Note: I'm defining a specialist as someone with a degree that narrows down the job possibilities. For instance, two people with business degrees may have two very different jobs in any number of sectors. Conversely, two nurses will have more similar jobs in the health care field.Although I have specialized experience in health care, I wanted to see what the Bureau of Labor Statistics had to say about occupations in general. They divide jobs into 25 occupational groups. They also published a table with the 20 highest paying jobs. In that list, according to my hastily applied criteria (see “note” above), I think three out of 20 are general (Natural Sciences Managers, Marketing Managers, and Financial Managers). That means that the majority are specialized careers. (Of course, my methods are unscientific.) Then I looked at the 30 occupations with the largest job growth. Of this list of 30, I think about 15 were specialized. That doesn't tell the whole story though. This table also gives the median salaries. More general positions (or those with a low barrier to entry) generally pay less than the others, according to the table. That correlates with what I've observed, too. My experience In college, I specialized in radiologic technology, one of approximately 300,000 (compare that to nearly 4.5 million retail salespeople or 5,800 Oral/Maxillofacial surgeons) in the U.S. When I graduated, I chose to specialize even more; this decision resulted in a $3,000 bump in my annual salary.
Should You Be A Generalist Or A Specialist?
Check Out Our Best Services for Investors
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Model portfolio
- Stocks trading below $10
- Intraday trade alerts
More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.