Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by pf team
Bureau of Labor Statistics projections show continued job growth through 2028 with overall growth of over 5%. At the heart of this growth are several categories of high paying jobs, some with expected growth rates near 20%.
Healthcare careers top the list in terms of growth but expect expansion in other areas as well. These include IT and science-related fields.
Expect to invest in education to land a high paying job. Certifications can also boost your earnings. Some jobs offer flexible schedules or remote work. Other fields may offer more on-site jobs.
How to find high paying jobs near me?
Consider Flexjobs.com as a first stop when searching for high paying jobs. Because Flexjobs offers both remote work and flexible schedules, you needn’t limit your search to local jobs.
In many fields, you can work remotely. Also, be sure to check out the advanced search options on Flexjobs.
You can limit your search to just Fortune 500 companies, for example. You can also search for companies that offer remote work as an option.
Consider these options as well to find local high paying jobs.
- Visit career fairs in your area. Career fairs can be a great way to find leads and to ask direct questions about a company’s work culture.
- Check out company websites in your area. Signs, branded vehicles, ads, and billboards can all lead you to local businesses in your field. Check out their website.
- Check community boards. Don’t overlook local job search boards or local websites for your town.
- Network to find more opportunities. These days, there are networking groups in most areas, and often dozens from which to choose.
High paying jobs with an associate's degree
1. Radiation therapist – $39.58 per hour
To start your career as a radiation therapist, you’ll usually need an associate’s degree. However, educational requirements can vary.
Some positions might only require a certificate program. Higher paying jobs might require a bachelor’s degree. By joining a professional organization, you can boost your income and open doors.
For example, The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers credentialing that can set you apart from the pack. ARRT requires that you pass an exam to qualify. But the distinction can boost your income and improve job security.
2. Nuclear medicine technologists – $36.93 per hour
The pay scale is strong, but the expected growth for nuclear medicine is higher than average as well. You’ll need your associate's degree to get started in this field.
However, some employers favor candidates with a bachelor’s degree. State licensing requirements vary, but earning a certification can also help you meet licensing requirements.
Turn to the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) as a resource for certification guidelines. Earning your certification lets you use the “CNMT” professional credential. This can also give a boost to those looking to increase earning potential.
3. Dental Hygienist – $35.97 per hour
Dentists often get the glory, but dental hygienists can earn a good living as well. Unlike dentists, you can get started as a hygienist with just an associate’s degree.
Expect to invest 3 years in training to complete your degree and earn your state license. Look to The Commission on Dental Accreditation for accredited programs.
These include technical schools and colleges. Consider joining a professional group like the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).
You’ll stay up to date on industry changes and benefit from online learning resources. Knowledge often translates to higher earnings. ADHA can help you find networking opportunities as well.
4. Web developers – $ 33.38 per hour
With both local and remote work available in many areas, working as a web developer offers strong pay and flexibility.
Educational requirements can also be flexible. For some positions, you may not even need a degree. Expect a degree to increase your prospects for more specialized jobs, however.
A degree can also help those who want to work as project managers. Look to WebProfessionals.org for exam-based certifications that can help boost your income and show your ability.
Choose from specializations ranging from novice to professional as you gain experience. Becoming a Certified Professional Webmaster (CPW), for example, shows knowledge in all areas of web development.
5. Radiologic and MRI technologists – $29.44 per hour
More than 50% of Radiologic and MRI Technologists work in hospitals. You won’t find as much remote work as with other fields. But, you can often start with only an associate’s degree and build your credentials over time.
A common path is to start as a radiologic technologists and then specialize in MRI technology. Professionals in the field can find support through the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).
Now celebrating 100 years of support to the industry, ASRT offers continuing education credits and other resources. For example, you’ll find a job bank that lists high-paying jobs by location.
ASRT’s career center also helps you learn more if you’re exploring a career in the field.
6. Occupational therapy assistants – $27.70 per hour
As a hands-on position, employers in the field usually offer on-site jobs. But, you may find flexible hours with some employers. Median incomes in this field are above $60,000 per year.
An associate’s degree in an accredited program provides an employment path. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) offers a way to prepare for your exam.
The organization also offers an innovative tool called Navigator. With Navigator, you can test and hone your skills through simulations and quizzes.
Many states even accept Navigator credits to help you earn your license renewal.
7. Drafters – $26.71 per hour
Computer aided design (CAD) has been around for years. It’s not too surprising to find both local and remote job opportunities as a drafter. Related jobs like architectural design offer more ways to earn.
An associate’s degree provides a common path to employment, although a certificate course can also get you started. Drafters can turn to the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), a professional organization dedicated to the field.
Resources include ways to earn continuing education credits and professional certifications. ADDA’s online career center connects you with hundreds of employers to find your next high paying drafting job.
8. Paralegals and legal assistants – $24.49 per hour
Many employers seek candidates with an associate’s degree or certificate program. However, you’ll increase your options and earning ability with a bachelor’s degree.
If you’ve already started earning a general degree, a certificate program can give you the direction you’ll need to get started.
The National Association of Legal Assistants offers a list of schools and guidelines. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers regional support and a path to earning credentials.
Competency exams and advanced exams provide a way to earn certifications that set you apart from other applicants. You can also search for jobs with thousands of employers through NFPA.
9. Physical therapist assistants – $23.12 per hour
You’ll need to be licensed to work as a physical therapist assistant. That path begins with an associate’s degree from an accredited program.
Fortunately, nearly 400 schools throughout the country offer degree programs approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
Expect to invest about 2 years in schooling to get started. Specialized certifications can help make your resume stand out. You can start your search for accredited schools with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
While earning your degree, consider joining the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Through APTA, you’ll find job listings and discounts on exams in 9 specialties that can advance your career.
High paying jobs with a bachelor's degree
1. Atmospheric scientists – $45.25 per hour
If you like weather and climate studies, a job as an atmospheric scientist deserves a look. A median salary close to 6 figures can make the position an attractive option.
Schooling requirements vary, but you can get started in the field with a 4-year degree. Research positions often require a master’s or Ph.D, however. Remote work is rare but you may find some freelance opportunities.
Your college training provides a starting point for your career, but also consider joining a group like the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
Not only will you find job boards, you’ll also find a community of thousands of members. You’ll gain access to meetings worldwide and the chance to earn more through industry networking.
2. Art directors – $44.60 per hour
Who says there’s no money in art? As an art director, median salaries measure high 5 figures — but you’ll need to know your trade. Expect to earn a bachelor’s degree in art or related subjects.
Industry experience is also a plus. Freelance work is common and you’ll even find some jobs that offer remote work. Unlike other fields, the industry doesn’t use credentials in the traditional sense.
Instead, your portfolio and past projects speak to your ability and artistic flair. Many in the field have worked in other roles within the industry for several years before working as a director. Some also earn master’s degrees.
3. Financial analysts – $41.18 per hour
Investments can be tricky to understand. As a financial analyst, you’ll provide a guiding light for clients and decision makers. Expect to earn a bachelor’s degree as a minimum but you may also need licensing.
If you’ll be working in a sales role, you may need a securities license through FINRA. Other certifications, like becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), can also boost your resume.
Look to The Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM) to learn more about accredited schools and extra certifications. The GAFM offers certifications in 13 key industry areas, often providing a path to higher earnings.
4. Computer programmers – $40.52 per hour
Programming languages may have changed over the years, but computer programming still provides strong income opportunities. Most positions require a bachelor's degree, although a two-year degree may be enough for some jobs.
Certifications also play a big role, particularly for in-demand languages. Expect more specialization in organizations that support computer programmers.
For example, one of the most in demand certifications is a CLA – C Certified Associate Programmer. This badge is only available through the C++ Institute.
Many programmers take a different route, however, posting their code on Github rather than seeking certifications.
5. Agricultural and food scientists – $30.78 per hour
With a mix of lab work and office work, you’ll find fewer remote work opportunities as a food scientist. However, you may find flexible hours and pay scales can be strong. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to get started.
While not always required, many in the field choose to earn advanced degrees. Consider the American Society of Agronomy as a pathway to pay-enhancing certifications. CSA and CPSS designations are well-respected and help to open doors.
Committees and specialty groups available through the ASA offer ways to network and get involved in the agricultural science community.
6. Zoologist and wildlife biologists – $30.49 per hour
If wildlife and ecosystems are your passion, working as a zoologist or wildlife biologist can be a rewarding career. Income opportunities are solid and the work is varied, ranging from lab work to field work.
Those new to the field need to earn a bachelor’s degree, although many choose to earn an advanced degree. This is a broad field with many specialties.
Several groups and societies support members of various wildlife-focused communities. For example, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) offers conferences, learning resources, and ways to connect.
7. Market research analysts – $30.35 per hour
Many of the brands we all know became successful by having the right product at the right time. As a market research analyst, you’ll study markets and advise companies on how their products fit market demand.
Expect to earn your bachelor’s degree as a starting point, focused on market research or related subjects. Courses in statistics or math offer a good base as well.
You can join the Insights Association, a leader in education and certification for the industry. With chapters throughout the US, you’ll find networking opportunities as well as in-demand certifications that can enhance your earnings.
8. Dietitians and nutritionists – $29.02 per hour
Diet can be at the heart of health issues or can affect recovery if you’re undergoing treatment. As a dietician or nutritionist, your role is to help people make healthy choices and to make changes as needed.
For most positions, you’ll need to earn your bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field of study. Many in the industry choose to earn advanced degrees. Consider the Commission on Dietetic Registration as a resource for state licensing information.
You’ll also find ways to earn specialty certifications through CDR. Specialty certifications can help increase your earnings or put you at the front of the line for related positions.
9. Insurance sales agents – $24.33 per hour
While many insurance agents earn a bachelor’s degree, a degree isn’t usually required. However, you’ll have to earn your state license, which requires specialized knowledge of how coverages work.
State licensing also touches on ethics issues and rules specific to your state. You may also need licensing through FINRA if you’ll be selling certain types of life insurance or annuities.
Consider extra certifications to help grow your business. Prestigious designations include Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).
High paying jobs with a master's degree
1. Computer and information research scientist – $56.91 per hour
Someone has to come up with all the new tech ideas. As a computer and information research scientist, that’s your role. From writing code that controls robots to inventing new programming languages, you’ll solve problems using the power of technology.
Expect to earn a master’s degree in computer science, although some government jobs may only require a 4-year degree. For professional improvement, consider joining the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) or the IEEE Computer Society.
Benefits include webinars and exclusive learning opportunities — but perhaps the biggest benefit is the networking forums. When computer and information research scientists get together, there’s no telling what they might invent.
2. Nurse practitioners – $54.78 per hour
As a nurse practitioner, also called an advanced practice registered nurse, you’ll perform many of the same tasks as a doctor. Rules vary by state, but many times you’ll be diagnosing illness and prescribing treatment.
Education plays a huge role, and you can expect to earn a master’s degree as a minimum. However, many in this field opt to earn their doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Visit the American Association of Nurse Practitioners to find continuing education opportunities and conferences that help build knowledge. Networking plays a big role as well, many in the industry cite networking as one of the biggest benefits to membership.
3. Physician assistants – $52.22 per hour
Similar to advanced practice nurses, physician assistants also share many roles with doctors. You’ll review medical histories, perform exams, prescribe medicine, and more.
Your journey begins with a master’s degree from an approved program. Work in a related field, such as EMT work, can help your chances of acceptance into a program.
Job seekers can start their search at the American Academy of PAs. With access to nearly 8,000 employers in a searchable database, you’ll be able to find work in a number of specialties throughout the country.
Also, visit the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants to earn your certification so your PA career can flourish.
4. Mathematicians – $42.40 per hour
What do you get when you mix above average pay with above average job growth? A mathematician could tell you — because the field offers both these benefits.
Median wages top $100,000 but for many private sector jobs, you’ll need to earn your master’s degree. Some government jobs may only require a bachelor’s degree.
The American Mathematical Society provides a launchpad for your job search, with its exclusive Mathjobs.org job board. You’ll also have the chance to network with 30,000 people worldwide.
5. Occupational therapist – $40.51 per hour
Like many jobs in health-related fields, you’ll need to earn your master’s degree. Some approved schools offer a combined program that lets you complete your schooling and earn your master’s degree in 5 years.
You’ll also need to pass an exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). As a resource both before and after graduation, turn to the American Occupational Therapy Association.
The association offers a job search but also gathers information on state-approved continuing education providers. The association also sponsors several specialty certifications for the field.
6. Genetic counselors – $38.64 per hour
Strong income and rapid job growth help define the field of genetic counseling. You’ll start your journey by earning your master’s degree. While earning your degree, you’ll already start to work with patients and learn different areas of the job.
Certification is offered by test through the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Many states require licensing as well, but nearly all employers require certification.
The National Society of Genetic Counselors offers a leading resource for those in the field or thinking about a career in genetic counseling. You’ll find a job search portal and an online learning portal, perfect for completing continuing education courses.
7. Speech-language pathologist – $37.26 per hour
In the speech-language field, you’ll be working closely with patients and families, so a good bedside manner is a must. You’ll also need to earn your master’s degree. Look to the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) for a list of approved school programs.
Most states also require licensing for work in the field. Specialty certifications can open the door for jobs and lead to increased pay. Several organizations offer certifications.
For example, you can pursue a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency (BCS-F) through the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders.
8. Historians – $29.40 per hour
Historians help us understand how the puzzle pieces of the past fit together. Income opportunities are solid in this noble profession, offering a median income above $60,000.
However, you’ll need to earn your master’s degree for most jobs and some even require a doctorate. History doesn’t change but the lens through which we view it can change as we learn more.
Look to organizations like the American Association for State and Local History for continuing education programs including webinars, online courses, and workshops.
9. Librarians – $28.39 per hour
Much like historians, librarians provide a path to knowledge and understanding the world around us. Median pay is similar as well, with both careers offering about $60,000 annually.
In both professions, you’ll also need a master’s degree. However, you may also need a teaching certificate for some librarian positions. To work in a public school, for example, you’ll typically need a teaching certificate.
The same is true for some public libraries. To increase your earning potential, it might pay to specialize and become a medical librarian or law librarian. Look to organizations like the Medical Library Association for information on how to specialize and for networking opportunities.
High paying jobs with a doctoral or professional degree
1. Dentists – $75.12 per hour
With a median income well above average and a faster-than-average growth rate for the industry, dentistry deserves a closer look. You’ll need to earn your DDS or DMD degree, depending on the type of dentistry you want to pursue as a career.
A DDS is a doctor of dental surgery, whereas a DMD is suited for general dentistry. As in other fields, it often pays to specialize. For example, you can build a successful niche working with kids.
Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) offer the chance to network with others in your field. You’ll also find online courses, meetings, and more.
2. Pharmacists – $60.64 per hour
Medications can be life-saving or life-changing. Pharmacists ensure that we get the correct medicine and in the correct amounts. To become a pharmacist, you’ll need to earn a doctoral degree, called a Doctor of Pharmacy or a Pharm.D. You’ll also have to be licensed in your state.
You can often increase your earnings and marketability by earning a certification. For example, you can earn a BCPPS, which is a pediatric certification. Be sure to visit the Board of Pharmacy Specialties to learn more and find your specialty.
3. Lawyers – $58.13 per hour
The law field spans many types of law and industries. This allows specialization, but it also allows remote work in many cases. Flexible work is also an option — unless you need to be in front of a judge or a client at a certain time.
Make no mistake, though, you’ll put in your time. Most lawyers work more than 40 hours per week. You’ll also need to earn your law degree and pass your state’s bar exam.
Consider joining the American Bar Association to further your career. You’ll find a job board with dozens of categories. You can also post your resume.
4. Optometrists – $53.75 per hour
Nearly 75% of us who need corrective lenses. Optometrists are the type of eye doctor most of us see. They’ll perform the eye exam and write the prescription so we can get the lenses we need.
You’ll need to earn your degree as a Doctor of Optometry from one of about 20 schools in the country. Each state requires licensing and residency may be needed in some areas of the field.
Credentials can boost your earnings and open doors in your career. For example, earning your certification through the American Board of Optometry shows your advanced knowledge.
The board also offers webinars and events so you can stay up to date.
5. Law teachers, postsecondary – $53.43 per hour
The US has over 1 million lawyers. Part of the credit belongs to law teachers, who train students in the finer parts of law. While most careers are on-site at schools, the popularity of online schools now brings remote work jobs to the industry.
Expect this trend to grow as California’s State Bar leads the way by expanding accreditation. Consider the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) as a leading resource in the field.
You’ll find annual salary surveys to better understand pay scales. SALT events also offer a way to network.
6. Veterinarians – $45.11 per hour
Most of us have been to the vet’s office with a pet, but many vets work outside the office as well. The workplace can be as varied as you like, including farms, classrooms, and zoos.
Your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree offers a starting point. You’ll also need to get your state license. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) serves as a leading resource for vets of all types.
You’ll find a wealth of continuing education as well as a career center with a job search.
7. Biochemist – $44.85 per hour
Medical fields have come a long way and what seemed like science fiction in the past is now creating jobs in growing fields. You’ll be working on the front lines, fighting disease, researching, and studying chemical biology.
The stakes are high. Expect to earn your Ph.D. to work in many areas. Some entry-level positions may be available with a master’s or a 4-year degree.
Look to a specialty organization like the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry for ways to enhance your career. You’ll find educational resources and a job board where you can post your CV.
8. Physical therapists – $42.27 per hour
With an expected growth rate of over 20%, working as a physical therapist helps ensure job security. It also bodes well for pay increases.
All states require licensing and you’ll need to earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Consider The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) for specialty certifications.
These range from sports to geriatrics as well as several other specialties. As a member, you’ll gain access to a wide library of training courses. A busy events calendar also gives you a chance to network with other PT specialists.
9. Medical scientists – $40.77 per hour
Medical scientists do the lab testing to help develop new treatments and to better understand diseases and illness. You’ve likely heard of clinical trials. These tests are performed by medical scientists.
Most in the field earn their Ph.D. However, some positions may only require a medical degree. You’ll also find programs that offer both degrees.
Specialization can solidify your career path and help you grow your income. Look to groups like the American Association for Cancer Research for training resources.
You’ll also find information on funding, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Bottom line on high paying jobs
Education provides a starting point in most high paying jobs. However, it’s often specialization that gives an extra boost to your income.
Getting certified by a trusted organization can open doors that may be closed otherwise. It can also help you grow your income as you build specialized knowledge in your field.