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High-Paying Jobs for Your Personality Type

Selena Dehne, JIST Publishing

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Consider how many times you've heard yourself or someone you know say something such as, "I really love my job, but I wish I made a lot more money" or "I make a ton of money, but I'd give it all up for a job I actually liked."

Sound familiar? That's because many people in the world of work are still struggling to achieve it all: financial abundance and meaningful work. When searching for jobs and defining their career goals, people often underestimate the value of both high pay and enjoyable work activities. This misstep prompts many to sacrifice one for the other, which may lead them into jobs they'll someday dream about quitting.

"The truth is people can have a job they love and make a lot of money doing it," says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D. In his new book "250 Best-Paying Jobs" he encourages people who want a high-wage job to consider their personality type when exploring their options.

"Your personality type not only predicts how well your skills will match the demands of the work tasks in a particular job; it also predicts how well you will fit in with the culture of the work site as shaped by the people who will surround you and interact with you," he explains. "Thus your personality type affects your satisfaction with the job, your productivity in it and the likelihood that you will persist in this type of work."

Below Shatkin briefly explains each of the RIASEC personality types, which are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Then, he identifies some of the best high-paying jobs suited for them.

Realistic personalities

According to Shatkin, people with realistic personalities "enjoy work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They also like dealing with plants, animals and real-world materials such as wood, tools and machinery. Often the best occupations for realistic people are the ones that do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others."


  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
    Median annual earnings: $166,400+
    Percent growth: 9.1 percent*
    Average annual openings: 400

  • Airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers
    Median annual earnings: $111,680
    Percent growth: 12.9 percent
    Average annual openings: 4,073

  • Civil engineers
    Median annual earnings: $74,600
    Percent growth: 18 percent
    Average annual openings: 15,979


Investigative personalities

"Investigative people love working with ideas and thrive in jobs that require an extensive amount of thinking," Shatkin says. "They enjoy activities that let them search for facts and figure out problems mentally."



  • Orthodontists
    Median annual earnings: $166,400+
    Percent growth: 9.2 percent
    Average annual openings: 479

  • Physicians and surgeons
    Median annual earnings: $166,400+
    Percent growth: 14.2 percent
    Average annual openings: 38,027

  • Petroleum engineers
    Median annual earnings: $108,020
    Percent growth: 5.2 percent
    Average annual openings: 1,016


Artistic personalities

"Often, artistic people are best-suited for jobs that involve working with forms, designs and patterns," Shatkin says. "These people require self-expression and work that can be done without a clear set of rules."


  • Art directors
    Median annual earnings: $76,980
    Percent growth: 9 percent
    Average annual openings: 9,719

  • Architects, except landscape and naval
    Median annual earnings: $70,320
    Percent growth: 17.7 percent
    Average annual openings: 11,324

  • Technical writers
    Median annual earnings: $61,620
    Percent growth: 19.5 percent
    Average annual openings: 7,498


Social personalities
According to Shatkin, social people enjoy working with, communicating with and teaching people. "They generally get the most fulfillment from occupations that involve helping or providing service to others," he adds.


  • Law teachers,  post-secondary
    Median annual earnings: $93,210
    Percent growth: 22.9 percent
    Average annual openings: 2,169

  • Physician assistants
    Median annual earnings: $81,230
    Percent growth: 27 percent
    Average annual openings: 7,147

  • Radiation therapists
    Median annual earnings: $72,910
    Percent growth: 24.8 percent
    Average annual openings: 1,461


Enterprising personalities

"People with an enterprising personality type like starting up and carrying out projects, leading people and making many decisions," Shatkin says. "Taking risks and dealing with business matters is exciting to them."


  • Chief executives
    Median annual earnings: $158,560
    Percent growth: 2 percent
    Average annual openings: 21,209  

  • Engineering managers
    Median annual earnings: $115,270
    Percent growth: 7.3 percent
    Average annual openings: 7,404

  • Lawyers
    Median annual earnings: $110,590
    Percent growth: 11 percent
    Average annual openings: 49,445



Conventional personalities

"If you enjoy setting procedures, establishing routines and working with data and details much more than ideas, you may have a conventional personality type," Shatkin says.


  • Actuaries
    Median annual earnings:  $84,810
    Percent growth: 23.7 percent
    Average annual openings: 3,245

  • Computer systems analysts
    Median annual earnings:  $75,500
    Percent growth: 29 percent
    Average annual openings: 63,166  

  • Financial analysts
    Median annual earnings: $73,150
    Percent growth: 33.8 percent
    Average annual openings: 29,317


*Percent growth based in projections through 2016.

Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog (http://jistjobsearchandcareer.blogspot.com/). Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SelenaDehne.



Last Updated: 12/07/2010 - 9:58 AM


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