Catalina Correa is new to South Florida. She is trading in the law career she had in Colombia for a new one in nursing.
“You can get a job very easily after you graduate,” said Correa.
She even secured her job before she graduated from nursing school at Broward College. She’ll work for Memorial Hospital who gave her $8,000 to pay for her studies in a field she now loves.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Correa.
She’s also excited about the potential money she can make.
“I have a lot of dreams with my family,” said Correa.
NBC6 Responds reviewed census data to find the five fields that earn the most in the sunshine state. Those top paying careers can offer more than just a good paycheck.
The data shows that health professionals and technicians ranked third in salaries statewide.
Broward College says nurses like Correa can start at $50,000 plus and quickly move to six figures with additional education.
“The market actually is very good because of the nursing shortage that we are encountering in the state. They are roughly about 12,000 nurses short of where they should be,” said Nancy Gonzalez, an associate dean for Broward College’s nursing program.
Carlos Ramos is another South Floridian hoping to make a big career change—from maintenance technician to the world of Information Technology.
“Basically, my day consists of plunging toilets,” said Ramos. “If I could, you know, get the skill set needed to be able to manage that data center that would be a dream.”
Also a dream for Ramos: the pay.
A career in computer/mathematics ranked number one for salaries in Florida. Ramos is taking a free coding course with the non-profit, Launchcode.
On average, the graduates Launchcode places in jobs start at $55,000 annually.
Jean Rodriguez landed his first IT job at MasterCard after participating in the program.
“My whole lifestyle changed after I was converted to an employee here after the apprenticeship,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, from Nicaragua, says it’s a dream come true working in Brickell.
“I was able to get my own car. I was able to move to a better place with my family as well,” said Rodriguez.
Companies like MasterCard help sponsor Launchcode to find new talent.
“When we acquire talent they don’t have to be completely plug and play immediately. They are able to come here, bring the skills that they have fostered already externally and continue to grow them here,” said Jennifer Reixach Mohammed who helps recruit talent for MasterCard.
The company not only offers competitive pay to attract new employees—but perks like working from home and assignments all over the world.
“This market is booming with a lot of opportunity,” said Reixach Mohammed.
"In South Florida alone, there's an estimated over 20,000 open tech positions that companies can’t fill," said Lacey Elmange, a managing director with Launchcode.
And Launchcode says all that demand for IT employees means new talent can count on salaries to grow faster than most.
The other fields that rank in the top five for annual median salaries in Florida: management at $57,495 as well as jobs in the life and physical sciences at $49,010 and the legal field at $48,662.