Need a Better Job? 10 Jobs That Pay More Than $50,000

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Finally, some good news for college graduates who are wondering whether that degree is really worth it. The economy has added millions of well-paying, full-time jobs in the past few years, according to researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), and most of those coveted positions are going to people with college degrees.

“Many media accounts suggest the nation is flooded with baristas who were trained to create business plans and Uber drivers who can solve differential equations. Certainly such overqualified workers exist, as they would in any economy, but we find they are the exception, not the norm,” the researchers wrote in their report Good Jobs Are Back.

For students, recent grads, and parents who worry a bachelor’s degree is no longer a ticket to greater economic security, this is undoubtedly reassuring. While unemployment and underemployment are real problems for some college graduates, the CEW report suggests they are better positioned than less-educated workers to find good jobs, which the researchers define as those with annual wages above $53,000. Most of these good jobs are also full-time and come with benefits like health insurance and an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Since 2010, the U.S. economy has added 6.6 million jobs. Of those, 2.9 million, or 44%, were good jobs, compared to 1.9 million middle-wage jobs (annual wages between $32,000 and $53,000) and 1.8 million low-wage jobs (those with annual wages of $32,000 or less). Today, there are 1 million more good jobs than in 2008, according to the CEW report.

Of the good jobs that opened up post-recession, 97% went to college graduates. And computer whizzes and engineers weren’t the only ones snagging well-paying gigs. More than half of good jobs added since the recession – roughly 1.8 million — were in managerial and professional office occupations like investment fund managers, marketing specialists, and management analysts. STEM jobs accounted for another 881,000 new positions. Well-paying jobs in community services and the arts grew by 13,000.

Those numbers seem to bolster reports the job market for college grads is looking up. Employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers said they planned to increase hiring of new grads by 10% this year. “It is a much brighter picture than two to three years ago,” Gary Beaulieu, director of internship and career services at Butler University, told the Indianapolis Star.

While the number of good jobs for people with four-year degrees grew in the past few years, high-paying blue-collar jobs, which usually don’t require a bachelor’s degree, took a serious hit following the recession. The number of jobs in this category shrank by 71,000 from 2010 to 2014, making it even harder for non-degree holders to earn what many would consider a decent, middle-class living. In addition, the number of well-paying jobs in education fell by 184,000, likely as a result of budget cuts at both the state and local level.

Despite job losses in a few fields, hiring increased in many high-wage occupations following the recession, especially those were having a bachelor’s degree or higher is a necessity. Here are the 10 high-wage jobs that grew the most from 2010 to 2014, according to the CEW report.


 1. Physician or surgeon

Number of jobs added: 126,000

Average salary (in 2013): $140,000


2. Computer and information systems manager

Number of jobs added: 109,000

Average salary (in 2013): $95,000


3. Software developer, applications and systems software

Number of jobs added: 180,000

Average salary (in 2013): $90,000


4. Management analyst

Number of jobs added: 195,000

Average salary (in 2013): $75,000

5. Manager

Mid adult businessman writing on clipboard in home office, bald

Source: iStock

Number of jobs added: 1.2 million

Average salary (in 2013): $65,000


6. Market research analyst or marketing specialist

Number of jobs added: 133,000

Average salary (in 2013): $60,000


7. Miscellaneous computer occupations

Number of jobs added: 175,000

Average salary (in 2013): $58,000


8. Registered nurse

Number of jobs added: 141,000

Average salary (in 2013): $55,000


 9. Financial analyst

Number of jobs added: 129,000

Average salary (in 2013): $55,000


10. Computer support specialist

Number of jobs added: 133,000

Average salary (in 2013): $50,000

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