These occupations have the potential to pay more than you might think.
Career #1 – Public Relations Specialist
Think public relations gigs can’t pay? Think again. Reputation can have a direct impact on profitability, making many companies willing to pay well for PR specialists. In fact, the mean annual wage for this career is $59,370, with the top ten percent earning – on average – $96,630.*
Potential career prep: A bachelor’s degree in a subject like communications – plus public relations experience – can provide adequate preparation for careers in this field, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #2 – Fashion Designer
Becoming a fashion designer is a good gig. It also has the potential to pay surprisingly well. Fashion designers make about $74,000 annually. Most fashion designer positions are in New York or California, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Potential career prep: Studying fashion design is the first step. You can earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, which is what employers usually look for, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Career #3 – Art Director
Working as an art director has the potential to pay. Whether you find a position as an art director at a magazine, website, book publisher, or agency, it’s a career that can lead to big bucks. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average pay for art directors in May 2009 was $91,520.
Potential career prep: To become an art director, you need an extensive, eye-popping portfolio of work, as well as enough experience to prove you’re worthy of the position. Consider studying art and graphic design in school to get started.
Career #4 – Paralegal
Think becoming a lawyer is the only way to make money in the legal field? Think again. Paralegals, who do everything from interviewing potential witnesses to conducting research and assisting lawyers in general office work, have the potential to earn a pretty decent living too. The mean annual wage for paralegals in May 2009 was $50,080, with the top ten percent averaging at $75,700.
Potential career prep: An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies can provide you with career-relevant skills. If you already have a degree, another option is to earn a certificate from a paralegal program.
Career #5 – High School Art, Drama, or Music Teacher
It’s probably not the first teaching title that springs to mind, but the average compensation is surprisingly competitive for high school art, drama, and music teachers, who get to pass along their passion for creativity to a younger generation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual pay is $68,230.
Potential career prep: A bachelor’s degree is a must for this type of position, as is completion of a teaching education program. To become a public school teacher, you’ll need to get licensed to teach in your home state.
Career #6 – Advertising Sales Agent
It’s not just creative types who can make money in advertising. Companies rely upon advertising sales agents, who make about $53,000 on average, to bring in the revenue they need to turn a profit. The top ten percent of advertising sales agents averaged at $94,100 in May 2009.
Potential career prep: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to work in sales for most employers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Studying communications, marketing, or business is recommended.
Career #7 – Police Officer
For police officers, working on behalf of the public has the potential to pay surprisingly well. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this gig pays about $55,000 on average, and $83,550 for the top ten percent of earners. While no part of a community’s budget is sacred these days, law and order remains a priority across the country.
Potential career prep: A high school diploma and some work experience are musts. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, federal agencies expect a college degree.
More Surprising Careers with High Earning Potential
The list of surprising professions with the potential to earn a great paycheck is a long one. Here are a few more:
•Auto Damage Insurance Appraiser ($56,180)
•Funeral Director ($60,390)
•Claims Investigator ($58,780)
•Urban Planner ($64,680)
•Exhibit Designer ($50,600
•Physical Therapist Assistant ($76,220)
•Traffic Technician ($43,470)
•Elevator Repairman ($67,950)