Face it: We’re not all going to make tons of money right out of high school or college. Sure, there are jobs out there that, even for entry-level workers, will reward you with a handsome paycheck. But they’re few and far between — and also highly competitive in most cases. That means for the millions of Americans entering or re-entering the workforce every year, another strategy is needed — a slower burn, if you will. Aim to get a job that will pay you a lot but maybe not right away.
You know, play the long game.
It requires patience and careful planning. You need to stake out a career path and stick to it — something that’s difficult for a lot of people. You might get bored with your job, for example, or find it’s simply not right for you. That means abandoning it for another track and possibly starting on the lowest rung. But some jobs see rather explosive pay growth if you can stick with them. A new report from Monster details these mid-career jobs, which all require between eight to 12 years of experience.
That is, after about a decade these jobs pay quite a bit — more than many others.
“In an analysis of more than 2,000 employers, Monster PayRight data filtered jobs based on the level of experience to find the highest-paying jobs that require 8-12 years of experience, excluding jobs at a director level or higher,” Monster’s team told The Cheat Sheet.
If you’re serious about playing the long game, these might be the perfect jobs for you.
15. Interior designer
- As of 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 58,900 interior design jobs in the U.S.
Interior design is a science, but it’s certainly not a job for everyone. In fact, there aren’t many interior design jobs available — only around 60,000 nationwide, according to government data. But if you can break into the field and make a career out of it, you can start commanding a pretty good salary after eight years or so. According to Monster’s data, average salaries for interior designers by mid-career tally up to $100,400.
Next: From the design world to the financial world
14. Bank branch manager
- Job growth for financial managers is expected to be 7% until 2024.
Managing a bank branch doesn’t sound like the sexiest job in the world, but it has its perks. One of them is a fairly high salary. Per Monster’s data, a mid-career branch manager earns more than $102,000 per year. The specifics, as laid out in the report, state these branch managers assume “responsibility for all day-to-day operations of a large, full-service bank branch (total loans and deposits of more than $75 million),” so there’s a lot at stake.
Next: Our path takes us into the tech field.
13. IT project manager
- Interestingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t classify “project managers” as an occupation. They’re typically listed as construction jobs.
If banking or interior design aren’t in your wheelhouse, the tech industry might tickle your fancy. And the world is in need of more IT project managers, especially as more industries move online. After eight to 12 years, these jobs pay an average of $118,300, per Monster’s report. What they do is often highly contextual. But typically these project managers make sure products are delivered on time and within budget for tech companies.
Next: Rockhounds, it’s your time to shine.
- The median pay for all geoscientists, as of 2016, is $89,780.
If there’s a job on this list that “rocks” more than any other, it has to be this one. Geologists are needed in many different industries. And though relatively few of us would think to get into geology professionally, they can make a very decent salary, especially after a decade or so on the job. Per Monster, geologists earn an average of $126,900 after eight to 12 years on the job, enough to land this rocky profession on our top-15 list.
Next: Another “physical” science
- There aren’t many physicist jobs out there, but they do pay well if you can snag one.
If you love science but aren’t keen on digging through the dirt and looking at rock formations, perhaps following in Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s footsteps is more enticing. There aren’t a ton of opportunities for budding physicists out there, but if you choose to make a career out of it you’ll earn a good amount of money. After a decade or so, you can expect a salary of $128,500, according to the data. But it’ll take quite a bit of schooling to get you in the door.
Next: An evangelist of a different stripe
10. Product evangelist
- This is basically a fancy title for someone who works in PR and marketing.
Just what in the heck is a “product evangelist”? It’s not running a cult focused on a specific product or brand, thankfully. It’s more of a fancy term to describe someone who works in PR. More specifically, this is how Monster’s report describes the job summary: “Promotes organizational products by serving as a subject matter expert and positioning the organization as a thought leader in the field.” Interesting. And it pays an average of $135,600 after eight to 12 years.
Next: The science of assessing risk is a well-paying field.
- The median pay for actuaries as of 2016 was $100,610 per year.
You might have heard of actuaries, but there’s a good chance you don’t know what, exactly, they do. In a nutshell, an actuary works with or within a business to help management determine risk. They measure risk and look at the financial implications. Businesses take that information and use it to make decisions. Actuaries also earn a healthy amount of money, with average salaries by mid-career tallying up to $141,800.
Next: We venture back into the tech world.
8. IT network engineer
- Between now and 2024, the field is expected to grow 8%.
Back to the tech industry now for the eighth item on our list. It’s IT network engineer, which Monster describes as a role that “provides functional and empirical analysis related to the planning, design, installation, and implementation of the network infrastructure.” They do computer stuff, for the layman. And they’re integral in today’s business environment. According to Monster’s report, the average mid-career salary for network engineers is $144,100.
Next: The job in which biology and technology merge — oh, and math
7. Biostatistics manager
- Biostatisticians are like regular statisticians — but they deal with data related to the living world.
If you like math and science, biostatistics might be the place for you. It’s a pretty niche field, of course, which is probably why the salary for biostatisticians is relatively high. How many biostatisticians could there possibly be out there? The average mid-career salary for a biostatistician is $145,200, according to Monster, making this a financially rewarding path. And just so we’re clear, this job is basically doing statistical analysis within the biological world — so it’s science-math.
Next: A job for those of you who can’t get enough spy novels
6. Intelligence analyst
- The bottom 10% of those working in this field earn about $43,400. And it only goes up from there.
The average mid-career intelligence analyst earns $152,200, according to Monster. And no, this isn’t a job in which you silently judge whether someone has the cranial capacity of a Neanderthal. It’s working within the intelligence community for agencies, such as the CIA or FBI. Monster’s job summary says this about these jobs: “Collects and analyzes information obtained from classified or open sources with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities.”
Next: If you can put your head down and wear a lab coat at the same time, this is the job for you.
5. Research scientist
- “Research scientist” can refer to scientists working in a variety of disciplines.
There have been lots of science-based jobs on our list so far, but this is probably the most “sciencey” of them all. In fact, science is exactly what this job entails — it’s a research scientist. You’re quite literally planning and conducting scientific experiments. These roles exist in a variety of industries and typically require advanced levels of education. But if you can push through and become a scientist, you’ll be rewarded with an average salary of $154,400 after a decade or so.
Next: The ability to sell pays off.
4. Sales engineer
- This consumer-facing position combines tech support with sales.
You might see the job title and think this is a person who engineers sales. That’s partially true. It is a sales role at its core. But there’s more to it than that, which makes it a high-paying and more difficult job to get. Monster describes a sales engineer as someone who “serves clients by identifying their needs and providing technical advice of products.” So you’re dealing with clients, but it has a technical spin to it. Average mid-career salary? $159,100.
Next: A job that’s been exploding in popularity
3. Software developer
- There were 1.1 million software developer jobs in the U.S. as of 2014 — and likely more now.
You knew software developers were going to show up somewhere on this list. It’s a role that’s been exploding in popularity over the past decade, as the tech industry has gone through unprecedented growth. It’s also where the money is, by and large, and it’s attracting a lot of talent. As a result, there are a lot of high-paid software developers out there, earning mid-career salaries of $168,500 after eight to 12 years, according to Monster.
Next: The science of data
2. Data scientist
- After 10 years on the job, the average data scientist earns $188,700 per year.
Another job that’s become increasingly popular is a data scientist. But again, this is one of those roles few of us actually understand. As Monster describes it, a data scientist is someone who “mines and analyzes complex and unstructured data sets using advanced statistical methods for use in data-driven decision-making.” That might not make sense to you, but what you need to know is data scientists earn big paychecks — $188,700 after 10 years, on average.
Next: The job that pays more than any other after a decade
1. Associate dean of medicine
- There aren’t many openings for this job, but after 10 years you’ll earn an average of $254,300 per year.
It doesn’t get much more specific than this. It also doesn’t get much more highly paid either. Associate deans at medical schools earn the most of any job after eight to 12 years, according to the Monster report. Of course, there’s only a handful of these jobs out there. The job itself entails leading and performing as an administrator over a medical school. Again, it’s a hard job to find and an even harder one to get. But if you do? Ten years in, you’ll earn an average of $254,300 per year.