Choosing from the highest paying jobs for career changers can make your transition less stressful. Changing careers is a big move that makes most fear for their finances. You’re likely worried that finding a new job will compromise your stable income. You’re probably scared that you’ll take a pay cut that won’t cover your expenses. You’re definitely afraid of losing a revenue stream while unemployed and job hunting. Nonetheless, you can stop stressing because there are many easy career change jobs that pay well. Money shouldn’t be the motivator for staying in a career you dislike. Taking the leap into another career or a whole new industry can actually be beneficial financially. Perhaps you’re already making the maximum salary in your current role with no room to grow. Switching careers can help boost your earnings potential and benefits while making you happier. Remember making loads of cash isn’t worth being miserable. Finding a second career that aligns to your interests and talents plus pays the bills is the goal.
Therefore, our staff decided to research the highest paying jobs for career changers. We used the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to locate occupations with above-average salaries. For reference, the annual mean wage for America’s 144.73 million workers is currently $51,960. Our team followed the money to discover top-paying careers that make considerably more than this, including six-figure jobs. We weren’t only looking at the dollar signs though. We reviewed the latest job growth projections from May 2018 to determine which careers will be hiring. Our researchers preferred jobs with above-average growth of 5 percent for strong demand. Collecting career options from a wide range of industries to suit everyone’s unique passions was our mission. We also sought out well-paid career change jobs that don’t require extensive education. For example, physician was cut from the list because it’s unlikely you already hold a medical doctorate. Our staff wanted to highlight careers with general education requirements that won’t require another degree. Here are our top 20 high-paying career change choices to consider.
1. Social Media Director
Social media directors are tech-savvy influencers who shape a brand’s image on the internet. They develop strategies for businesses to improve their engagement on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok, and more. Social media directors increase their company’s presence on online platforms to expand sales and beat out competitors. Their duties include writing blog posts, producing viral videos, creating buzzworthy memes, monitoring website analytics, attracting new followers, replying to consumers, and launching online contests. Becoming a social media director requires strong communication and customer service skills plus an outgoing personality. Bachelor’s degrees in diverse subjects from journalism to sociology and computer science can be accepted. Technological awareness to know the difference between Snapchat and Snapfish is also essential. Social media directors get an average salary of $86,428 and top pay of $143,995. Demand for social media directors is growing fast by 9 percent.
2. Financial Planner
Financial planners are personal wealth advisors who help individuals and couples manage their money. They tell clients the best investment strategies, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and IRAs, to crush their long-term retirement goals. Putting together enough pennies to afford short-term needs like weddings and college courses is also their job. Financial planners guide people through all of life’s transitions to ensure monetary stability. Their tasks include attracting new clients, offering sound advice, diversifying wealth portfolios, tracking savings progress, minimizing debts, and selling insurance. Financial planners can come from diverse bachelor’s backgrounds because there’s on-the-job training. You can even take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam years after getting hired. Career changers with strong math, analytical, and decision-making skills will succeed here. Financial planners receive mean income of $121,770 and top pay of $161,860. Financial planning jobs will increase 7 percent by 2028.
3. Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers are in-house employee relations specialists who build a satisfied workforce. They develop organizational policies for hiring, recruiting, training, and retaining top talent to keep productivity high. Human resources managers supervise whole HR departments to ensure that staffing needs are met. Their responsibilities include interviewing applicants, conducting job analyses, designing compensation packages, overseeing payroll, mediating worker disputes, handling filed grievances, investigating sexual harassment, and collaborating with union leaders. HR managers have bachelor’s degrees in various fields, including psychology, education, business, and technology. Career changers can receive SHRM certification with only two years of work experience. Having great interpersonal, leadership, and problem-solving skills is critical. Human resources managers boast a median wage of $113,300 and top pay of $201,380. Employment of HR managers will expand 7 percent.
4. Software Developer
Software developers are computer program creators who design every component needed to run user interfaces well. They use virtual models and flow charts to plan step-by-step details for coding software consumers enjoy. Developing mobile applications, operating systems, computer drivers, PC utilities, and language processors is their mission. Software developers research market needs to brainstorm creative ideas and take them from concept to commercialization. Their duties include identifying software goals, writing code, testing functionality, debugging problems, and suggesting upgrades. Career changers transition into software development from many bachelor’s fields. For instance, former bankers or teachers could design software for the finance and education markets. All that’s required is sharpening your programming, computer, and analytical skills. Software developers reap average profits of $108,080 and top pay of $161,290. Expect 10-year growth of 21 percent in software development.
5. Marketing Manager
Marketing managers are new customer getters who run ad campaigns to attract brand attention for selling products. They use diverse media, including newspapers, television, radio, email, social networking sites, and search engines, to drive consumer traffic. Marketing managers identify and target the right audience of people interested in buying their organization’s goods or services. Their responsibilities include researching market trends, setting valuable prices, planning special promotions, purchasing ad space, hiring advertising staff, maximizing SEO, and edging ahead of competitors. Marketing managers can have many different bachelor’s majors, such as communications, English, and photography. About 6 percent of marketing managers are even self-employed as their own bosses. Creative career changers with keen attention to detail and good public speaking skills will excel. Marketing managers enjoy a mean wage of $147,240 and top pay of $190,460. Job forecasts show 8 percent growth for marketing managers.
6. Operations Research Analyst
Operations research analysts are investigative data diggers who gain insights on business problems from numbers. They use advanced statistical methods to draw proven conclusions from vast amounts of data. Operations research analysts collect evidence from trusted sources, such as payroll, expenditure ledgers, sales records, and consumer surveys, to examine their assigned topic. Their tasks include organizing information in databases, conducting math analyses, doing predictive modeling, creating diagrams, presenting findings, authoring detailed reports, and advising on strategies for improvement. Operations research analysts usually have bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary fields from economics to history and political science. Possessing good critical thinking, mathematical, and writing skills is most important. Operations research analysts bring home median income of $88,350 and top pay of $136,250 annually. It’s one of the best second career jobs in demand with rapid 26 percent growth.
7. Sales Manager
Sales managers are product profit-making leaders who direct an organization’s strategy for getting more customers. They supervise a sales team to ensure the company makes financial gains and grows a group of loyal buyers. Sales managers closely monitor feedback from consumers to choose products that sell like hotcakes. Their responsibilities are recruiting customer sales reps, setting territory plans, assigning sales quotas, projecting profit margins, poring over purchase data, suggesting special deals, and tracking inventory levels. Sales managers generally have a bachelor’s degree in any field, including business, statistics, law, and real estate. Some sales managers only hold a high school diploma with three to five years of retail experience. Career changers with strong leadership, collaboration, and organizational skills should consider this high-paying position. Sales managers have mean yearly earnings of $140,320 and top pay of $216,590. Hiring in sales management will rise 5 percent for 20,600 U.S. jobs.
8. Network Administrator
Network administrators are ingenious IT sleuths who solve technical problems in business computer systems. They develop the critical digital infrastructure by which organizations can connect to internet modems, mobile devices, clouds, external drives, printers, and more. Network administrators install then maintain LANs and WANs to ensure business productivity stays on track in today’s cyberspace. Their duties include setting up computer hardware, adding user credentials, training employees, securing network data, keeping software updated, running diagnostic tests, troubleshooting errors, and supervising IT support technicians. Becoming a network administrator requires solid computer, problem-solving, and multitasking skills plus patience. Employers often mandate only a certificate or associate degree. Other bachelor’s STEM majors are also qualifying. Network administrators earn an average salary of $87,070 and top pay of $130,720. Demand in network administration will increase as much as 24 percent.
9. Technical Writer
Technical writers are complex subject explainers who make content easier for non-technical readers to understand. They create user manuals, how-to guides, books, FAQ pages, blog posts, magazine articles, and more to simplify information. Technical writers conduct thorough research about products and break down usage instructions into smaller, clearer chunks. Their tasks include talking with product designers, testing out products, putting difficult concepts into easy words, illustrating diagrams, incorporating demo videos, proofreading content for grammar mistakes, and using consumer feedback for updates. Technical writers work in various industries, so bachelor’s degrees from engineering to English are eligible. Getting certified by the Society for Technical Communication might help. Having strong research, writing, teamwork, and technology skills is crucial. Technical writers are given median income of $75,500 and top pay of $114,930. The 10-year technical writing outlook predicts an 8 percent uptick.
10. Emergency Management Director
Emergency management directors are public safety personnel who lead communities through life-threatening crises. They prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate natural or man-made disasters to reduce damage. More than 65 percent of emergency management directors work in local, state, and federal government, including at FEMA, to coordinate catastrophe efforts. Their duties include identifying risks, warning the public, designing response plans, training first responders, allocating resources, applying for funding, collaborating with elected officials, setting up shelters, and supervising rescue missions. Emergency management directors usually need a bachelor’s degree in business or criminal justice fields. People with law enforcement and firefighting backgrounds could transition easily. It’s also one of the active jobs that pay well after military service. Emergency management directors have a mean salary of $82,570 and top pay of $141,130. Employment will jump 5 percent to 10,400 positions this decade.
11. Fundraising Manager
Fundraising managers are charitable donation collectors who help nonprofit organizations carry out their service efforts. They organize events like marathons, auctions, galas, craft sales, contests, and telethons to solicit money from more donors. Fundraising managers find creative ways to spread awareness of their nonprofit’s good deeds to drum up financial support. Their job includes calling potential contributors, meeting with current donors, filing grant proposals, establishing planned giving programs, handling will bequests, training staff, and monitoring goal progress. Fundraising managers normally can have a bachelor’s degree in any field from nonprofit management to social work. Becoming a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) is helpful but fully optional. Career changers need persuasive speaking, event planning, and ethical money management skills. Fundraising managers report average earnings of $114,800 and top pay of $181,020. The BLS predicts fundraising management openings will increase 8 percent.
12. Web Designer
13. Management Analyst
Management analysts are corporate consultants who arm executives with the tools to fix profit-crushing problems. They bring fresh, third-party perspective to solving organizational issues like regulatory noncompliance, loan debt, tax fraud, and lost sales. Management analysts sign contracts to help company heads identify, review, and eliminate troubles impacting the bottom line. Their duties include gathering data, analyzing business procedures, interviewing employees, examining production equipment, poring over balance sheets, developing improvement plans, and recommending better practices. Many management analysts are self-employed and bid on consulting projects with only a bachelor’s degree. Career changers can use previous experience in industries from manufacturing to medicine. Most join the Institute of Management Consultants USA for networking. Management analysts boast an average salary of $94,390 and top pay of $152,760. It’s expected that 14 percent more, or 118,300 total, positions will be added.
14. Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers are good press producers who develop strategies for enhancing a client’s identity in the media. They lead PR department staff with the shared goal of shaping a positive brand image. Public relations managers articulately respond to media inquiries by promoting client achievements and downplaying bad news or scandals. Their tasks include drafting press releases, hiring spokespeople, setting up conferences, scheduling interviews, crafting speeches, releasing official statements, approving ad campaigns, appealing to social media followers, and preparing media kits. Career changers can transition into PR with a bachelor’s degree in virtually any major. Public relations managers must be creative wordsmiths with confident speaking and writing skills. Taking the Public Relations Society of America certification exam is voluntary. PR managers have mean compensation of $131,570 and top pay of $208,000. Openings in public relations management will spike 8 percent by 2028.
15. Real Estate Broker
Real estate brokers are licensed property sellers who own their own firms and oversee several sales agents. They coordinate every detail of residential and commercial transitions to make buying, selling, or leasing land simpler. Real estate brokers connect clients to listed properties that suit their needs and budget before settling a fair deal. Their responsibilities include appraising properties, setting competitive market prices, hiring staging crews, scheduling home or business tours, hosting open houses, presenting offers, drafting sale contracts, advising on mortgage options, and contacting property inspectors. Real estate brokers simply need a high school diploma or GED to take the licensing exam. Community colleges offer fundamental real estate courses cheap to learn more. Brokers need good communication, negotiation, and marketing skills plus a friendly demeanor above all. Real estate brokers reap median profits of $78,940 and top pay of $163,540. Faster-than-average job growth of 7 percent is projected.
16. Hospital Administrator
Hospital administrators are medical services managers who ensure facilities are equipped, staffed, and funded for quality patient care. They determine the protocols clinical departments must follow to safely practice inpatient or outpatient medicine in accordance with law. Hospital administrators directly ask the board for financial resources and set budgets for each department. Their duties include reviewing patient data, overseeing medical record systems, hiring health care staff, fixing billing problems, establishing work shifts, supervising hospital performance, and approving purchase orders. Hospital administrators can have a bachelor’s in any business or health discipline, including nursing. Only some employers require earning a Master of Health Administration first. Strong leadership, decision-making, analytical, and speaking skills are paramount. Hospital administrators receive a mean wage of $113,730 and top pay of $182,600. The 10-year outlook showcases an 18 percent hospital administration increase.
17. Government Affairs Director
Government affairs directors are for-profit sector liaisons who advise corporations on how to comply with industry regulations. They study the statutes in federal, state, and local law to save businesses millions in non-compliance penalties. Government affairs directors even keep watch over new legislative proposals in Congress and run analyses to determine the potential impact on operations. Their tasks include informing executives of laws, investigating legal compliance, inspecting governing contracts, examining tax practices, applying for necessary permits, recommending compliant procedures, filing regulatory reports, and lobbying for company interests. Government affairs directors work in diverse industries from aerospace to energy. It’s one of the best 9 to 5 jobs that pay well with only a bachelor’s degree and basic legal knowledge. Strong ethical integrity plus communication, research, and writing skills are critical. Government affairs directors boast an average salary of $108,000 and top pay of $193,000. Demand for government affairs directors will jump 7 percent in 10 years.
18. User Experience Researcher
User experience researchers are insightful product testers who help determine if consumers will enjoy or dislike a design. They devise in-depth research to collect data from sample groups using product. User experience researchers apply their results in finding ways to create more satisfying, practical designs that meet people’s needs. Their responsibilities include planning usability research, writing surveys or questionnaires, selecting control groups, conducting interviews, moderating lab sessions, compiling research data, running analyses, presenting findings to developers, and translating results into helpful recommendations. There’s no one bachelor’s degree user experience researchers need. Majors from anthropology to information science and human relations could work. What’s most important is having people skills, patience, empathy, and basic statistical know-how. User experience researchers make a median income of $106,000 and top pay of $162,000. Jobs in UX research are multiplying fast by 19 percent.
19. Auditing Director
Auditing directors are financial examination experts who prepare risk-based plans to improve corporate activities. They lead the official inspection of business accounts to inform senior executives of inconsistencies in fiscal growth and management. Auditing directors supervise a team of auditors who pore over asset information to find and eliminate fraudulent behaviors. Their duties include heading internal audits, ensuring regulation compliance, adhering to the GAAP standards, documenting discrepancies, resolving math errors, suggesting risk controls, reducing tax liability, and remedying waste. Auditing directors can enter the profession with a bachelor’s in any business or math field. Taking the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) test only requires an associate degree. Following a strong code of ethics with strong analytical, decision-making, and organizational skills is key. Auditing directors receive an average wage of $141,000 and top pay of $193,000. Employment of auditing directors will rise 11 percent through 2028.
20. Environmental Scientist
Environmental scientists are climate change combatants who initiate programs that protect Mother Earth. They aim to slow global warming trends by cleaning up the air we breathe, water we drink, and soil we plant in. Environmental scientists conduct in-depth research collecting samples from all over the world to better understand our natural resources. Their tasks include identifying risks, preventing wildfires, controlling pollution, restoring contaminated sites, inspecting eco-related business practices, informing the public of global hazards, suggesting better “green” habits, and helping endangered species. Environmental scientists can succeed with any STEM bachelor’s degree from biology to botany. The Ecological Society of America has certification workshops for career changers. It’s one of the best hands on jobs that pay well for research and problem-solving skills. Environmental scientists enjoy average earnings of $77,580 and top pay of $133,070. The number of environmental scientists will rise 8 percent to 92,000.
Still confused about the right career for you? Don’t worry because these are just a few options that pay well. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked the 100 best jobs for 2020. Other great choices include statistician, registered nurse, genetic counselor, financial manager, database administrator, information security analyst, commercial pilot, operations manager, and community service manager. There are even jobs that pay well with no experience or degree, such as air traffic controller, plumber, elevator installer, detective, and nuclear reactor operator. Keep the highest paying jobs for career changers in mind when selecting a field that fulfills and excites you.
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