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Careers That Make $50 or More an Hour

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Careers that pay $50 an hour -- or around $100,000 per year -- can be found in various fields. They require varying amounts of education, from one or two years of undergraduate study to completion of a doctoral degree. While competition may be keen for some high-paying positions, the financial rewards can be worth the extra effort needed to secure a $50-an-hour job.


Health Food Store Pharmacist Assisting Customer
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Employment for pharmacists is expected to grow by some 17 percent through the year 2018, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Pharmacists dispense medications to patients and counsel them on potential side effects of medications. Most work 40 hours per week; however, many work night or weekend hours. Prospective pharmacists complete two years of undergraduate study and then enter a four-year Pharm.D. program before taking licensing examinations. As of May 2008, the median annual wage for pharmacists was $106,410.


Professional doctor showing the results to his patient
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Diagnosing and treating injury and disease is a physician's job. Physicians, or medical doctors, are highly trained; they earn a bachelor's degree followed by four years of medical school and three to eight years of residency training. The BLS notes that physicians often work in specialty areas such as family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics. Nearly half of physicians work more than 50 hours per week and find employment in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private or group practices. Earnings for physicians are among the highest of all occupations -- the BLS states that in May 2008, the median annual wage for primary care physicians was $186,044. For specialists it was $339,738.

Computer Scientist

Two lab technicians examining data on computer screen, low angle view
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Computer scientists design new technology and implement new uses for existing technology. Their research covers a wide variety of topics, including robotics and virtual reality. The BLS notes that most computer scientists work in offices or laboratories; math aptitude and a doctoral degree are the prerequisites for most jobs in the field. Prospective Ph.D. students in computer science often major in computer science or information systems as undergraduates. Employment for computer scientists is expected to grow by about 24 percent through the year 2018, driven by the growth of the software publishing and computer systems design industries. As of May 2008, the median annual wage for computer scientists working in computer systems design was $99,900.

Air Traffic Controllers

Flight control
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Air traffic controllers monitor airspace to ensure that planes stay a safe distance apart. The BLS reports that while safety is the primary concern of air traffic controllers, they must also work to minimize flight delays by directing planes in an efficient manner. Some controllers manage aircraft on the runway, while others monitor their position in the sky. Air traffic controllers typically work a 40-hour week and receive overtime pay for additional hours worked. Candidates for controller positions can complete a two- or four-year degree program administered by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA. Alternatively, they may qualify with prior FAA work experience and four years of college. In May 2008, the median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $111,870.