Eight careers that actually pay more than you think
Doctor, lawyers, celebs, and CEOs. When we hear these job titles, we know there's money in them… piles of it in many cases. But not all of us are cut out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Nicki Minaj. Does this mean that high-paying careers are not in our futures? Not so. While most of us will never make Dr. Phil-level cash, there are plenty of careers that pay surprisingly well.
These eight jobs are varied and interesting, falling all over the map when it comes to creativity, compassion, hard work, and handiness. No matter where you live, there is promise for a career that is motivating and money-making. Broaden your horizons with these eight well-paying positions.
If you are interested in the medical field from a technical aspect rather than a hands-on approach like a doctor, nurse, or surgeon, consider becoming a medical writer. According to Job Hero, "The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10 percent increase in jobs for all technical writers, including Medical Writers, by 2024." With demand comes supply, meaning potentially more money for those who choose to enter this detail-oriented and highly important field.
As perStudy.com, "Companies and institutions that hire medical writers need professionals who offer a dynamic union between scientific medical knowledge and written communication skills. Hospitals, academic medical centers, pharmaceutical companies and science publications and websites are potential employers."
Study.com adds that you will need a bachelor's or master's degree in English or journalism as well as writing/editorial skills, medical field knowledge, ability to conduct research, and regulation and approval processes.
According to Glassdoor, "The national average salary for a Medical Writer is $82,641."
You don't have to become an attorney to be involved in the legal profession in an important and significant way. The paralegal is an intricate member of nearly any legal team, and the pay is good.
As explained by The Balance, "Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are individuals who are trained to assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. They work in law firms, corporations, the government and other practice environments and must operate under the supervision of a lawyer. Paralegals assist attorneys in resolving lawsuits, and as such, their duties are diverse."
According to Learn How to Become, "The most-common educational path to becoming a paralegal includes an Associate degree. These two-year programs are offered through community colleges, universities, or online, and teach the basic skills and knowledge required of an entry-level paralegal or legal assistant. A four-year bachelor's degree in paralegal studies may be a requirement for paralegal positions with major law firms, government legal departments or in corporate law.
"The median annual paralegal salary is $53,651, as of January 30, 2018, with a range usually between $47,440 - $60,577," according to Salary.com.
Social Media Manager
When we think of social media, posting pics to Instagram or "tweeting" about current events comes to mind. But for a marketing-minded business, the role of social media manager is highly valued to get word about their brand out to the public, gain customers, and make money. And with that, the social media manager will make a nice living for themselves.
ZipRecruiter explains, "As a social media manager, you will update social networks and curate content to gain new followers. You will also create new social marketing campaigns, build brand recognition, and manage all published company content. While working with web analytic tools to track campaign progress and researching industry trends, you will maintain an active social presence and reply to customer inquiries. A successful social media manager will collaborate with marketing, PR, and legal teams to align company messages, promotions, and goals."
That's a lot of responsibility for one person, but for today's social media-savvy folks, this job can be fun and creative. And the demand is only increasing as more businesses move and grow with the times.
As per Study.com, "Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, or marketing," is needed for this job.
"The average salary for a Social Media Manager is $60,784," as per Glassdoor.
If you are fluent in more than one tongue, put those talents and skills to use at work by taking a job as a translator or interpreter. As Truitydescribes, "Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language."
"The goal of a translator is to have people read the translation as if it were the original. (They) must be able to write sentences that maintain or duplicate the structure and style of the original meaning while keeping the ideas and facts of the original meaning accurate. (They) must properly transmit any cultural references and other expressions that do not translate literally," explains Truity. And, "Interpreters convert information from one spoken language into another—or, in the case of sign language interpreters, between spoken language and sign language. The goal of an interpreter is to have people hear the interpretation as if it were the original. Interpreters must usually be fluent speakers or signers of both languages, because they communicate back and forth among the people who do not share a common language."
According to Study.com, "Translators often specialize in a certain topic, such as literature, finance, law, medicine, or technology. Most staff employment opportunities are in Washington, D.C., New York, and California; however, the need for Translators is expanding throughout the U.S., especially in the area of healthcare. (You'll need) a bachelor's degree and expertise in multiple languages."
As per U.S. News & World Report, "Interpreters and translators earned a median annual salary of $46,120 in 2016. The best-paid earned more than $83,010."
Are you good with money, math, and management? A career as an auditor may be your calling, and a path to a generous paycheck to boot. As per Target Jobs, "Auditors are specialists who review the accounts of companies and organizations to ensure the validity and legality of their financial records. They can also act in an advisory role to recommend possible risk aversion measures and cost savings that could be made. Auditors work in the accounting departments of a huge range of firms and with independent chartered and certified firms, examining the money going in and out of organizations and making sure it is recorded and processed correctly."
As far as schooling goes, "Auditors typically need at least a bachelor's degree in an accounting-related field, and earning optional certification, such as those offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors, can increase job prospects and/or earnings," according to Study.com.
Look out for an 11% growth in the demand for auditors through 2014, which is, "faster than average of all occupations," as per Study.com.
According to Glassdoor, "The national average salary for an Auditor is $58,083."
Be part of the justice system by becoming a court reporter. If you are interested in the legal system, but don't have the desire to become a lawyer or judge, a court reporter can be a fulfilling career full of excitement and importance.
As per CourtReporterEdu, "Court reporters – also referred to as short hand reporters – are responsible for keeping written records of legal proceedings, whether in government, court, or private settings. The verbatim documentation in criminal, civil and other court proceedings requires professionals who are highly skilled and trained in court reporting, which usually involves stenography."
You'll need lots of talent, skills, and a solid work ethic to be a consistent and capable court reporter. CourtReporterEdu lists some of the traits of and knowledge needed to be a competent court reporter:
- Operate a stenographic machine at 200 wpm
- Advanced spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and grammar skills
- Perform legal clerical work with a high degree of accuracy and speed
- Remain seated for long periods of time
- Knowledge of clerical and legal recordkeeping practices and procedures
- Operate a variety of equipment, including transcription machines, computer terminals, audio equipment, and printers…
…and the list goes on.
You will need to become a stenographer, as per WikiHow, and meet state requirements. "The requirements for becoming a court reporter vary by state. Some states, for instance, only require certification from one of the court reporter's associations, while some require both certification and completion of a vocational program at a technical school. Many states require aspiring court reporters to take a licensing test produced by the state."
Are you up for the courtroom challenge? If so, not only will your skills be put to good use, but you will make a living that reflects your attention to detail and aid in making judicial proceedings run effectively.
As per CourtReporterEdu, "The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that court reporter jobs are expected to grow 14 percent (by) 2020." Salary.com lists a salary range for a court reporter to be $40,147 - $72,828.
Travel the world, meet new people, take care of others, and keep travelers safe by taking your career to new heights (literally) as a flight attendant. If you have a flexible schedule and can manage non-traditional work hours and an out-of-the-box atmosphere, a job on a plane may have you on cloud nine!
According to Truity, the following duties make up a flight attendant's work:
- Attend preflight briefings on details of the flight
- Ensure that adequate supplies of refreshments and emergency equipment are on board
- Assist in cleaning the cabin between flights
- Demonstrate the use of safety and emergency equipment
- Ensure all passengers have seatbelts fastened and ensure other safety requirements are met
- Serve, and sometimes sell, beverages, meals, or snacks
- Take care of passengers' needs, particularly those with special needs
- Reassure passengers during flight, such as when the aircraft hits turbulence
- Administer first aid to passengers or coordinate first aid efforts, when needed
- Direct passengers in case of emergency
As per Study.com, "Becoming a flight attendant requires little formal education. Flight attendants need to hold a high school diploma and complete a training program leading to certification by the Federal Aviation Administration."
"The national average salary for a Flight Attendant is $52,217 in United States," according toGlassdoor. Are you all aboard for a career in flight?
If the idea of helping others maintain good oral hygiene is something that makes you smile, then a career as a dental hygienist will have you creating pearly white smiles for those in your community in need of dental care.
Being a dentist isn't for everyone, but there is more to good oral care than the work of a dentist or orthodontist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Dental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Programs typically take 3 years to complete. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state."
And choosing to get into this profession is a smart idea, as the career is booming. As perThe Balance, "The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has designated this a 'Bright Outlook' occupation because of its exceptional job outlook. Employment, through at least 2024, is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations."
The Balance adds, "Dental hygienists who worked full-time earned a median annual salary of $72,910 in 2016."
Give these careers a chance, not only for their interesting duties, but for the nice pay that is associated with each.
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!