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The Highest-Paying Skills for 100-Plus Jobs

Want a fatter paycheck? For every industry, and every job title, there are specific skills that correlate with richer compensation. But for most workers, the first challenge is knowing which skills will pay off for them.

To that end, MONEY worked with compensation data and software company to identify exactly which three abilities deliver the greatest pay premium for 130 different professional jobs—from nuclear engineer to bank teller.

These skills correlate with as much as a 35% pay differential for some occupations — holding constant such factors as job title, experience, age, and location. That top premium goes to a credit analyst who knows SAS software; other big bumps go to market research analysts and survey researchers who know financial modeling (28.2% for both), or CEOs with a mastery of mergers and acquisitions (25.7%).

Even if most skills offer a more modest reward — 5% to 10%, on average — that's still more than the typical 2% annual cost-of-living raise most people get. So if you're looking for a way to ratchet up your own pay, scan the following list for your job title, and see which new abilities could propel you higher.

To see full coverage of MONEY's Best Career Skills 2016, click here.

OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Accountant/AuditorForensic Accounting7.9%
Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Audit6.7%
Statistical Analysis4.2%
Financial Modeling3.4%
Administrative Services ManagerData Analysis13.9%
SEC Experience9.0%
Payroll Tax Compliance8.7%
Advertising and Promotions ManagerContract Negotiation6.8%
Strategic Sales6.7%
Strategy Development6.2%
Advertising Sales AgentMedia / Public Relations2.1%
Strategic Marketing2.0%
Project Management1.0%
Aerospace EngineersAeros7.6%
Agricultural/Food ScientistSales7.4%
Product Development1.8%
Data Analysis1.0%
Aircraft Pilot/ Flight EngineerTest Engineering0.9%
Operations Management0.9%
Safety Compliance0.4%
Software Architecture6.5%
Green Building6.4%
Architectural/ Engineering ManagerSoftware Architecture12.4%
Software Development Management11.8%
Astronomer/ PhysicistRadiation Therapy10.8%
Research Analysis2.8%
Medical Physics2.6%
Biological ScientistResearch Analysis5.5%
Quality Assurance / Quality Control4.2%
Data Analysis3.7%
Biological TechnicianProtein Purification5.3%
Quality Assurance / Quality Control0.9%
Biomedical EngineerClinical Research12.2%
Clinical Education7.9%
Bookkeeping, Accounting, or Auditing ClerkReconciliation8.3%
Month-End Close7.9%
Financial Analysis5.0%
Brokerage ClerkMicrosoft Excel13.0%
Client Interaction11.6%
Microsoft Office10.4%
Budget AnalystData Analysis4.4%
Budget Management3.3%
Financial Analysis3.3%
Buyer / Purchasing AgentProduct Development7.0%
Strategic Planning5.7%
Contract Negotiation5.7%
Chemical EngineerBusiness Development9.0%
Data Analysis5.8%
Chemical TechnicianTechnical Analysis1.7%
Data Analysis1.3%
Research Analysis1.2%
Chemist / Materials ScientistProject Management9.0%
Process Improvement5.9%
Product Development5.7%
Chief ExecutiveMergers and Acquisitions25.7%
Strategic Sales22.2%
Change Management18.7%
Civil EngineerProlog9.6%
Business Development6.3%
Claims Adjuster / Appraiser / Examiner / InvestigatorVerbal Communication9.3%
Construction Estimating7.7%
Complex Litigation Case Management7.1%
ClergyPeople Management3.3%
Bereavement Counseling2.0%
Patient Counseling1.3%
OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Clinical Laboratory Technologist / TechnicianBudget Management7.1%
Medical Terminology5.3%
GMP Compliance4.6%
Compensation and Benefits ManagerADP Payroll System8.2%
Payroll Tax Compliance7.5%
Compensation, Benefits, or Job Analysis SpecialistPayroll Tax Compliance10.4%
ADP Human Resources System7.5%
401k Plan Administration6.7%
Compliance OfficerData Analysis3.6%
Research Analysis3.5%
Project Management3.5%
Computer and Information AnalystBig Data Analytics11.8%
IBM WebSphere10.1%
Computer and Information Research ScientistMachine Learning6.2%
Big Data Analytics3.5%
Computer and Information Systems ManagerBig Data Analytics18.9%
Service Oriented Architecture15.7%
Data Modeling15.2%
Computer Control Programmer / OperatorEngineering Design12.1%
Computer Aided Drafting & Design5.3%
Computer Hardware EngineerSystem Administration10.3%
Engineering Design, Semiconductor6.2%
Microsoft Active Directory6.1%
Computer OperatorUNIX5.3%
Construction and Building InspectorCommercial Building Inspection5.2%
Household or Property Inspection4.8%
Windows Operating System General Use3.2%
Construction ManagerPrimavera P613.7%
Cost EstimatorFinancial Analysis5.6%
Contractor Management4.6%
Data Analysis4.5%
CounselorSpanish Language8.1%
Functional Analysis6.6%
Program Management6.1%
Credit AnalystStatistical Analysis System35%
Financial Modeling11%
Credit Counselor / Loan OfficersCommercial Loans7.4%
Financial Analysis3.7%
Mortgage Loans3.4%
Database and Systems Administrator / Network ArchitectCisco UCCE/IPCC20.8%
Software Development17.3%
Dental HygienistClinical Education6.4%
Software Knowledge5.1%
DentistOral Surgery10.8%
Medicine / Surgery5.8%
Public Health0.2%
DesignerAutodesk AliasStudio9.0%
NX Unigraphics8.4%
OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Desktop PublisherAdobe Illustrator3.7%
Adobe Photoshop3.2%
Technical Writing2.1%
Detective / Criminal InvestigatorGeographic Information Systems6.4%
Forensic Interviewing4.8%
Signals Intelligence4.6%
Diagnostic Related Technologist or TechnicianObstetrics9.7%
Interventional Radiology4.0%
Dietitian / NutritionistTraining9.2%
Diabetes Educator2.9%
Nutrition Support1.7%
AutoCAD MEP6.0%
Autodesk Revit Structure5.9%
EconomistPolicy Analysis5.5%
Data Modeling5.0%
Statistical Analysis2.5%
Education AdministratorStrategic Marketing7.7%
Operations Management4.6%
Strategic Planning3.7%
Electrical or Electronics EngineerInstrument Control6.4%
Engineering Design, Semiconductor6.2%
AutoCAD MEP5.9%
Elementary or Middle School TeacherSpanish Language3.4%
Curriculum Planning1.9%
Childhood Education1.3%
Engineering TechnicianC (programming language)14.1%
Industrial Hydraulics10.3%
Distributed Control Systems9.7%
Environmental EngineerTitle V Permitting14.6%
Windows Operating System General Use2.4%
Project Management2.4%
Environmental Scientist / GeoscientistData Modeling3.7%
Regulatory Compliance2.3%
Project Management2.3%
Farmer / Rancher / Agricultural ManagerBudget Management13.2%
Operations Management8.6%
Machine Operation0.6%
Financial Analyst / AdvisorValuation9.0%
Due Diligence8.7%
Market Research8.1%
Financial ExaminerFinancial Applications7.8%
Anti-Money Laundering6.4%
Microsoft Word3.7%
Financial ManagerBusiness Strategy14.0%
Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Audit13.1%
Sarbanes-Oxley Knowledge10.4%
First-Line Supervisor of Office and Administrative Support WorkersFacility Maintenance & Coordination15.8%
Process Improvement15.7%
Contract Management12.1%
First-Line Supervisor of Sales WorkersProfit & Loss Statements12.3%
Budget Management6.8%
Human Resources6.6%
General or Operations ManagerField Sales18.2%
Mergers and Acquisitions16.0%
Tax Consulting14.0%
Health Practitioner Support Technologist or TechnicianOncology8.1%
Open Heart5.7%
Long-Term Care4.3%
OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Health Teacher (Postsecondary)Critical Care5.2%
Emergency Room3.2%
Clinical Education2.6%
Human Resources ManagerStrategy11.0%
Change Management10.8%
Applicant Tracking System9.0%
Human Resources WorkerLegal Compliance14.7%
Payroll Tax Compliance10.5%
Strategic Planning9.7%
Industrial EngineerChemical Process Engineering17.0%
Operations Management6.6%
Industrial Production ManagerSix Sigma Black Belt11.3%
Six Sigma Green Belt8.7%
Engineering Design7.9%
Instructional CoordinatorDesign3.6%
Training Program Development2.5%
Articulate - E-Learning Software2.4%
Insurance Sales AgentField Sales14.3%
Account Sales2.6%
Lawyer or Judicial Law ClerkMergers and Acquisitions23.8%
Tax Compliance9.8%
LibrarianLegal Research10.5%
Budget Management3.9%
Operations Management1.6%
Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational NurseNursery6.8%
Intensive Care Unit4.1%
LogisticianProject Management6.5%
Logistics Support Analysis6.0%
SAP Enterprise Resource Planning5.7%
Management AnalystBig Data Analytics17.7%
Mergers and Acquisitions16.7%
Market Research Analyst or Marketing SpecialistFinancial Modeling28.2%
R (programming language)16.5%
Tableau Software13.6
Marketing or Sales ManagerSoftware as a Service11.8%
Vendor Management10.3%
Materials EngineerRobotic Welding4.2%
Manufacturing Process Engineering3.7%
Material Science3.4%
Mechanical EngineerSCADA6.1%
Medical or Health Services ManagerBusiness Development12.2%
Six Sigma Black Belt9.3%
Medical Records and Health Information TechnicianMicrosoft Excel7.3%
Data Analysis5.2%
Microsoft Office4.9%
Medical ScientistOncology9.1%
Molecular Biology6.1%
Generalist Duties5.8%
Medical, Dental, or Ophthalmic Laboratory TechnicianWound Care2.8%
OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Meeting, Convention, or Event PlannerStrategic Marketing9.4%
Project Management6.1%
Budget Management6.0%
Natural Sciences ManagerEngineering Design8.0%
Technical Writing5.9%
Problem Solving4.0%
News Analyst, Reporter or CorrespondentFinancial Reporting10.6%
Video Editing1.8%
Social Media Optimization0.7%
Nuclear EngineerProject Management5.6%
Engineering Design3.6%
Technical Analysis2.5%
Nurse AnesthetistObstetrics9.1%
Obstetrical Anesthesia6.2%
Nurse PractitionerEmergency Room6.9%
Pain Management4.1%
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist or TechnicianRisk Management / Risk Control5.2%
Regulatory Compliance4.7%
Microsoft Word3.8%
Operations Research AnalystR (programming language)11.9%
Automation Scripting10.0%
Statistical Analysis System9.1%
Paralegal or Legal AssistantProsecution10.8%
Data Analysis10.7%
Concordance Discovery Management Software10.6%
Petroleum EngineerMicrosoft Excel7.8%
Well Production Engineering6.3%
PharmacistOperations Management6.4%
Critical Care3.8%
Physician AssistantEmergency Medicine9.4%
General Surgery5.6%
Physician or SurgeonObstetrics17.8%
Critical Care15.8%
Emergency Medicine12.9%
Medicine / Surgery1.7%
Wound Care1.6%
Property, Real Estate, or Community Association ManagerFinancial Analysis8.6%
Budget Management6.4%
PsychologistHealth and Wellness6.3%
Pain Management5.0%
Clinical Supervision3.3%
Public Relations or Fundraising ManagerStrategic Planning6.7%
Corporate Communications4.5%
Purchasing ManagerBusiness Analysis10.7%
Product Development10.2%
Strategic Planning8.7%
Real Estate Broker or Sales AgentProperty Management4.3%
Customer Relations1.5%
Leasing Software1.3%
Registered NurseTrauma Intensive Care Unit4.7%
Open Heart4.4%
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit3.9%
Sales EngineerIT Security & Infrastructure22.2%
Cisco Networking15.5%
Field Sales9.1%
Sales Representative (Wholesale and Manufacturing)Strategic Planning10.1%
Financial Analysis10.0%
Business Analysis8.0%
Secondary School TeacherLeadership3.2%
Information Technology Support2.7%
Secretary or Administrative AssistantEvent Management12.3%
Information Technology Support11.9%
Benefits Administration8.7%
Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales AgentInvestment Management11.2%
Financial Analysis5.4%
Business Development2.8%
Social or Community Service ManagerClinical Supervision8.4%
Budget Management7.5%
OccupationTop 3 Skills/SpecialtiesPay Boost
Social WorkerUtilization Review18.1%
Hospice Care14.4%
SociologistResearch Analysis5.5%
Legislative Policy4.4%
Policy Analysis3.5%
Software Developer or ProgrammerMachine Learning25.2%
Algorithm Development18.9%
Statistical AssistantPL/SQL13.7%
Financial Modeling12.3%
R (programming language)11.8%
StatisticianData Modeling7.9%
Data Mining / Data Warehouse5.0%
Survey ResearcherFinancial Modeling28.2%
R (programming language)16.5%
Tableau Software13.6%
Surveying or Mapping TechnicianComputer Aided Drafting & Design5.1%
Global Positioning Systems4.7%
Surveyor, Cartographer, or PhotogrammetristsAutoCAD Civil 3D4.8%
Global Positioning Systems2.6%
Land Surveying2.5%
Tax Examiner, Collector or Preparer, or Revenue AgentLegal Research9.1%
Tax Consulting3.2%
Teacher AssistantSpanish Language3.2%
Curriculum Planning1.3%
Activities for Children0.1%
Television, Video, or Motion Picture Camera Operator or EditorAdobe InDesign8.5%
Project Management5.0%
Microsoft Office2.0%
TellerAccount Sales11.0%
Sales Management8.6%
Operations Management5.8%
Home Care3.2%
Home Health / Home Care2.7%
Training and Development ManagerStrategic Planning13.1%
Change Management8.9%
Training and Development SpecialistClinical Education14.4%
Project Coordinating6.8%
Leave of Absence Administration6.6%
Transportation, Storage, or Distribution ManagerSAP Materials Management10.1%
Risk Management / Risk Control6.3%
Budget Management5.8%
Urban or Regional PlannerProject Management6.5%
Adobe InDesign4.7%
Graphic Design3.7%
Emergency Medicine4.3%
Writer or EditorAdvertising6.5%
Strategic Marketing5.5%
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. MONEY may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

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