Qualifications That Lead to The Highest-Paying Careers

The saying “work to live, don’t live to work” is an important one for the vast majority of people. Work may be something we enjoy, but the main driving factor behind our attendance is the fact that we are paid for the time we spend in our occupation. After all, people who win the lottery usually quit their jobs immediately, so there’s no denying that earnings are a huge part of your career.

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By the “work to live, don’t live to work” philosophy, that’s a positive thing; the fact that we all focus on the remuneration for the work we do is good. It suggests that we’re focusing our lives in the right areas, performing our daily work duties so we can earn the money we need to truly live.


… What if you’re not really earning what you need to live, or you want to increase your earning power in the future? While money does not necessarily buy happiness, few of us would turn down the opportunity to earn more. Many careers reach a stage where you have gone as far as you are going to go without further experience or, most commonly, education.

Due to this fact, thousands of people every year decide to take the plunge and change their career prospects, and they often achieve this by returning to education. This may be to add to their existing career-related qualifications, or completely change direction and retrain.

The question then becomes: what should you study, if your driving focus is increasing your earnings in the future? Below is a list of the subjects that will lead to the highest paid jobs, so if you want to refocus your career and become more employable at the top end of the scale, it may be worth taking the time to consider these…

#1 – Medicine

Admittedly, transferring from your current career to study medicine is incredibly time consuming. However, if you really want to focus on working towards a big pay day in the future, then medicine is by far the best option.

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While you could command a good salary as a general practitioner, with medicine, the real money comes into play with specialities. Top of the list is anesthesiologists, a specialism that guarantees a high wage throughout the world. There are various reasons that anesthesiologists are so well paid, but the main factor is the very extreme life-or-death nature of the role. Anesthesiologists have to have meticulous attention to detail throughout an often long, gruelling surgery process, hence the high levels of compensation.

Outside of anaesthesiologists, the specialisations that elicit the highest salaries are:

  • Neurosurgery (brain and spinal cord surgeries)
  • Psychiatrist (assisting people with mental health illnesses and disorders)
  • OB/GYN (female reproductive health)
  • Pediatrician (specialist in the treatment of children)

With that said, all specialities will earn more than a general care doctor, so your options are largely open in that regard. Just remember that medicine is a demanding career choice that will likely require extensive retraining, so you have to be ready to commit if you’re considering following this route– the high salary alone isn’t enough to justify such a move.

#2 – Business Administration

If you’re focused on ensuring that you’re able to bank on the best salaries around, then pursuing a business education is one of the best ways to do it. Furthermore, it’s one of the best choices if you just want to add to your existing skills rather than retrain entirely.

Businesses, essentially, power the economy– and they make a lot of money while doing it. People who rise to the top of the corporate ladder — a move you won’t be able to make without an adequate educational background — are some of the wealthiest in the world. CEO pay can be eye-wateringly high, so if you want to start your climb up the business ladder, then focusing on business qualifications is your best bet.

By far the gold standard for business qualifications is an MBA; a Masters of Business Administration. MBAs focus on leadership, management, marketing strategies, strategic planning, and how to understand financial reports regarding the health of a company. You can usually embark on MBA study if you have a first degree, though this can vary, so it’s always worth checking. You also have the option of studying for an MBA online, which means you can continue your day job while you obtain the qualifications you need to power your career into the next dimension.

While it is possible you could succeed in the business world without an MBA, for most major corporations, an MBA is largely a prerequisite. If you want to be competitive in business, then you’re going to need an MBA behind you– it really is as simple as that.

#3 – Information Technology

IT managers are among the highest paid professionals in your average office, largely due to the specificity of what they can do. If you choose to study for any kind of IT qualification, then you stand an excellent chance of increasing your earning potential in the future.

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Even if you don’t want to transition entirely into IT, obtaining an IT qualification will look impressive on your CV, and help to show employers that you have a wide range of skills. In the digital age we now live in, excellent IT skills are essential for the vast majority of jobs. As a result of this necessity, increasing your learning and experience with IT will be beneficial to your existing career or as an option for a complete fresh start.

IT is a subject that can be taught, but you can also teach yourself– many of the best IT techs learn through a process of trial and error. You will likely need to obtain some kind of formal certification of your abilities to prove to employers you are capable, but this is easier to do if you have a solid self-taught background and don’t mind working on qualifications in your spare time.

#4 – Law

Law is one of the best paid professions in the world, as has been depicted by many, many television shows over the years. It’s also notorious for being incredibly hard work, so if you value your work-life balance, this one might not be for you.

If you’re comfortable with the idea of working hard provided you’re well compensated for your time, then law can be a fascinating way to earn a living. The best paying legal jobs tend to be in commercial, real estate, and financial law– so you won’t be facing down defendants in court, or at least, you won’t be if your priority is financial success. You will spend your working days going through documents, looking for errors, and coming up with clever solutions to problems. If this sounds like it might suit you down to the ground, then retraining is more than possible.

You will likely need to undertake a legal degree afresh. You will then progress onto post-grad training and specialisation; some post-grad institutions may accept non-legal first degrees, so it’s always worth checking the entry requirements to see if you might be eligible. While there’s no doubt the transition to law is a long process, it’s definitely faster than moving into medicine from an already-established career, so it might be one that you want to consider.

In Conclusion

The above areas of study are some that can elicit huge financial benefits once you have qualified. Changing your career direction is a huge step, but if you are dissatisfied with your current work environment — or just want to be able to increase your salary in the future — then these options are well worth looking into.




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

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