ADVERTISEMENT
blog header

Contract Jobs Can Pay More than Full Time

Earn More than a Full-Timer: 10 Hot Contract Jobs

By Siri Anderson

Money, money, money – though these days it seems hard to come by, you might just need to think like a contractor to find it.

In a tighter economy, more employers offer contract jobs to save on benefits and other expenses involved in a full-time hire. But because they spend less in other areas, they're usually willing to pay better hourly rates, which means a higher salary to contractors.

The information technology industry is known for relying heavily on contractors and pays them particularly well. If that's not your field, there's still a wide variety of jobs where contractors are paid significantly better salaries than full-time employees. Online salary database, PayScale.com, ran the numbers on 10 common contract jobs to find out just how much of a salary increase you could score by accepting one.

1. Registered Nurse

Median annual salary for a registered nurse: $72,400
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +24%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Associate's Degree, Nursing

It's no secret that nursing services are in high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects an added 587,000 new positions between 2006-2016, which is one of the highest out of all occupations. That high rate of job growth puts potential contractors in a strong position for salary bargaining. Put yourself in the driver's seat for salary negotiations, and you could earn a hefty raise over full-time positions – a 24 percent salary increase on average.

2. Physical Therapist

Median annual salary for a physical therapist: $78,400
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +15%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Master's Degree, Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is another healthcare department that is expected to hire much faster than average over the next 10 years. Medical advances that help to save lives result in an increased demand for rehabilitative services. Though it takes an investment of time and money to complete the master's degree required for this field, the returns on that investment are great in terms of employment potential and the ability to negotiate for a higher salary in your contracting rate.

3. Project Manager, Construction

Median annual salary for a construction project manager: $76,400
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +12%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree Bachelor's Degree, Construction Management

The construction industry has taken a deep hit in recent years, which has slowed and often halted building projects. However, management still pays in this industry, and as green works and recovery dollars continue to spur growth, more work opportunities should follow. Though a degree isn't always required to be a construction project manager, it is becoming more of the norm, especially as competition stiffens for these contract positions. Plus, the added education certainly helps when bargaining the terms of your contract and salary.

4. Graphic Designer

Median annual salary for a graphic designer: $42,300
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +10%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Graphic Design & Fine Arts

Tell mom and dad artists can make money. From package design to animation and computer graphics, designers create visual communications for our increasingly image- and video-hungry eyes. The BLS expects job growth to be average, with much of the increase coming from the video and Internet entertainment market. Keen competition is expected for these contracts, but if you land one, you can expect to get a 10 percent higher salary than your full-time counterpart.

5. Business Analyst

Median annual salary for a business analyst: $75,300
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +7%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Computer Information Systems & Computer Science

Business analysts are very commonly contract positions – 27 percent are self-employed, which is three times the average for most professions. Job growth for analysts is expected to continue to rise as companies work to stay competitive in an increasingly complex business world. Competition, however, is expected to be quite fierce since qualifications can vary widely, which increases the pool of potential contractors. Plus, the high earning potential is luring many into the fray for these lucrative contracts.

6. Software Developer

Median annual salary for a software developer: $76,500
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +5%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Computer Science & Computer Engineering

Internet technologies and electronic data-processing systems in business, telecommunications and government fueled an expected job growth of 38 percent in this field between 2006-2016. That's an additional 324,000 new contracts available to developers, which is much faster than average growth. Employers look for candidates with strong practical experience usually in addition to a bachelor's degree in a related field. The BLS notes that if you can offer a good set of interpersonal and business skills, your chances for scoring a contract will be greatest.

7. Programmer Analyst

Median annual salary for a programmer analyst: $69,500
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +5%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Computer Science

Yet another job in the IT field that is expected to grow – computer analyst job growth is expected to be very good due to positions opening up as workers move up into managerial positions or to other occupations. The best candidates demonstrate practical knowledge and hold a 4-year degree in computer science or a related field. However, the BLS also notes that graduates in non-computer related fields who have taken courses in computer programming, systems analysis, and other information technology subjects should also be able to land a good contract.

8. Project Manager, IT

Median annual salary for an IT project manager: $85,700
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +3%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Computer Information Systems & Computer Science

IT project managers are the go-to person for all phases of their firm's information technology projects. They create the requirements, budgets and schedules to get the job done. Projects increasingly involve upgrades to the information security of an organization. Job growth is expected to be faster than the average and contractors with specialized technical knowledge and strong communications skills have the best chance of negotiating a healthy salary.

9. Administrative Assistant

Median annual salary for an administrative assistant: $31,900
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +2%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Business Management & Business Administration

Administrative assistants aren't the same paper pushers of times past – they're increasingly taking on roles of information and communication managers. Opportunities in this field are very good and job growth will be average, but positions tend to open up as many administrative assistants move into professional occupations. Applicants with bachelor's degrees will be in greater demand for managerial assistants and complex tasks, which can earn you a higher salary in your next contract position.

10. Mechanical Engineer

Median annual salary for a mechanical engineer: $70,400
Increase in pay compared to FTE: +2%
Degree requirements and/or typical degree: Bachelor's Degree, Mechanical Engineering

Out of all the engineering fields, mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines, working on projects from agriculture production to robots used in manufacturing. Despite the wide range of contract possibilities, mechanical engineering is expected to have a slower than average job growth, increasing only by four percent. Emerging technologies, such as biotechnology, materials science and nanotechnology, offer the best opportunities for steady work and solid contracts.

*All salary information is from PayScale.com. It shows the median annual pay for hourly workers with 5-8 years of experience. Job projections are from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

 

 

 

 

Comment

  1.    
     
     
      
       
Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid
Job Title:
Years in Field/Career:
Location:
United States (change)
- OR -
ADVERTISEMENT
SEARCH
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG
subscribe
SOCIALIZE WITH US
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus Pinterest
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
go!
Compensation Today