It’s the hot new PR job—think Scandal on a smaller scale. Fine-tune a company’s online presence by strategically tweaking its Website, social media platforms, and search results to making sure it has a positive image for average annual pay of $58,000.
Play around online all day…and get paid about $60,000 for it? Yes, please! Digital strategists advise clients on how to improve their tech presence—making Websites user-friendly and entertaining, etc. You don’t need a specific degree to nab one of these jobs, but digital experience helps, and you have to be on the cutting edge of the latest technology and social media trends like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
If you’re an artsy nature lover, then designing parks, gardens, and other outdoor spaces could be your dream gig! As the real estate market rebounds and going green is bigger than ever, demand for landscape architects is expected to rise. To nab the $62,000-a-year job, it helps to get a specialized degree, and internships or apprenticeships are must-haves.
Want to treat and diagnose patients, make bank ($86,000 annually), but avoid six years of med school—and student loan debt? Consider becoming a physician’s assistant. You’ll do examinations, administer tests, make diagnoses, and recommend courses of treatment—think Dr. House, minus the bad attitude. This field is on the rise, with 30 percent growth this decade, so once you have your degree (it requires a Master’s), you’ll be pretty set.
Group Personal Trainer
Fitness instructors score serious perks: flexible schedules, low stress, being able to live in yoga pants, and getting paid to work out. (The average salary is just $31,000, but it's a growing market.) According to the American College of Sports Medicine, small group personal training, outdoor personal training, Zumba, and core fitness will all be big in 2013.
Video Game Designer
Want to make every dude you meet worship the ground you walk on? If you’re super creative and have some tech skills (like Web design or coding), being the creator of Man-Eating Zombies III could be your calling. It’s a lot of pressure, but you’ll make about $81,000 to build games from scratch, come up with cool concepts, and work closely in a team. Hint: Networking is crucial because it’s competitive.
Health Care Technology Manager
This career hits the sweet spot between two rapidly rising fields: Health care and IT. You’ll manage patient records, create databases…and make a cool 83 grand a year. Since it’s still relatively uncommon, competition is slim but demand is huge. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, software development, or health care (with tech skills on the side).
SL or GED Instructor
If teaching appeals to you, but dealing with a classroom of noisy, snot-nosed rugrats sounds hellish, consider adult education. For about $47,000 a year, you’ll help people learn basic skills—reading, writing, speaking English—or coach them to earn their GED. Most instructors have a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.
This is another awesome option that’s highly marketable, now that all those baby boomers want to fix their aches and pains. The pay’s reasonable—about $76,000—and there’s an expected 39 percent increase in growth by 2020, so chances are you’ll be able to score a position. The hours are decent, and it’s personally rewarding—you’ll watch the patients you’re treating become stronger and healthier under your care.
With the housing market making a comeback, decorating is set to have a moment, too. As long as you have a gift for it and you network like crazy, you don’t need special schooling. You can even segue into it while keeping your day job: Offer to make over your first 10 clients’ homes for free (ask family and friends), and word of mouth will get your name around. Plan to make around $46,000 and since you’re your own boss, you can avoid annoying office politics and get to set your own hours and vacays.
Market Research Analyst
Like figuring out what makes people tick? Market research analysts help companies understand what products and services customers want, by organizing focus groups, parsing through sales data, and developing strategic plans. The salary’s about $61,000, and with a 41 percent growth rate, an additional 117,000 new jobs will pop up by 2020.
Health care jobs are booming, thanks to the aging population, and there’s a particular need for more general practitioners. Family doctors make a great salary ($177,000 on average), sans the crazy shifts that many MDs work. Plus, since you get a ton of one-on-one interaction with patients, it’s a good bet if you’re a people person.
Information Security Analyst
If you’re an adrenaline junkie and have tech smarts, check out this high-paying, in-demand career. You’re on the frontlines of the fight against hackers, figuring out how to prevent networks from being broken into and corrupted, all for $76,000 per year.
With a 42 percent predicted increase in open positions, there’s tons of opportunity. You’ll work in hospitals, schools, or courtrooms, translating info for those who don’t speak the language. You need to be fluent in both English and a second language, and the average salary is $43,000.