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TheStreet Open House

Many Top-Paying Jobs in 2020 Won't Need College Degree

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Should today's college graduates be on the seven-year plan?

By that we mean looking seven years ahead so they can plan a career and estimate a salary -- work that has been done by using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The professional careers company calls jobs such as cost estimator, medical secretary and manufacturing sales representative the "safest bets" for today's college graduates looking to break into a field (or even veteran workers looking to break into a new career market.) says 54% of U.S. professionals work in an industry linked directly to their college degree. For younger workers - high school seniors, college students and other entrants into the workforce - that means recognizing as early as possible what career will see the most demand over the next decade and what will boost their career earnings potential.

"As the cost of education continues to rise and students find themselves graduating from college with mounting debt, it's crucial for students to consider degrees that will result in a high-earning career when they graduate," says Abby Euler,'s general manager.

"Just doing that won't be enough for younger career professionals, no matter their career path," she says. "Students should always use salary data calculators to negotiate salary and benefits for their first job to ensure they are getting the most possible out of the position."

What's interesting about the partial list of occupations in demand by 2020 (see the whole thing here) is that some don't even require a college degree, even though their 2020 salary estimates look like occupations requiring one:

Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
Projected 2020 income: $93,059
Expected 2020 job growth: 16%

First-line supervisors of office and administrative support
Projected 2020 income: $74,205
Expected 2020 job growth: 14%

Licensed practical and vocational nurses
Projected 2020 income: $51,536
Expected 2020 job growth: 22%

Medical secretaries
Projected 2020 income: $40,647
Expected 2020 job growth: 41%

Cost estimator
Projected 2020 income: $61,405
Expected 2020 job growth: 36.4%

Of those five careers, only the final three require a college degree.

Nobody's saying you should abandon your career for the above occupations. But if it's a career "insurance policy" you seek, the 2020 career estimates are good food for thought.

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