10 best jobs in 2016 and how you can actually get them

Rock star. Baseball player. Supermodel. Sure, we’d all choose something like that as a profession if we could. But assuming you can’t play guitar like Keith, throw a 95-mile-an-hour fastball or have cheekbones higher than helium, you’ll have to settle for more pedestrian choices.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to settle for a low-paying job. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and expert advice, here are 10 high-paying jobs that have a promising year ahead. Read on to see if your current or dream job made the list of the best jobs in 2016.

1. Software Developer, Applications

2014 Median Annual Pay: $95,510

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 22 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field

Odds are you have a computer, smartphone or tablet (or all three) and use apps. Odds are your kids and all of their friends do too — and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. So if you want a hot job that you might even be able to do from your living room, app developer it is.

Expert Tip: Of course, you’ll need to have some serious computer programming skills, said Susan Heathfield, a human resources expert who also writes for About.com. And a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is a huge bonus. But this field is all about results, so skills trump a fancy piece of paper every day. She said a good way to prove your skills, and gain experience, might be to do open source work.

2. Registered Nurse

2014 Median Annual Pay: $66,640

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 19 percent

Minimum Requirements: Diploma from approved nursing program, or an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. A nursing license is also needed.

Everyone gets sick, so this is one profession that will always be needed. “There’s a nurse in all our futures,” is the way Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, put it. He added that the health care industry will continue to boom for years — hence, the 526,800 new job openings from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.

Expert Tip: Despite the fact that minimum requirements to become a nurse are often an associate degree, Carnevale said that the field is becoming increasingly competitive, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing is becoming a requirement among many employers.

3. Public Relations Specialist

2014 Median Annual Pay: $55,680

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 12 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in public relations, journalism, communications, English or business

In a world fixated on image, and one in which image is often directly linked to income, public relations is very hot. Don’t let the 12 percent growth rate get you down; enthusiasm and people skills go a long way.

Expert Tip: In the past decade, PR has drastically changed, Heathfield said. Gone are the days of boring press release writing. “Now, it’s all about social media. People who have strong skills in that area will be in demand,” she said. So start tweeting.

4. IT Manager

2014 Median Annual Pay: $127,640

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 15 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in computer or information science

It’s not likely that the world will go back to analog anytime soon. In fact, we’re only going to get more reliant on computer technology. “These days, every business has an IT guy,” said Carnevale. Or a floor of them. Perhaps that why IT manager is the best-paying job on this list.

Expert Tip: To get the highest pay, Heathfield said it’s desirable to have an MBA or a master’s in computer science or engineering, as well as experience in IT. Also, don’t pad your resume; mad skills in IT are impossible to fake, and you’ll end up doing yourself more harm than good.

5. Healthcare Administrator

2014 Median Annual Pay: $92,810

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 23 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in health administration

Close to 20 cents of every dollar the government spends is in health care, said Carnevale, adding that that’s double what other, even wealthier, countries spend. So, he said finding people to manage the health care system and bring efficiency to it is now vital.

Expert Tip: The best positions and highest pay, with chances for advancement, will go to those with a master’s degree, said Carnevale. The BLS agrees — master’s degrees in areas such as health services, public health or business administration are common in the field.

6. Web Developer

2014 Median Annual Pay: $63,490

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 20 percent

Minimum Requirements: Associate degree

Nearly $65,000 for a job you can do in your pajamas? Yep, here it is — almost as good as being a supermodel. And despite the craze over Instagram and Twitter, websites are still a must for everyone from GM to the guy down the street selling lamps.

Expert Tip: Heathfield said that the Web developers who are experts in not only website design and construction, but also have skills in creating and managing e-commerce sites have the real advantage here, as well as a chance at big pay. Also, she said demonstrable skills and a portfolio are more important than any degree.

7. Market Research Analyst

2014 Median Annual Pay: $61,290

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 32 percent

Minimum Requirements: At least a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field

Two words: Big Data. This is the mind-numbing amount of data companies are collecting on consumers. Managing the data is a huge task, made possible by technology, but analyzing it in a way that can result in better business decisions is difficult. So, finding good market research analysts will be in high demand, said John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firmChallenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Expert Tip: You’ll need very strong analytic and possibly math skills to compete for the best positions in this field, said Challenger. When it comes to the interview, make sure you understand the latest developments in Big Data — you want to seem more knowledgeable than the hiring manager across the desk.

8. Elementary School Teacher

2014 Median Annual Pay: $54,120

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 12 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and state-issued certification or license (for public school).

Here’s a noble profession that will always be hot, said Carnevale. He also said not to let the 12 percent projected growth rate get you down on this profession. Because the elementary teaching force tends to be older in age, waves of retiring teachers will create demand and more job openings.

Expert Tip: Carnevale said that the private education industry will grow and offer ample prospects to educated teachers. He said that’s because more and more parents are recognizing that a good education is their kids’ best shot at success. Carnevale added that a master’s degree in education is also becoming sought after for many teaching positions.

9. Information Security Analyst

2014 Median Annual Pay: $88,890

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 37 percent

Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field

Sony Pictures, Target, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot and even the U.S. government have all fallen victim to cyber attacks. Maybe that’s why the FBI ranks cybercrime as one of its top law enforcement activities. So if you have the skills to design and carry out security measures that protect an organization’s data and computer networks, you’ve got some green coming your way.

Expert Tip: Heathfield said that being up-to-date in computer languages, technologies and cybersecurity issues is essential here. Companies are looking for the person who is ahead of the attackers, not reacting to them.

10. Paralegal

2014 Median Average Annual Pay: $48,350

Predicted Growth 2012-2022: 17 percent

Minimum Requirements: Associate degree in paralegal studies (or a bachelor’s in any subject) and a paralegal studies certificate.

Let’s face it: America is known as the land of the free, the brave and the highly litigious. And while that might seem like a call to become an attorney, you might want to forego the years of schooling and try paralegal first, said Nancy Tetreaux, a communication and career coach with more than 20 years of experience in human resources. “Many people work their way through law school as a paralegal,” she said, adding that in this field the opportunity for overtime means the potential for high pay.

Expert Tip: Often, it helps to match your skills and experience to the field of law in which a firm practices, said Tetreaux. For instance, if you have solid real estate skills and want to go into law, find a firm that specializes in real estate or estate law.

From GoBankingRates.com: 10 best jobs in 2016 and how you can actually get them

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