What To Study For The Top Earning Career Paths

Published on: August 29, 2021

Being passionate about your chosen career path is one of the keys to success and fullfillment. However, there is no denying that some jobs come with a lot more earning potential than others. Typically these types of jobs also require specific degrees to prepare students adequately. Whether you are curious about the earning potential of your chosen degree or interested in pursuing a high-paying job, here's what's required to study for some of the top-paying careers in the United States.

A Few Considerations

Earning a lot of money is nice but must also be weighed against the stress levels you will be facing and how much of a work-life balance you will maintain. It is also important to not only look at median salaries but also future job prospects and what the growth potential for your chosen profession is like. Some of the top-paying careers also require employees to build up their experience first before they are able to command higher salaries. The career paths listed below are a great place to start, but always remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. Some skills are more valuable than others for employers, which is why they don't mind paying a premium for them. Whichever career path you choose, though, advanced education can significantly increase your earning potential.

The Medical Profession


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for anesthesiologists is $271,440 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291211.htm). It is a profession where your responsibilities include administering anesthetics and analgesics before, during, or after surgery to help with pain management. Anesthesiologists are typically employed by the offices of physicians, general medical and surgical hospitals as well as outpatient care centers.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, this career path requires completing a four-year undergraduate college degree that includes satisfying pre-med requirements. They must follow undergraduate education with four years of medical school just like other medical doctors and must also complete a four-year anesthesiology residency program to become a physician specializing in this field. The career prospects for qualified anesthesiologists are also good as they will be in need as long as there is a demand for surgery and relief from pain. Other career paths in anesthesia include anesthesiologist assistant, anesthesia technician, certified anesthesia technician, and certified anesthesia technologist.

The Business Profession

Chief Executive Officer

According to Payscale (https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Chief_Executive\_Officer\_(CEO)/Salary), the average base salary of a chief executive officer is $155,843 per year. Base salaries can range from $74k to $308k and can be further boosted by perks such as bonuses, profit-sharing, and commissions. This career path involves driving a company's strategic planning, business development, and fiscal operations and determining its overarching goals and initiatives. Being a CEO is an enormous responsibility, but those who succeed reap the financial rewards.

Working as a CEO requires a lot of previous experience in the business field as well as a bachelor's or master's degree. These degrees should be related to the field you want to work in, such as engineering, construction, etc. CEOs of large corporations often have a master's degree in business administration, while public administration, law, or the liberal arts are also popular study paths. Other licenses or certifications may also be necessary, depending on the type of business. For example, being a certified public accountant is often desirable in this field.

The Information Technology Profession

Computer and Information Systems Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers earn a median pay of $151,150 per year (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm). It is a full-time position that typically involves planning, coordinating, and directing any computer-related activities within an organization. It is also a career path with a lot of growth potential as businesses continue to expand their operations to digital platforms.

To work as a computer and information systems manager requires at least a bachelor's degree in computer or information science. Typically people who work in this position also have a graduate degree. One of the most common ones is a Master of Business Administration degree, which can take two years to complete but can be done part-time while working and gaining experience.

The Marketing Profession

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers earn a median salary of $141,490 per year (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm). Employers include advertising agencies and corporate or regional managing offices. Working in this field typically involves planning programs designed to generate interest in products or services. It is also a career path with a lot of expected growth as organizations will always require advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns to maintain and expand their position in the market.

Most advertising, promotions, and marketing managers have at least a bachelor's degree with a focus on advertising or journalism. However, bachelor's degrees in marketing or related fields like communications are also advantageous for marketing managers.

The Financial Profession

Financial Managers

Financial managers earn a median pay of $134,180 per year, according to the occupational outlook handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is a profession that is valuable to many different industries, including insurance companies, banks, and investment firms. When working as a financial manager, you are responsible for the financial health of the organization employing you. The job can involve creating financial reports and developing the plans needed to meet the company's long-term financial goals.

To become a financial manager, a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, economics, social science, or law and legal studies are typically a requirement. There are also professional certifications available for financial managers who want to boost their competence.


Not all degree programs will allow you to immediately step into a high-paying position, as experience also counts a lot in the job market. However, it is easier to get your foot in the door and put your career on the right track with the right skills and proper qualifications. The professions mentioned in this article are just some examples of high-paying jobs in various fields, but there are also many other paths to follow depending on your passions.

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