What do Lauren Bush's engagement ring, and the Icon CJ3B Army Jeep have in common? They're two of the things you can buy with $80,000. And while most working stiffs can only dream of plunking down that kind of cash -- the median family income in the U.S. brings in only around $50,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) -- there are some career tracks that can bring those luxury visions a little closer to reality.
Here are ten jobs that earn at least $80,000, according to online salary database PayScale.com, all in industries that are expected to grow through 2018.
Median Income: $89,600
The sky's literally the limit if you've always dreamed of flying for a living. According the International Airline Pilots Association, there are many paths to the cockpit but you must have a combination of pilot certificates and ratings, as well as flight experience, and a great attitude. Veterans of the armed services are particularly in demand due to the military's excellent training and the well-rounded education such a background provides. Bonus: the military route won't cost a thing.
Median Income: $88,800
From doctors and nurses, to teachers and statisticians, clinical research professionals can come from a wide variety of careers. Training often happens on the job - including everything from testing drugs, to medical equipment, or other biological products. While breaking into the lucrative field of clinical research does require a Bachelor's degree, pursuing a clinical research curriculum can be done online or through a community college with flexible hours, according to the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCra).
Median Income: $88,700
Public relations professionals take note: if you're passionate about a cause or special interest your skills are perfectly suited to a lobbying firm. Lobbyists can be found on the staffs of corporations, industry trade-organizations, unions, or public interest groups. Lobbyists are employed to help influence legislators in favor of the industries they represent.
Median Income: $88,100
Keeping hackers at bay is just one of the daily challenges IT security architects face on the job. Those who set up, test, and enforce corporate security policies don't have time to get bored. Security needs are ever-changing and an architect needs to be adaptable and keep up with the latest technology. Earning certification via a professional organization such as the SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute will help boost both job and salary prospects.
Median Income: $87,900
There are literally thousands of medications available to help diagnose, prevent, and treat disease. It takes a legion of talented sales people to put those drugs into the hands of health care professionals. However, this high-growth field is competitive, and membership in a professional organization such as the National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives (NAPRx) will help entry-level reps network and learn how to get a leg up in the field.
Median Income: $85,100
The global demand for oil and gas continues unabated. It is possible to enter the field with only a high school diploma as a roughneck or roustabout, and train on-the-job, or for college students to secure an internship or part-time employment as an assistant drillers. Either way, the opportunity for promotions is great for self-motivated, diligent workers.
Median Income: $84,000
You won't have to master the martial arts, but you will have to pass a number of exams on your way to obtaining a Six Sigma Black Belt. This business management strategy is used in a variety of industries from education and government, to healthcare and manufacturing, as a standard of quality to improve processes. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers an internationally-recognized certification track that can help you stand out from the competition, not to mention improve your project management skills.
Median Income: $82,700
With increasing demand for natural and home-based childbirth, certified nurse midwives provide a holistic approach to delivering babies, working both with obstetricians as well as on their own. But their work doesn't stop with childbirth. Midwives can provide continuing care and counseling to women of all ages, according to the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). Most are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program, and are certified by the ACNM.
Median Income: $81,400
There are many types of auditing managers but for most thier responsabilites include evaluating and manageing their organizations's risk, as well as the ethics and values within their organization, according to the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Financial auditors analyze and communicate financial information and can be found working for various entities such as companies or individual clients, as well as federal, state, and local governments.
Median Income: $80,000
Helping businesses save money by streamlining processes for manufacturing and delivering goods has become increasingly important during the recession. In addition to a bachelor's degree, candidates who earn certification in production and inventory management, offered by such organizations as the Association for Operations Management (APICS), will stack the hiring odds in their favor by mastering resource and strategic planning, scheduling, and production operations.
Next:10 Jobs that Pay $50 per Hour
Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are a range from the 50th to 90th percentile of hourly salaries for workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.