High-Paying International Careers


A job abroad isn't just a chance to explore new cultures. It may also come with high pay. Businesses that seek employees to work abroad are often willing to pay a premium. The international job market can be a competitive one, however, because you're competing with qualified people throughout the world. The more training and education you obtain, the more likely you'll be to land the job.

International Law

  • International lawyers work in foreign legal systems, in addition to handling trans-national legal disputes. For example, an American might hire an international lawyer to sue a copyright infringer who lives in Italy. Some international lawyers represent people accused of violations of international laws before bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights. To become an international lawyer, you must attend law school at an accredited institution, then become licensed to practice law in every jurisdiction -- both local and international -- in which you will practice. Extensive U.S. litigation experience, including experience working in federal court, is usually necessary. Outside the United States, practice requirements vary significantly from country to country. GlassDoor lists salaries for international law jobs ranging from the mid-$100,000s to well over $400,000 per year.

Private Military Contracting

  • Private military contractors can make significantly higher incomes than government-employed soldiers. Military contractors may work in security, fight enemy combatants, oversee prisons, conduct threat assessments and consult on how to manage international conflicts. Typically, you'll begin your career in the military or local law enforcement, gradually moving your way up through the hierarchy. Experts with specific experience may also become contractors. For example, a contractor that relies on computer programmers might hire someone with a computer science degree. Indeed lists an average salary for defense contractors of $70,000 a year. A 2013 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that some contractors make well over $400,000 a year.

International Business Consultant

  • International business consultants assist businesses on a variety of issues, including general business direction, finance and more specialized matters, such as employee psychology, local health and safety, or local culture. Generalized consultants typically have business degrees, as well as significant experience in the field. Specialized consultants may have additional training. For example, medical consultants typically are doctors or professionals with graduate degrees in public health. SimplyHired reports an average salary of $69,000 a year for all international business consultants. No matter what consulting job you choose, you'll likely need to practice in your home country first.

Financial Analysts and Investors

  • Financial analysts guide international businesses toward wise investments in international markets. They also help businesses establish investment strategies and avoid financial challenges such as bankruptcy. Similarly, international traders help businesses enter international markets, conducting trades on behalf of the business. Both roles typically require advanced degrees in finance or accounting, as well as significant experience working with international markets. Many financial analysts working on the international stage get their start as U.S. stock traders or investment portfolio managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median 2012 salary for financial analysts of $76,950 per year. Those working on the international stage, though, can frequently earn more. GlassDoor, for example, lists several jobs that earn well over six figures. For example, one international financial analyst job pays between $209,000 and $226,000 per year.

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