By Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
While most employees hope for a three percent increase in pay each year, others are skyrocketing to 193 percent pay gains in under five years. What is their secret? They picked the right career.
Besides just collecting current job information, online salary database PayScale.com asked people about their jobs five years ago. By comparing the two answers and adding in information about education and other career-advancing factors, PayScale was able to create a list of common career paths and figure out which ones are the most lucrative.
Does every job have a way of becoming very well paid? Not necessarily. It depends on the job family you’re in, says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at PayScale. "Anything in sales
, consulting, or finance
helps you advance,” she says. “If we're talking about the healthcare world, you can really jump up in pay or opportunities with higher levels of education."
The following list highlights five career moves that pay off, according to PayScale’s calculations, with sometimes nearly 200 percent wage growth in five years.
1. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses do the bulk of patient care, from assessing patient health problems to administering medication. RNs have at least an associate's degree and are licensed by the state. Many start their careers as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), who work under the direction of registered nurses or other nursing staff. CNAs have certification and training, although not an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing.
Susan Spicer, supervisor for Tompkins County Mental Health Clinic, made the leap from nurse's aide to registered nurse after getting a degree in Nursing. She first contemplated a career in social work.
"Nursing suited me better," Spicer says. "I decided to make the leap for a variety of reasons. I really like nursing, I knew I would have more control over my career and I understood I would make more money." View all Nursing jobs on Monster
2. Relationship Manager
- Current Pay: $72,700
- Job/Pay Five Years Ago: Personal Banker $34,200
- Increase in Pay: 113 percent
Personal bankers answer most of your questions about your bank account. They help you open new accounts, fill out paperwork and generally translate bank-speak into English.
Relationship managers are the king and queen of the personal bankers. Their job is to develop and maintain relationships with clients and to supervise workers in banks, brokerage firms, and insurance or credit departments. While no further education is needed to move from personal banker to relationship manager, staying in the field and boosting your experience levels allows you to make the leap.View all Relationship Manager jobs on Monster
3. Education Consultant
Elementary school teachers who want a career change can become education consultants, working with schools and publishers to develop curricula and educational materials. Consultants do not necessarily need additional education to transition from teaching. A master's degree and experience in the classroom is enough, although it's helpful to have experience in an office environment.
Christy Golden, an education consultant, made the leap from the classroom to consulting in 2001, as a way to supplement her teaching income. "I still believe that there is no more noble profession in the world," Golden says. Now, though, she earns more money and has a more flexible schedule.
4. Recruiting Coordinator
Human resources assistants keep track of personnel records, compile reports, and generally make sense of the piles of employee data. Recruiting coordinators find, screen and assist in hiring the employees that generate all that data. Recruiting coordinators don't necessarily require additional education beyond the four-year degree required for human resources assistants. Experience in HR is the key to landing this job. View all Recruiting Coordinator jobs on Monster
Source: All salary data and pay comparisons provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed for the jobs from five years ago are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with zero to five years of experience, and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Salaries listed for the current jobs are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience in their respective career or field. All salaries are calculated in today's dollars.