How to Pick A Career With Potential To Earn $95,000 A Year

Go from earning an annual salary of $15,163 two years before getting an Associate’s degree to earning an annual salary of $95,727 five years after completing that degree. Not possible you say? It is possible according data supplied by the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community College System. See BUZZ Today about this important information.

Buzz Today Source: California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Tracking Wages of California College Completers Salary Surfer is a web application designed for students and families that provides an estimate on the potential median wages to be earned after completing an award or certificate in 179 of the most widely enrolled disciplines.

To take advantage of this career income data you need to know a lot more about this dramatic increase in earning power in such a short period of time. The education referenced is an Associate’s degree earned in the California Community College System.  The career is that of Physician’s Assistant and can be verified at the salary web site maintained by the California community college system.

This information about the Physician’s Assistant career opportunity has several important things to tell us. First, it is not always necessary to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to earn a decent living. I do show in the book “Your Future is Calling” that in general, average incomes are directly related to the level of education. That is, on average, Bachelor’s degree holders make more than Associate’s degree holders. But what the Physician’s Assistant career shows, is that this is not true for all degrees and professions. When we reference O*NET we see that the average annual salary for a secondary school teacher with a Bachelor’s degree is $55,050,

The second thing the opening sentence shows us is that there are a large number of students who started out at very low levels of income but through an education, ended up earning over $95,000 per year. This is very impressive upward social mobility.  The message is: “It is still possible in America to significantly improve one’s life circumstances”. But you have to have good data and know what you are doing.

A word of caution is warranted at this point. When we return to the Salary Surfer site we see the impact of technology on career opportunities. An Associate’s degree in Journalism started at $14,664 and five years after graduation this career had a median salary of only $17,347. This is a direct result of the decline in publishing.

So what is the “bottom line” in this career choice discussion? All is not doom and gloom as so often portrayed in the media.  There are very good career options in the US economy and there are others that are not so attractive. The key is to have good, objective data to help you make your choices. My recommendation is that the three sources referenced here be used before you enroll in any degree program. The sources are: Salary Surfer, O*NET and my book “Your Future is Calling.” The book shows you how to put it all together and a lot more.

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