Career Fields
Career Fields

Career Fields

A career field is a method of classifying a specific industry or group of job titles.

It is a term that you will often see on recruitment websites as a search option, which allows you to choose between accounting and finance, education, or health and medicine, for instance.

Knowing the career field you want to work in can often be the first step you take in deciding upon a career path.

Why Is It Helpful to Know the Career Fields?

You may have a basic idea of the job you would like to do or the skills you would like to use, but knowing the career field you want to work in can provide you with a greater level of focus.

For instance, you are interested in a customer-facing role because you have excellent people skills. This could translate to a job in any of the recognized career fields.

However, the fact that you also have a head for math and calculations narrows down your job search to a smaller number of career fields, like banking and finance, sales, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

This greater focus makes it easier to map out a career path and begin a job search.

Still undecided on what career interests you? Read 10 Key Tips for Career Planning.

What Different Career Fields Are There?

There are many career fields to consider when deciding on your career path, but here are 20 to get you started:

1. Accounting, Banking and Finance

This extensive career field includes job titles such as accountant, investment banker and financial advisor.

This is a highly competitive field to enter and build a successful career in, and includes roles at all levels, from entry to executive.

Example degrees:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business administration (including economics)

Employers in this career field:

Average salaries:

  • Accountant: $54,097
  • Investment banker: $81,964
  • Financial advisor: $69,494

Considering accounting for a career? Read The Big Four Accounting Firms.

2. Agriculture, Farming and Food

This career field includes farming, fisheries, forestry, natural resources and the production of food from those sources.

Job titles in this career field include agricultural engineer, farmer and soil/plant scientist.

This is again an extensive career sector covering roles varying from manual unskilled and skilled to administrative, scientific and executive levels.

Example degrees:

  • Agricultural engineering
  • Animal sciences
  • Food science
  • Technology

Employers in this career field:

  • ACGO
  • The Mosaic Company
  • Perdue Farms
  • Seaboard Corporation
  • CF Industries Holdings
  • Dole Food Company
  • Fresh Del Monte Produce
  • Monsanto
  • Fig
  • Monarch Tractor

Average salaries:

  • Agricultural engineer: $71,108
  • Farmer or rancher: $43,446
  • Soil/plant scientist: $63,200

3. Architecture and Construction

This career field covers the whole construction cycle from design and research to building and ongoing alterations and repairs.

Job titles include architect, construction manager and civil engineer.

Example degrees:

Employers in this career field:

  • Gensler
  • Perkins and Will
  • HDR
  • Bechtel
  • Fluor Corporation
  • Turner Corporation
  • Skanska USA
  • Kiewit Corporation
  • Jacobs Engineering Group

Average salaries:

  • Architect: $108,213
  • Construction manager: $78,449
  • Civil engineer: $87,222

4. Arts, Culture and Entertainment

Covering a diverse range of artistic endeavors such as theater, music, art and cultural sites, like museums.

This career field includes job titles such as music producer, graphic designer and actor.

Example degrees:

  • Music
  • Graphic design
  • Performing arts

Employers in this career field:

  • New York City Ballet
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Columbia Pictures
  • Universal Pictures
  • Pentagram Graphic Design
  • Warner Music Group
  • Sony Music
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Broadway Theatre

Average salaries:

  • Music producer: $34,454
  • Graphic designer: $48,537
  • Actor: $57,857

5. Business, Management and Administration

Straddling many industries, this career sector ranges across roles at all levels, from junior entry positions to high-flying C-suite roles.

Job titles include human resources manager, executive assistant and business development manager.

Example degrees:

  • Human resources management
  • Business administration
  • Business economics

Employers in this career field:

Average salaries:

  • Human resources manager: $71,185
  • Executive assistant: $54,234
  • Business development manager: $72,122

6. Customer Service and Sales

This career field includes mainly customer-facing roles and ranges from junior, entry-level roles to executive positions.

Job titles include regional sales manager, real estate sales agent and customer service representative.

Example degrees:

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Communications

Customer service and sales roles are present across all industries and it is therefore difficult to list companies specifically for this sector.

Average salaries:

  • Regional sales manager: $84,158
  • Real estate sales agent: $88,643
  • Customer service representative: $32,282

7. Communications

The communications career field covers all aspects of message delivery, from an event to advertising, journalism or, in certain cases, books.

Typical job titles include copywriter, journalist and public relations specialist.

Example degrees:

  • Journalism
  • Marketing
  • Public relations

Employers in this career field:

  • Communications Strategy Group (CSG)
  • Bateman Group
  • Merritt Group
  • Idea Grove
  • 10 To 1 Public Relations
  • USA Today
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times
  • Good Housekeeping Magazine
  • National Geographic Magazine

Average salaries:

  • Copywriter: $58,910
  • Journalist: $52,241
  • PR specialist: $55,249

8. Computer Technology

As computing technology develops at an increasing rate, the number of jobs in this career sector increases too.

Job titles include software developer, computer network architect and database administrator.

Computer technology roles touch on almost every industry.

Example degrees:

  • Computer science
  • Software engineering
  • Mathematics

Employers in this career field:

  • Microsoft
  • Adobe Systems
  • Oracle Corp
  • IBM
  • Sony
  • Nintendo
  • Activision Blizzard
  • Amazon

Average salaries:

  • Software developer: $107,510
  • Computer network architect: $109,020
  • Database administrator: $93,750

Graduated with a computer science degree and not sure what to do next? Read Top 10 Jobs for Computer Science Majors.

9. Education and Training

This career field stretches across schools, college and university education, as well as workplace training too.

Typical job titles include teacher, professor and principal.

Example degrees:

  • Education
  • The subject you wish to teach
  • Education administration

Typical places of work within this career field include:

  • Schools – elementary, middle and high
  • Colleges and universities
  • Technical and vocational educational establishments

Education and training professionals may also carry out training in the workplace or in the community.

Average salaries:

  • High school teacher: $60,320
  • College mathematics professor: $103,479
  • School principal: $109,301

10. Environment

This career field involves the conservation and enhancement of the environment. It is often referred to as if it is a recent development, but has in fact been with us for decades.

However, with a growing interest in green jobs in response to our current climate challenges, this is a career field that is growing in complexity and opportunity.

Job titles include energy auditor, marine biologist and urban planner.

Example degrees:

  • Environmental science
  • Conservation biology
  • Urban ecology

Employers in this career field:

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Langan Engineering and Environmental Services
  • Partner Engineering and Science
  • First Solar Inc.
  • SunPower Corp
  • Tesla Energy Operations
  • NextEra Energy
  • Brookfield Renewable Partners
  • Renewable Energy Group Inc.

Average salaries:

  • Energy auditor: $48,765
  • Marine biologist: $63,420
  • Urban planner: $73,050

Interested in working in this career field? Read How to Find Green Jobs.

A Guide to 20 Career Fields
A Guide to 20 Career Fields

11. Government and Military

This career field is made up of employment within the government, whether on a local, state or federal basis, and working for the military forces.

Many of the job titles linked to other career fields can be performed in the service of the government, so relevant job titles are too wide-ranging to list here.

However, sources for employment in the sector would include:

  • The US Government
  • Your local and state US Government offices
  • US Army
  • US Navy
  • US Air Force
  • US Marine Corps
  • US Space Force
  • US Coast Guard
  • US National Guard

12. Health and Medical

This is a wide-ranging career field but all jobs in this sector are concerned with healing and maintaining the health of the country’s population and our pets/livestock.

Typical job titles include doctor, dentist and psychiatrist.

To work as a doctor in the US, it is necessary to have a relevant four-year bachelor’s degree, followed by four years’ study at medical school, and you must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

The path into dentistry is a similar format to that of a doctor. Other healthcare-related degrees include psychology, nursing and healthcare administration.

Sources of employment in this career field include:

  • Hospitals
  • Dental surgeries
  • Psychiatry practices
  • Veterinary surgeries
  • Manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceutical drugs
  • Other organizations that provide healthcare and healthcare advice

Average salaries:

  • Doctor: $182,575
  • Dentist: $161,840
  • Psychiatrist: $218,450

13. Hospitality, Travel and Tourism

This career field includes jobs in hotels, restaurants, bars, events venues and the wide-ranging aspects of tourism and holiday provision.

Typical job titles include travel agent, chef and hotel manager.

Example degrees:

  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Hospitality management
  • Culinary arts

Employers in this career field:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Artisans of Leisure
  • Best Western Hotels
  • Marriott International
  • Carlson Companies
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Starbucks
  • Darden Restaurants Inc.
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  • Hard Rock International

Average salaries:

  • Travel agent: $61,300
  • Chef: $48,697
  • Hotel manager: $57,920

14. Installation, Maintenance and Repair

The type of jobs included in this career field generally require a high level of specialized technical knowledge and skills. This is a wide-ranging area of employment and is prevalent across all industries.

Job titles in this sector include car mechanic, plumber and electrician.

Example training:

  • Associate degree/certificate of completion in automotive service technology
  • Associate degree/certificate/apprenticeship in plumbing
  • Electrical technician course

Employers in this career field:

  • Subaru of America
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
  • General Motors
  • Mercedes-Benz US International
  • Quanta Services
  • EMCOR Group Inc.
  • MasTec
  • MDU Construction Services
  • Rosendin Electric
  • NextEra Energy

Average salaries:

  • Car mechanic: $40,397
  • Plumber: $58,262
  • Electrician: $49,632

15. Law, Public Policy, Enforcement and Safety

This career sector covers a variety of employment areas, from policing and legal justice to working in politics, for the government, or independent think tanks and non-profit organizations.

Job titles include firefighter, lawyer and sheriff.

Example degrees:

  • Fire science
  • Law
  • Criminal justice

Employers in this career field:

  • Local, state or federal government
  • US Police Force
  • US Fire and Rescue Services
  • US Border Patrol
  • US Coast Guard
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • O'Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Clifford Chance US LLP

Average salaries:

  • Firefighter: $47,878
  • Lawyer: $167,955
  • Sheriff: $110,422

16. Manufacturing and Production

This career field covers the making of new products and the supporting roles that assist in that process.

You may be involved in the manufacture of machinery or the production of high-end jewelry.

Typical job titles include carpenter, industrial engineering technician and drafter.

Example degrees:

  • Industrial engineering
  • Carpentry
  • Applied science in drafting

US employers in this career field:

  • Microsoft
  • Boeing Co
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • Ford Motor Co
  • Apple
  • Stryker
  • JM Family Enterprises
  • W. L. Gore & Associates
  • Arthrex

Average salaries:

  • Carpenter: $57,236
  • Industrial engineering technician: $48,115
  • Drafter: $50,937

17. Media and Broadcast

This career field includes careers in TV, film, news reporting and radio. The range of jobs available within this sector is immense.

Typical job titles include TV producer, camera operator and animator.

Example degrees:

Employers in this career field:

  • Comcast Corp
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Charter Communications Inc.
  • ViacomCBS
  • Netflix Inc.
  • Columbia Pictures
  • Universal Pictures
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times

Average salaries:

  • TV producer: $65,663
  • Camera operator: $42,005
  • Animator: $63,603

18. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

This is an immense career field, combining four areas of employment that are each extensive in their own right.

Job titles include microbiologist, engineer and architect.

Example degrees:

  • Microbiology
  • Industrial engineering
  • Architecture

US employers in this career field:

  • Merck & Co.
  • Pfizer
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Apple
  • Regeneron
  • Incyte
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • BMW Group
  • Intel

Average salaries:

  • Microbiologist: $48,398
  • Engineer: $70,012
  • Architect: $83,621

If you are studying a degree in engineering, you may want to read What Are the Key Career Paths for Engineering Graduates?.

19. Social, Charity and Community Service

This career sector involves employment through charities and jobs that seek to help individuals and communities in need.

This field includes job titles such as marriage therapist, school counsellor and sociologist.

Example degrees:

Employment in this career field will generally be found through your local social and community care services, educational establishments, and hospitals.

Charities may offer volunteering opportunities, but there are many paid charity roles too.

Average salaries:

  • Marriage therapist: $56,359
  • School counsellor: $55,412
  • Sociologist: $86,110

20. Transport and Distribution

This career field is all about moving products or people from one place to another. It includes driving jobs but also all the support roles that enable transport and distribution too.

Job titles include air traffic controller, commercial pilot and logistics analyst.

Example training:

  • Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI)
  • Commercial pilot certificate
  • Degree in business analytics

US employers in this career field:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • DHL Supply Chain North America (Exel)
  • Americold
  • Ryder Supply Chain Solutions
  • Geodis North America
  • FedEx Supply Chain
  • Lineage Logistics
  • Kenco Logistic Services LLC (KLS)

Average salaries:

  • Air traffic controller: $79,488
  • Commercial pilot: $139,401
  • Logistics analyst: $71,300

Final Thoughts

As you have seen from the 20 career fields described above, there is always a level of overlap between different employment sectors, but knowing which career field you are interested in is often an excellent place to begin your career search.

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