10 Jobs That Offer a Big Bang for Your Buck
These careers offer high return on investment -- a great salary for relatively little education
While we usually talk about ROI in business, return on investment applies to your career, too. If you spend years studying to prepare for a profession, you want to get paid accordingly. If you put in the time to train, you want to be compensated in your paycheck. But what if you're not interested in earning a master's degree or Ph.D? What if you'd prefer to keep your studying and training to a minimum, and still bring home the bacon?
Lucky for you, not all high-paying jobs require years of preparation. 10 jobs stand out as offering excellent return on investment -- higher-than-average paychecks in return for relatively little education and training.
After earning a bachelor's degree, likely with a finance or math concentration, actuaries bring in a median annual salary of $87,000. They're also required to earn a certificate by passing a series of exams.
These workers earn a median annual salary of nearly $79,000 but need only a bachelor's degree, usually in mechanical or electronics engineering. Biomedical engineer ranks highest of all professions on the Labor Department's growth projections, with an expected 72 percent increase in the number of jobs available between 2008 and 2018.
Computer software engineer
With a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, computer software engineers bring in a median salary of $87,000 a year. For more complex jobs, a master's degree may be required, but the real gold standard is in-depth knowledge of programming languages. Employment is expected to swell by a whopping 295,200 jobs, or more than 32 percent, between 2008 and 2018.
After completing a two-year training program and earning a state certification, court reporters make a median salary of $48,000 annually. With a specialized certification, such as registered diplomate reporter, certified legal video specialist, or certified broadcast captioner, income can be even higher.
With an associate's degree and license, dental hygienists earn a median annual salary of $67,000. About 300 accredited dental hygiene programs throughout the country offer the necessary degree.
Seek out a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, accounting, statistics, or economics, and this profession will offer you a median annual paycheck of $74,000. That includes bonuses, which can make up a large chunk of total earnings. Financial analysts sometimes need a license, but that process is often sponsored by their employer.
These supervisors attend a vocational or dealer school, then are on their way to earning a median annual salary of $67,000. They're also required to earn a license from the state. There were only about 6,200 gaming manager positions throughout the country in 2008, but there are far more gaming supervisor positions -- about 40,900 -- which tend to pay less and offer less responsibility.
For job seekers interested in weather patterns, a bachelor's degree can pave the way to the title of meteorologist and a median paycheck of nearly $85,000 annually. Those who work for the National Weather Service tend to make less.
With a two-year associate's degree and certification under their belt, these healthcare workers bring in a median of $84,000 annually. The number of physician assistant jobs is expected to grow by 29,200, or 39 percent, by 2018, among the fastest occupational growth rates projected by the Labor Department.
This occupation has the highest median annual salary, nearly $97,000, of all the jobs on our list. Sales managers need a bachelor's degree, though some also seek a master's degree in business administration. Hiring managers tend to value experience over education.
Available at Amazon.com:
- Hang Onto People Who'll Help You Advance
- Best Jobs 2011: Emergency Management Specialist
- 10 Jobs That Offer a Big Bang for Your Buck
- Best Career Advice: 2011
- Career Advice Hits of 2010
- Careful Actions Can Lead to Good Luck
- The Top 50 Companies to Work For
- Never Let Excuses Drag You Down Again
- Why Power Naps at Work Are Catching On
- 6 Steps to Polish Up Your Resume
- 6 Tips for GenY on the Job Hunt
- Be Wary About Chancing a Workplace Romance
- How to Find a Job Abroad
- Making Best Future Career Choices
- Latest in Career Networking: Network Roulette
- 4 Ways to Tap Into the Hidden Job Market
- Taking Advantage of Job Hunters?
- Job Hunting With Smart Phones
- For a Happy New Year Job-Hunt Now
- Bashing Bosses on Social Media
- Trying Everything to Get a New Job
- Why You're Not Reaching Your Goals And What To Do About It
- What Today's Job Seekers Want
- 6 Secrets to Staying Employed After Age 50
- Bad Online Habits Can Hurt Your Career
- Workplace Space: Desk Do's and Don'ts
- Are Credit Checks Keeping You Out of Work?
- Job Interviews That Really Aren't
- How to Make a Career in Public Service
- How to Choose the Best Volunteering Option
- Boost Your Energy with Time-Shifting
- The Secret to Doing Your Best Work Effortlessly
- Introvert's Guide to Self-Disclosure
- Can-Do Entrepreneurs Move Beyond Can't-Do Government
- Can't Find Work? Get a 'Survival Job'
- 4 Steps To Becoming a Multitasking Master
- How to Answer 'What Do You Do?'
- Education and Wealth: Strongest Predictors of a Long Life
- The Vanishing Lunch Break
- Best Places to Launch a Second Career
- Expect Significant Changes During Open Enrollment for 2011 Health Coverage
- Solution-Focused Questions: The Secret to Success
- Law School: Rising Demand, Rising Tuition, Diminishing Job Market
- Beware the Interviewer in a Soft Chair
- 7 Sites That Will Help You Get Hired
- Out-of-the-Box Ways to Get That Job
- Get Even by Doing Well
- Starting a Business: Focus on Profits Not Popularity
- A Revolutionary New Way to Learn
- Out-of-the-Box Ways to Get That Job
- Strategies for Surviving the 'New Normal' Job Market
- Wal-Mart Offering Workers Chances to Earn Cheap College Credit
- Why Office Dating May Be More Dangerous in This Economy
- 7 Times You Shouldn't Take a Vacation
- Invest in Me, Inc.
- When Success Doesn't Come Fast Enough
- The Right Job at the Right Time
- Why Physician Assistant School May be Right for You
- Some Good News for Job Seekers
- How Morning Exercise Can Boost Your Career
- Is Job Loyalty for Better or Worse?
- Return to Work Way Ahead of the Game
- Does Gray Hair Ruin Career?
- 7 Tips to Master Every Meeting
- Get Career Goals in Gear This Summer
- How Your Career and Boss Can Ruin Your Health
- Law Jobs Will Be Harder to Come By
- More M.B.A. Graduates Will Get Jobs in 2010
- How Online Students Balance Family, Work, and School
- Jobs Bill a Tough Call for Democrats
- How to Get a Job After a Year (or More) Out of Work
- Alternatives to Traditional Retirement
- Job Market Strategies for Recent Graduates
- Lessons For Success From Apple's Steve Jobs
- We've Come a Long Way in Wrong Direction
- How You'll Find Your Next Job
- 6 Ways to Keep Family From Derailing Your Career
- 10 Ways to Make Any Job Healthier
- What the Resumes of Top CEOs Have in Common
- Seven Tips for Secret Job Search
- Video Game Design Careers
- Five Tips to Avoid Confirmation Bias
- Successful Career Switchers
- The Secret to Success for Artists and Creatives
- Why Some Women Skirt the Wage Gap
- Fear of Failure? Three Tips to Guarantee Success
- Behind the 'Mompreneur' Myth
- Creative Ways to Combine Work & Family
- Make More Money & Live Your Passion: Become a Cre8tor
- Banking Laws Leave Business Customers Vulnerable to Internet Fraud
- Deducting Hobby Expenses: Think Business
- When to Make a Personal Course Correction
- Kick-Starting a Business of Your Own
Careers - 10 Jobs That Offer a Big Bang for Your Buck
(c) 2010 U.S. News & World Report