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Author
channeloneadmin
Date
January 3, 2012

Cool Jobs (That Pay!)

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If you’re thinking about the future, you’re probably considering what kind of job you want when you get out of school. You might think being a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist is a good idea — and it might be — but sometimes it helps to be a little more specific when planning. And that’s especially true because of the cost of higher education. No one wants to graduate from college and then law school with debt only to find out that the starting salary for a lawyer can be less than $50,000.

To help you get started discovering the perfect gig for your future, we spoke to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to find out what jobs are in demand and pay well, and then we choose the ones that seem pretty fun on top of that. A quick tip: the BLS is a pretty great resource when you’re thinking about what kind of job you might like. They have a searchable database that lets you find out all sorts of information about careers, including salary, what kind of education you’ll need and if the job you’re interested in is going to be in demand when you graduate. When you find something you think you might be interested in, ask around and see if anyone you know does that kind of work. Talking to them or even spending some time at their work can be very helpful in making such a big decision.
Without further delay, then, here are some ideas for what to be when you grow up.

Biomedical Engineer

If you’re into math and science, you may have heard that engineering is a good career path for you. There are lots of different kinds of engineers, but as far as jobs and salary go, biomedicine might be your best bet. The field is expanding as health care expands, plus, when you think about it, being the creator of something that’s going to end up saving lives is pretty cool.

What you’ll do: Solve problems for researchers and doctors by designing devices that aid in therapy and diagnostics.
What you’ll earn: Between $48,000 and $120,000 per year.*

Veterinarian

We’re happy this one is on the list because based on the emails we get about our What Next? series, a lot of you are interested in a career as an animal doctor. To become one, you’ll most likely need a four-year college degree (some vet schools will accept students that haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree, but have a large number of credits towards one) and you’ll definitely need a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine — that will take another four years of school. But if you like animals, the payoff is well worth the effort.

What you’ll do: Provide medical care for animals. Keep in mind that most vets – around 80% — work in private practice, so you’ll have to have some business skills to keep your office running smoothly.
What you’ll earn:
Between $46,000 and $140,000 per year.

Personal Financial Advisor

If you like money, thinking about savings and investments and helping other people to make decisions about their money, this might be the career for you. For this job, you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s Degree and many also have Master’s degrees in finance or business administration. You’ll also need a number of licenses depending on the state you’ll be working in and the products you sell. Although not required, some advisers also have a professional certification called a CFP (Certified Financial Planner).

What you’ll do: Help clients make decisions about savings, insurance and investments.
What you’ll earn: Between $45,000 and $120,000 per year.

Millwright
 
If you’re into fixing and building things, a career in high-tech manufacturing might be for you. You may have heard about factories closing and workers being laid off in the past few years, but most of those workers were unskilled factory floor workers. Industrial mechanics and millwrights are in high demand right now because so few people have the experience and skills necessary to build and repair equipment and tools factories need. And while you’ll need specialized training from a technical school or as an apprentice, this is one job that you don’t need four-year degree — or college debt — to land.
 
What you’ll do: Install and or repair high-tech manufacturing equipment in factories.
What you’ll earn: Between $40,000 and $75,000 per year.  

Athletic Trainer

Like sports? Like being a part of a team? Though jobs on the sidelines at NFL games are usually a little hard to come by, the opportunities for athletic trainers are on the rise as more schools hire these professionals to be a part of their athletic programs. Plus, you might end up working for a professional sports team, which would be a great gig if you’ve got a fave team. For this job, you’ll need at least a B.A. and many trainers also have advanced degrees. Keep in mind that you’ll also probably be working hours that are outside of traditional 9-5 schedules — you go where your team goes!

What you’ll do: Assist clients with workouts and diet plans and teach them how to perform exercises without getting injured.
What you’ll earn: Trainers typically earn between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. (Admittedly, this is less than the other careers on this list, but for someone who loves the gym, it is pretty cool.)

Biophysicist

Bio-what?, some of you might be thinking. Turns out,
combining biology and physics can be a pretty cool job, and it’s one that’s in
demand too. And though in most cases you’ll have to spend some time getting
your Ph.D., there are opportunities to work in a lab at a university or for a
company doing research. What you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis depends on
what you specialize in. It can range from medical research to developing
biofuels to trying to develop crops that yield more food, which is an important
job when the global population is on the rise.

What you’ll do: Work on experiments in the lab and record the
results. Depending on your specialty, your research could involve field studies
that bring you to different regions of the world to test your theories.
What you’ll earn: Between $80,000 and $140,000 per year.
*All salary information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and will vary by region.

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