Careers for Ambitious People

Ambitious people can find success in numerous careers across various fields and industries. Learn about several career options for ambitious people, as well as their education requirements, salaries and expected job growth rates.

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Career Options for Ambitious People

Ambitious people may enjoy careers that offer a certain level of prestige, power and wealth, or careers that acknowledge accomplishments and achievements. Ambitious people want to succeed and accomplish their goals, and there are plenty of jobs that give them this opportunity. Below is a table with a handful of career options that could be a good fit for an ambitious person.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Top Executives $103,950 6%
Postsecondary Teachers $75,430 13%
Actors $18.70 (Median Hourly Wage) 10%
Writers and Authors $61,240 2%
Physicists $115,870 8%
Physicians and Surgeons $208,000 or more 14%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Careers for Ambitious People

Top Executives

Top executives must be ambitious as they work their way to the top of an organization, and are then responsible for making important strategy and policy decisions to help the organization meet its goals. The role of top executive also carries a lot of power in an organization as they oversee the organization's finances, negotiate contracts, appoint managers and coordinate the daily operations of the business. These positions are typically high-paying, and can be found in the private and public sectors. Top executives need at least a bachelor's degree and ample amounts of work experience.

Postsecondary Teachers

Ambitious people may enjoy the challenge of educating the next generation in various courses of their area of expertise, as well as aspire to receive acknowledgement and prestige through their research and/or teaching accomplishments. In order to teach their courses, postsecondary teachers must develop their curriculum, assignments and assessments. They may also be responsible for advising undergraduates, supervising the work of graduate students, publishing original research and serving on various committees for their institution. Most institutions require their educators to hold a Ph.D. in their subject, but smaller institutions may only require a master's degree.


A career as an actor is very competitive, and only the most ambitious and talented may obtain fame in the industry. Actors typically attend numerous auditions before landing a role in a play, movie, television show or other performance, and must then memorize their lines and attend rehearsals to prepare. They may need to conduct some research to portray their character accurately, and some actors even learn other skills, such as dancing or singing, for a role or to be more marketable. A degree is not required, but many actors participate in long-term training.

Writers and Authors

Similar to actors, only the most ambitious writers and authors may find fame, fortune and lasting prestige in the industry. Writers and authors can specialize in writing a wide variety of content, including blogs, songs, advertisements and magazine articles, but typically those who write different kinds of books are the ones who will be remembered even beyond their deaths for their work. These professionals work closely with editors to research, proofread and otherwise prepare a piece for publication. Most hold a college degree and have some experience in the field.


Ambitious people may also excel at working hard to make new discoveries and earn various accomplishments in the field of science. A career as a physicist may be especially ambitious, as these scientists work largely with theories and models that are hard to prove or disprove. They use complex experiments and lab equipment to study the interactions between matter and energy, and then present their findings through papers and presentations. Physicists usually need a Ph.D., but there are some entry-level jobs for those with a bachelor's degree.

Physicians and Surgeons

The education alone for a physician or surgeon may require the efforts of an ambitious person, as these professionals must attend 4 years of medical school after completing their undergraduate program, followed by 3-7 years of residency in their area of expertise. Physicians and surgeons also want to work hard to be at the top of their field in order to provide the best care for their patients, as they examine, diagnose and treat an array of injuries and illnesses. Physicians may treat patients through medication, rehabilitation and other forms of treatment, while surgeons treat patients with various kinds of surgeries. Physicians and surgeons may specialize in certain areas of medicine, such as pediatrics, cardiology, ophthalmology, radiology and more.

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