Are you thinking about changing careers, or just trying to get a sense of how much you should be earning in your current job? Not sure about the job requirements or how much you could expect to earn at a different job? Here is a list of career and salary profiles for a variety of different occupations, plus links to salary calculators and tools for comparing salaries and discovering how much you can earn.
It’s smart to stay informed about what your earning potential is. Armed with this information, you can make better decisions about your career when it might be time to ask for a raise, or even if the time is right to look for a new job. It might surprise you to discover how much others in your field are making.
Keep in mind that many factors affect salary, including industry, geographic location, education, and competition, as well as benefits and perks, to name a few.
Administrative/Management: Here is salary information for a few of the most popular “white collar” jobs in the administrative / management sectors.
Advertising/Marketing/Communications: Great news for English majors: the number of jobs for people talented in marketing, writing, and editing has accelerated with the rapid growth of the internet and social media. If you’re skilled in oral or written communications, here’s what you can expect to earn.
- Advertising Managers and Promotions Managers
- Advertising Sales Agent
- Graphic Designer
- Interpreter and Translator
- Public Relations Specialist
- Social Media Manager
- Writer and Editor
Construction/Building Trades/Engineering: The construction and building trades can be particularly appealing for people who want a stable income (in periods of a strong economy) because workers often enjoy the advocacy of labor unions.
- Construction Laborer
- Environmental Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
Creative Arts/Design: If you’re talented in design or photography, this information will help you on your path to a rewarding career.
Education/Research/Academia: Jobs for young teachers and researchers are expected to become more readily available as a substantial generation of older workers enter retirement. Here’s career information for a wide variety of opportunities in this sector.
- Guidance Counselor
- Special Education Teacher
- School Principal
- Teacher Assistant
Financial Services: It used to be that one could enter fields like banking straight out of high school if one had strong math and customer service talents, beginning in teller roles and working one’s way up the corporate ladder. Now, most entry-level candidates have degrees from two-year or four-year colleges. Salary potential varies widely depending upon the position and one’s level of education.
- Bank Teller
- Budget Analyst
- Claims Adjuster, Appraiser, Examiner, and Investigator
- Financial Advisor
- Insurance Underwriter
- Loan Officer
Food and Hospitality Services: In a service economy, there will never be a lack of advertised jobs in the restaurant industry. Have a look at these income figures for front- and back-of-house positions.
Healthcare/Medical Research: The aging of the “Baby Boom” generation in the United States means that the demand for talented healthcare professionals has soared.
- Cardiovascular Technologist
- Dental Hygienist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
- EMTs and Paramedics
- Health Educator
- Home Health Aide
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Laboratory Technician
- Occupational Therapist
- Pharmacy Technician
- Physician Assistant
- Physical Therapist
- Physical Therapy Assistant
- Registered Nurse
Human Resources/Consulting: Wondering what the people who manage your benefits make for a living? Find out here.
Information Technology (IT): Computer programming can be such a lucrative field that even acceptance into good college programs can be extremely competitive. Here’s the outlook for what to expect after graduation.
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Software Developer
- Web Developer
Legal Services/Government/Non-Profit: Review the following career information if you’re aspiring to a career in law or public service.
- Correctional Officer
- Court Reporter
- Paralegal and Legal Assistant
- Police Officer
- Postal Service Worker
- Social Worker
Personal Services: Talented professionals who provide personal services often enjoy the additional freedoms of being able to work independently and set their own hours.
- Dog Groomer
- Auto Mechanic
- Fitness Trainer
- Funeral Director
- Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
- Marriage and Family Therapist
Retail Sales / Customer Service: Are you a “people person” interested in a career in sales or customer service? Here’s information about what you can expect to make in these fields.
Transportation: If you’re ready to translate your passion for “flying the friendly skies” into a steady career, there are jobs you might like to explore. The recent demand for flight attendants is particularly strong.
Best Paying Jobs
Maybe your earning potential in your chosen career hasn’t matched your expectations. It’s never too late to explore changing careers.
Many people today continue working long after traditional retirement age, and starting a new career at any time can help boost your salary and increase your satisfaction at work. There are excellent opportunities for people with a four-year degree, as well as many jobs that pay over $100,000, some of which might surprise you.
Salary and Pay Calculators
Need more salary information? There are free salary and paycheck calculators, tax calculators, cost-of-living calculators, and salary surveys that can help you find out salary and benefits information for jobs of interest. Chart your career path or compare employers with tools from Salary.com, PayScale, Indeed, and more. Make sure that you get the full picture of your potential compensation and take-home pay, so you know what to expect before you negotiate your next position.
When You’re Ready to Negotiate
Seventy-five percent of people who ask for a raise get some kind of pay increase, according to PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide, so it’s worth your time to figure out the right strategy. Come to the negotiating table with a salary range based on solid data and a sense of why it’s in the company’s best interest to give you the pay you deserve.
Learn how to prepare a salary negotiation script, time your request, and ask in a way that decision-makers will respect and hear. Also, before you meet with your manager, it's important to know what mistakes to avoid that might throw a wrench in your plans.