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Online Mountaineer: Inside the Online Classroom

High-Paying Jobs of the Future That You Can Get with an Online Degree

May 27, 2021


WVU MBA speaker in front of an audience.


It may interest you to know that the highest paying jobs of the future will be found in the business, technology, communications, and health care fields.

“Anything that involves tech-based foundations is really growing right now,” says Cagla Celik, a career development specialist at the WVU Career Services Center. “For instance, some of the hot careers we are seeing include cybersecurity, information systems management, marketing and sales, accounting, financial management, information technology, and data analytics.”

Kellyn Smith, Director of the John Chambers College Center for Career Development at WVU, says that rapid changes coming in the future include major increases in working remotely and in the use of technology and artificial intelligence in a variety of industries.

“Adaptability is the key,” she said. “Therefore, it’s important to be resourceful, as more organizations seek candidates virtually across a variety of geographic locations.”

Wondering what specific jobs will be hot in the next five years? Check out this list of high-paying jobs on the horizon, along with WVU Online degrees that will prepare you to be a competitive candidate:


Computer & Information Systems Manager | Median Salary: $146,360

Male professor standing in front of a chalkboard.

You will coordinate daily operations and project activities for an organization, in fields such as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.

WVU Online degrees: Business Cybersecurity Management M.S.; Business Data Analytics M.S.


Financial Manager | Median Salary: $129,890

Young, male financial manager working on a laptop.

These managers plan and direct accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of an organization, while establishing and maintaining relationships with individual or business customers.

WVU Online degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA); Healthcare MBA; Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration; Economics M.S.; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: General Business.


Human Resources Manager | Median Salary: $116,720

WVU human resources manager standing in front of the Flying WV logo.

Human resource managers direct the human resources activities and staff of an organization, serving as a link between management and employees by handling questions, interpreting and administering contracts, and helping resolve work-related problems.

WVU Online degrees: Health Administration MHA, Healthcare MBA ; Master of Business Administration (MBA); Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration; Communication Studies M.A.; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: General Business.


Marketing Manager | Median Salary: $136,850

Two co-workers in front of a projection screen.

You will coordinate marketing policies and programs, while determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors and identifying potential customers. Your goal will be to maximize the firm’s share of the market and ensuring that customers are satisfied.

WVU Online degrees: Data Marketing Communications M.S.; Digital Marketing Communications M.S.; Integrated Marketing Communications M.S.; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Marketing; Integrated Marketing B.S.


Medical & Health Services Manager | Median Salary: $100,980

A doctor and a business man walking down a hallway.

These managers direct medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, or similar organizations, developing and maintaining computerized record management systems to coordinate data.

WVU Online degrees: Health Administration MHA; Master of Business Administration (MBA); Healthcare MBA; Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration; Legal Studies M.L.S.; Nursing Doctor of Philosophy.


Nurse Midwife | Median Salary: $105,030

Pregnant woman getting examined.

You will diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a healthcare team, and may provide well-woman gynecological care as well. Nurse midwives must have specialized, graduate nursing education.

WVU Online degrees: Nursing R.N. to B.S.N.; Master of Science in Nursing; Doctorate of Nursing Practice; Nursing Doctor of Philosophy.


Nurse Practitioner | Median Salary: $109,820

Female nursing student at West Virginia University.

Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. They also order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests and may prescribe medication. For this job, you must be a registered nurse with a specialized graduate education.

WVU Online degrees: Master of Science in Nursing; Doctorate of Nursing Practice; Nursing Doctor of Philosophy.


Public Relations Manager | Median Salary: $116,180

Female public relations manager speaking from a podium.

These professionals plan, direct, or coordinate activities designed to create or maintain a favorable public image or raise issue awareness for their organization or client. You will work as part of a team to develop internal and external communications.

WVU Online degrees: Integrated Marketing M.S.; Data Marketing Communications M.S.; Digital Marketing Communications M.S.; Communications Studies M.S.; Integrated Marketing B.S.; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Marketing.


Software Developer | Median Salary: $107,510

Young man working with computer codes and software.

You will research, design, and develop computer and network software or specialized utility programs. Software developers analyze user needs and develop software solutions, applying principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.

WVU Online degrees: Software Engineering Master’s Degree (M.S.S.E.)


Training & Development Manager | Median Salary: $113,350

Female professor standing in front of her class.

You will coordinate the training and development activities and staff of an organization, analyzing needs and developing new training programs or modifying and improving existing programs. This will require having expertise with various training methods.

WVU Online degrees: Industrial Design and Technology M.A., Master of Business Administration (MBA), Healthcare MBA, Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration, Health Administration MHA, Higher Education Administration M.A., Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: General Business


Does all this have you wondering what takes to get one of these high-paying jobs?

Often, a master’s degree or higher is necessary for these highly competitive and challenging positions, along with a several years’ previous experience or a proven track record in a related occupation, as well as professional certifications.

If that seems like a lot, take it one step at a time.

“First of all, building or leveraging a strong professional network is crucial,” says Sarah Glenn, associate director of the John Chambers College Center for Career Development.

“Start this right now. As you advance within your career, your technology competencies are important, but your leadership skills will likely open the door for more promotions over other teammates with similar technical skills.”

She says it is no longer enough to stay current in your own role. Most importantly, you need to actively manage your growth by anticipating the technical skills and core competencies that employers will demand in future talent.

“Therefore, the skills you will need vary, but leadership skills—the ability to motivate and drive performance within your team—are very important. You will need the ability to make data-driven decisions, as well as keen agility – the ability to anticipate and pivot quickly, but thoughtfully.”

“After that, stay up-to-date on trends and market factors that are impacting your industry (or future industry) so that you can be intentional about which skills you seek to learn.”

“This means that each student needs to consider his or her own strengths and interests. From there, take a deep dive into the growth projections and career outcomes of various programs.”

Smith agrees and adds that upskilling and self-learning continue to be important in a remote work environment.

Celik recommends that students do major- or industry-specific research to identify skills and qualifications required in their chosen field.

“Then be proactive and strive to gain the skills and qualifications you need, not only in a classroom setting, but also outside the classroom by attending training programs, working towards certifications and credentials, and learning how to use important tools and software in your field,” she said.

In conclusion, all three WVU career services professionals agreed on one thing: all students, whether they are freshmen or working professionals returning to grad school, need to meet with Career Services—in-person or remotely— as soon as possible.

In some instances, Glenn said, these meetings should take place prior to enrolling in a particular program, to ensure that you are asking yourself the right questions, such as: “What factors should I consider when exploring a graduate school?” Or, “What is my personal motivation and how strong is the market demand for my chosen field?’”

Smith says online students should meet with Career Services at the beginning of their degree program, especially if they are seeking a career change or a new opportunity.

Celik agrees: “The sooner the better!”


Want to get started?

If you want to advance in your current career or prepare for a future career in a high-paying job, here’s how you can get started right now on the path to achieve your goals:

  • First, check out college-specific or University-side career centers.
  • Then go to LinkedIn and your alumni networks. WVU offers WVU Connect to all alumni.
  • Also, be sure to find professionals and trade associations with great industry reputations. For example, human resources professionals should read and follow https://www.shrm.org/.
  • Don’t forget to connect with faculty! Students who are working professionals should take part in internal networking at their current organizations.

For more information:

Source for job information: O*NET Online, US News & World Report


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