Best Careers for Problem Solvers

Stan T.


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  1. Urologists
  2. What they do

    They diagnose, treat, and help prevent benign and malignant medical and surgical disorders of the genitourinary system and the renal glands.

    • Diagnose or treat diseases or disorders of genitourinary organs and tracts including erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, incontinence, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, urethral stones, or premature ejaculation.
    • Document or review patients' histories.
    • Order and interpret the results of diagnostic tests, such as prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening, to detect prostate cancer.
    • Perform abdominal, pelvic, or retroperitoneal surgeries.

    How much they make

    $203880

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  3. Lawyers
  4. What they do

    They represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

    • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
    • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
    • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges, and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
    • Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.

    How much they make

    $144230

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  5. Physicists
  6. What they do

    They conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

    • Perform complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers.
    • Direct testing and monitoring of contamination of radioactive equipment, and recording of personnel and plant area radiation exposure data.
    • Describe and express observations and conclusions in mathematical terms.
    • Analyze data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.

    How much they make

    $125280

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  7. Air Traffic Controllers
  8. What they do

    They control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.

    • Inform pilots about nearby planes or potentially hazardous conditions, such as weather, speed and direction of wind, or visibility problems.
    • Issue landing and take-off authorizations or instructions.
    • Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.
    • Provide flight path changes or directions to emergency landing fields for pilots traveling in bad weather or in emergency situations.

    How much they make

    $120830

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  9. Aerospace Engineers
  10. What they do

    They perform engineering duties in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.

    • Formulate mathematical models or other methods of computer analysis to develop, evaluate, or modify design, according to customer engineering requirements.
    • Plan or conduct experimental, environmental, operational, or stress tests on models or prototypes of aircraft or aerospace systems or equipment.
    • Formulate conceptual design of aeronautical or aerospace products or systems to meet customer requirements or conform to environmental regulations.
    • Plan or coordinate investigation and resolution of customers' reports of technical problems with aircraft or aerospace vehicles.

    How much they make

    $117100

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  11. Actuaries
  12. What they do

    They analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. May ascertain insurance rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

    • Ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves and liabilities necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.
    • Design, review and help administer insurance, annuity and pension plans, determining financial soundness and calculating premiums.
    • Determine or help determine company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public.
    • Provide advice to clients on a contract basis, working as a consultant.

    How much they make

    $116250

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  13. Chemical Engineers
  14. What they do

    They design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

    • Monitor and analyze data from processes and experiments.
    • Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to ongoing chemical reactions.
    • Develop processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents, using controlled chemical processes.
    • Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes.

    How much they make

    $114470

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  15. Manufacturing Engineers
  16. What they do

    They design, integrate, or improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.

    • Troubleshoot new or existing product problems involving designs, materials, or processes.
    • Investigate or resolve operational problems, such as material use variances or bottlenecks.
    • Identify opportunities or implement changes to improve manufacturing processes or products or to reduce costs, using knowledge of fabrication processes, tooling and production equipment, assembly methods, quality control standards, or product design, materials and parts.
    • Apply continuous improvement methods such as lean manufacturing to enhance manufacturing quality, reliability, or cost-effectiveness.

    How much they make

    $99410

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  17. Mining and Geological Engineers
  18. What they do

    They conduct sub-surface surveys to identify the characteristics of potential land or mining development sites. May specify the ground support systems, processes and equipment for safe, economical, and environmentally sound extraction or underground construction activities. May inspect areas for unsafe geological conditions, equipment, and working conditions. May design, implement, and coordinate mine safety programs.

    • Prepare technical reports for use by mining, engineering, and management personnel.
    • Inspect mining areas for unsafe structures, equipment, and working conditions.
    • Test air to detect toxic gases and recommend measures to remove them, such as installation of ventilation shafts.
    • Select or develop mineral location, extraction, and production methods, based on factors such as safety, cost, and deposit characteristics.

    How much they make

    $98420

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  19. Biomedical Engineers
  20. What they do

    They apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.

    • Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment, and procedures, using the principles of engineering and biobehavioral sciences.
    • Conduct research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals.
    • Manage teams of engineers by creating schedules, tracking inventory, creating and using budgets, and overseeing contract obligations and deadlines.
    • Adapt or design computer hardware or software for medical science uses.

    How much they make

    $95090

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  21. Automotive Engineers
  22. What they do

    They develop new or improved designs for vehicle structural members, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems, using computer-assisted design technology. Direct building, modification, or testing of vehicle or components.

    • Conduct or direct system-level automotive testing.
    • Conduct automotive design reviews.
    • Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
    • Provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.

    How much they make

    $92800

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  23. Operations Research Analysts
  24. What they do

    They formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, service, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

    • Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
    • Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
    • Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
    • Present the results of mathematical modeling and data analysis to management or other end users.

    How much they make

    $88350

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  25. Transportation Planners
  26. What they do

    They prepare studies for proposed transportation projects. Gather, compile, and analyze data. Study the use and operation of transportation systems. Develop transportation models or simulations.

    • Recommend transportation system improvements or projects, based on economic, population, land-use, or traffic projections.
    • Define regional or local transportation planning problems or priorities.
    • Participate in public meetings or hearings to explain planning proposals, to gather feedback from those affected by projects, or to achieve consensus on project designs.
    • Design transportation surveys to identify areas of public concern.

    How much they make

    $85750

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  27. Clinical Psychologists
  28. What they do

    They diagnose or evaluate mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests, and formulate and administer programs of treatment.

    • Interact with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, or vocational development and adjustment.
    • Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, or reference materials.
    • Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, or play therapy.
    • Counsel individuals and groups regarding problems, such as stress, substance abuse, or family situations, to modify behavior or to improve personal, social, or vocational adjustment.

    How much they make

    $85340

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  29. Police Detectives
  30. What they do

    They conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

    • Provide testimony as a witness in court.
    • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
    • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
    • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival.

    How much they make

    $85020

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  31. Criminal Investigators
  32. What they do

    They investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

    • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
    • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
    • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.
    • Investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and other violations of federal or state statutes.

    How much they make

    $85020

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  33. Emergency Management Directors
  34. What they do

    They plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities, provide disaster preparedness training, and prepare emergency plans and procedures for natural (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), wartime, or technological (e.g., nuclear power plant emergencies or hazardous materials spills) disasters or hostage situations.

    • Keep informed of activities or changes that could affect the likelihood of an emergency, as well as those that could affect response efforts and details of plan implementation.
    • Prepare emergency situation status reports that describe response and recovery efforts, needs, and preliminary damage assessments.
    • Prepare plans that outline operating procedures to be used in response to disasters or emergencies, such as hurricanes, nuclear accidents, and terrorist attacks, and in recovery from these events.
    • Coordinate disaster response or crisis management activities, such as ordering evacuations, opening public shelters, and implementing special needs plans and programs.

    How much they make

    $82570

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  35. Epidemiologists
  36. What they do

    They investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. May develop the means for prevention and control.

    • Oversee public health programs, including statistical analysis, health care planning, surveillance systems, and public health improvement.
    • Plan and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease.
    • Provide expertise in the design, management and evaluation of study protocols and health status questionnaires, sample selection, and analysis.
    • Monitor and report incidents of infectious diseases to local and state health agencies.

    How much they make

    $75690

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  37. Soil and Plant Scientists
  38. What they do

    They conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

    • Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
    • Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
    • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
    • Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.

    How much they make

    $70630

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  39. Marriage and Family Therapists
  40. What they do

    They diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

    • Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
    • Counsel clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, or financial difficulties.
    • Encourage individuals and family members to develop and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.
    • Maintain case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.

    How much they make

    $54150

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