Marketwatch has an article about the latest U.S. News rankings for various jobs (side note: since when has U.S. News ever seen something that they didn’t want to rank into a list?). Guess what? Health care jobs dominate. Let’s take a look:
- Dentist: $152,700
- Nurse practitioner: $98,190
- Physician assistant: $98,180
- Statistician: $80,110
- Orthodontist: $187,200
- Nurse anesthetist: $157,140
- Pediatrician: $170,300
- Computer systems analyst: $85,800
- Obstetrician and gynecologist: $187,200
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeon: $187,200
I’ve highlighted in bold the health-related jobs on there. Wow. That’s a whopping 8/10 on the list! And they all make or come close to 6 digits. In fact, the only two non-health jobs are the lowest in average salary. The secret to easy wealth from a standard job in the U.S. is in the protected fields of health care and state/local government. Read my book on wealth for more details. Mind you, this list neglects other great health care jobs that don’t require a lot of schooling, such as regular registered nurse, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy. Though they don’t make it quite as high on this list due to lower pay, they can be great options if you like a stable job with great security, flexible schedules, and good pay.
What about those of us who heeded the call of STEM? Well, I have a low opinion of straight up science fields. Biologists and chemists have a hard time findings employment due to the surplus of graduates, many of whom had starry-eyed dreams of medical school. Tech is ok, and it makes it onto this list at #8 but doesn’t feature more prominently because of its boom and bust nature. If you’re a programmer and times are good, you can do well at a big company, or you can make it big in an IPO. However, there’s little barrier to entry and you’re always facing competition from H1B workers. When there’s a bust you can be laid off quite easily.
How about other engineering fields? You can generally get good security in nuclear, civil, mechanical, chemical, or petroleum engineering, but those fields are quite niche and there’s not a lot of job opportunities. The schooling is also quite demanding.
I hope you’ve boned up on your math, because the best STEM job on here is #4 at statistician. Statistics is the red headed step child. Not quite as applied as engineering but also not quite as theoretical as pure math. It’s actually the best of the bunch because it’s relevant to so many fields. Whether we’re in research, government, business, think tank, or NGO, chances are there will be need for someone with good understanding of probability and running comparisons for large pools of data. Especially now with the new trend being “big data”, there’s increasing need for someone with the aptitude to sift through that data and find significant correlations.
So if I have a child who doesn’t want to do health care, my next recommendation would be a double degree in statistics and economics. That’s a good mix of versatile fields, one more mathy, and one sorta leaning towards the social sciences, to prepare one for any career. Oh, don’t forget about languages either. Those can be your final oomph to get you over the hump and into a job.