According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median hourly wage was $16.71. Loggers, truck drivers, jewelers, animal breeders, dental assistants, tax preparers and travel agents all make about that much.
Sewer pipe cleaners make a little less at $16.36 an hour. So do medical transcriptionists. Would you rather repair septic tanks or translate medical jargon?
Secretaries make a little more than the median at $16.99. And reporters come in at $17.25.
Managers, chief executives, family doctors, lawyers and judges all make some of the highest hourly earnings, of course. But information research scientists ($49.13) software developers ($47.59), mathematicians ($48.73), aerospace engineers ($49.87), physicists ($51.37), political scientists (49.04) pharmacists ($56.09) and prosthodontists ($81.31) do pretty well too.
Some of the lowest earners make $9.44 or less: cooks, waitresses, bartenders, dishwashers, maids and cashiers. Also low on the wage ladder: animal care workers ($9.60), gaming dealers ($8.96), manicurists ($9.24) and childcare workers ($9.38).
Then there are the median-wage jobs that most of us have never even heard of: roustabouts ($16.41), fallers ($16.95) and glaziers ($18.08).
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