Finding a career that pays well takes time and effort. Most of us start small, working adequate jobs that sufficiently pay the bills. But soon enough, we yearn for something more, like a promotion or a higher salary.
Whether you work in marketing, medicine or law, there’s always a drive to climb the corporate ladder and land yourself a well-paying position. It’s not easy, of course. High-paying careers require passion, in-depth knowledge and years of experience and education.
So, if you’re looking to advance your career and take home a larger paycheque, check out these 20 jobs that pay $50 an hour (or more)!
PS: It won’t happen overnight!
1. Marketing manager
Average salary: $63.76 per hour
Marketing managers plan, execute and oversee promotional and sales strategies to attract and retain customers. These individuals usually manage a team of marketers, handle budgeting and liaise with media and advertising organisations. The pay for this position can be rewarding, but landing this role isn’t easy. Candidates not only require a formal education but also at least seven years of experience in marketing beforehand.
2. HR manager
Average salary: $54.47 per hour
HR managers are responsible for hiring and training individuals within various settings such as corporations, schools, hospitals, factories and government facilities. For the most part, they have a degree in business, education or finance, and require several years of related work experience.
3. Software developer
Average salary: $50.77 per hour
Whether you’re a system software, applications or mobile developer, this position offers a lucrative wage. These professionals spend their waking life designing, developing and programming successful software. With a degree in computer science or software engineering, as well as strong computer programming skills, you can successfully work as a software developer and earn your $50 an hour. You even have the option of working remotely or part time!
Average salary: $57.49 per hour
Indeed, physicists are well paid, but their job requires much more than just learning about gravity or speed. This position generally requires candidates to have a PhD in physics or astronomy. Throughout their working day, physicists study how various forms of matter and energy interact, and they may also develop new medical instruments and engineering technologies.
5. Nurse practitioner
Average salary: $54.78 per hour
Nurse practitioners usually do shift work at hospitals, physicians’ offices and clinics. While their hourly wage is attractive, their job is no walk in the park. These professionals work long and late shifts, providing healthcare to a variety of patients. Work can be both physically and emotionally demanding, and there’s much exposure to infectious diseases. Nevertheless, saving a patient’s life and improving someone’s health can also provide great satisfaction during a nurse’s working life.
6. PR manager
Average salary: $55.19 per hour
PR managers may take home a high income, but their day-to-day tasks are crucial and stressful. They are responsible for maintaining the public image of a brand or company by writing press releases, delivering speeches or devising advertising programmes. One mishap and a company’s corporate image could be destroyed. It’s, therefore, required that PR managers have a bachelor’s (and sometimes a master’s) degree and extensive work experience.
7. Financial manager
Average salary: $61.53 per hour
Financial managers oversee investments, develop long-term strategies and prepare financial reports for the company they work for. They are heavily relied on for preparing accurate financial statements, budgeting and devising business activity reports. With a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics or business administration, as well as five years’ proven experience in a similar role, you could be well on your way to finding a career in financial management.
8. Aerospace engineer
Average salary: $55.39 per hour
This job pays well but involves a hefty workload. Aerospace engineers take home more than $50 an hour, but their day-to-day duties are complex. This full-time job involves designing and manufacturing aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles, and inspecting damaged products. A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is generally required, as well as licensing.
9. Physician assistant
Average salary: $52.22 per hour
Careers in medicine and healthcare offer advantageous salaries. Physician assistants examine, diagnose and treat patients on a daily basis, earning themselves more than $50 an hour. This job certainly pays well, but it requires extensive knowledge and experience in patient care. Physician assistants can apply for a job after obtaining a master’s degree and previous work experience as a paramedic, registered nurse or nursing assistant.
10. Political scientist
Average salary: $56.52 per hour
Political scientists study and research political systems, understanding their origin, development and operation. They’re responsible for developing and testing political theories as well as evaluating the impact of policies and laws on the government. Getting a job in this sector requires years of studying, particularly a master’s degree or PhD in political science or public administration. Nevertheless, after achieving the educational requirements and getting the job, political scientists are rewarded with a lucrative salary.
11. Sales manager
Average salary: $59.72 per hour
Sales managers secure a good salary throughout their careers, taking home just under $60 an hour, on average. Their working day can be stressful, however, when trying to close deals and working extra hours. In order to become a sales manager, you’ll most likely need to work as a sales representative at first, where you’ll gain the necessary experience and critical knowledge. Typically, a minimum of five years’ sales experience is required to land the role and take home an attractive salary.
Average salary: $80.87 per hour
It’s hard to believe, but co-pilots don’t require a formal degree to land this dream job. With just a high school diploma and a pilot’s licence (and a lot of training), you can fly in the skies alongside a captain pilot. This job pays more than $50 an hour, but with that salary comes major responsibilities. Co-pilots assist the captain in safely navigating a plane and getting hundreds of passengers from one place to another.
Average salary: $53.75 per hour
Here’s yet another role in the medical field that’s remunerative. A high pay, however, comes with challenging responsibilities. Optometrists perform eye examinations, and they identify and treat various eye diseases or complications. In order to become an optometrist, you will need to attend an optometry school for a minimum of four years to obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. These programmes can be highly competitive.
Average salary: $60.64 per hour
Aspiring pharmacists may get an attractive salary, but it’s well worth it considering their duties. These professionals have a responsibility to keep patients and consumers safe by prescribing medicines. A wrong prescription can be detrimental to a person’s health as well as a pharmacist’s career. To embark on this fruitful career, you must complete a minimum of three years in undergraduate studies, focusing on science-based courses. You will then need to complete four years of pharmacy school, where you will earn a Doctor of Pharmacy.
15. Computer systems manager
Average salary: $68.53 per hour
Good with computers and able to solve complex problems? This might be the perfect career for you. With the right qualifications, experience and skills, you’ll be earning a profitable wage, too! Computer systems managers organise, coordinate and operate the computer-based needs of a company. Many of these positions are paid top dollar because they require an MBA to qualify. They also require several years of experience in a related IT job.
Average salary: $58.13 per hour
Yes, it pays well, but becoming a lawyer isn’t as easy as Harvey Specter and Elle Woods make it look. This is no job for lazy people, either. To become a lawyer, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree, go to law school and pass your state bar exam. In fact, it could take up to seven years to officially score a job in this industry. The hard work doesn’t stop there: lawyers have a responsibility to advise and protect their clients, represent them in court and, finally, draw up legal documents as part of their working routine.
Average salary: $75.12 per hour
Dentists may take home an appealing salary but trust us when we say it’s well-earned. This position involves taking care of patients’ teeth, including treating gum diseases, cleaning teeth and performing minor surgeries. These professionals can expect a hefty wage at the end of the month, but the job also comes with a great deal of responsibilities. Acquiring this job is just as challenging: you need to earn your bachelor’s degree and then complete four years of dental school to officially become a dentist.
Average salary: $56.34 per hour
Think you’ve got what it takes to stand behind a bench in a courtroom? As long as you attend a recognised law school, earn a law degree, pass the bar exam and commit to work experience as a lawyer for many years, you can apply for this high-paying job. As you can see, becoming a lawyer is no easy (or short) task; it’s a demanding and stressful role that requires great patience, strength and extra working hours.
19. Nuclear engineer
Average salary: $51.73 per hour
Once you’ve obtained your bachelor’s degree, master’s or PhD in nuclear engineering and proven your experience through cooperative-education engineering programmes, you might be on your way to nabbing a career as a nuclear engineer. This high-paying role involves complex tasks that require great knowledge, such as developing nuclear equipment and operating nuclear power plants.
Average salary: $50.47 per hour
If you can picture yourself rising to the top of the corporate ladder, then becoming a CEO might be right up your alley. With leadership skills and experience from lower-level management occupations or supervisory positions, you can land yourself this highly respectful job. CEOs create strategies and develop policies that help a company meet their goals. While the role can be considerably stressful, it’s ultimately very rewarding.
As seen by this list, earning $50 or more an hour isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. Some rewarding careers require years of education and training, as well as hard work on a daily basis. But the result is clearly worth it in the end.
What other careers pay $50 an hour? Let us know in the comments section below!
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 28 August 2015.