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March 21, 2006
The Next Generation: What They Expect to Earn

Ever wonder if your teen is the only one whose career aspiration is to be a circus juggler, and to be paid a million dollars per year for his or her effort? You can find out by reading results from the 2006 Junior Achievement (JA) Interprise Poll on Kids and Careers .

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JA asked a representative sample of kids between the ages of 13 and 18 about their ideal careers, the money they expect to earn, and whether or not they believe they'll need a college degree to achieve their dreams. Here are some of the questions and response highlights:

  • What is your ideal career? Almost 9 percent of the teens responding to this question said they want to be some form of a businessperson. In the number two position, at 7 percent of responses, was to be a teacher. The top 10 career choices have remained fairly consistent since the first poll in 2000. In both surveys, nearly three times as many of the girls want to be doctors (chosen by 9.1 percent of the girls and 3.1 percent of the boys) and lawyers (5.5 percent compared with 2.1 percent) than do their male counterparts.
  • What level of education do you think you need for your ideal job? Of the young men responding to this question, 62.8 percent believe they will need a 4-year or advanced degree to achieve their dream job. For the young women, 79.3 percent do.
  • How much money do you expect to earn by age 40 ? Of the females who chose to be a businessperson as their goal, 44.1 percent said they expect to top $250,000 per year by age 40, compared with 38.9 percent of the males. For those who chose doctor, 63.2 percent of the young women and 41.7 percent of the young men expect to earn more than $250,000 per year at age 40.

The complete report is available at www.ja.org/files/polls/kids_careers_ 2006.pdf.

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