1. Dental Hygienist - $33.19 -$41.92
A science-minded people person could shine in this job. Dental hygienist is one of the fastest-growing careers in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). One suspected reason is that, to cover costs, dentists are relying more and more on hygienists to carry the workload with patients. A high school diploma and college-entrance exam scores will get you into many two-year dental hygiene degree programs. Some programs require a year of college courses in science as a prerequisite. State licensure is also required after you graduate.
2. Physical Therapist (PT) - $34.74 - $45.00
As more baby boomers need help recovering from surgery and maintaining their mobility over the years, physical therapy is a career field that will grow. This job can offer flexible hours, and it allows you to work with people of all ages. Most physical therapists work in clinics or hospitals. Getting into a physical therapy career requires completing a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a science-related major, then earning a master’s or doctoral degree at an accredited institution. Further exams and licensure are typically needed, but the requirements vary somewhat by state.
3. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) - $36.55 - $61.08
From stopping stuttering to reducing accents, speech-language pathologists help people with challenging speech problems get closer to “normal” speech. Many speech-language pathologists work in educational settings, while others work in healthcare or social assistance settings. They assess a patient’s issues, design a treatment plan and often collaborate with teachers and parents to ensure that the treatment plan is followed. A master’s degree is the standard level of education amongst speech-language pathologists, as well as licensure in most states.
4. Software Developer - $36.66 - $61.29
Employment for software developers is expected to grow 21 percent by 2018, making it one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. Software developers need to have plenty of technical knowledge and be able to write code for computer software. They also must think creatively and find ways to solve problems so that the computer games, business applications and operating systems they design work well for the end user. This job can offer flexible, though often long, hours. Employers tend to look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a computer-science-related area and good knowledge of computer systems and technology. That said, a two-year degree can sometimes get you work if you’re able to prove yourself.
5. Certified Nurse Midwife - $37.42 - $51.25
Want a career with meaning? If you’re interested in supporting healthy mothers and healthy babies, working as a nurse midwife will give you plenty of opportunity to make a difference in the world. Be prepared to hit the books, first, though. Your best route to this career is to complete an undergraduate degree in nursing, then attend a certified nurse midwifery school. You will need to complete a written examination at the end of your training. At that point you will be an advance practice registered nurse who can work with an obstetrician to assist women before, during and after labor.
6. Industrial Designer - $30.52 - $48.72
Who’s behind the look and function of your external hard drive, television, new power tool and electronic toothbrush? An industrial designer. Industrial designers work on a large range of manufactured products, though individual designers often focus on a certain type of product. Designers work closely with engineers, materials scientists, marketing and corporate strategy staff, cost estimators, and accountants to produce the final product. Competition is stiff to get into this industry. A bachelor’s degree in a related area, like economics or engineering, is essential, and increasingly, designers are pursuing MBA degrees so they can assist in the business strategy around their designs.
7. Senior Web Developer - $39.03 - $66.28
Web developers are responsible for the technical aspects of website creation. Developers use software and other tools to create applications for the Web. They oversee a site’s production and implementation. A senior web developer is able to lead a team of web developers on a large project, taking full responsibility for the final product. Getting into this field requires, at the very least, an associate’s degree and a professional certification. To advance to a management role, you’ll likely find more opportunities with a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field.
8. Business Systems Analyst - $38.45 - $52.53
Here is a job for someone who loves maximizing profits and minimizing waste. A business systems analyst takes a look at a whole company, or a division of it, and works on making that organization more streamlined and profitable. Some business analysts specialize in technology while others focus on marketing or overall strategy. Questions they might address include: How much of a financial risk should the business be taking with its next product line? Should it be hiring, firing or keeping the same team? To get into this field you likely need at least a bachelor’s degree but, as you develop in your career, a master’s degree or some specialized training will likely be needed. Degrees in accounting, marketing, management and engineering can all support a business systems analyst career.
9. Veterinarian - $40.76 - $66.05
Do you love dogs, goats, cows and kittens? A career in veterinary medicine can put you right in the middle of the animal kingdom treating everything from upset stomachs to blood cancers. Veterinarians also sometimes contribute to research on treating human illnesses. The majority of veterinarians work for themselves in private practice. Competition to get into veterinary school is stiff. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to apply. And, you’ll graduate with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. After that, a licensing test is required to start working. This test varies from state to state.
10. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) - $38.91 - $54.51
Besides working in large, urban hospitals and bustling medical clinics, an advanced registered nurse practitioner can work as a main, medical care provider in a rural area of the country where doctors are in short supply. ARNPs examine patients, run diagnostic tests, prescribe medicines and therapy, assist with minor surgeries and more. Their on-the-job training is extensive and they must complete either a master’s or a doctorate degree, as well as passing a board certification exam. Finally, they must also be licensed in their state.
Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are a range from the 50th to 90th percentile of hourly salaries for workers with 5-8 of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. All numbers rendered using 2010 data. Check linked job titles for up-to-date information.