Careers That Make $50 or More an Hour

by Rick Suttle

There are many careers that pay $50 or more an hour, and they are not all in the medical field. The key is finding a job you enjoy, not just one that pays well. For one thing, you're going to be spending the next 20 to 40 years in the profession. You must also invest in your education, as most $50 per hour jobs require bachelors' and even postgraduate degrees.


Dentists earned average hourly wages of $77.76 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $161,750 annually. These professionals diagnose and treat gum diseases and tooth decay. They also repair fractured teeth, and in some cases, completely rebuild patients' dental anatomies with implants. To become a dentist, you must earn a bachelor's degree in any field and complete four years of dental school. This qualifies you as a doctor of dental medicine or dental surgery: DDM or DDS. Jobs for dentists are expected to increase 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS, which is faster than the average rate of 14 percent for all U.S. occupations.


Lawyers earned average wages of $62.74 per hour as of May 2011, according to the BLS, or $130,490 annually. These professionals represent clients in courtrooms or other proceedings after researching facts and legal issues. As a lawyer, you may work in corporate, criminal, tax, government or environmental law. Cases can takes months to prepare and complete. Lawyers must complete bachelors' degrees and three years of law school to earn juris doctor or JD degrees. You must then pass the bar exam through the American Bar Association to practice law in your state. The BLS reported that jobs for lawyers will increase 10 percent by 2020.


Pharmacists earned $53.92 per hour as of May 2011, according to the BLS, or $112,160 per year. These professionals fill prescriptions written by physicians for patients. They also instruct customers how to take medications and warn them about mixing medications. You must have a keen eye for discerning seemingly indecipherable prescriptions, as doctors are not known for their penmanship. A career in pharmacy starts with two to three years of undergraduate work, including courses in biology, chemistry and anatomy. You then complete four years of pharmacy school to earn a Pharm.D. degree. The BLS projects a 25 percent increase in pharmacist jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers earned average hourly rates of $52.21 as of May 2011, according to the BLS, or $108,600 per year. These professionals select, train and hire individuals in corporations, factories, schools, hospitals and government agencies. They also develop training programs for employees, and ensure all new workers have completed necessary paperwork. You may specialize in labor relations, payroll or recruiting as a human resources manager. As a generalist, you select medical and retirement benefits for all employees in your company. Most human resources managers have bachelors' or masters' degrees in finance, business, information technology or education. The BLS projects a 13 percent increase in jobs for these professionals in the next decade.

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