The Components of 31 Top Careers

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To re-sort the table, click on a desired column heading. Roll over each heading for a short explanation. Click on each career's salary to see figures for the top 25 metro areas in the United States.

Career Median Pay (National) Job Satisfaction Training Difficulty Prestige Job Market Outlook Typical Degree Required
Audiologist $64,500 A* C A B Aud.D.
Biomedical equipment technician $53,300 A A B A A.S.
Clergy $53,700 A B A A M. Div.
Curriculum/training specialist $63,200 A B B A Bachelor's or master's
Dentist $127,000 B C A A D.D.S.
Editor $56,200 A B A B Bachelor's or master's
Engineer $90,900 B B A B+** B.S.
Firefighter $55,000 A A B B Associate or bachelor's
Fundraiser $76,200 A A A A B.A.
Genetic counselor $71,100 A B B A Master's
Ghostwriter $61,000 A A A B None req. B.A. typical
Government manager $97,900 B B A to C A Bachelor's or master's
Hairstylist/cosmetologist $33,700 A A C B None. Short training.
Higher education administrator $103,000 A B/C A A Master's or doctorate
Investment banker $258,000 B B A A Bachelor's or M.B.A.
Landscape architect $64,200 A B A A B. L.A. + 1 yr. practicum
Librarian $51,400 A B B B/C M.L.S.
Locksmith/security system technician $44,000 A A C A None. Short training.
Management consultant $138,000 B B A B Bachelor's or M.B.A.
Mediator $66,800 A A A C None but M.A. or J.D. typical.
Occupational therapist $63,900 B B B A Master's
Optometrist $99,700 A C A B O.D.
Pharmacist $99,100 B C A/B A Pharm. D.
Physician assistant $83,800 A A B A B.S.
Politician/elected official N/A A A A B None req. B.A. or J.D. typical.
Professor $85,300 A D A B Ph.D.
Registered nurse $60,400 B A B A A.S. or B.S.
School psychologist $62,600 B B A A M.A.
Systems analyst $91,000 A B B A B.S.
Urban planner $68,800 B B A B M.A.
Usability/user experience specialist $98,800 A B B B Bachelor's or master's

* Private practice
** A in environmental/nuclear

N/A=not available. Median pay data provided by