience through internships at local healthcare facilities will be invaluable to your career progression.


For careers in technology, most jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or another technology-related field. Admission into a top ten school for computer science can be extremely competitive and these colleges are often “reaches” for many students. When creating your college list, it’s important to have a balance of reaches, targets and safeties to maximize your odds of acceptance into a good fit school. CollegeVine recommends applying to eight to 12 schools—25% being safety schools, 40% targets, and 35% reach schools. 


Whether you’re an aspiring PA or a budding Statistician, it is important to identify schools in all three buckets that align well with your interests and provide valuable opportunities to dive deeper into your field of choice. For example, UCLA Medical Center consistently ranks in the top 10 of the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll and is within walking distance of the UCLA campus. Additionally, schools with vibrant research opportunities and notable faculty projects in your field might also be of interest. Having a holistic picture of each school will allow you to narrow down your college list and tailor your applications to each of their unique landscapes.


Our free chancing calculator makes it easy to learn which schools qualify as safety, target, and reach. Not only can our free chancing calculator show you your odds of acceptance at over 600 schools, but it also gives you tips on how to improve your profile—upping your odds of admission at your dream school and the beginning of a successful career.



Short Bio
Bijal is a senior at UCLA studying Anthropology with minors in Global Health and Gerontology. Working as a Bruin Ambassador in the Undergraduate Admissions office throughout college and having gone through the application cycle again for graduate school, she is eager to share her knowledge!