5 of the Hardest Career Fields to Break Into


In this day and age, simply finding any job can be a challenge, but others require much more experience and knowledge.

Some of these difficult career fields require advanced degrees, high GPAs, several prerequisites, or they simply have low employment rates. Take a look and see why these five are a challenge to break into.

Financial Manager

Financial managers ensure that an organization’s finances stay healthy by implementing strategies, creating financial reports and directing investments.

In addition to needing a bachelor’s degree, financial managers also need at least five years of experience in a related field. However, master’s degrees, as well as specialized skills in accounting and economics, are more desired by companies.

The reason becoming a financial manager is so tough is because of the time and effort employees put into their work. Most managers work full-time for long hours and need a specific set of abilities and traits; they need to be highly analytical, be skilled in communication and mathematics, and must possess an excellent attention to detail.

They must have a complex understanding of balance sheets, cash-flow statements, and other financial matters – not just in America, but often on an international level. The job involves a lot of stress and meticulous work because organizations and lower-level employees rely heavily on their advice and decisions.

Financial managers make an average of $109,740 per year.


There are many different types of engineering jobs in a variety of industries, including aerospace, mechanical, chemical, and computer hardware. What they all have in common is that they require a significant amount of work and brain power.

Engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and college programs usually include courses in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and advanced calculus. They require hours of studying and memorizing formulas. Besides the heavy course load, most schools don’t allow students to graduate without an extremely high GPA.

Despite the myth surrounding the shortage of engineers, employment grows slower than the average rate for all occupations. Mechanical engineers have a projected growth rate of 5%, aerospace 7%, and electrical 4%. These figures come from a recent cutback of 35,000 electrical engineering jobs in 2014.

Engineering salaries vary; they range from $52,990 to $149,120.

Senior Executive Service

Members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) control and supervise almost every Federal government activity. They serve as a link between top Presidential employees and the remaining federal workforce.

Positions are usually available to agency managers or senior executives who have great public service skills and government knowledge. Employees are selected based on their ability to become true leaders and form alliances with state, local and foreign governments.

The application process is quite difficult. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management provides two selection methods: accomplishment-record and resume-based. While accomplishment-record involves submitting a resume, narratives, and attending structured interviews, resume-based requires only a resume and an optional cover letter. The demands of the position require that applicants choose very carefully how to present themselves in their resumes.

SES members have a minimum pay of $120,749 and a maximum of $181,500.

Mathematical Technician

Mathematical technicians apply formulas and methods to projects, research objectives, equipment, and products developed by engineers and scientists.

Most of their knowledge consists of using computers to process information and boiling complicated data down to understandable terms for scientists. In short, they deal with data that even engineers need help interpreting. They typically need a master’s degree before they can start any kind of work.

Landing this job is extremely difficult because there are only 1,080 mathematical technicians employed in the United States and even fewer job opportunities.

Mathematical technicians make an annual wage of $60,260.

Public School Teacher

For many, it sounds like a simple job: summers off and only a bachelor’s degree to get started. Becoming a teacher, however, is not as easy as it sounds.

College students go through a series of exams, observations, certifications, and fieldwork before graduating. Depending on the state, employed teachers have to attend annual classes to keep their license, and some schools require teachers to pursue a master’s degree.

The student-to-teacher ratios in the US is currently very high, which means this field is super competitive at both the elementary and secondary levels. As schools also find ways to cut their budget, they’re looking for well-rounded teachers who can instruct classes, run student activities, or coach one of the sports. For that reason, college students need to build impressive resumes to stand out.

In addition to all those criteria, schools look for outgoing, humorous, and friendly personalities that will make good role models and support their students. This means maintaining a clean background check and assisting students beyond normal teaching hours.

And with average salaries currently hovering around $53,000, those summers off can turn into summers of labor to earn extra cash.

Is It Possible To Land Them?

It’s not easy to land these jobs, but it’s not impossible. If you’re considering one of these five careers, just take the necessary steps, make the right preparations, and think of the final prize as you battle your way to the top.

Daniel Faris
Daniel Faris is a freelance writer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You can join his alter ego over at The Sound of Progress for discussions of progressivism in music, politics, and culture.