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Quickest career paths for earning $1 million

Want to get on the millionaire track? Here's a look at nine jobs in which you can amass $1 million in gross earnings in about a decade, give or take.

Quickest career paths for earning $1 million

You can earn $1 million fast with these jobs.

Think you need to be a doctor or a lawyer to make $1 million? Think again.

A wide variety of jobs can put you on track to becoming a millionaire, including familiar jobs like actuary and airline pilot, and less-familiar ones, like reservoir engineer.

Many of these jobs require only a bachelor's degree, and none demand more than a master's. They do require a certain amount of technical skill, however, and having that skill is what makes people who do these jobs so well-compensated.

"Anything with any kind of a technical background is a good place to go in terms of salary growth," says Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics at online salary database PayScale.com. "The health care industry and the IT industry have been growing tremendously. Those jobs are in high demand now, and that has a strong relationship to pay. The key is that not everyone can do these jobs, so there's not an overabundance of [job candidates]."

Here are some jobs that will have you earning $1 million in 10–12 years. 

Actuary

Actuaries work in insurance companies or brokerage firms and use statistical data to assess the financial risk involved in certain investments or insuring businesses or people.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $131,000 
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's 
  • Years to $1 million: 10

Find actuary jobs on Monster.

Airline pilot, copilot, or flight engineer

Pilots transport people and cargo via aircraft (planes, helicopters, etc.). 

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $127,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 12

Find airline pilot jobs on Monster.

Clinical trial manager

These managers create and execute clinical trials in accordance with current regulations and standards. They also analyze data on the trial results and present their findings in a report.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $112,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 11

Find clinical trial manager jobs on Monster.

Compensation manager

Compensation managers research, create, and maintain a company's pay system. To do this, they must be knowledgeable about employee payment and benefit trends.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $102,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 11

Find compensation manager jobs on Monster.

Data scientist

Data scientists take information (data) and organize, analyze, and interpret it. 

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $112,000
  • Typical degree level: Master's
  • Years to $1 million: 11

Find data scientist jobs on Monster.

Network architect

Network architects design and build data communication networks that meet the needs of a company, whether it's for a few people in an office or thousands of people across the planet.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $116,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 12

Find network architect jobs on Monster.

Petroleum geologist

Similar to reservoir engineers, petroleum geologists determine the location and size of oil and other types of fuel from the land and ocean, and come up with a plan of extraction.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $146,000
  • Typical degree level: Master's
  • Years to $1 million: 10

Find petroleum geologist jobs on Monster.

Reservoir engineer

Using computer modeling and imaging programs, reservoir engineers locate oil and natural gas reserves in underground reservoirs. 

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $137,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 10

Find reservoir engineer jobs on Monster.

Wholesaler, financial services

Whereas retail banking services individuals and small businesses, wholesale banking deals with large companies and institutions with lots of assets and business transactions.

  • Median pay with 15 years’ experience: $144,000
  • Typical degree level: Bachelor's
  • Years to $1 million: 10

Find wholesale banking jobs on Monster.

In a hurry to earn big money? Do this next

Let's face it: Success takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and—you guessed it—time. But as this article shows, certain jobs can earn you more money more quickly than others. Want a good, high-paying job, but don't know where to start? Join Monster today. As a member, you'll get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can waste no time getting a jump on the competition. Additionally, you can upload up to five versions of your resume, which makes you visible to the recruiters that search Monster every day. Why waste time? There's money to be made.

Source: All pay data and comparisons provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Pay is based on total cash compensation, which includes base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings as applicable. Median years of employment to reach $1 million in gross earnings is based on the sum of earnings for each year of experience from entry level upward.


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