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For women looking to make the big bucks when they get out of college, landing a job in STEM, healthcare, or law may be the way to go.  

Some women already have their career path mapped out and their dream job doesn’t entail math or science, but for those still trying to figure out what career would best suit them, let’s take a closer look at some higher-paying jobs for women.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top money-making positions for women include health occupations, management, and law jobs.

1. S.T.E.M.

By 2018, there could be more than 8.6 million STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers. Most positions in these fields are currently held by men, but that’s quickly changing.

According to Forbes, 17% of chemical engineers and 22% of environmental scientists are women. Women also make up around 45% of mathematicians and statisticians and 47% of life scientists.

On average, college graduates with a STEM degree earn about $65,000 annually. A recent study by Georgetown University concluded that engineering and architecture majors are now holding the highest return on investment, maintaining a median annual salary of $50,000 within the first three years after graduating.

Someone with a non-STEM degree makes about $15,500 less, according to the Department of Education. Students studying math or science in college have a higher employment rate and salary than other majors after graduation.

The drive to encourage female and minority students to pursue occupations in science, technology, engineering, and math is still alive and well. Addressing equal pay is a great place to start.

2. Healthcare

Another industry that lies at the core of our economy is healthcare, a field where women are well represented, especially for occupational therapists and dental hygienists. Women not only make up the majority of the workforce in these two professions, but they are also two of the highest projected growth fields in healthcare over the next eight years.

You don’t need to become a doctor to make excellent money. Nursing jobs continue to be on the rise.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions for registered nurses are expected to increase 16 percent by 2024, creating 439,300 new jobs for qualified applicants. This is good news for those pursuing nursing, even though these jobs will be competitive.

The demand for more nurses, a field still dominated by women, also creates the need for more nursing programs, especially when brick and mortar schools are not an option for many students. Successful colleges around the country are adding online programs to its healthcare-focused academics. This has led to more career opportunities for women. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts a 17 percent increase in health care administrator positions by 2024 because of the Baby Boomer growth surge. In 2015, the average health care administrator earned $100,000.

3. Law

Women makeup 40% of lawyers and earn about $86,000 a year on average. In Forbes’ annual ranking of the best-paying jobs for women, the position of lawyer ranked 14th in 2015 and third in 2016. U.S. News has said the job market for lawyers has improved in recent years and 74,800 jobs will need to be filled by 2022.

The bad news is an average student leaves with over $100,000 in debt from law school and there’s no guarantee of a six-figure salary.

Women are graduating from U.S. colleges at a faster rate than men, but are still earning only 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Closing the gender gap will continue to be an important issue of whether women are taking on the higher-paying jobs or not.


Written By
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism. She currently writes about a variety of topics, including mental and physical health, wellness, business and education. She loves endurance mountain biking and running. Find her on Twitter.

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