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Diamonds in The Rough: Top Ten Surprisingly Lucrative Jobs

Many lists have been compiled to list the top-ten highest paying jobs, the top-ten most-in-demand jobs, etc.. One such list was compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce American Community. Based on a survey in 2009-2012, they concluded that the highest earners were engineering professionals, and among them, it was the graduate degree holders who averaged annual salaries of $100,000 and more. Graduate degree holders in computer science and mathematics earned average annual salaries of $91,000 while graduate degree holders in Science/Physics earned $87,000 annually. These figures were more or less expected, taking into consideration the job market of recent times.

Now, Forbes has come out with some surprising conclusions of its own after a thorough analysis of The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 data. According to its analysis, there were some pretty unexpected professions that gave earnings well above $100,000, at least as far as the top 10% of such professions were concerned. One such profession to make the Forbes top-ten list of surprisingly high paying jobs was that of funeral service managers, the top 10% raking in above $140,740 each every year. The mean annual income of funeral service managers was a hefty $79,930. The total number of people so employed was 9,130. New York State pays the most for their services.

Other careers to make it on the list were captains, mates, and pilots of river and seagoing vessels, the top 10% of whom earn over $125,930 each annually. The mean annual income of captains, mates, and pilots wasn’t too bad either: $73,760. Writers and authors, most surprisingly, made it to the list as well, with the top 10% earning over $117, 860 each annually. The mean annual income for writers and authors was $68,420 per year. The total number of fully employed writers and authors was a respectable 41,990, and California, it seemed, pays the best salaries. This leads one to assume that Silicon Valley needs a lot of content writers and, yes, content is still king!

Another quite surprising high paying job was that of postsecondary home economics teachers with each of the top 10% earning $109,370 and above every year. The total employed number was, however, only 4,700. The mean annual income for postsecondary home economics teachers was $68,260. Film and video editors also earned good money, with the top 10% each getting over $119,250 every year. Here too, California was the place to be, paying the highest salaries. The mean annual income for film and video editors stood at $64,060 while the total number of such professionals employed stood at 21,500.

Now, here’s another job that’s a surprising top-ten entry: elevator installers and repairers. The top 10% each earned $106,450 and above annually, while the mean annual income of elevator installers and repairers was a high $74,140. Massachusetts paid the best salaries and the total number employed in 2012 was 19,700.

Also, the top 10% of makeup artists involved in theater and performances, earned over $117,720 each annually, with New York, obviously, being the state to pay the highest salaries. Mean annual income of makeup artists stood at $67,580, but there weren’t that many working full time, only 1,950. Now, here’s another surprising entry to the top-ten list of surprisingly high paying jobs in America: gaming managers. The top 10% collected over $113,600 each annually with the mean annual income for gaming managers being a respectable $71,390. The total number employed stood at 4,490, and guess which state paid the best salaries for gaming managers? New Mexico.

The Forbes list of surprisingly high paying jobs also includes that of loan officers, the top 10% of whom earned above $119,710 each in 2012. Actually, considering the really high number of loan officers employed in 2012 – 286,670 – and the substantial mean annual income of loan officers – $70, 350 – one can say that this is one job that should top the list. Again, New York State paid the highest salaries to such professionals.

Transport inspectors, the top 10% of whom also earned over $100,000 each in 2012 ($111,780), are also on the Forbes list of surprisingly high paying jobs. The mean annual income of transport inspectors was $66,470 and 24,310 of them were employed in the year gone by. Alaska paid the best salaries to these professionals.

Another profession to make the Forbes top ten list of surprisingly high paying jobs was that of postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers, with pay packets of over $125,440 waltzing their way to the bank accounts of the top 10% in the field. The mean annual income of postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers was a solid $73,340 and while New York State, as expected, paid the highest salaries, the number of such teachers was also pretty high at 92,570.

How To Relate To The Student Loan Rate Debate

In Congress, a heated debate rages on regarding proposed changes for the student loan interest rate. College students across the U.S. will undoubtedly be impacted by the changes which could several thousand pupils across the country plunge into a spiral of debt. From July 1, 2013 new loans may fluctuate with the current market, where as before loans were locked in at 3.4 percent and Stafford loans had the approval of the US government, meaning if the student could not complete that loan, the lender would still get reimbursed through government funding.

This did not apply to all loans, just the Stafford loan program, as reported in the article in Life Hacker. It was back in May that a bill in the House of Representatives was approved that would see loan rates go higher than they were before (July 1) and that the rates would be subject to fluctuation. This means that in the future loans can get much more expensive, but also allows them to become cheaper. If the loans did become cheaper that would spell good news for students, but not so good news for the government who would not get the sort of returns if would have hoped for.

As things stand at the moment interest rates can fluctuate as the market sees fit. Although undergraduate rates will be locked in at 3.86 percent and graduate rates fixed at 5.41 percent, this still represents a much higher figure than the 3.4 percent students enjoyed on their loans before July 1. It now means that any student wishing to take out a loan would have to check each year with their bank what the current market rate of interest is on their student loan.

It is worth pointing out that if you are already a student and have graduated following completion of your course, you will be unaffected. There is no change to rates proposed on a loan you are in the middle of paying off right now. Students who are still at college or university will however have to check what future loan rates will be – they can now fluctuate with the market.

A New Revolution in Adult Education: Seven Trends

Teaching methods for adult education have to be quite different from education given to traditional learners. This is because adult learners are intrinsically different from traditional learners, and in addition, a bit more complex.

According to a study conducted some two decades back:

“Most adults can successfully apply themselves to new learning experiences. If learning in the past was successful, the return to a learning environment is comfortable. There are, however, many adults for whom learning was always difficult, and for whom traditional methods of education only bred failure and frustration. These adults, once termed ‘lazy’ or ‘dumb’ may, in reality, have learning problems, information processing problems that make learning by traditional methods virtually impossible. The adult with learning problems is difficult to retain as a student, either in a traditional classroom or in a learning center. The lifelong learning movement and the back-to-school boom is only doom for these special learners…The National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education Committee on Adults with Exceptional Learning Problems developed the following definition: Adults with exceptional learning problems have a disorder, or disorders, in one or more of the basic processes involved in learning. These include difficulties in selective attention, information processing, memory retention and retrieval, utilization of feedback and carrying out intentions.”

(Study: Adult learning problems: insights, instruction, and implications, Laura Peitz Weise, London City Schools London, Ohio, 1980)

It is clear from the above quote that not all adults can make do with the same type of learning techniques; and, in fact, with an ever increasing number of adults today opting to get an education, or finish one that has remained unfinished, adult learning has become somewhat of a specialized field now. However, no matter how many different techniques there might be in teaching methods, one thing holds true: there are certain characteristics that are common to all adult learners – at least those who do not suffer from special problems as described in the passage above. Let’s see what these commonalities are.

First of all, all adults have some type of experience that sets them apart from traditional learners. How does this impact learning? Well, their experience gives them more knowledge on some subjects and so they want to have more hands-on rather than merely theoretical frame of reference. This also implies teaching methods for adult education should be more project-oriented.

Secondly, all adults have certain prejudices, opinions, and principles that have developed through time and experience. These can be pretty hard-set, and so teaching methods for adults require the concerned teachers to give this fact due consideration and show respect for their pupils’ views.

Thirdly, all adults who go back to get an education can be judged to be self-driven and quite highly motivated. The very fact that they are going back to learning again after years of working and looking after family means that they have a burning desire to better their lives through education. This necessitates teaching methods for adult education to be focused on the adult learners’ particular needs so that they do not feel aggravated at losing precious time learning things they don’t really need.

Fourthly, adult learners will invariably have differences in their intellectual levels, these levels being influenced by lifetime experiences as well as their work backgrounds and the socio-economic conditions they come from. Individual personalities too, are of course something to be considered since there is not much chance now of “molding” as is usually the case, with traditional learners. That is why strategies in teaching adult education have to be more customized to the adult students’ needs, experiences, and personalities. This obviously makes adult education more complex.

Fifth, all adult learners will usually wish to learn in an environment that is open and participatory rather than unnecessarily regulated. This is naturally because adults are, well, adults after all. So, teaching methods in adult education can do without “lecturing” and “preaching” too much, and instead, should be inclusive so that learners get to participate actively.

Another thing that is common among all adult learners is that they are all generally taking up education again as just one part of their already busy working lives and with families to look after. This means that they might not always be as fresh and peppy as traditional students are. In other words, adult learners are under a bit of stress and slightly fatigued when learning. This is why teaching methods for adult education have to be pretty interesting to wake them up. The onus is clearly on the quality of teachers then who have to be ingenuous in their ways of teaching to create enthusiasm among their, more or less, exhausted adult learners.

Lastly, most adult learners are initially short on confidence when restarting their education. This could be due to various factors like the fear of failure, the fear of looking foolish, the anxiety that they may be too old to learn new things (including technology), the fear that they may not be able to go the whole distance due to other pressing issues like family, work, and social obligations, etc. That is why teaching methods in adult education have to have certain well-planned strategies to overcome these obstacles, obstacles that could very well result in failure both for the adult student and the teacher. These strategies involve the development of an inclusive environment, one in which there is a feeling of positivity, meaning, and participation. The goal is of course to give adult learners due respect for their experiences and opinions and shore up their confidence levels so that they do not give up.

All said and done, teaching methods in adult education indeed require a quite different approach from traditional teaching methods.

Shiru’s Dream: A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

Shiru Hassan has an associate degree in nursing and she works in a hospital in Miami. She works nights. She is also working towards getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This, she is doing through an online course. Life is tough, no doubt.

She came to the U.S. some 15 years ago and initially worked for some time in as many as three jobs at a time. Sometimes, it was all a bit overwhelming, but she really had no other recourse than to manage everything somehow. Her struggle settling down in the U.S. makes her exclaim: “People think that the streets of America are littered with dollars just waiting to be picked up; if only they knew the truth! It’s hard just to survive.”    

Shiru’s lucky break came when she gained admission to a community college to study for an associate’s degree in nursing. Although she had done a three-year degree course in humanities back in her original country, her high school studies in science subjects came to her rescue and made it possible for her to study nursing. After working for three years as a nurse, the realization dawned on her that she would have to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing if she wanted to better her life. She is willing to make the necessary sacrifices. This of course does not entail that she stop working; she needs her present job desperately, but she is ready to give whatever time is needed to complete her bachelor’s degree course. She considers it really great that she can do an online course for her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

She comes home from work at around seven in the morning and resisting the temptation to return to bed, has a hearty breakfast, then sits down at her computer to log on to her online course in nursing. She goes over the remarks of her tutor on work submitted the day before, and then looks at the projects for the day. She needs to write down her opinions on many of the threads on the discussion forums, and she has to explain why she agrees or disagrees with the opinions of her fellow classmates. To do so, first she has to pour over the subjects under discussion (online as well as in her textbooks) and gain a better understanding of the issues. It takes some time, and although she’s feeling really, really, tired, she keeps going after work, a mug of black coffee by her side. An hour and a half later, she’s finally finished for the day and takes to bed for much needed sleep.

Shiru has been following this routine for quite some time now, and if it weren’t for the two-day break she gets every week, she probably wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure. However, she gets a lot of satisfaction that she’s already finished a substantial part of her course and is well on the way to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her weekly examinations have gone well for the most part, with her scoring pretty high marks in most subjects. Some of the subjects are philosophical in nature, and in these, she has found out that it is important to have a good command of the language so that one can communicate well and be lucid in stating one’s views. 

She dreams of the day she will walk up to the stage to receive her degree along with the nursing pin along with other fellow nurses, and this dream is what keeps her going day after day, night after night, studying towards her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Is Online Education For You?

Online education has come to the rescue of thousands of individuals who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to welcome a new ray of hope in their lives. There are countless people who are having a difficult time coping with increased needs and rising costs in a labor market that refuses to expand job-wise. There are many who have to look after their families with whatever little they are earning in their present jobs. These jobs were probably below expectation for two reasons: one, jobs are few and far between nowadays; and two, their own qualifications, or the lack thereof, being a severely limiting factor.

There is growing realization that one can expand one’s horizons only by gaining new qualifications and skills – qualifications and skills that have more chances of getting an individual more gainful employment. As an answer to this dilemma, today there are numerous institutions offering degrees and certificates through online education that are accredited by the appropriate authorities. Certainly, accredited online education has become a boon to busy Americans, but it is not limited to those in the U.S. International students too can reap rich benefits from online education. 

Whatever the student’s nationality, online education incurs fewer expenses than attending a brick and mortar college. International students taking online education get to save considerably on lodging and boarding expenses. Some may harbor doubts that an online education is not real education. Well, perish the thought. Today, millions of students are enrolled in online courses and working towards attaining their certificates and degrees in a subject of their choice without attending college. What’s more, international students do not have to go through the harrowing and expensive visa application process and purchase air tickets at considerable cost. They can take U.S. courses while staying in their own countries. Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? However, before embarking on an online education from an accredited American university conducting an online education program, here are some things you need to keep in mind:

First of all, it’s the reputation of the online education program that you have to verify. How do you go about doing this? Do extensive research on the university in question. There will probably be many discussion forums as well as other sites where students talk about their experiences. Ask questions on such sites, dig deeper. Accreditation is of course what is most important – the university has to be one that is recognized so that the degree you earn will have mileage later on when looking for a job or when pursuing still higher studies. The U.S. Department of Higher Education and the Council for Higher Accreditation (CHEA) are responsible for giving recognition to accrediting bodies which can be regional or national. Although national accreditation bodies have obviously a wider purview, regional accreditation bodies have more intimate knowledge about the region under their jurisdiction. To put your mind at rest, both are equally respected.

The second thing that you must give consideration to while opting for an online education program is the presence of an adequate support system. Ensure that virtual support will always be on hand when required so that your journey towards an online degree is not interrupted. Naturally, technology that assures a help desk around the clock is vital since you have to make considerations for different time zones. This help desk must also be always available to provide you with tutoring services and personalized guidance. In online education, technology providing 24/7 services is also essential because you’ll be interacting continuously with fellow online students and you’ll be participating in virtual student groups to discuss and debate on common academic subjects being taught. This is all part of online education programs, often, you will have to express your own opinions on issues and comment on others’ opinions as well. It’s all an ongoing process, so 24/7 services are crucial.

The third thing you should look for is whether you can transfer your work later on. This is important because, often, many international students like to earn credits from online education in the beginning, and later, may want to get a degree from another institution. If such is the case with you, and online education is only a stepping stone, then make sure that your credits are transferable to other online education programs or at traditional brick and mortar campuses. There are some online education programs that could permit you to take exams to earn credits. If you are opting for this way to earn some credits, then do ensure that the tests you complete for credit are acceptable at other colleges – otherwise you’ll be wasting money.

The fourth thing to consider when choosing an online education program is to firstly make sure you understand what your own academic needs are and then only go forth. While it is true that online education is very similar to traditional education as far as course work, exams, and reviews are concerned, online education requires a certain amount of discipline and determination. You have to have a high degree of motivation as well to stay the course since you won’t be having any fellow students or teachers around you to make sure you do. Self-direction and self-discipline are what you need to be equipped with if you are to be successful in completing an online education program.