6 High-Paying Careers That Are Within Reach

High-Pay Jobs Within Reach

You don't need to spend countless years in school to pursue a career with some seriously good earning potential.

By

Ask anyone to name a career with major earning potential, and you'll likely hear the following answers: doctor, lawyer, MBA-holding CEO. But those careers could require an expensive, lengthy education. Fortunately, there are also careers out there that are potentially high-paying and require no more than a bachelor's degree for entry.

"Depending on the market need and 'hot areas,' advanced degrees become less important to many, while relevant experience where a person can 'hit the ground running' is much more important," says Cheryl Barbato, founder and chief revenue officer at Talent Retriever, a Massachusetts recruiting firm that helps major companies hire.

"Demand is the number one driver of hiring," Barbato says.

And where there is demand and an unmet need, there is high pay. "It's a classic case of supply and demand," says Bob Kustka, author of "The Hire Ground: An Insider's Guide to Finding a Career."

Rather than leave you to find these magical jobs on your own, we've identified six high-paying careers that are totally pursuable, even without an advanced degree. Read on for our picks that pay at least $60K a year with no need for a doctorate or crazy credentials.

High-Paying Career #1: Accountant

Find Degree Programs

If you've got a mind for math and a nose for numbers - but distaste for spending year after year in school - accounting could be just the right path for you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, accountants play an integral role in maintaining a company's financial health by performing tasks like preparing financial documents, suggesting cost-cutting measures, and ensuring taxes are paid on time and properly.

This job sometimes gets a bad rap for being boring, but Kustka says you can leverage that relative unpopularity to your advantage in the salary department - all without having to go to graduate school.

High-Paying Career Path Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Accountants and Auditors
$65,080* > $113,740* < $40,370*

Why the High Pay? Businesses need accountants, explains Kustka. And that need is driving up the average salary offered to these calculation-savvy professionals, he says.

"Some careers, like accounting, just have less student interest," he says. "Because of the current level of students pursuing degrees in accounting, the job demand is now exceeding the supply in some geographic areas." Less competition and higher salaries - sounds like an equation for success.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Little Schooling Needed: Most accountant positions only require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, says the Department of Labor, although it must be noted that some employers prefer to hire applicants with a master's degree in accounting, or in business administration with an accounting concentration.

High-Paying Career #2: Registered Nurse

Find Degree Programs

Selfless and caring are two words people would use to describe you. But if you'd rather get to helping people sooner rather than later, nursing could be right up your alley.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that nurses are often responsible for duties such as recording patient symptoms, delivering medication and treatments, and consulting with doctors.

High-Paying Career Path Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Registered Nurses
$66,220* > $96,320* < $45,630*

Why the High Pay? Nurses can work long, grueling hours and must be able to think on their feet in high stress situations, and the pay is reflective of those attributes, explains Kim Monaghan, career coach and owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting in Michigan.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

Little Schooling Needed: Prospective nurses can pursue this career through three different avenues, says the Department of Labor: earning a bachelor's of science in nursing, earning an associate's degree in nursing, or earning a diploma from an approved nursing program. Getting a license is also a must to pursue a career as an RN no matter what your credentials are, the Department points out.

High-Paying Career #3: Financial Analyst

Find Degree Programs

Have you made a few sound investments or do you just have good instincts when it comes to dollars and cents? You might be able to put your natural aptitude for cash to work for you by preparing to pursue a career as a financial analyst.

Helping clients make wise investment decisions is the underlying goal of a financial analyst, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Those analysts attempt to accomplish this by, among other duties, studying economic trends and assessing stocks, bonds and other investment opportunities.

High-Paying Career Path Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Financial Analysts
$78,380* > $152,420* < $48,100*

Why the High Pay? Monaghan stresses the constant vigilance finance requires as one of the reasons jobs in this field tend to be high-paying. "Finance requires round-the-clock attention to an ever-changing market," she explains. "This is one of those high-stress positions with expectations of ongoing intense analytical application."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Little Schooling Needed: A bachelor's degree is required for most positions. Appropriate fields of study include accounting, mathematics, finance, economics, engineering, and statistics. A master's in business administration or finance is often required by employers for advanced positions.

High-Paying Career #4: Art Director

Find Degree Programs

Creative is your middle name. You've always been full of ideas and are constantly coming up with new ways to do things. That's why you might be a perfect fit for pursuing a career as an art director, where you could be compensated extremely well for those big ideas, all without ever having to spend time earning a graduate degree or doctorate.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as an art director, you could be responsible for the images and visual style in media such as newspapers, magazines, movie and T.V. productions, and product packaging.

High-Paying Career Path Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Art Directors
$83,000* > $169,450* < $44,500*

Why the High Pay? Because a job as an art director is merit-based, dependent on your skills and creativity, you can make a healthy living in this field without going to school for what feels like forever, according to Jeremy Goldman, a New York-based digital branding consultant and career coach.

Naturally, the idea of a merit-based, high-pay job that doesn't require years of education is appealing to many. This field is "highly, highly competitive," Goldman says, adding, "if you can break through, you have a good chance at a nice salary."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.

Little Schooling Needed: To pursue a career as an art director, candidates need a bachelor's degree in an art or design discipline and some previous design work experience, says the Department of Labor.

High-Paying Career #5: Software Developer

Find Degree Programs

If you like the idea of designing apps and creating new computer programs, software development might be just right for you. But did you know that it could be a viable, high-paying career and that advanced degrees aren't necessary to qualify for many positions?

What does the 9-to-5 as a software developer look like? Developers can potentially expect to determine user needs for apps and programs and then to write, test, and debug those programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

High-Paying Career Paths Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Applications Developers
$92,660* > $143,540* < $55,770*
Systems Software Developers
$101,410* > $150,760* < $63,140*

Why the High Pay? When it comes to pay, software development is a merit-based profession and less about where you went to school and how long you studied, according to Goldman.

"An employer will typically look at what a prospective employee has done and accomplished, not what they have received an advanced degree in. If you have developed a strong product in the past and can demonstrate that you have contributed code to serious initiatives, you have a high degree of likelihood of landing in a great role," says Goldman.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Programming & Software Program.

Little Schooling Needed: These professionals usually have a bachelor's degree in software engineering, computer science, or a related field, says the Department of Labor. Math degrees are acceptable, too. A strong background in computer programming is also a must, the Department notes.

High-Paying Career #6: Aerospace Engineer

Find Degree Programs

Always thought being an astronaut would be super cool? Well, what about designing the aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites used by astronauts? Turns out a career as an aerospace engineer doesn't require a PhD and still pays well more than $60K a year for most workers in this profession.

What exactly does the profession entail? The U.S. Department of Labor tells us that aerospace engineers are responsible for the design of aircraft, satellites, missiles, and spacecraft. They also test prototypes to make sure they function as designed.

High-Paying Career Path Median Annual Salary 90th Percentile of Annual Salaries 10th Percentile of Annual Salaries
Aerospace Engineers
$103,870* > $150,680* < $65,130*

Why the High Pay? According to Monaghan, aerospace engineers are paid well because of the talent and knowledge they bring to the job - not the degrees they've racked up.

"Much of the work as an aerospace engineer is highly specialized and will be learned on the job," says Monaghan. "Companies will often hire on knowledge, experience and expertise."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

Little Schooling Needed: According to the Department of Labor, entry-level aerospace engineers usually need a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or a science or engineering discipline related to aerospace systems.

* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013.

Next Article:

@Yahoo_Education on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

    Find the Right School