With college graduations happening this month and next, we can’t help but wonder where all of those debt-laden millennials are going to find work in what feels like a very tight market. We’d like to encourage everyone to pursue their passion, but it might not hurt if your passion also happens to align with a career path that might actually earn you enough money to live. To help you figure out what might be right for you—and your bank account—whether you’re just starting out or considering a change, we dug into a couple of different reports on the subject. Here are our key findings.
According to research released by an advocacy group called Young Invincibles, which ranked jobs based on median incomes and potential for growth, the best occupational bets for millennials still include jobs in the following fields: medical, science, technology, math, and engineering. Perhaps tellingly, therapists, nutritionists, and pharmacists all rank within the top 25 positions on this list as well. Publicists also made the cut, as did talent managers. (Sadly, the artists themselves did not rank.) See the full list here.
Many of these jobs—but not all—overlap with those on the US World & News ranking of what are currently the highest-paying occupations in America. Heavy on medical, the top 10 on this list of 25 are (in ascending order): nurse anesthetist, dentist, pediatrician, psychiatrist, physician, orthodontist, obstetrician and gynecologist, oral surgeon, surgeon and anesthesiologist. Also included on this list are lawyers, sales managers, marketing managers, and financial managers.
The takeaway? If you’re going to invest in education, you probably want to go to medical school. If it’s too late to make that call (we should’ve listened to our parents all those years ago!), and you’re creative by nature but practical, a career in artist management or promotion might be a good way to go. You also don’t have to go to med school to become a nutritionist, and that field is projected to grow 20% by 2020—learn more about the certification process here. Additionally, sales and marketing jobs continue to be good options, at least for now, as do the typically lucrative professions of lawyer and money manager. If you’ve yet to decide what you’re doing with your life, however, it seems you’d be better off investing in a medical degree than you would a law degree, or joining the mail room at a Hollywood agency rather than heading out to Wall Street.
If your chosen profession didn’t make either of these lists (we feel you, as “Fashion Editor” somehow missed the mark), we suggest you take comfort in this age-old adage oft-repeated by supportive mothers around the world: “Do what you love, and the money will come.” Or, invent a time machine so you can go back and tell your teenage self she might want to reconsider her planned degree in Art History.