Five high-growth, high-paying careers

In-Demand, High-Pay Careers

These $75K+ careers are projected to experience rapid growth from 2012 to 2022.

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Thinking about pursuing a new career, but not sure where to start?

Following your heart has its rewards, but going after jobs with high growth - and pay - potential may prove the wiser choice if you're looking to pay the bills.

To help you sift through all the options, we looked through the U.S. Department of Labor data to identify some career paths that are projected to grow by at least 16 percent through 2022 and have a median salary of at least $75,000 per year.*

Keep reading to find out which careers score high for both growth and pay.

Career #1: Information Security Analyst

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Median annual salary*
$86,170
Job growth from
2012 to 2022**
37 percent

If you have excellent analytical and problem solving skills and are a stickler for detail, you might be cut out for a career as an information security analyst.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these folks carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems from hackers and other cyber-attacks.

Why they're in-demand: The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks have made it necessary for companies to seek protection, according to the Department of Labor.

You've seen the headlines about hackers getting the personal data of online shoppers at Target. "Employers are seeing the implications from what happens in the news, and their own IT people are telling them about how easy it is to break in [to a computer system]," says Leto Papadopoulos, director of training and development for King & Bishop, a talent acquisition and human resources firm, in Waltham, Mass.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

How to prepare: Most information security analysts have a bachelor's degree in computer science, programming, or other related field, according to the Department. Sometimes, employers prefer applicants who have a master's in business administration (MBA) in information systems. There are also a number of certifications that information security analysts could earn which many employers want job candidates to have, according to the Department.

Career #2: Civil Engineer

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Median annual salary*
$79,340
Job growth from
2012 to 2022**
20 percent

Those with strong leadership and decision-making abilities and a firm grasp of mathematics may be a good fit for civil engineering.

Designing and supervising large construction projects for infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and sewage treatment systems, are among the responsibilities of civil engineers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why they're in-demand: Civil engineers are in demand for a variety of reasons, depending on the specialty, writes Erin Bushnell, SPHR, director of human resources at Pennoni Associates Inc., an engineering and design consulting firm based in Philadelphia, Pa. Among the top reasons is the need for improvements in the United States.

"For example, transportation engineers are highly sought after due to an increase in funding in many states," Bushnell says. "We have an aging infrastructure and engineers are critical to making those much needed major improvements."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

How to prepare: Civil engineers need to have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties, according to the Department of Labor. To work as a professional engineer, one must be licensed, which means their degree must be from an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited program.

Career #3: Medical and Health Services Manager

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Median annual salary*
$88,580
Job growth from
2012 to 2022**
23 percent

Analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills are as critical as the abilities to communicate and interact well with others for success as a medical and health services manager. If that sounds like it plays to your strong suit, then you might consider this role.

Also known as a health care executive or administrator, these managers coordinate medical services either for an entire organization, such as a hospital, or a sector, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They must also be able to adapt to evolving health care regulations and technologies.

Why they're in-demand: "Hospitals and doctors need someone to stay on top of the changes both in the law and technology, such as electronic records," says Papadopoulos. "They need someone to move them into the new century."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program

How to prepare: Requirements for this type of position vary by facility, according to the Department of Labor. Prospective managers should have a bachelor's degree in health administration. Master's degrees in health services, public health, public administration, long-term care administration, or business administration are also common, according to the Department.

Career #4: Software Developer, Systems

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Median annual salary*
$99,000
Job growth from
2012 to 2022**
20 percent

If you're a creative type with strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills, you may be cut out for software development. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, systems developers design computer programs, like the ones that allow you to do a specific task or run a device or network.

Why they're in-demand: It makes sense that in an age when just about everyone has a smartphone and computer, this occupation is projected to experience high-growth.

"There's a big grab for talent because of the speed of change in the field and the level of skill required," says Papadopoulos.

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

How to prepare: The Department of Labor states that software developers usually earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field, though some employers might prefer a master's degree. They must be skilled at programming and understanding new tools and computer languages.

The Department tells us that developers will also be expected to have knowledge of the industry in which they work. For example, one who develops bank software programs should have at least a basic understanding of finance.

Career #5: Financial Analyst

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Median annual salary*
$76,950
Job growth from
2012 to 2022**
16 percent

Are you good with numbers and a great communicator, someone who is decisive and detail-oriented? Then you might be a match for a career in the financial industry.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, financial analysts study the performance of stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments to help individuals and businesses assess potential and current investments.

Why they're in-demand: Employers are looking for those who understand changing regulations, which are designed to prevent the type of crisis that happened in 2008 from recurring, says Greg Menzone, executive manager of the financial division of Professional Staffing Group in Boston, Mass.

Organizations, in particular, want people who can help them be as lean as possible but still have the necessary resources for growth, says Menzone.

"Companies want to hire the best of the best among financial analysts, so they can stay nimble and get ahead of the game," he adds. "They're demanding analysts who can give them a crystal ball to prepare for 2014, 2015, 2016, and beyond."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

How to prepare: Most of these professionals must have a bachelor's degree. However, different fields of study could provide appropriate preparation for this position, including accounting, finance, engineering, economics, statistics, or math, according to the Department of Labor.

* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2012.

** Projected job growth rates from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 edition.

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