If there’s one thing people agree on when it comes to the millennial generation, it’s that no one can agree on much. Are they the generation killing off American brands like McDonald’s and Macy’s? Or do they just prefer to spend their money elsewhere?
Are they lazy moochers living off mom and dad’s benevolence? Or are they just trying to navigate the challenges of modern life in ways older generations don’t understand? Do they really detest work? Or are they being left out of the job market?
One thing that’s not really up for debate is that millennials are saddled with a ton of debt, and they have limited job options to help them make money and pay down that debt. Millennials want jobs that are low-stress, pay well, and allow for work-life balance. These are the 10 high-paying jobs that fit the description, finishing with the highest salary of the bunch.
10. Massage therapist
- Median salary: $39,860
A job as straightforward as the title implies, massage therapists relieve pain, help heal injuries, and aid relaxation. Being a massage therapist probably won’t help you buy a Ferrari or rent a luxurious apartment, but it’s a low-stress job that allows for flexibility, two big things Millennials want in a job. Massage therapists work in doctor’s offices, spas, and rehab centers, and some visit clients directly. You don’t need a degree (just a license), so student loan debt so many millennials are saddled with doesn’t come into play. The best part about it? It’s a growing market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more than 37,000 jobs to be added by 2026.
Next: You could say this job is perfect for millennials.
9. Interpreter and translator
- Median salary: $46,120
Knowledge of multiple languages is key for interpreters (spoken word) and translators (written word). A bachelor’s degree is helpful, but fluency in other languages is the most important skill. Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and boardrooms. Self-employed interpreters and translators set their own schedule, which is a bonus for millennials looking for the perfect work-life balance. It’s also a field the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to grow by 17% through 2026.
Next: You’ll be able to set your own hours at this job, eventually.
8. Insurance sales agent
- Median salary: $49,990
A high school education is all that’s required to get into this field, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a college degree goes a long way to securing a job. You also need a license, good communication skills, and some bravado when cold-calling potential clients. Once you’re established in this job, you can expect a good salary, more freedom to set your own hours, and a relatively low stress level.
Next: Find your way into this interesting job.
- Median salary: $62,750
The ubiquitous presence of Google Maps hasn’t killed off this job. If anything, it’s made accurate cartography more important than ever. You won’t be mapping the coast of Argentina, but you will be analyzing data to help with building development, updating existing maps, and other tasks. There aren’t a ton of cartographer jobs out there (12,600 in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), but the field is expected to add more than 2,000 jobs by 2026.
Next: Enter the digital realm
6. Web developer
- Median salary: $66,130
First, the bad news: You will need a college degree to land this job (at the very least an associate’s degree), which might necessitate taking on some student loan debt. The good news? You’re a millennial and you’ve grown up in a digital world, so you’re familiar with makes a good website. Web developers build websites using HTML or XML, ensure front to back functionality, and monitor site traffic. It’s a full-time job, but 16% of web developers are self-employed so there is flexibility to the work schedule. There are a few coding programs you could try to see if you like this job, which is forecasted to add more than 21,000 jobs by 2026.
Next: Boosting overall health is all in a day’s work at this job.
5. Dental hygienist
- Median salary: $72,910
Good oral hygiene boosts overall health, and that includes professional teeth cleanings by a dental hygienist. The duties are straightforward: Take x-rays, and scrape, floss, and polish teeth. The field is expected to add close to 41,000 jobs by 2026, but that’s not the only plus. Most hygienists work part-time, which is great for the work-life balance millennials crave, and all it takes to break into the field is an associate’s degree, so you won’t be saddled with too much student loan debt once you’re working. So feel free to smile if you land this job.
Next: Another medical job that doesn’t require a fancy degree.
4. Radiation therapist
- Median salary: $80,160
This job is perfect for millennials hoping to make a difference in people’s lives, as radiation therapists are instrumental in treating cancer patients. Using CT scanning and other imaging technology, they find the best way to accurately target tumors for treatment. Radiation therapists work closely with doctors on treatment plans, but unlike doctors, they don’t need years of schooling. An associate’s degree is often enough to get started, according to the BLS, (though a bachelor’s degree might secure better employment options). Mostly working in hospitals, radiation therapists have relatively low-stress jobs and fairly regular hours.
Next: You will truly be building something useful in this job.
3. Mechanical engineer
- Median salary: $84,190
O-NET OnLine, a website that rates the stress level of hundreds of jobs, has mechanical engineer as one of the more stressful jobs out there. The compensation is great, but getting into the field requires a 4-year college degree. Mechanical engineers design, build, and test tools and machines needed on job sites. The hours won’t necessarily be the best (the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows roughly 30% of mechanical engineers work more than 40 hours a week), but at the end of the day, mechanical engineers have something tangible to show for their hard work.
Next: A chance to straddle two fields in this one job.
2. Computer systems analyst
- Median salary: $87,220
This job is a little bit IT and a little bit business. Systems analysts need to know how computer systems operate, and they have to know how to optimize system functionality for the businesses using them. You’ll need a 4-year college degree in computer science or a similar field and you might work more than 40 hours per week, but you’ll join a field expected to add 53,000 jobs by 2026. An added bonus? You can say you snared the dream job of Martin Prince from The Simpsons.
Next: Could you be the next Mark Zuckerberg?
1. Software developer
- Median salary: $102,280
There’s no getting around it — you need a bachelor’s degree to get this job (unless you happen to be a programming prodigy like Mark Zuckerberg). That’s the downside. The upside is you can change the ways people use technology. Whether coding computer software or developing apps, you can directly impact how people interact with their devices. The job also allows for lots of creativity and there will be close to 300,000 more jobs in this field in 2026 than there are now. While not necessarily too stressful (the website O-NET OnLine lists two branches of software development as middle-of-the-road for stress), long hours are common. That is until you develop the next Snapchat and retire for good after your IPO.
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