$43-An-Hour Jobs That Are Within Reach


Learn more about high-paying careers that you could pursue with a bachelor's - or less.


Do you want to pursue a good paying job, but don't want to spend nearly a decade in school just for the chance to qualify?

Good news: There are a variety of careers out there that have a mean hourly wage of $40-an-hour or more, that don't require a master's degree. That translates to an average annual salary of $83,000.

Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about $40-an-hour jobs that are more within reach than you might think.

Attainable Career #1: Software Developer

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Systems Software $50.23 $104,480
Applications $46.28 $96,260

If you're good with operating and troubleshooting computers and your smart phone, then you may want to think about pursuing a career as a software developer.

In this role, you might develop the apps that allow users to perform tasks on computers or other devices, or create the underlying systems that operate the devices or control networks, says the U.S. Department of Labor. 

High-Pay Factors: Pay tends to be high because it directly relates to the demand of software developer skills, specifically as more people want instant access to information on their smart devices, says Tom Henricksen, a software developer and IT career coach with MyITCareerCoach.com.

"Currently, skills that are in-demand deal with web applications such as Javascript frameworks and mobile platforms like iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) development," adds Henricksen.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Programming & Software Program.

How to Prepare: You'll be happy to know that all it could take to pursue this lucrative career is an undergrad degree. The Department of Labor says software developers normally have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Mathematics is also an acceptable program of choice, notes the Department.

Attainable Career #2: Management Analyst

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Management Analyst $43.26 $89,990

Are you always finding ways to do a specific task more efficiently, whether it's how to reduce your living expenses, or add extra time to your packed schedule? Your analytical nature may be well-suited for a high-paying career as a management analyst.

In this job you might suggest ways to improve an organization's efficiency, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Specifically, you may advise companies on ways to increase revenues and reduce costs, through analyzed data, personnel interviews, and on-site observations.

High-Pay Factors: These professionals tend to be rewarded with a hefty paycheck because the work they do is essential for the success of a company. "Management analysts' clients are typically businesses looking to enhance efficiency in production and management, and generally improve the company's bottom line," says Eddie LaMeire, a college admissions consultant and a former college admissions counselor.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Program.

How to Prepare: You don't have to spend numerous years in school to prep for your consulting career. According to the Department of Labor, although some employers may prefer those with an MBA, a bachelor's degree is the typical entry-level requirement.

Just keep in mind that few colleges offer formal programs in management consulting, so you may want to consider majoring in another field. Common areas of study include management, business, accounting, finance, marketing, psychology, computer information science, economics, political science and government, and English, explains the Department.

Attainable Career #3: Construction Manager

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Construction Manager $44.57 $92,700

Do you consider yourself a hands-on person who can visualize a project and run with it? If so, you may want to consider putting on a hard hat and pursuing a career as a construction manager.

In this position, you might spend your days coordinating construction projects and budgets, while supervising each project in its entirety, says the U.S. Department of Labor. The projects you may take on could vary, from commercial, public, residential, to industrial structures.

High-Pay Factors: Construction managers have the potential to make big bucks because of the unique skillset they have. Not only do they need to know the ins and outs of the construction industry, but to be a great manager they must also have fundamental knowledge of people and HR guidelines, says LaMeire.

Additionally, construction managers need to know building codes and technical elements of construction, he says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Construction Management Program.

How to Prepare: To start hammering out career plans it might only take an associate's or bachelor's degree to do so. According to the Department of Labor it is becoming increasingly important for candidates to have a bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering.

And if you're interested in small projects, an associate's degree combined with work experience could be the way to get started, adds the Department.

Attainable Career #4: Medical and Health Services Manager

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Medical and Health Services Manager $48.72 $101,340

If you stay calm under pressure, adapt to change easily, and are passionate about health care you might want to consider pursuing a career as a medical and health services manager.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in this management role, you could plan, direct, and coordinate of medical and health services for an entire facility or group of doctors.

High-Pay Factors: These professionals tend to be paid for the enormous responsibility they have as well as for the specific knowledge they must possess in both business and medicine, says LaMeire.

"Health and medical services managers are in charge of marshaling and directing resources (financial and human) for health care facilities, medical centers, nursing homes, and the like. You can imagine the responsibility of someone directing a nursing facility, for instance, that could house up to 100 residents all needing intense, constant, specialized care," LaMeire says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

How to Prepare: You don't have to worry about spending countless years in school to break into this high-paying career. According to the Department of Labor, prospective managers should have a bachelor's degree in health administration.

Attainable Career #5: Financial Analyst

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Financial Analyst $44.05 $91,620

Are you savvy with numbers? Do you often find yourself as the go-to person for family and friends in need of financial advice? A career as a financial analyst could be a wise decision for your skill set - and pocket book.

As a financial analyst, your primary responsibility could be to guide a business or individual with making investment decisions, says the U.S. Department of Labor. In doing so, you might have to recommend portfolios, evaluate data and trends, and meet with investors.

High-Pay Factors: According to LeMeire, this is another career that rewards employees with a high hourly wage because of the expertise and know-how that they possess.

"This is a position that demands depth of knowledge and experience. Most analysts are trained in finance and quantitative analysis in order to provide estimates and projections on investments."

However keep in mind that another reason the pay can be so good, is that the work can be intense and getting the certifications can be strenuous, cautions LeMeire.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

How to Prepare: Good news if you aren't in love with the idea of going to grad school to get into the finance industry. According to the Department of Labor, most positions require a bachelor's, with a number of programs providing appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, mathematics, and engineering.

Attainable Career #6: Information Security Analyst

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Information Security Analyst $43.85 $91,210

Has your personal information ever been jeopardized? If so, then you know how disruptive this may be for a person or company. If you have any interest in preventing a cyber-attack, then you may want to eye up a career as an information security analyst.

In this job, you might spend your day, protecting a company's computer networks and systems from cyber-attacks, the U.S. Department of Labor states.

High-Pay Factors: Employers are more than willing to offer a decent salary for a skilled information security analyst who can stay ahead of a cyber-attack, Henricksen says.

The job also pays well because it requires strong analytical skills as there are large amounts of data to look at and software development knowledge, he adds.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

How to Prepare: If you're ready to stop the next cyber threat in its tracks, you'll be happy to know this career is within reach. While it's true that employers may sometimes prefer a master's of business administration in information systems, according to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in computer science, programming, or a related field is what's typically needed to enter this occupation.

Attainable Career #7: Sales Engineer

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Career Mean Hourly Wage* Mean Annual Wage*
Sales Engineer $48.94 $101,790

Do you have a natural way with people but also a strong interest, or even an expertise in science and technology? If so, you may want to consider pursuing a sales engineer career.

This job entails selling complex scientific and technological products or services, so individuals must have complete knowledge of the products' functions and the science behind making the products work, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

High-Pay Factors: High compensation makes sense in this career says LeMeire, as sales engineers through their backgrounds in engineering and product development help out sales teams in tech businesses.

"Sales engineers are the rare hybrids who can combine technical know-how with personable and human sales support. Their wages are not only warranted by the lucrative nature of the tech industry, but also by their scarcity: how many high-level engineers could you ever see as people people," he says.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

How to Prepare: This career may be a little more in depth than other sales positions, but it is attainable.

According to the Department of Labor, you'll only need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field to pursue this position.

It may even be possible to hold the title of sale engineer if you don't hold a degree, but you should have previous sales experience coupled with technical training. Additionally, if you have little or no sales experience, you could also be called a sales engineer, if you have a degree in a science field, such as chemistry or business.

* All salary information comes from the Department of Labor's Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013.

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