How To Switch To An $80K Career

$80K Careers

With such impressive salaries, these careers may be worth pursuing.

By Danielle Blundell
With all the competition in the current job market, it may seem like you should settle for any old low-paying job. But why sell yourself short when there are opportunities out there with better potential?
Not sure where to start? You're in luck. We've compiled a list of job options that have a median annual salary of $80,000 or more. Just keep in mind that reaching these career heights won't happen overnight.
Still interested in learning more? Keep reading for details on six careers with high-pay potential.

Career #1: Applications Software Developer

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Can't put down your laptop or iPhone? A career in software development might be right up your alley.
What They Do: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these developers are the masterminds behind the software that we use on computers, tablets, smart phones, and more. In addition to designing applications, they also test software to make sure it functions correctly.
Why It Could Pay: Lynn Kindler, a Texas-based career coach, saw software developers making excellent money in her past as a professional recruiter. According to Kindler, this was due to the specialized skills it takes to create software for any given company.
How much you make depends on your level of expertise with various tools and platforms, she says. This knowledge allows someone to take on more responsibility - which is why it's well-rewarded. "Your work can mean a matter of making or breaking a project," Kindler explains.
How to Prepare for the Switch: The Department of Labor says these professionals usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Math degrees are also acceptable.

Career #2: Medical and Health Services Manager

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With the introduction of Obamacare, the medical industry's gotten even more complex. If you're interested in how to keep things running smoothly, you may want to learn more about the medical and health services management profession.
What They Do: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, planning and coordinating medical and health services is the chief concern of these professionals. Creating schedules, staying up to date on laws and regulations, and controlling finances are also often part of the gig.
Why It Could Pay: The specialized nature of their work requires both knowledge of the health care system and business savvy, says Kindler.
How to Prepare for the Switch: "Prospective medical and health services managers should have a bachelor's degree in health administration," says the Department of Labor. Master's degrees in fields such as health services, business administration, public health, public administration, and long-term care administration are also common.

Career #3: Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

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If you place a high value on learning and have some teaching experience, you might want to put school principal on your list of careers to consider.
What They Do: Principals might be responsible for everything from overseeing the operation of an entire school to evaluating the efficacy of teachers to meeting with parents to discuss students' behavior, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It Could Pay: Principals often take home high pay, because the position carries the huge responsibility of being a leader, according to Kindler. Principals are responsible for creating an effective environment where students can learn successfully - which is no easy task.
How to Prepare for the Switch: According to the Department of Labor, most schools require principals to have their master's degrees in education administration or leadership. Candidates usually need teaching experience as well.

Career #4: Financial Manager

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$187,199 or more
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If you believe money makes the world go 'round, then you may want to steer your career path toward a role as a financial manager.
What They Do: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, financial managers generate financial reports, strategize long-term financial goals, and look after an organization's financial health.
Why It Could Pay: Financial managers make big money, because they have the right stuff - meaning they know how to interpret the economy and make smart investments - explains Kindler. Additionally, they possess the necessary interpersonal skills to work with clients.
Of course, in order to be successful and well-compensated, she says, candidates will either be exceptionally talented in regards to numbers, people, or ideally, a little bit of both. She adds that personal recommendations and referrals will also factor heavily into how much you earn in this profession. "The more you distinguish yourself by the companies and people you align yourself with, the better," she says.
How to Prepare for the Switch: At minimum, financial managers often need a bachelor's degree - in accounting, business administration, economics, or finance - and five or more years of experience in a related area, says the Department of Labor. The Department also notes that nowadays, many employers want candidates to have a master's degree in business administration, economics, or finance.

Career #5: Human Resources Manager

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If you're a people-person and feel comfortable speaking with almost anyone, a career in human resources management might be a good fit for you.
What They Do: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, human resources managers typically serve as a link between an organization's employees and management team, mediating conflicts and hiring new staff.
Why It Could Pay: For Kindler, it's a combination of education, people skills, and prior management experience. Things can get tense when your main task is handling a company's most important, and often most volatile, asset - its employees.
She adds that taking on more responsibility regarding legal issues in the workplace, such as the immigration status of employees or employee disputes, could help you reach the high-pay potential of this career.
How to Prepare for the Switch: Several years of related work experience and a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration is needed, says the Department of Labor. For some higher-level positions, a master's degree in human resources, business administration, or labor relations is required, says the Department.

Career #6: Nurse Practitioner

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If you want to make a career out of helping people, you may want to look into the profession of nurse practitioner.
What They Do: Responsibilities vary by state, but these practitioners might be responsible for performing physical exams, diagnosing health problems, and prescribing medications, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It Could Pay: According to Nicholas Dillon, a Wisconsin-based professional career and life coach, the field of nursing requires expertise that commands higher salaries. Practitioners, according to the Department of Labor, also need specialized graduate education, which can also drive salaries for this position up.
How to Prepare for the Switch: The Department says nurse practitioners must earn at least a master's degree from an accredited program. However, they also note that they must first be a licensed registered nurse. And what's the path for an RN licensure? According to the Department, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination and graduate from an approved nursing programs. RNs usually pursue a diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate's in nursing, or a bachelor's in nursing. 

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