Climbing The Business Ladder: Top Positions and Salaries Depending on Your Degree

This is a guest post by Diane Fenning, a student of the Social Sciences College at SFSU, with a special interest in studying social media trends, organizational psychology and statistics

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There is no guarantee everyone is going to climb the business ladder and make it to the top. But these tips and hacks are designed to help you get ahead in your industry depending on your degree.

How The Business Ladder Looks for the Different Levels of Education

  • High School Education

One of the few openings for those without a degree is Administrative Assistant, who perform clerical and organizational duties in the office. Average annual pay is $36,500.

Tip: Acting as a professional can help establish you as a professional. Showing up on time and well prepared for the day speaks volumes for your work ethic.

The Administrative Services Manager position can be achieved after years of hard work.  You will be responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating the support services where you work. Average annual pay is $86,110.

  • Associate’s Degree

Some who start with an associate degree gain entry-level as a Computer Support Specialist where you assist other staff with hardware and software. Average annual pay is $51,470

Tip: Having a strong work ethic can sometimes make up for inadequate schooling, be sure to hold yourself as well as your co-workers accountable for their own actions as recommended by Fox Business.

Before you know it, you may be moving up to become a Network and Computer Systems Administrator which typically requires a bachelor’s degree and involves the maintenance of computer systems and networks. Average annual pay is $77,810.

Tip: When you are ready to move up, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and go for it. Letting your boss know that you are after that promotion can help you move toward your goals.

What’s at the top of the business ladder here? Computer Network Architect is the final position available after 5 to 10 years experience in their field, those who excel at IT are now creating and building data communication networks. Average annual pay is $100,240.

  • Bachelor’s Degree

The entry-level position for those with a bachelor degree is Human Resources Specialist. Recruiting, interviewing and team building are tasks the human resource specialist are often faced with. Average annual pay is $58,350

Hack: Try telling a story during your interview. Choose one that illustrates how qualified you are, highlights your problem-solving abilities and shows off your positive attitude.

The next step up the ladder is to Human Resources Manager, where you will plan, direct and coordinate a business’ administrative functions. Average annual pay is  $104,440.

Hack: Business-Management-Degree.net recommends a degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources to increase the likelihood of landing the human resources manager position. An edge in education can help you beat out competition for the position and possibly land the job earlier than anticipated and with more money.

Competing with candidates with a master’s degree, sometimes a bachelor’s is enough to become a Compensation and Benefits Manager, where you will determine how much employees are paid and what benefits they may receive. Average annual pay is $111,430.

  • Master’s Degree

Training and Development Managers are often required to have at least five years work experience in addition to a master’s degree. The job entails planning, directing and coordinating programs which enhance and improve the skills of other employees. Average annual pay is $102,640.

Tip: Dress for the job you want, rather than the one you have. Also, be sure to smile and sit or stand up straight to boost your own confidence and wow those around you..

The next rung on the master’s degree’s business ladder is the position of Sales Manager, where you direct your business’ sales team. Average annual pay for this job is $113,860.

Hack: It’s entirely normal to have a setback or failure along the way. Be sure to learn from your experiences and evaluate the situations to improve your chances of success in the future.

An Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Manager‘s job is to plan programs which generate interest in the company’s products or services. Some may be comfortable here, but your master’s degree and experience mean almost any executive position can be yours. Average annual pay is $124,850.

And here’s a great infographic by the guys at Business Management Degree on climbing the business ladder.

What do you think? What does it take to make it to the top of the business ladder in your industry?

See also:

Business Ideas for College Students
College Degrees with The Highest Starting Salaries
Make Money Doing Something on The Side

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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