9 Jobs With the Biggest Earning Potential

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In a tough economy, many people would be happy to make more money. If you’re considering what career is best for you, or you are hoping to make a career change, you might consider one of the nine jobs listed below. Bloomberg came up with a list of the top jobs for earning potential by calculating the ratio of pay for the top 10 percent of workers to pay for the bottom 10 percent of workers (earnings-power potential.) Bloomberg excluded managerial positions, jobs that pay $100,000 at the 10th percentile, and occupations with less than 10,000 jobs across the nation, or occupations without enough data. The ranking is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics. While some of the jobs on the list are obvious choices, some might surprise you. Here are the top nine jobs on the list.

1. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

Who ever said that sales agents don’t make any money? Employees in this category had a 5.147 earnings-power potential, with the top ten percent making more than $159,276, and the bottom ten percent making less than $30,948. That seems pretty good considering that the 2012 median household income was $51,371.

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2. Athletes and Sports Competitors

Well, you probably saw this one coming — but perhaps you didn’t see it coming in at number two behind sales agents. Athletes and sports competitors scored a 4.564 for earnings-power potential. The top ten percent made more than $94,504, and the bottom ten percent made less than $20,708. We can’t all be Roger Federer, but many of us would be happy to make an athlete’s salary.

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3. Real Estate Brokers

Real estate brokers can manage their own business, which puts them ahead of most real estate agents in potential earning power. On Bloomberg‘s list, brokers earned a 4.377 for earnings-power potential, with the top ten percent earning more than $116,203, and the bottom ten percent earning less than $26,548. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 11 percent job growth for real estate brokers and agents between 2012 and 2022, so apparently the real estate market isn’t so bad for most brokers and agents.

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4. Personal Financial Advisors

You have to make money to be able to advise others on how to make money, right? Well, no you don’t — but it certainly helps your credibility; a poor personal advisor doesn’t breed confidence in clients. Personal financial advisors received a 4.231 earnings-power potential rating, with the top ten percent of earners making more than $141,350, and the bottom ten percent making less than $33,412. If you need to find your own financial advisor, try to find one who is certified and has experience in the financial area that you want to be advised in.

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5. Postsecondary Teachers

This one might come as a surprise because many postsecondary teachers make very little money. In 2012, there were 1,267,700 postsecondary teaching jobs, and the median salary was $68,970 per year. However, adjunct instructors who can’t find a full-time job may be working at several different institutions and only making a few thousand dollars per class, and most instructors have to have a PhD, or at least a Master’s degree. Postsecondary teachers received a 4.156 earnings-power potential on Bloomberg‘s list, with the top ten percent making over $115,477, and the bottom ten percent making less than $27,784. When you consider the educational requirements and the fact that achieving tenure usually takes years, this doesn’t seem like that much money unless you truly love your job, which many instructors do.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Insurance Sales Agents

Insurance sales agents often have a very tough job; they help insurance companies create new business by contacting potential businesses or individuals and try to sell insurance. In 2012insurance sales agents made $48,150 per year (median), or $23.15 per hour. Insurance sales agents earned a 4.144 for earnings-power potential, with the top ten percent making over $109,471, and the bottom ten percent making $26,417. One advantage to this job is that most companies only require a high school diploma, so you won’t have to pay for an expensive postsecondary education, and if you get good at your job, you can make a lot of money.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes

Workers who hold a position in this category often work closely with the athletes mentioned in the number two spot on our list. These employees handle contracts or other business matters for their clients, and can sometimes make money when their clients succeed (because the bigger client someone represents, the more high-profile clients they will get, and the more money they will then make, etc.) In 2012, the mean hourly wage was $42.61, and the mean annual wage was $88,620, with the top ten percent earning over $111,301, and the bottom ten percent less than $27,492. Agents received a 4.049 earnings-power potential rating on Bloomberg‘s list.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Advertising Sales Agents

Yet another sales agent made the list; at number 8, advertising sales agents earned a 4.012 earnings-potential rating, with the top ten percent earning over $90,473, while the bottom ten percent earned less than $22,550. The job outlook for advertising sales agents from 2012-2022 is -1 percent, so while the jobs are not currently growing, they are holding steady. However, these positions can be very stressful, with workers having set quotas just like they do in most sales jobs.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Radio and Television Announcers

Radio and television announcers entertain us daily with their stories and antics, but many of them don’t get paid very well. In 2012, the mean hourly wage was $20.13, and the mean annual salary was $41,860, but the bottom ten percent made less than $17,838, and the top ten percent made more than $71, 550. Announcers received a 4.011 earnings-power potential rating, but like many other jobs, the earnings-power potential is affected because people at the very top make a lot of money.

These are the top nine jobs for earnings-power potential on Bloomberg‘s list. If you’re wondering about jobs with the least earnings potential, postal service mail careers, shampooers, and fast food cooks, here is the list.

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