How do you define success? Do you want a job that you love, or a paycheck that satisfies you? In a tough economy where jobs are scarce, many of us believe that we must, to some degree, choose between one and the other.
The reality is, lack of money is one of the top causes of stress in the United States. According to the American Psychological Association’s most recent annual Stress in America survey, 75 percent of those surveyed said money was a significant source of stress in their lives, while another 70 percent cited that work caused major stress. It’s only natural that in these circumstances, when we feel forced to choose between love and money, we panic and choose the latter.
As a result, many of us end up in jobs we hate, or in careers to which we're not suited. It should come as no surprise, then, that some statistics show up to 80 percent of people dislike their jobs! Yet we spend more of our lives working than doing just about anything else. When all is said and done, being miserable at work is certainly no measure of success, regardless of the paycheck in your pocket.
This article explores eight jobs you might find meaningful that pay $50,000 a year or more. These jobs require different levels of education and experience. However, education requirements are reasonable and no job on the list requires more than 2 to 4 years of experience. It won’t happen overnight, but with thoughtful planning the jobs on this list prove it is possible to strike a balance between doing what you love and loving your paycheck.
If you enjoy hitting the gym and would like to help others achieve the benefits of working out, consider becoming a personal trainer.
The median salary of a Personal Trainer is not bad for a job that typically requires a high school diploma, certification, and two to four years of experience. One of the best perks of the job? You’ll be sweating, building muscle and endurance, and improving your physical fitness right along with your clients. Not only will endorphins reduce your stress, so will your paycheck.
If you're a creative, organized individual who is business-minded but who also wants to hone their inner Martha Stewart, organizations are willing to pay you well to ensure their events go off without a hitch. Most meeting/event planners at this salary level have a bachelor's degree, though many have achieved success with an associate’s degree or high school diploma and a few years of experience.
Just remember that as the event organizer, every little problem that arises is yours. Also, you'll probably have to deal with vendor contracts and other similar arrangements. But if you thrive in that type of detail-oriented environment, you might've been born for this.
If you’re looking to experience new places and meet new people while getting paid, consider a career as a flight attendant.
This is a solid median salary for someone with an associate's degree or the equivalent, and two to four years of experience. Dealing with cranky passengers and pilots, spending lots of time in airports, and living away from home a good portion of the week isn’t all fun and games, but what job is? For some, happiness is seeing the world and if you're not tied down, working in this field is a great way to do just that.
If you’re interested in helping others achieve good health, reduce workplace stress, and achieve better work-life balance, consider a career as a wellness program administrator. A wellness program administrator with a bachelor’s degree and two to four years of experience makes a median salary in the mid-$50,000 a year range, and works to improve employee health and well-being.
So not only will you be making money, you’ll be making people happy. And because employee health has a direct correlation to productivity, if you do your job well you'll be seen as someone who directly influences the bottom line.
I know, I know. Many of you are thinking, "What?!?!?!" But as crazy as it sounds, some of us chose our college classes based solely on the fact that there were complex, 30-page research papers due at the end.
If you’re a left-brained/right-brained type who loves the science of research and the art of writing, consider a career as a medical writer. You'll definitely need a bachelor's degree and in some cases, potentially a master's. But keep in mind this is an entry-level salary, and once you get a couple of years of experience under your belt, there's even more potential to cash in.
What better place to spend the day than the library? Librarian duties include maintaining the library’s books and other materials, scheduling library activities, managing library services, and helping visitors find and use materials. If you love books and enjoy helping people expand their vocabularies, minds, and worlds, this job could bring you happiness and a nice paycheck to boot.
The majority of librarians earning this amount have gained their master’s in library science, though a combination of education and experience in the field may suffice in some situations.
Start setting your sites on becoming a software engineer. Entry-level software engineers -- those with a bachelor’s degree and 0 to 2 years of experience -- make a median salary approaching $60,000. Software engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing, and refining a wide variety of computer applications, including computer and video games. Now when someone asks why you play so much Call of Duty, you’ll have a good answer. Research!
The most lucrative job on our list is something every kid wants to do when they're young -- be a train conductor. Locomotive engineers are responsible for transporting passengers and/or freight via trains. The necessary education and training (often supplied by the railroad company), combined with the couple of years of experience learning the ropes, makes this a unique job with a starting salary north of $60,000 a year. The work is physically demanding, there’s no such thing as a 40-hour workweek, and being a locomotive engineer requires long stretches away from home. But in addition to the paycheck, it’s a good gig for free-spirited folks looking for more adventure than the typical office environment can provide.
Find Your Perfect Job & What It Pays
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The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.