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Best Jobs for Moving Up

This article was written by in Career and Work. 21 comments.


Salary.com and Money Magazine compiled a list of the best jobs for advancement opportunities. I’m glad I came across this today, as a coworker and I were discussing advancement opportunities within and around our department at the large financial services company where we work. There are many more things to consider than these statistics. In today’s discussions, advancement opportunities had more to do with the type of management in the particular department.

I wouldn’t suggest making a major career change just because there are advancement opportunities on average, but if you like statistics, you might find these top 20 jobs for getting ahead interesting. The characteristics evaluated include salary, projected job growth, and level of fulfillment and challenge.

1. Product/Brand Manager. Median salary: $90,100.
2. Staff Nurse (RN). Median salary: $59,800.
3. Property Manager. Median salary: $81,400.
4. Public Accountant. Median salary: $50,100.
5. Information Technology Generalist. Median salary: $47,800.
6. Engineer I. Median salary: $53,600.
7. Engineer I: Environmental, Health and Safety. Median salary: $52,400.
8. Meeting/Event Planner. Median salary: $52,600.
9. Financial Adviser. Median salary: $66,800.
10. Investment Specialist. Median salary: $72,000.
11. Marketing Specialist. Median salary: $52,400.
12. Massage Therapist. Median salary: $44,300.
13. Network Administrator (entry level). Median salary: $48,100.
14. Paralegal. Median salary: $53,700.
15. Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor. Median salary: $49,400.
16. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. Median salary: $93,700.
17. Real Estate Agent. Median salary: $41,300.
18. Recruiter. Median salary: $60,800.
19. Sales Representative. Median salary: $86,600.
20. Public/Private School Teacher. Median salary: $47,500.

I’m not too impressed with the list.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published March 22, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar bluntmoney

Why do you say that you’re not too impressed with the list? I read it and thought, geez, the median salary for every single one of these jobs is more than I make.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,470 (Platinum)

I should have been more specific. The median salaries are generally good, but I didn’t find many of the jobs exciting enough for me to consider changing my career.

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avatar Shadox

I saw this list on CNNFN today. What struck me is that investment banking is not on that list. Investment bankers have pretty incredible starting salaries (when bonuses are taken into consideration) and opportunities for advancement in that industry are excellent.

Of course, many of the jobs are located in a relatively small number of cities (think NY, LA, SF and such), but still.

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avatar Nagel

I would like to see how they come to these conclusions. I understand the criteria they use, but how is Product/Brand Manager #1? Nurse makes sense because there is a dramatic shortage and will continue to be.

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avatar tinyhands

I heard a similar story on the radio recently. It made me wonder about the purpose of these lists.

Does anyone ever say, “You know, I really hate the sight of blood & guts, but I’d like to make $60k so I think I’ll be a nurse.” ??

Or does anyone say, “I can’t add 2+2, but ‘Accountant’ is a good way to ‘get ahead’. I’ll do that.” ??

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avatar Zen

@tinyhands:
I actually met a few people that tried that route. And failed.

I never really trust lists like this – I hate stats, and especially hate when they use “median averages.” Like #1 – median salary of $90,000 – but “90% make” is $60,000 range.

And they rank “fulfilling and challenging” together – I can see some jobs having little challenge but still being fulfilling, and some having too much challenge and not being fulfilling – merging them together looks like they’re just fudging figures to suit their needs (shocker!)

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avatar Atul

I’m a Product Manager and although it pays relatively well and provides visibility within a company, in certain industries, it’s sometimes difficult to make a direct connection between your efforts and concrete results like increased sales. That means your “resume food” won’t be so good if you want to look for jobs at other companies. I like doing product management, but it can sometimes be frustrating when the extent of responsibilities is sometimes unclear and when decisions need to be made with little information.

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