The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs of the Next Decade

The job landscape is constantly changing, and if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that opportunity and security in our careers is highly valuable. For those looking to make a career change or just getting started, it may be in your best interest to find a job that’s projected to grow despite evolving technology, global disasters, and shifting work trends. Future-proof your career and use this list to gain insight on the 20 fastest growing jobs of the next decade.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we provide information on the jobs and industries projected to grow the fastest from 2019 to 2029. Feel free to jump down to the infographic for a visual on the future of jobs in America.

Note: All median salary and growth rate information reported is from the 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

wind-turbine-technician-inspection

1. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Increasing at a rate 15 times that of other occupations, wind turbine service technicians or windtechs, are projected to be the fastest growing job in the next decade. A windtech’s main responsibilities involve the installation, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. Their work requires them to travel to turbine sites and involves dangers such as climbing and rappelling at great heights. Despite this job’s dangerous drawbacks, aspiring windtechs can find opportunities around the nation and a decent salary without a four-year degree. Wind power is also the largest renewable energy source in the U.S., and jobs in this sector are expected to increase with energy demand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 61%
  • Median Salary: $56,230
  • Education: Associate degree or technical school certificate, plus 12 months of training
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Midwest, Great Plains, coastal areas

2. Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are another fast-growing occupation, with an above average growth rate of 52 percent. These health care professionals either coordinate with doctors or work independently to provide health care services to patients. While the scope of care varies by state, most nurse practitioners offer preventative and primary care such as performing health diagnoses and prescribing medicine. In order to qualify for this occupation, rigorous training and a master’s degree are required. The additional time spent in school may prove to be a worthwhile investment, as nurse practitioners make a median salary of $117,670.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 52%
  • Median Salary: $117,670
  • Education: Master’s degree and previously registered nurse license
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Ohio

3. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

In addition to wind power, solar is another fast-growing source of energy and jobs. Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers are responsible for assembling and maintaining all types of solar energy systems. Although job growth is strong, there is competition for limited positions. Entry-level positions generally require a high school diploma, but candidates with technical schooling, community college credit, or apprenticeship experience have a more promising job outlook.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 51%
  • Median Salary: $46,470
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, and Virginia

4. Occupational Therapy Assistants

At a projected growth rate of 35 percent, occupational therapy assistants help address the demand for patients who need help recovering and maintaining the skills necessary to go about daily life. Under the guidance of occupational therapists, assistants in this profession lead therapeutic activities for developmental disabilities, socialization, and mobility. To become an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll need an associate degree in a health-related field and at least 16 weeks of hands-on fieldwork.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 35%
  • Median Salary: $62,940
  • Education: Associate degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Ohio, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois

5. Statisticians

Statisticians are in demand in fields like business, health care, government, and engineering for their ability to analyze data and problem solve with statistical techniques. In order to develop their expertise, statisticians generally need to pursue a master’s or doctorate in a quantitative field. The job outlook for statisticians over the next decade is projected to increase, with an especially favorable outlook for those with strong data analysis skills, expert statistical knowledge, and experience with modeling or computer programming.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 35%
  • Median Salary: $92,270
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas

home-health-nurse-aid-healthcare

6. Home Health Aides

As the population of adults age 65 and older grows rapidly, trends toward aging in place create a large demand for home health care services. Home health aides help people with chronic illness or disabilities and any others who need assistance going about daily life. In addition to assisting with daily activities, they also administer basic health care such as monitoring vital signs. To be a home health aide, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and training from a program or on the job.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 34%
  • Median Salary: $27,080
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts

7. Physical Therapy Assistants

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) help people with injuries or illnesses recover their ability for movement and help manage any pain associated with recovery. Before becoming a PTA, most positions require that you earn an associate degree and a license or certification obtained by passing the National Physical Therapy Exam. The job outlook for PTAs is growing faster than average thanks to demand from an aging population. To find ample opportunities, aspiring PTAs should look into home health, nursing homes, and orthopedic outpatient facilities.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 33%
  • Median Salary: $59,770
  • Education: Associate degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Florida, Texas, Ohio, California, and New York

8. Medical and Health Services Managers

Managers of medical and health services are responsible for directing and coordinating the health services of a specific facility, group, or department. They’re also known as health care administrators or health care executives and must manage services according to changing regulations and technology. Although a bachelor’s degree is required, master’s degrees are becoming more common and are often preferred by employers. On top of a degree, clinical or administrative experience is required to reach a managerial position.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 32%
  • Median Salary: $104,280
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania

9. Physician Assistants

Working in collaboration with doctors and surgeons, physician assistants (PAs) are needed to provide medical examinations, diagnoses, and treatments. To become a PA, a master’s degree is required, and candidates often need experience in patient care prior to applying to a graduate program. After earning your degree and obtaining a license, ample job opportunities exist for PAs in health care and medicine.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $115,390
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania

10. Information Security Analysts

The role of information security analyst is important to protecting computer networks and systems for organizations. Thanks to the prevalence and evolution of cyberattacks, organizations are in need of professionals to develop security best practices and stay up to date on information technology and security trends. For those looking to enter this occupation, it’s important to get started in an information technology field to gain experience with computer systems and database security.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $103,590
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: Virginia, Texas, California, Florida, and Maryland

data-scientist-working-charts-office

11. Data Scientists

Using data software and programming, data scientists’ careers revolve around transforming raw data into interpretable information. Data scientists analyze, visualize, and report their findings, as well as consult on analytical techniques used to solve problems. Top industries for data science opportunities include science, finance, and insurance. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to enter this field, but a graduate degree may be preferable to employers.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $98,230
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Washington

12. Derrick Operators

Oil and gas derrick operators rig and operate derrick equipment, which is used to dig oil wells and push drills into the ground. Derrick operators are also involved in a variety of activities that maintain, monitor, and control oil derricks. No formal education or experience is necessary to become a derrick operator, and training is offered on the job. The industries where this occupation is needed most are the mining, oil and gas extraction, and construction industries.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $47,920
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and California

13. Rotary Drill Operators

As another fast-growing position involved in the extraction of oil and gas, rotary drill operators are responsible for assembling and operating drills that remove oil and gas from underground. This position demands moderate on-the-job training, despite no education or experience requirements. Job opportunities are available in the mining, coal, oil, and construction industries for those interested in this occupation.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 27%
  • Median Salary: $53,820
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, Oklahoma, California, New Mexico, and Louisiana

14. Roustabouts

Roustabout positions are also growing fast in the mining, oil and gas, and construction industries. This role is necessary for the setup and repair of oil field equipment, and it only requires moderate on-the-job training with no formal education. Other job titles for this occupation include floor hand, rig hand, and galley hand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $39,420
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Colorado

15. Speech-Language Pathologists

To become a speech-language pathologist and help people with communication and swallowing disorders, you’ll need at least a master’s degree and a clinical license. Also known as speech therapists, they’re involved with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children and adults with disorders like stuttering. This role may work in health care facilities to treat patients who have suffered from a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, cleft palate, or autism. An alternative route for this career is to provide counseling and programs in schools.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $80,480
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois

speech-pathologist-helping-young-boy

16. Operations Research Analysts

Using advanced mathematical and analytical techniques, operation research analysts are tasked with solving complex problems in various industries. Operations research analysts have analytical skills that can be applied to health care, business, logistics, and science, and these skills are in demand by companies who desire savings and efficiency in their operations. A bachelor’s degree in operations research or another quantitative field is needed to get started, but those with graduate degrees will be more attractive candidates.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $86,200
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Virginia, New York, and Florida

17. Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselors

Counselors for substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health offer treatment for individuals who suffer from mental or behavioral problems that interfere with their everyday life. They evaluate and assess problems such as addiction or alcoholism and provide treatment and education for recovery. Typically, a bachelor’s degree and clinical license are necessary to become a counselor, but requirements may vary from a certification to a master’s degree depending on the state. As more people continue to seek out mental health services, opportunities in this career will continue to grow.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $47,660
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Massachusetts

18. Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists

In order to prevent fire hazards, forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists examine residential and public buildings and outdoor areas for wildfire risks. They’re responsible for reporting fire code infractions, enforcing regulations, and reporting on fire conditions. As the prevalence of wildfires around the nation is increasing, forest fire inspector and prevention specialist positions will grow to meet demand. Although only a high school diploma is required, most who enter this field have previous firefighting experience and have completed some postsecondary education.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 24%
  • Median Salary: $42,150
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: Florida, California, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas

19. Restaurant Cooks

Aspiring restaurant cooks have many options for achieving this occupation. You don’t need formal education to become a restaurant cook, and on-the-job training on food safety and handling will teach you what you need to know. With that being said, many do choose to pursue culinary training through a professional institution, vocational program, or apprenticeship. Although this isn’t the fastest growing job on this list, with nearly 1.8 million positions projected in 2029, it’s definitely an occupation full of opportunity.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%
  • Median Salary: $28,800
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania

20. Animal Caretakers

If you’re passionate about working with pets and nonfarm animals, animal caretaking may be the career for you. As an animal caretaker, you’re tasked with feeding, grooming, and exercising animals, and you don’t need a formal education or any experience to perform this job. The number of animal companions continues to grow, and animal caretaking positions are expected to increase to fulfill new demand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%
  • Median Salary: $26,080
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois

Fastest Growing Industries

The future of jobs in America will be influenced by the fastest growing industries in the nation. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, we determined the main industries for growth over the next decade to help you choose your next career path wisely.

Health Care

In the past decade, the population of adults age 65 and older has grown by over a third. As society ages rapidly, the demand for health care and mental health services is expected to increase. To keep up with this trend, new job openings in health care fields will expand to meet demand. Take a look at this overview of growth in health-related industries below to see where you might find a lucrative career:

  • Services for the Elderly and Disabled: 44% growth
  • Offices of Specialty Therapists: 34% growth
  • Other Ambulatory Health Care Services: 31% growth
  • Offices of All Other Health Practitioners: 31% growth
  • Offices of Mental Health Practitioners: 31% growth

Energy

High energy consumption in the United States drives demand for higher energy production and more jobs. With renewable energy production reaching record highs and expected to provide a boom in jobs over the next decade, wind and solar represent promising career paths in the energy sector. Although coal and oil production are trending down, fossil fuels will also provide a decent amount of job growth for the foreseeable future. Find the growth breakdown below:

  • Solar Electric Power Generation: 42% growth
  • Support Activities for Mining: 32% growth
  • Wind Electric Power Generation: 32% growth

Technology and Data Science

As the world and work become more and more dependent on technology and data, the demand for professional services and skills in this industry won’t slow down. Companies desire in-demand skills such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analysis to help run businesses, solve problems, and make strategic decisions. Consider a job in one of the fast-growing industries listed below:

  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services: 26% growth
  • Management and Technical Consulting Services: 22% growth

Many factors like salary, job security, and personal interests help determine your career path. It’s important to consider the advantages that ample job growth and opportunity may provide for your career. Benefits like career stability and longevity and a consistent income are very attractive in a constantly changing job landscape. Ultimately, your job should prioritize your values for work, life, and finances. Start your career in one of the fastest growing jobs to solidify your spot in the workplace of the future.

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Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics 1 2 3 | Career OneStop | CompTIA | LinkedIn | Manpower Group | PWC Global | TechRepublic | TowardDataScience | Udacity |

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Land a Job with These Must-Have Skills for Your Resume

It’s no secret: job hunting is a pain in the neck. Sending out resume after resume hoping an employer emails you back for an interview can get pretty tiresome after a while — especially if you’re really looking for that perfect dream job. 

There’s no surefire process to guarantee a job, but there are big steps that you can take to make your resume more appealing to potential employers. One way to do that is showcasing your skills. Skills are a great resume booster because they show potential employers exactly what you’re bringing to the table. Sure, education and past experience are important to include, but often, employers want a more direct description of your abilities before they seriously consider you for a job.

 In this post, we’ll walk you through what you should know about skills for resume building. Read through and apply these tips to your resume today to start seeing better results in the future. 

What are the best skills to put on a resume?

Good skills to put on a resume depend on your industry and personal expertise; there’s no one-size-fits-all set of skills that will work for everyone. However, there are some prominent skills that almost every employer will find appealing, including:

  • Clear, direct communication
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Team leadership and collaboration 
  • Problem-solving
  • Basic computer literacy 

When listing skills, it’s a good idea to tie them back to some experience that you have. For instance, let’s say that in your current job, you collaborate with a team to produce a budget report every month. When you list your “Team leadership” as a skill, be sure to cite your budget meeting collaboration as an example. 

We’ll explain more about how to include and format skills in your resume further down. But first, there’s an important distinction that we should explain. 

The difference between hard skills and soft skills

You might have heard recruiters, HR reps, and other professionals mention hard skills and soft skills. It’s not a hard science, but this is how each one works. 

  • Hard skills: Industry-specific skills that often require school or training to achieve 
  • Soft skills: General skills that can be applied to a diverse range of work environments

It’s easier to understand the difference by considering a few examples. 

Hard skills: examples for your resume

As mentioned, hard skills are developed through training or in school, and usually apply to one or more specific industries. For example, here are a few hard skills for your resume that employers are often interested in:

  • Computer programming
  • Web design
  • Technical writing
  • Marketing copywriting
  • Applied math
  • Engineering
  • Heavy machinery operation
  • Research skills
  • Legal analysis
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Psychological counseling 
  • Electrician skills

Typically, hard skills are part of the hard requirements for a job. If you don’t have chemical engineering as one of your hard skills, you will likely not be hired for any job that requires it. To learn hard skills, it’s a good idea to attend a trade school, junior college, or four-year university and take the necessary classes. 

There may also be industry-led training programs that you can apply to, such as initiatives to train employees in programming and other skills for growing industries. If you need a certain set of hard skills to put on your resume in order to succeed in your favored industry, your first step should be to research how you can get those skills. 

Soft skills: examples for your resume

On the other hand, soft skills are more general. They can also be developed in a variety of places: in school, on the job, volunteering, and sometimes people are just born with them. Soft skills often involve working with others. A few examples of soft skills for your resume include:

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Empathy 
  • Active listening 
  • Public speaking
  • Problem-solving
  • Computer literacy 

Soft skills might not be strict requirements for many positions, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important. In fact, because many applicants to a given position will likely already have the hard skills required to perform that job, soft skills can make a huge difference when it comes to setting you apart.

For instance, say you’re applying to that chemical engineering position mentioned before. Likely, most of the applicants will have a four-year degree or equivalent training, and will know the basics it takes to get the job done. However, you might be the only one with a proven track record of communicating and collaborating with a diverse team. Highlighting that skill can set you apart from the pack. 

How to match your skills to the job description

Something you may have read online or heard from professionals is that it’s smart to match your skills to the skills asked for in a job description. It’s pretty clear why you’d want to do this: potential employers are looking for someone with a certain set of skills, so you want to make it obvious to them that you have those skills. 

On top of that, some employers use algorithmic methods to sort out resumes because they get so many applicants. Using the skills mentioned in the job description increases the likelihood that the algorithm will serve your resume to the human hiring manager. 

Matching your skills to the job description is pretty simple. Take a look at your resume, then look at the skills the job description asks for. Let’s say that the job description asks for an “effective communicator,” and your resume skills section (more on that in just a sec) says “clear communicator.” These are pretty much the same thing; simply change the wording on your resume to match the wording from the job description. 

Where to include a skills section on your resume

We’ve mentioned a few times that it’s a good idea to have a skills section on your resume. These days, having a well laid-out, dynamic resume is important. A simple Word document printed in black and white Times New Roman may still be the standard for some industries, but in many fields, visually standing out is important. 

One way to do that is to have clearly labeled sections on your resume, sometimes graphically laid out in modular boxes that are fun and eye-catching. Whatever layout you choose, prominently identifying your skills is usually a good idea. In that section, simply list your skills. Some professionals also recommend giving clear examples of your skills in action. 

For instance:

  • Web design: Build company website from the ground up using HTML and CSS coding. 
  • Clear communicator: Worked collaboratively with a team of designers to improve software UI
  • Leadership: Stepped up and took the lead on a project when the manager had to step out. 

Using evidence to support your skills gives potential employers an idea of what they can expect from you — a critical leg up as they assess their many options. It’s also just part of having a strong, well-rounded resume

When it comes to placing the section for skills for your resume, there is some debate over where the best location might be. There are some options to choose from:

  • As the first item on the page: This bold move demonstrates your abilities immediately, before even getting into education or experience. This might work better for jobs that require a number of harder-to-find hard skills. 
  • Near the bottom: Some jobs might be pickier based on education or experience. If that’s the case, you’ll still want to include your skills, but foregrounding those other accomplishments might be the savvier move. 
  • MIxed in with experience: Some resumes pepper skills in with experience. List each job you’ve had, then under it, the specific skills (and accomplishments) that you attained there. 

Ultimately, the important thing is that you customize your resume to suit the job you’re applying to. Different industries, different employers, and even different individual hiring managers might all have their own preferences and standards. Doing your research to try to match your resume to those standards is your best bet when trying to stand out. 

  • Pro tip: if you’re headed to a career fair soon, don’t just stop at your resume. Check out our guide to questions to ask at a career fair so you show up informed and prepared.

Resume-boosting skills: the takeaways

Here’s what to remember as you start putting together your professional resume:

  • The best skills to put on your resume include both hard and soft skills. 
  • Hard skills for your resume usually require education or training, and include skills like:
    • Computer programming
    • Technical writing
    • Medical training
  • Soft skills are more general, can be learned from experience, and can be applied to many jobs. Good soft skills to put on your resume include:
    • Communication
    • Leadership
    • Computer literacy 
  • One way to help your resume stand out is to phrase your skills so that they match the job description. This lets employers know you’re paying attention, and will help keep you from being sorted out by a resume-sorting algorithm (if they use one). 
  • Different jobs and industries require different resume layouts. However, it’s usually a good idea to highlight your skills in their own section. 

Having a well-written resume can increase your earning potential, help you find better jobs, and even help with getting a promotion or salary increase. Try these tips out as you continue your job hunt — and good luck on the market!

Sources

Harvard Business Review | Indeed | Purdue OWL

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Top 25 Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Although college is a great way to invest in yourself, it’s not always for everyone. A college degree may be a stepping stone to overall success, but 43.2 million Americans have also left college with an average of $39,351 in student debt. Take inspiration from the likes of college dropouts, like Steve Jobs and Racheal Ray, and build your wealth without a university degree. Check out the 25 highest paying jobs without a degree to find your alternative path to professional and financial success.

Jump down to the infographic for a visual of the top-paying jobs as well as inspiration from other highly successful people without degrees.

Note: We used the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ median salary data from 2019 to compile this list and infographic.

1. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

This highest paying job without a degree involves all activities relating to the planning and coordination of distribution, transportation, or storage. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are responsible for directing these activities in accordance with government regulations and organizational policies. Tasks include planning and implementing warehouse safety, supervising shipping, receiving, storing, and testing of products, and integrating logistics with business operations. With just a high school diploma and five years of experience getting things where they need to go, you can level up to this higher position and higher salary.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $94,560
  • Projected Jobs: 4,900

2. Police and Detective Supervisors

First-line supervisors in this occupation directly oversee detectives and police officers, and they offer expertise in coordinating the investigation of criminal cases. Responsibilities include the training and management of personnel to conduct police operations according to the law. With just a high school diploma required, you’ll be well-rewarded for rising up through the police force with a close to six-figure salary.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $91,090
  • Projected Jobs: 6,600

3. Commercial Pilots

While airline pilots typically need a bachelor’s degree, commercial pilots perform a similar job without one. Commercial pilots operate and fly aircraft, such as helicopters and airplanes that aren’t affiliated with airlines. Their responsibilities include preparing and inspecting aircraft conditions, making flight plans, communicating with air traffic controllers, and navigating aircraft. Unlike airline pilots, commercial pilots generally perform unscheduled flights such as charter flights and aerial tours. Reap the benefits of pilot’s salary while getting to stay closer to home.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, commercial pilot’s license
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years (500 to 1,500 hours minimum flight experience)
  • Median Income: $86,080
  • Projected Jobs: 45,400

4. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Installers and repairers of elevators and escalators are tasked with fixing, maintaining, and installing lifts and movable walkways. This occupation requires workers to work at tall heights and in cramped spaces. Full-time workers may have to work overtime or be on call for entire days. Despite the working conditions, they’re compensated well. Start your path to becoming an elevator and escalator installer or repairer by obtaining a high school diploma and gaining experience with an apprenticeship.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent and apprenticeship
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $84,990
  • Projected Jobs: 30,800

5. Firefighting Supervisors

Supervisors in this career are responsible for overseeing and coordinating the work of firefighters and any others involved in fire prevention and control. Firefighting supervisors function as leaders of their crew and are involved in communicating fire details to all personnel, administering medical services, assessing fires, and strategically assigning firefighters to rescue and extinguish fires. You can work your way up to this supervisory position in less than five years and start earning well above the standard median income in the United States.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $77,800
  • Projected Jobs: 4,400

firefighter-discussing-strategy-meeting

6. Transportation Inspectors

Another transportation career with a high salary and no degree requirement is a transportation inspector. This job is responsible for inspecting products or equipment that are involved in the transportation of people or cargo. Inspectors can specialize in freight, rail transportation, or other vehicles. Duties include inspecting shipments for security, recording freight conditions and handling, observing loading for compliance, and offering expertise when stowing heavy or dangerous cargo. If you’re interested in transportation and management isn’t for you, this role is a well-paying alternative to being a transportation manager.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $75,820
  • Projected Jobs: 700

7. Theatrical Performance Makeup Artists

Makeup artists who apply makeup for theatrical performances are compensated generously for their work and artistry. Theatrical makeup artists generally use makeup to convey a certain period or setting that enhances the performer and their role. Their craft requires them to have precision in their work when duplicating looks for characters on a regular basis, and they specialize in using a variety of materials to achieve their looks.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $75,730
  • Projected Jobs: 500

8. Non-Retail Sales Supervisors

In this role, individuals supervise non-retail sales workers and may also take on budgeting and accounting responsibilities. Non-retail sales supervisors manage their staff and offer guidance in hitting sales goals and resolving problems regarding services or products. Although this occupation’s jobs are projected to decline, the current job landscape indicates a robust field with 409,800 employed in 2019.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $74,760
  • Projected Jobs: -34,100

9. Lighting, Media, and Communication Equipment Workers

Individuals who work as lighting technicians or media and communication equipment workers are well-compensated for their services. This career finds high levels of employment in the following industries: radio and television broadcasting, motion picture and video, colleges and universities, rental and leasing services, and federal government. Jump into this career after earning a high school diploma and going through short-term on-the-job training.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $73,460
  • Projected Jobs: 1,300

10. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

This career consists of maintaining and installing the power grid, and entry-level positions require a high school diploma. Electrical power line installers install power line networks and repairers service high-voltage lines and towers or even street and traffic lights. Typical duties include inspecting power lines, identifying defects in the power grid, and climbing poles to string power lines. These electrical line installers and repairers work in dangerous conditions off of the ground and with high-voltage electricity. This risk may be balanced by the strong projected job growth and compensation.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $72,520
  • Projected Jobs: 116,900

team-agriculture-vegetables-food-farm

11. Agricultural Managers

Agricultural managers, farmers, and ranchers make a decent salary producing livestock, dairy, or crops. This occupation typically needs a high school diploma to get started, but as farm management grows more complex, a secondary degree may be necessary. Agricultural manager positions are expected to decline as farms become more efficient, but about 81,000 job openings are projected each year for the next decade. Explore this career if you enjoy working outdoors with crops or animals.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $71,160
  • Projected Jobs: -61,600

12. Subway and Streetcar Operators

With just a high school diploma and moderate on-the-job training, you can operate subways, suburban trains, or streetcars for a salary over $60,000. As a streetcar or subway operator, you transport passengers by operating the train or streetcar controls, driving and regulating the vehicle on a railway, and conducting emergency procedures when necessary. This role is another high-paying transportation job that doesn’t require reaching the management level to be paid well.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $67,880
  • Projected Jobs: 600

13. Mechanic Supervisors

This role is in charge of supervising the work of mechanics, repairers, or installers. Mechanic supervisors deal with scheduling and assigning work based on an employee’s skills, reviewing work performance, maintaining safety procedures, and investigating accidents. It takes less than five years of experience to reach a supervisory level, and with a 3 percent projected job growth rate, it will be possible to grow into this role quickly.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $67,460
  • Projected Jobs: 13,300

14. Construction and Extraction Supervisors

Supervisors of construction and extraction workers coordinate and inspect work activities and ensure that safety standards are met on work sites. It typically takes five or more years of experience in extraction or other construction trade to reach this role. However, with this area growing faster than average at 5 percent, once you have the experience, there will be plenty of job openings on the market.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $66,210
  • Projected Jobs: 33,000

15. Police Officers

If you’re at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma and valid driver’s license, and are a U.S. citizen, becoming a police officer is a career option for those who don’t possess a degree. In addition to those eligibility requirements, written and physical exams must be passed before becoming a cadet. Police cadets typically attend a training academy to learn about federal, state, and local laws, civil rights, and ethics. They’ll also receive on-the-job training to be able to perform duties such as traffic control, self-defense, first aid, patrol, and emergency response. After completing training and passing a series of interviews, cadets are allowed to become police officers.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $65,170
  • Projected Jobs: 40,600

aircraft-mechanic-hangar-inspecting-repair

16. Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

Avionic mechanics and service technicians perform routine maintenance or make repairs to aircraft. After completing high school, mechanics and technicians can get technical training and complete a certification at an aviation technician school that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Another pathway is to start training on the job with constant supervision in order to gain enough experience to become certified. Responsibilities include fixing electrical or mechanical issues and repairing parts relating to the brakes, wings, and other electrical components.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, additional technical training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $64,310
  • Projected Jobs: 7,300

17. Correctional Supervisors

Supervising and coordinating the activities of jailers and correctional officers is another job that doesn’t require a degree. Correctional supervisors are in charge of the custody, discipline, and welfare of inmates, and they’re also tasked with maintaining order and enforcing rules and regulations at the correctional facility. At times, they must direct operations in emergency situations like during escapes. This occupation is expected to decline over the next decade.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $63,730
  • Projected Jobs: -3,800

18. Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

Boiler operators and stationary engineers are responsible for operating mechanical equipment, specifically boilers and stationary engines. In order to qualify for a job in this role, you will need a high school diploma and will learn your trade through long-term on-the-job training. An apprenticeship will also help you get the experience you need and yield natural job opportunities. Before becoming employed, you’ll have to demonstrate competency by passing an exam or obtaining a license.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $62,150
  • Projected Jobs: 800

19. Farm Labor Contractors

Interested in earning $60,000 a year without a high school diploma? With some short-term on-the-job training, you can learn to recruit and hire temporary or seasonal farm workers. Some farm labor contractors may need a high school diploma, but less than five years of experience as an apprentice or employee also qualifies. This job involves supervising agricultural laborers, paying their wages, and providing resources for food, water, shelter, transportation, and sanitation during their contracted work.

  • Education: No formal education required
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,910
  • Projected Jobs: 100

20. Fire Inspectors

Generally, fire inspectors and investigators have a background in fighting fires and have postsecondary training from that field. With that being said, a high school diploma and on-the-job training provide the basic foundation you need to get started. Fire inspectors identify fire hazards, ensure fire codes are met, test fire extinguishing systems, review evacuation plans, and offer education on fire safety. Investigators are tasked with analyzing evidence from fires, documenting it, and determining the cause and origin. If you’re interested in this field, either route will earn a median salary above $60,000.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,660
  • Projected Jobs: 800

manager-supervisor-production-inspection-talking

21. Production and Operations Supervisors

In these positions, you’re responsible for supervising the work of production and operating workers. Operations and production supervisors handle work records, plan schedules, inspect products and equipment, evaluate product estimates and output, and maintain compliance with sanitation and safety regulations. It takes less than five years to reach a supervisory position in this field, but it’s important to note that the growth rate is declining.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,310
  • Projected Jobs: -2,000

22. Executive Assistants

Looking for a job that has no technical training or degree involved? Become an executive secretary or assistant and set yourself up for success with some basic office experience and skills. Typically, this role consists of more complex clerical and administrative work for high-level executives. Tasks include reviewing communications, doing research, and compiling reports. Although a decent job decline is expected in this occupation, job openings will still occur when an existing job holder leaves the field. With nearly 600,000 executive assistants employed in 2019, there will be plenty of opportunities on the job market.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $60,890
  • Projected Jobs: -121,100

23. Construction and Building Inspectors

Building and construction inspectors review construction to make sure all necessary building codes and zoning regulations are met and all contractual requirements and local ordinances are followed. Inspectors are required to have a high school diploma, and most states also require a license or certification. Training happens on the job, and it varies by location and type of inspector.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, additional license or certification
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $60,710
  • Projected Jobs: 3,900

24. Court Reporters

To qualify for an entry-level court reporter position, you’ll need to complete a certificate from a community college or technical school. Certifications will prepare you to pass typing-speed exams and obtain a license, which is required in many states. After gaining your credentials, you will work in court creating word-for-word transcripts of proceedings, hearings, and depositions. Court reporting is essential to legal proceedings, and you can feel confident about doing work that benefits society while also getting paid well for it.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $60,130
  • Projected Jobs: 1,400

25. Property Managers

You don’t need a college degree to manage real estate, property, or community associations. Property managers maintain the operations and appearance of real estate or communities in order to generate income from the property. Their tasks include showing property to potential renters, discussing financial options and terms of leasing, conducting inspections, scheduling repairs, and running operations according to fair housing laws. Although this occupation isn’t in a decline, automation of property management has slowed this field’s growth.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $58,760
  • Projected Jobs: 800

Successful People Without A College Degree

Need some inspiration for what it takes to be successful without a college degree? Learn from the examples of these uber-successful business moguls and entrepreneurs who never started or finished college.

Just remember, if you’re already in college and have student loans, you’ll still need to repay your loans even if you don’t complete your degree. Think about the investment you’ve made so far and evaluate whether your degree is worth it before deciding it’s not for you.

billionaires-millionaires-never-finished-college

Rebecca Minkoff

At the age of 18, Rebecca Minkoff decided to forgo college and pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer by moving to New York City. She quickly became an overnight sensation when one of her designs was featured on The Tonight Show, and her iconic designer bags solidified her status in fashion and lifestyle. Today, she is an award-winning designer recognized for her apparel and accessories, and she has a net worth of $10 million.

Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, never completed his degree at Reed College. He has said that his time at Reed did help inspire the design of Apple’s Macintosh computer. However, even with a lack of a college degree, Jobs managed to amass a $10.2 billion net worth at the time of his death.

Rachael Ray

Talk show host and celebrity food personality, Rachael Ray, spent two years at university before dropping out to concentrate on work. She put on “30 Minute Meals” while working at a gourmet food store and eventually landed on local television. From there she went on to do cooking shows on the Food Network and turned her following into a food empire and net worth of $100 million.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a Harvard dropout, but who needs a Harvard degree when your computer programming projects are earning you $20,000 at the age of 17. Gates would go on to enroll at Harvard, but his coding and programming abilities would garner him a job offer before he ever completed his degree. That job offer turned into a business partnership and Microsoft was born, catapulting Gates to fame and fortune for creating one of the world’s top software companies. With a $127 billion net worth, read one of his book recommendations to help level up your money mindset.

Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash launched her iconic beauty business in 1963 in an effort to empower women and disrupt a male-dominated workforce. Ash’s company, Mary Kay Inc., went on to achieve global success and recognition and earned her a net worth of $500 million at the time of her death in 1984. Although Ash didn’t originally attend college, she eventually pursued a degree at the University of Houston but dropped out after a year.

Mark Zuckerberg

Multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg seems to have managed quite well without a college degree. Like Gates, the CEO and founder of Facebook is also a Harvard dropout. He started his successful social network while at university and dropped out to pursue it full time. With a net worth of over $113 billion, we can say he definitely found his best path to success.

A college degree isn’t the exact formula for success. With the right spending and saving habits, you can grow your wealth by working one of these high paying jobs without a degree. Try perfecting your budget based on your salary with the Mint app and take charge of your financial future today.

Mint_HighestPayingJobs_IG

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Education Data | Inside Highered | Glassdoor | Bloomberg | Celebrity Net Worth | Discover Praxis | Investopedia | Wealthy Genius | Yahoo |

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9 Factors to Consider Before Changing Jobs

Sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side. Sometimes, it’s just more of the same.

So when it comes to leaving your current job for a new one, how can you tell beforehand if the opportunity is really worth it?

While there’s always going to be risk involved when changing employers, you can make a more confident choice by considering some key factors. Here are the most important variables to take into account before changing jobs.

Work-from-Home Flexibility

As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, many employees can work from home just as efficiently as they would at the office. While some companies have vowed to continue letting people partially or permanently work from home, others have steadfastly refused to make working from home the new normal.

If you prefer a more flexible schedule because of family commitments, chronic health problems, or any other reasons, work-from-home flexibility should be a high priority.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most important factors to consider. A company that pays your premiums is essentially giving you hundreds of dollars in benefits every month.

Ask about the health insurance coverage before you accept a new position, specifically how much the monthly premiums will cost. Many small businesses are not required to provide coverage for their employees. If you’re applying to work at a small company, inquire about health insurance early on.

If the company does not provide coverage, you’ll have to buy a policy from the HealthCare Marketplace, where you’ll be 100% responsible for the premiums.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off is another major consideration to take into account before leaving one company for another. If your employer has a generous vacation policy, you may be surprised to find out that other companies are more strict.

Paid time off includes vacation days, sick days, holidays, and parental leave. If you plan to have kids soon, examine your company’s maternity leave policy so you can compare it to prospective employers.

Retirement Contributions and Stock Options

If you currently receive matching 401(k) contributions from your employer, double-check the vesting schedule of your new job. The vesting schedule outlines how quickly you’ll earn 100% of the employer contributions.

Many employers have a graded vesting schedule, which means that every year you will earn a certain percentage of the employer contributions. For example, if your company has a five-year vesting schedule, you’ll pocket 20% of their contributions every year. Once you’ve worked there for five years, you’ll receive 100% of the contributions.

Others use a cliff vesting schedule, which has an all-or-nothing requirement. You have to work there for a certain number of years to be eligible for 100% of the employer’s contributions. If you work less than that, you won’t be eligible for any of it. If you don’t plan to stay at your next job very long, then it’s important to understand the vesting schedule.

Public companies often provide stock options to their employees, which can be worth thousands of dollars in extra benefits. Employees with a stock purchase plan can buy company stock at a discount and resell it later for a profit.

Educational Benefits

If you plan to go back to school, look for a company that provides tuition reimbursement. Many employers will pay for all or part of your tuition, but the benefits vary.

Some will require that your degree applies to your current position, while others will be more lenient. If you don’t want a full degree, you may be able to convince your employer to pay for special courses or certificates that will also boost your resume.

Some companies have begun to offer student loan reimbursement. With these programs, employers contribute to your student loans by either matching payments or providing a set amount each year. Like a 401(k) match, you may have to work there for a certain period of time to qualify.

Room for Advancement

If you’re searching for a firm where you can stay for several years or more, it’s important to consider if there’s room to grow. The bigger the company is, the more likely it is that you can stay there and get promoted to another position. That’s harder to do at smaller companies where room for advancement may be limited.

Company Culture

The general office environment can impact your overall job satisfaction, but it’s a topic often neglected during the interview process. If you’re interviewing in-person, notice how the office looks and how employees are acting.

Do you hear laughter or is it dead quiet? Do they have a diverse staff? Are there fun initiatives, like casual Fridays, or does there seem to be a strict dress code? Depending on what you’re looking for, the answers to questions like these are crucial.

Company Stability

No one wants to get a job only to be laid off months later. Before switching companies, investigate your prospective employer to see if they’re in danger of shuttering or being sold.

Look through recent press clippings, especially from the local newspaper or business journal. If you have friends in the industry, ask if they think the company is stable.

Sometimes you can’t help but take a risk, like if you’re working for a start-up or in a volatile industry. In this case, you should have a sizable emergency fund and keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated in case you lose your job.

Education and Training

When you’re interviewing at a job, ask if they pay for employee education, like attending industry-wide conferences or local training sessions. It’s valuable to work for a company that cares about employee professional development.

If you don’t expand your breadth of knowledge, then you may find yourself in a tough spot years later when looking for another job, with out-of-date skills.

Use Your Intuition

If you’ve considered all the factors listed above but are still getting a bad vibe about the new job, don’t hesitate to back out. Your gut intuition may be telling you something important about the company that you can’t verbalize clearly.

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Transitioning Your Finances to Life After College

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Just graduated from college? Congratulations! You’ve made it to one of the major milestones in life, and you’re looking at a world of possibility.

So how do you make the most of starting this new, post-university phase of life? One of the most important things to understand as you transition from college student to real world, on-your-own adulting is how to start managing your money so you can not only pay all your expenses, but also start saving and build wealth.

Create Your Own Systems

Have you ever heard of engineering your environment to successfully build a new habit? Just like you might make a morning workout habit stick faster if you lay out your gym clothes the night before, you can take actions to set up systems that make building good financial habits easier.

In terms of your finances, engineering your environment means taking steps like:

Using a budget creates a framework within which you can use your money. Tracking your spending makes you more aware of how you’re using your money within that budget. And automating transfers between your checking and savings accounts makes it easy

You can use a number of tools to help you develop and stick with a money management environment that works for you. For example, a tool like Mint provides a comprehensive overview of nearly every aspect of your finances — from your budget and spending to your credit score and investments — which makes it a great place to start.

Another app to consider is Digit, which makes small automated transfers from your checking into your savings. If you’d rather get a jumpstart on investing, try Acorns too. Acorns works in much the same way as Digit, but instead of putting small amounts of money into a savings account, the app invests the money for you.

Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to set up budgets, track spending, or create automated savings plan. What’s important is recognizing the need for a structure, and developing one that works for you.

Manage Your Money When You Make More

After graduation when you start your career in earnest, you’ll likely make more money than you did back in your college days. This is great for you, but it can also cause some financial problems if you don’t think ahead. In other words: mo’ money, mo’ problems

The biggest pitfall of earning more is succumbing to lifestyle inflation. This happens when you spend more as you earn more. Essentially, you build a spending habit — not a savings habit. And this is a problem because it’s extremely difficult to cut back your spending once you’ve adjusted to a certain level of luxury or lifestyle.

If you avoid lifestyle inflation from the very beginning and make saving at least 10% of your income a priority, you’ll always find it easier to save money no matter how much you make. You don’t have to start off saving 10% right away, but it’s a great goal to work toward as your income increases.

You should also take advantage of a full-time job with all the benefits it comes with as you start your career. Don’t wait to open a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan if any are available to you. If your company offers to match your contributions, put in at least enough to get the full match. That’s free money!

If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account, you can still save as soon as you start working. Open a Roth IRA and save what you can. And remember, as you earn more, contribute more to retirement (instead of getting caught up in spending more).

Continue Your (Financial) Education

You may have just graduated from college, but don’t let learning end here. The best way to set yourself up for financial success in life is to continually seek to learn more about your money. Ask questions and seek answers. Do research. Get multiple opinions and consider different perspectives.

There are more resources available to you than ever before. In addition to personal finance, money management, or investing books that you can buy, tons of information about these subjects is available for free on blogs and podcasts. While most bloggers are sharing from personal experience, there’s a lot that you can learn from what other people have tried — and if nothing else, tuning into the conversation can keep you inspired and motivated to reach your own financial goals.

Staying interested and involved in your finances will help you better manage your money on a day-to-day basis and for the long-term. No one will care more about your cash than you do, and continuing to learn is without a doubt a prerequisite for building wealth.

Kali Hawlk is a freelance writer and the co-founder of Off The Rails, a free mentorship platform for creative women. She’s passionate about helping others do more with their money, their work, and their lives. Get in touch by tweeting @KaliHawlk.

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Transitioning Your Finances to Life After College

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Just graduated from college? Congratulations! You’ve made it to one of the major milestones in life, and you’re looking at a world of possibility.

So how do you make the most of starting this new, post-university phase of life? One of the most important things to understand as you transition from college student to real world, on-your-own adulting is how to start managing your money so you can not only pay all your expenses, but also start saving and build wealth.

Create Your Own Systems

Have you ever heard of engineering your environment to successfully build a new habit? Just like you might make a morning workout habit stick faster if you lay out your gym clothes the night before, you can take actions to set up systems that make building good financial habits easier.

In terms of your finances, engineering your environment means taking steps like:

Using a budget creates a framework within which you can use your money. Tracking your spending makes you more aware of how you’re using your money within that budget. And automating transfers between your checking and savings accounts makes it easy

You can use a number of tools to help you develop and stick with a money management environment that works for you. For example, a tool like Mint provides a comprehensive overview of nearly every aspect of your finances — from your budget and spending to your credit score and investments — which makes it a great place to start.

Another app to consider is Digit, which makes small automated transfers from your checking into your savings. If you’d rather get a jumpstart on investing, try Acorns too. Acorns works in much the same way as Digit, but instead of putting small amounts of money into a savings account, the app invests the money for you.

Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to set up budgets, track spending, or create automated savings plan. What’s important is recognizing the need for a structure, and developing one that works for you.

Manage Your Money When You Make More

After graduation when you start your career in earnest, you’ll likely make more money than you did back in your college days. This is great for you, but it can also cause some financial problems if you don’t think ahead. In other words: mo’ money, mo’ problems

The biggest pitfall of earning more is succumbing to lifestyle inflation. This happens when you spend more as you earn more. Essentially, you build a spending habit — not a savings habit. And this is a problem because it’s extremely difficult to cut back your spending once you’ve adjusted to a certain level of luxury or lifestyle.

If you avoid lifestyle inflation from the very beginning and make saving at least 10% of your income a priority, you’ll always find it easier to save money no matter how much you make. You don’t have to start off saving 10% right away, but it’s a great goal to work toward as your income increases.

You should also take advantage of a full-time job with all the benefits it comes with as you start your career. Don’t wait to open a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan if any are available to you. If your company offers to match your contributions, put in at least enough to get the full match. That’s free money!

If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account, you can still save as soon as you start working. Open a Roth IRA and save what you can. And remember, as you earn more, contribute more to retirement (instead of getting caught up in spending more).

Continue Your (Financial) Education

You may have just graduated from college, but don’t let learning end here. The best way to set yourself up for financial success in life is to continually seek to learn more about your money. Ask questions and seek answers. Do research. Get multiple opinions and consider different perspectives.

There are more resources available to you than ever before. In addition to personal finance, money management, or investing books that you can buy, tons of information about these subjects is available for free on blogs and podcasts. While most bloggers are sharing from personal experience, there’s a lot that you can learn from what other people have tried — and if nothing else, tuning into the conversation can keep you inspired and motivated to reach your own financial goals.

Staying interested and involved in your finances will help you better manage your money on a day-to-day basis and for the long-term. No one will care more about your cash than you do, and continuing to learn is without a doubt a prerequisite for building wealth.

Kali Hawlk is a freelance writer and the co-founder of Off The Rails, a free mentorship platform for creative women. She’s passionate about helping others do more with their money, their work, and their lives. Get in touch by tweeting @KaliHawlk.

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5 Tips on How to Negotiate an Entry-Level Salary

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Now that you’ve crushed it with your cover letter, blown everyone away with your resume, and aced your interview, it’s time to do what half of all new hires never even attempt: negotiate your salary.

If you’re a recent graduate hunting for work or a twentysomething switching careers, the thought of telling a potential employer how much you want to be paid probably makes you feel a little uncomfortable. But negotiating your entry-level salary could be one of the most important conversations of your professional life, and it can actually be a lot less intimidating if you’re prepared.

Start a new entry-level job earning the paycheck you deserve with these five salary negotiation tips.

 1. Identify your ask.

Before entering into any negotiation, you’ve got to know what you want. Ask for a salary that’s too high, and you won’t be taken seriously. Too low, and you’re leaving money on the table. To find the sweet spot, get advice from friends in the industry or any job recruiters you might know.

Also check out sites like Salary.com and PayScale.com to learn what pros in your area are actually earning. You’ll end up with a range of results, and, if you’re confident in your abilities, assume you’re worth an amount on the higher end. Just be realistic about the number you land on, because if you don’t believe you’re worth what you’re asking for, neither will the person you’re negotiating with.

 2. Be prepared to brag.

Before talking about your salary, make a bulleted list of your qualifications and previous accomplishments. Highlight anything that increased sales, reduced costs, or streamlined processes for former employers, and include any unique skills that could give you an edge compared to other candidates.

If you’ve never actually held a full-time job before, jot down any notable internship projects or relevant experience you’ve acquired from extracurricular activities. The idea is to impress your potential employer by letting her know everything you’ve done that makes you qualified to fill the position.

Stand in front of a mirror (or with some patient friends) and rehearse your spiel until it’s perfect. When you’re finally sitting down with the decision maker, hand her a copy of your list and draw attention to whichever items are most relevant to the position you hope to fill.

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 3. Act like you’ve been there before.

If this is your first time negotiating, keep that under wraps. It’s normal to feel nervous, but stay confident by remembering you’ve made it this far for a reason. Give the impression that you’re an experienced negotiator by acting like one. You don’t need to be some Don Corleone, making offers your would-be boss can’t refuse, but it helps to maintain good eye contact, a positive attitude and a firm tone of voice.

If you’re sending a salary negotiation email, be sure to express your enthusiasm for the company and the position. In either case, it’s a good idea to fire away with any insightful questions you might have—just be sure not to over-communicate. If you find yourself talking too much, shut the front door and wait for your interviewer to make the next move.

4. Don’t be first to mention money.

When it comes to talking numbers, don’t be the one who brings up the topic, and never mention the salary you’d settle for. If you’re repeatedly asked to state the figure you had in mind, ask for 10 percent more than the number you settled on. This provides a solid buffer if and when your hopeful boss tries to talk you down. It’s also a good rule of thumb to request for a precise figure, rather than a nice round number. This is merely a psychological tactic, but it seems to work. In the case that your interviewer suggests an initial salary along the lines of what you had in mind, calmly restate the number then bite your tongue. More often than not, this approach results in increased offers.

5. Stand your ground.

If the amount your interviewer offers isn’t quite what you had in mind, don’t get ruffled. Keep your emotions in check, don’t take anything personally and repeat the reasons why you’re the best candidate for the job.

If your potential boss simply won’t budge, find out if there’s flexibility as far as benefits are concerned. If you can’t afford to pass up this opportunity, ask what you can do to increase your compensation in the near future. Set a date to revisit the topic and ask your new employer to put it on her calendar. And if, in the end, you’re just not feeling the offer, don’t be afraid to turn it down. It’s better to hold out for the pay you want than accept an amount you’re not able to live on.

You owe it to yourself to negotiate for every penny you’re worth. This is especially true considering that many companies calculate raises and pensions based on an employee’s initial salary.  So start your career with confidence and earn what you deserve.  Good luck in your negotiation.

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Cost of Living in Major Metro Areas

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There are multitude of reasons why you may decide to move from one city to another. Maybe you just landed a sweet high-paying job after graduating college or you’ve done the research and decided that moving would be a better option for starting your own business.

While it would be great to just pick-up and go, it’s not always that easy in real life. You could potentially move to a new location that is too expensive for you to live in. Can you live your ideal life in New York City if you’re only bringing in $50,000 a year? It would definitely be a challenge.

To give you a better idea of the cost of living across the country, here are the twenty-five largest metro areas, ranked by population size, in the U.S. and a glimpse of how much it takes to live there.

 25. Nashville-Davidson, TN

The cost of living in Tennessee’s state capital is s 0.80% lower than the U.S. average. A one bedroom apartment in the city center averages $1,343.40 per month, with utilities at around $130. If you were to have a three course meal at a mid-range restaurant, it would cost you about $50 for two people.

 24. Washington D.C.

Living in the nation’s capital isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive areas to live in the country, especially when it comes to public transportation and necessities. A 900 square foot apartment could cost you more than $2,000 per month, on top of $166 for utilities. Want to eat out for lunch? Expect to pay $13 for a basic meal.

 23. Denver, CO

A one bedroom apartment in Denver could set you back around $1,500 per month, which is slightly higher than the national average. Utilities are around $130 and the cost of eating out for two people averages $60. If you’re active, expect to pay more for athletic shoes than the rest of country.

 22. Seattle, WA

Residing in the Great Northwest can get pricey. Monthly apartment rentals can range from $1,612 to $2,278. Prices for utilities are around $133/month. It’s worth noting, Seattle has some of the highest prices in the country for men’s haircuts and local cheeses.

 21. Boston, MA

Depending on which section of Bean Town you live, monthly rent can be anywhere from $1,600 to $2,600. Utilities are around $145 and going out on the town isn’t overpriced, $65 for a meal for two. But, you can expect to pay higher prices on groceries like tomatoes and imported beer.

 20. Memphis, TN

Memphis is one of the more affordable places to live in the country, it’s actually 14.3 percent lower than the national average. Home prices average around $180,375, with the average two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment going for $726 a month. However, grocery shopping can get pricey depending on the area. For example, a pound of ground beef costs $2.60.

 19. El Paso, TX

For such a large metro area, the cost of living in El Paso isn’t too shabby. Rent for an apartment in the most expensive part of town is around $1,000. The price of clothing, gas, and even the internet are more affordable than most other areas – $35 for a pair of Levis, for example.

 18. Detroit, MI

With prices ranging between $850 to $1,250, Motor City does offer some of the most reasonable apartment and home prices in the country. However, utilities are extremely high – over $250/month. That is outweighed though with the low cost of entertainment ($35 for a dinner for two), shopping ($39 for a pair of jeans), and just $27 for a monthly membership to a fitness club.

 17. Charlotte, NC

You can find a place to rent in Charlotte between $750 to $1,600. While the cost of men’s haircuts, and potatoes, are more expensive than other areas in the country, Charlotte has some of the lowest prices for cleaning services and beer prices at local pubs.

 16. Fort Worth, TX

Renting a place in Fort Worth can range from $860 to $2,000 per month. Utilities are on the lower side, $123/month, as are one-way tickets for local transportation ($5) and dinner for two ($35).

 15. Columbus, OH

Housing prices in Ohio’s state capital (also the largest city in the state) run between $863 to $1,600. While cleaning services are some of the highest in the country, flat screen TVs are some of the cheapest ($304 for a 40”), as are beer prices in the local bars.

 14. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is crazy expensive. In fact, the total cost of living in San Francisco is 62.6% higher than the U.S. average with home prices averaging more than $737,600. Renting a place isn’t much better since SF has the highest prices in the country: $4,650 for a two-bedroom apartment. Going to restaurants? Expect to pay $80 for a mid-range establishment. To make matters worse? Groceries and health care costs are more expensive here as well.

 13. Indianapolis, IN

If you enjoy working out, then you should know that Indianapolis has the cheapest gym memberships in it business district in the world. Indy also has some of the cheapest basic dining-out options in the country, around $11 for lunch. Housing ranges from just under $700 to just over $1,300 per month.

 12. Jacksonville, FL

The cost of living in Jacksonville is actually 2% lower than the Florida average, as well as 8% lower than the national average. Apartment rentals can be found at around $920, a little higher than the national average, but the average mortgage payment ($878) is lower. Healthcare and utility prices are also lower than average.

 11. Austin, TX

Like many other metro areas, Austin has a flexible range for housing, usually from $878 to $1,880 per month. Utilities are around $179, but entertainment prices are favorable. A basic dinner for two? $37. Two tickets to the theater? $21.

 10. San Jose, CA

Just like its neighbor San Francisco, San Jose is ridiculously expensive. The cost of living is 16% higher than the California average and 57% higher than the national average. Groceries, housing, healthcare, and gasoline are all higher than the national average. For example, the average home price is a whopping is $575,100!

 9. Dallas, TX

Rent per month in the Dig D can range from $820 to $1,168. Utility prices are average, around $142, as is going to a mid-range restaurant, $45 for two. One-way tickets for public transportation are low, $2.50, however a monthly pass is pricey at $80.00. On the plus, toothpaste and gas prices are among the cheapest in the country – only $1.26 for a tube of toothpaste!

 8. San Diego, CA

Are you surprised that the cost of living in San Diego is 44% higher than the national average, as well as 6% higher than the California average? The average of house price is more than $451,000, while monthly apartment rentals at $1,312. Transportation, healthcare, utilities, groceries, and good & services are all higher than the national average.

 7. San Antonio, TX

Did you know that San Antonio has the cheapest apple prices in the country at $2.34 for 2 pounds? The home of the Alamo also has the second cheapest public transportation prices in the country. On the downside, going to the theater is one of the most expensive with two tickets selling for $219. Housing prices range from $700 to $1,400 per month.

 6. Phoenix, AZ

Housing prices in the dessert can be anywhere from $674 to $1,600 per month. Your utility bill could be pricey as well, around $180/month, but that’s expected since you’re running the air conditioner. Meals and groceries can be affordable, $50 for two people at a mid-range restaurant. Gas prices can be high, but a monthly public transportation pass costs $62.

 5. Philadelphia, PA

The City of Brotherly Love can get expensive. Expect to dish out between $1,200 to $2,700 for a place to live each month. And, Philly has the third most expensive utility prices in the country on top of that. While the cuisine is some of the best country, having dinner at a nice Italian restaurant is the second most expensive in the U.S. costing an average of $119.

 4. Houston, TX

For such a large metro area, you can actually stretch your money in Houston quite well. The cost of living is 11% lower than the national average. Food prices, health care, gasoline, and utilities are lower than average. You can even purchase a home for around $124,700.

 3. Chicago, IL

The Windy City is a pricey area to live. In fact, ChiTown has some of the most expensive prices for jeans ($61), cappuccino ($5.19), and public transportation. Monthly rent can be anywhere from $900 to over $2,000, with utilities averaging $213.

 2. Los Angeles, CA

Sale prices on LA homes have appreciated 78.5% over the last five years. That means it would be hard to find a place to rent for under $900 per month. At least utility prices, $110, are cheaper than most other areas. Transportation is costly, gas prices are sometimes 55% more expensive than the national average. The cost of food and entertainment are also high. And, don’t get us started on the 9% sales tax.

 1. New York, NY

As the largest city in the country, and such a popular tourist destination, it’s no surprise that the Big Apple is ridiculously expensive. For starters, New York has some of the most expensive housing prices that cost between $1,638 to $3,895 per month. Own a car? Expect to shell out $533 per month in parking downtown. Enjoying a meal at a modest restaurant? You’ll be spending at least $75. And, if you have any money left over, you may be able to afford to shop or enjoy a movie at $14 per ticket.

Before you move, CNN and Bankrate offer handy Cost of Living Calculators that compare your current expenses to your possible expenses in the area that you’re moving to.

Both calculators are great starting points to help you decide if it’s worth relocating or not based on factors like your salary and how much money you’ll be spending (or saving!) on housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and health care.


Looking to live on less? Check out the most affordable cities in the U.S.


John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online payments company Due.

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How to Compare Two Job Offers

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Weighing two separate job offers can seem like an embarrassment of riches. In today’s job-starved economy, the prospect of having your choice between two positions is a rare and enviable position.

But there’s also an element of anxiety with choosing between two offers. One could be the job of your dreams, and the other could be a short-lived stint in hell. So how can you tell the difference between the two?

Compensation and Benefits

It’s easy to look at two salaries and decide to take the job with the highest one. But that’s not giving you the full picture. Compensation can include bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, pension and other monetary benefits. Add these up to get a real idea of the total salaries.

After you’ve compared the salaries, the second step is to examine the benefits packages. These can include vacation days and holidays, sick days, healthcare, retirement plan, tuition reimbursement and other perks.

Health insurance is one of the most important to compare, since costs can vary wildly. Check out the premiums and deductibles first and then see if either plan offers dental or vision coverage (these could make a big difference in how much you pay). Depending on your health, those could be major factors in how much money you take home.

Paid time off is also a deciding factor for many. Earning more money is great, but not if you only get 10 vacation days a year (compared to 21 days at another job). Does the company have a policy of increasing your vacation time over the years? How long do you hope to be at this company? These are all important questions to consider in how you value the vacation policy offered.

Commute

Driving to and from work is ranked as one of the worst parts of anyone’s day. No matter how great a job is, a long commute can kill the joy of a new position. Plus, being far away from home can make it difficult to run errands during lunch, make it to your morning workout and get home in time to let the dog out. Be realistic with yourself about how much time you can spend on the road and still be able to walk through your front door at the end of the work day with some energy to spare.

Not only does a long commute expend your own energy, driving a long way will also cost more money and put more wear and tear on your car. You can use GasBuddy’s trip calculator to compare how much you’d spend in fuel costs between each job and see if the amount is significant.

Company Culture

Finding out the company culture before you start working is much harder than figuring out what the bonus structure is, but it could end up being more important.

Talk to other employees and ask them the following questions:

Even a job with great benefits and a high salary could become your worst nightmare if you’re supposed to sleep with your phone on and respond to urgent texts on weekends.

Other Things to Take into Account

Once you’ve done the research for the factors listed above, here are some other questions to consider:

Job Offers

The last step – and probably the most important –  is to choose confidently. No matter which offer you decide on, it’s crucial to remove as much doubt as possible from the process.

Once you’ve made your choice, your happiness and satisfaction is going to have more to do with your attitude than the job itself. If you’re constantly asking “what if,” you’ll find yourself fantasizing about an alternate reality that doesn’t exist. Even if your new job isn’t everything you expected, it’s important to remember that the other job could have been even worse.

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

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How to Find Work-Life Balance in a Demanding Field

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When I was a teenager studying journalism at Indiana University, I dreamed of mixing things up in the newsroom of a major publication. I imagined myself trading barbs with my co-workers, asking hard-hitting questions and standing up to the editor-in-chief if they tried to neuter my story. I was going to be a grizzled, street-smart reporter.

That fantasy came crashing down around me when I worked my first newspaper gig right out of college. As it turns out, arguing with coworkers made me sad, asking tough questions stressed me out and standing up to authority figures was just terrifying. I was living the dream, it just happened to feel more like a nightmare.

Working in an action-packed, labor-intense position is a dream many young professionals hope for – until they’re actually doing it. The demands of a stressful career can be overwhelming for anyone, no matter how many zeros are at the end of your salary. When it comes to your mental health, there’s no substitute for work-life balance.

If you like your job – but don’t like how it’s affecting your life – here’s how you can smooth things out.

Outsource Non-Essential Work

The key to managing a high-pressure job along with a family or a time-intensive hobby is to only focus on the essentials.

“When you focus on what you do best, on what brings you the most satisfaction, there is plenty of space for everything,” writes author Laura Vanderkam in her book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. “You can build a big career. You can build a big family.”

Too many people try to do everything, including tasks that don’t bring them satisfaction like running errands, going to the grocery store and completing a load of laundry. It’s no wonder their personal life falls to the wayside.

That’s why hiring a cleaner or outsourcing chores can help you find the time to meet with friends or exercise with a personal trainer. Even services like Blue Apron or Instacart can help you save time. It doesn’t matter if you pick up the dry cleaning or whether you hire it out via TaskRabbit, but it matters if you pick up your kids from the soccer game instead of the nanny.

Combine Activities

Randi Zuckerberg, entrepreneur and former Facebook executive, once famously said, “The entrepreneur’s dilemma: Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time with family. Staying fit. Getting sleep. Pick three.”

Her insinuation that entrepreneurs can’t have it all might be right, but sometimes you can find a way to combine multiple activities together.

For example, if you want to work out and hang out with your girlfriends, ask them to join you for a yoga class and smoothies after. If your kids have a friend’s birthday party to attend at the local park, drop them off and then run a lap around the perimeter as your daily workout.

When I was working full-time and writing on the side, I’d do this by asking a friend to come with me while I ran errands. We’d go to Costco or Target together, fulfilling both of our to-do lists while also enjoying some quality time. It wasn’t as fun as making margaritas and watching “Game of Thrones,” but it was better than not seeing each other at all.

Focus on One Thing

When you’re working long hours in a stressful field, it’s easy to feel pulled apart in a million directions. When you’re at work, you worry about what you’re going to make for dinner or who will pick up the kids after dance class. When you’re at home, you wonder if your client liked your presentation or how much money your department has left in the budget. How can you feel balanced when your brain is running a mile a minute?

Product manager Bob Lai said he manages a full-time job, family and a side business by focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to multi-task.

“When I’m spending time with my loved ones, I only spend time with them rather than checking my emails at the same time,” he said.

Notice how you operate at work or at home. Are you fully engaged and operating at 100% capacity or are you juggling five things at once?

Create Reminders

When you’re working a lot, little things like calling your grandpa every week can fall to the wayside. Marketing executive Brenna Loury said she uses reminders in the Todoist app to manage her family obligations.

“For example, I have a project called ‘family and friends’ where I input recurring tasks like ‘call mom’ or ‘email grandma’ or ‘text little brother,’” she said. “Without having consistent reminders, it’s very easy for communication to slip through the cracks.”

It might seem silly to input a reminder like “Call dad” in your phone, but it’s better than forgetting his birthday.

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

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