10 Great Careers for Women Who Want a Life

From our exclusive survey: the top 10 careers—with built-in future growth and decent pay—that allow women to have a career and a life.

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Personal Financial Adviser

- Investment Specialist

- Wealth Manager and Planner

Most Earn: $69,050
Top 10% Earn: $166,400

Industry Growth Rate: 30% by 2018

What You’ll Need: A business background. You may also need such licenses as the Series 7 (to sell stocks and bonds) or Series 65 (to charge a fee for your services). Membership in the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors also requires three years of planning experience.

Entrepreneur Opportunities: About 35% are self-employed.


CLICK HERE for what it's like to be a personal financial adviser


- Pharmacy technician
- Clinical coordinator
- Pharmacy services director


Most earn: $106,410
Top 10% earn: $131,440
Industry growth rate: 17% by 2018.

What you'll need: Today all pharmacists graduate with a PharmD degree, which generally takes four years if you already have the undergrad prerequisites in math and science. You'll also need a state license.

Entrepreneur opportunities: Eight percent of female pharmacists are owners or partners in their pharmacies, and a small number are self-employed as consultants. The majority are employed by hospitals, health care plans, retail chains or other companies.

CLICK HERE to find out what's involved with being a pharmacist

Web Professional

- Webmaster
- Network systems and data communication analyst
- Social media creator/coordinator


Most earn: $71,094
Top 10% earn: $119,070
Industry growth rate: A whopping 96% by 2018

What you'll need: A bachelor's degree in technology or computer science and sometimes a master's. You may also need to take continuing education courses.

Entrepreneur opportunities: The majority of Web professionals are self-employed freelancers or consultants.

CLICK HERE to see what being a web professional is all about

Physical & Occupational Therapist

- Speech therapist
- Rehabilitation-services director


Most earn: $66,780 (occupational therapists); $72,790 (physical therapists)
Top 10% earn: $98,310 (OTs); $104,350 (PTs)
Industry growth rate: 26% (OTs); 30% (PTs) by 2018

What you'll need: A master's or clinical doctoral degree from an accredited program (three years); in addition, PTs and OTs must pass national certifying exams.

Entrepreneur opportunities: About 15% of PTs and 28 percent of OTs are self-employed full or part time.


CLICK HERE to learn more about being an OT and PT

Medical Professional

- Dental hygienist
- Home health care nurse
- Physician assistant
- Certified nursing assistant
- Registered nurse


Most earn: $62,450 (RN) to $81,230 (PA)
Top 10% earn: $91,470 (DH) to $110,240 (PA)
Industry growth rate: 22% (nurses), 39% (PAs) and 36% (dental hygienists) by 2018. Subspecialties involving the elderly are growing particularly quickly.

What you'll need:
- Nurses: a BS in nursing (four years), an associate's degree in nursing (two to three years) or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
- PAs: a BS and a master's in health science (MHS, 27 to 36 months).
- Dental hygienists: at minimum, a certificate or degree from an approved dental-hygiene program to work in a private practice; a bachelor's or master's degree may be required for research, teaching or clinical practice.

Entrepreneur opportunities: In 2010 only 3 percent of PAs were self-employed; the rest (along with the majority of nurses and dental hygienists) were employed by hospitals and private practices.

Find out more about being a medical professional HERE


- Auditor
- Government compliance accountant


Most earn: $59,430
Top 10% earn: $102,380
Industry growth rate: 22% by 2018.

What you'll need: Requirements vary by state; most want you to have at least a bachelor's degree (and sometimes a master's) in accounting or a related field. To become a certified public accountant, you may need to pass a licensing exam.

Entrepreneur opportunities: 66% of members of the American Institute of CPAs are sole practitioners; the percentage may be so high because self-employment tends to offer more flexibility than staff positions in larger firms.

GO HERE for more on being an accountant


Most earn: $53,070
Top 10% earn: $106,630
Industry growth rate: 15% by 2018. There is particularly strong growth in online publications, newsletters and websites.

What you'll need: Good Web skills and excellent contacts in your target market.

Entrepreneur opportunities: The majority are self-employed.

CLICK HERE to learn more about starting a career as a writer

Management Analyst

- Management-development consultant
- Human Resources information-systems analyst
- Information specialist


Most earn: $73,570
Top 10% earn: $133,850
Industry growth rate: 24% by 2018

What you'll need: People skills, business expertise and training. Depending on your field, an MBA and/or certified management consultant (CMC) designation (awarded to qualified candidates after six to 12 months by the Institute of Management Consultants USA) may help you get hired.

Entrepreneur opportunities: 73% of management consultants are self-employed or work for small firms of five people or fewer; the rest are employed by large consulting firms, which offer significantly less flexibility.

CLICK HERE for more on beginning a job as a management analyst

Social Worker

- Hospice social worker
- Assisted-living social service director
- Palliative-care social worker


Most earn: $41,880
Top 10% earn: $66,430
Industry growth rate: 16% overall by 2018; almost 20 percent in parts of the field related to mental health and substance abuse

What you'll need: A degree in social work (BSW or MSW; one to three years, depending on the program).

Entrepreneur opportunities: 15% of social workers report operating a solo practice, which offers the most control in terms of schedule and the kinds of clients you specialize in.

Head over to HERE to find out what it takes to be a social worker

Public Relations Specialist

- Public relations consultant
- Publicist


Most earn: $51,280
Top 10% earn: $97,910
Industry growth rate: 24% by 2018; growth is especially strong in advertising, social media, international relations

What you'll need: Top-notch communication skills. The Public Relations Society of America offers a credentialing program, but it's not required for most jobs.

Entrepreneur opportunities: Many publicists spend a few years at a corporate PR firm before starting their own companies.

For more on being a PR specialist, CLICK HERE

How We Did It

Survey From June 16 to June 21, 2011, the Polling Company/WomanTrend (pollingcompany.com) conducted a nationwide online survey of 500 women ages 35 to 60 who have at least a college degree, are employed in a professional job and have an annual household income of at least $60,000 if single or $75,000 if married. Sampling controls ensured that a proportional and representative number of women from different regions, ethnicities and ages were interviewed. Great Careers First, the Polling Company researched professional jobs that paid a median salary of $40,000, had potential for high earnings growth and paid women at least 70 percent of men's salaries. From that list of 70 occupations, researchers winnowed out any job that lacked flexibility, based on descriptions from the Department of Labor and industry websites. Next, researchers eliminated jobs that had less than average (13%) predicted growth in the next 10 years. The resulting list was then ranked.



10 Great Careers: stats, videos and MORE from our 2011 workplace survey



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First Published October 31, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


JoAnne Brickner11.18.2011

Pharmacy technicians do not make the same amount of money as pharmacists. In fact, they are not paid very well at all.

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