To help identify which path is best for you—and your net worth—we made it our job to crunch the numbers. Starting with a list of 773 popular occupations, we narrowed the choices to 30 of the most promising professions by focusing on fields that are collecting generous paychecks now and are projected to expand greatly over the next decade. Also, though we favored jobs that don’t necessarily call for a huge investment in education to get started, certain career paths prove lucrative enough to be worth the extra time and money.
Unless otherwise noted, all employment data was provided by Emsi, a labor-market research firm owned by Strada Education. Emsi collects data from dozens of federal, state and private sources, including reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau. The total number of jobs listed for each occupation is for 2017. Projected 10-year job growth figures represent the percentage change in the total number of jobs in an occupation between 2017 and 2027. Annual earnings were calculated by multiplying median hourly earnings by 2,080, the standard number of hours worked in a year by a full-time employee.