“What are you going to be when you grow up?” It’s the standard question kids get from the time they are able to converse. The answer, though they don’t have any way of knowing it, will make a huge difference in their lives.
Used to be most boys opted for jobs as firemen or star-quality quarterbacks. Girls for a long time were limited to teaching and nursing. Now there are dozens of job options for children of either gender and preparation for them runs the gamut, from high school education through years of graduate work. Likewise, the income they can expect has a wide range. The tales of high school dropouts who made fantastic fortunes are few and far between.
Career Preparation Begins In Elementary School
Experts can reasonably predict how successful a child is going to be based on performance in grades K-12, although, of course, there are exceptions. Many job opportunities are sidelined along the way, placed off-limits to children who don’t see the connection between education and the future in the job market. A serious approach to the foundation years of education will help a child and the support and guidance of parents can make a huge difference. Ideally, however, children should be advised that money is not the only reward for work. Satisfaction in the activity a child chooses to pursue is as important as what they can earn.
The More Education The Greater The Earnings
Logically, a child needs to know that the more education they get, the broader the range of jobs they will qualify for and the greater their earnings will be. If they don’t finish high school, for example, the jobs that are available include such things as waitressing, farm work, fast food preparation, custodial jobs or highway maintenance, will pay from $1,583 to $2,500, according to standard listings.
A high school diploma will generally offer entry into such jobs as bank teller, construction, data entry, child care, military, travel agent and others. The pay range is $2,049 per month to $3,494.
A vocational degree (two years or less of post-high school education) in fields such as auto mechanic, cosmetologist, machinist, plumber, welder, etc., increases the range from $2,040 to $3,666.
A two-year associate degree ups the ante. Jobs such as dental hygienist, office manager, paralegal, nurse or real estate agent are opened up., with pay ranging from $3,205 to $5,759.
A bachelor’s degree is required for accountants, teachers, elementary teachers, flight attendants, social workers, marketing managers, news reporters, graphic designers, meteorologists and many other professional jobs. Pay ranges from $3,154 to $7,859.
A master’s degree prepares secondary teachers, physical therapists, psychologists, engineers, guidance counselors, librarians and speech pathologists and other specialized fields, with pay from $4,479 to $7,318.
The step up to a professional degree is required for college professors, dentists, lawyers, optometrists, pharmacists, veterinarians, etc. The pay ranges from $4,500 to $12,645.
Medical degrees take several years of very expensive training beyond a bachelor’s degree, but the wages are commensurately higher, beginning at an average of $14,500 for a pediatrician to $15,246 for a general practitioner.
There are, obviously, dozens of variables that enter into the equation, but the general truth is that the better, highest-paying jobs go to those who are educationally prepared.