Nuclear technicians work in power plants and assist engineers and physicists in their research on nuclear power and nuclear energy production. You’ll work in control rooms and use computers to monitor and operate nuclear reactors in this job. Being a nuclear reactor is a full-time job that can often include working on weekends and holidays. While it may sound stressful or scary at first, nuclear power plants are indeed marvels of modern engineering, and the US has an incredibly strong safety record in its nuclear power plants. They are genuinely at the forefront of delivering safe, clean power to the population.
The median salary for a nuclear technician is $69,060. Atomic reactor operators must have at least an associate’s degree in nuclear science or nuclear-related technology. You’ll also be put through a long on-the-job training course. If you are interested in this field, the more science and technology training, the better since it shows you can learn scientific and technological concepts, both of which will be expected in the position. You also want to be comfortable with a job that will likely be mostly “boring” with occasional bouts of emergency or high-stress work needed in the event of emergencies or storms.
One of the more extreme jobs on this list is the petroleum pump system operator. This job involves controlling and operating oil refining and processing units. You may also be tasked with testing oil in storage tanks, regulating the flow of oil into pipelines, and operating pumping systems. Petroleum pump operators often have to work in harsh climates like the arid, cold areas of western North Dakota or off the gulf coast at humid and storm-prone locations. It’s also a quite solitary job, as you may be the only one staffing a pump for some time. However, if you want to contribute to the vital energy sector, it may be a great fit for you.
The median salary for a petroleum pump system operator is $61,850. More than 15,500 jobs are projected to open through 2022. You only need a high school diploma to work as a petroleum pump system operator, but expect to undergo some on-the-job training. While many are trying to transition the US away from the fossil fuel energy economy, that shift will be a long time coming, and there are still many fossil fuel jobs in the US. If you want to work in some truly diverse outdoor climates and help ensure energy access in the US, becoming a petroleum pump system operator could be an ideal fit for you.
While this job may seem morbid, it’s a very fulfilling career. It gives you the chance to run your own business and help people in one of the darkest times of their lives. You will be responsible for arranging funerals, working with and comforting grieving families, and holding memorial services. Funeral services directors can bring a great deal of peace and comfort to families in their times of direst need, so a large amount of empathy and compassion is an absolute must in this career path. If you enjoy caring for others but don’t want to work in the medical field, funeral service is another excellent option.
The median salary for a funeral service director is close to $66,800. This job requires you to have an associate’s degree. Furthermore, you should take a few business courses. Professionals estimate that roughly 3,200 additional funeral service director jobs will be opening in the next few years. Unfortunately, with an aging US population, the market for funeral services will continue to grow. Training in psychology, counseling, and other human service fields is a great introduction to the industry. It can make you more competitive, too. Sales also is a component of funeral services, so sales training or experience is a plus.
The median salary for a web developer is $62,500. Because of the rapid growth of the internet, experts predict more than 50,000 web development jobs opening through 2022. You can start as a web developer with just a high school diploma. If you want to advance in your field eventually, consider getting an associate’s degree or other certification. It’s also essential to maintain a portfolio of completed websites to show off your skills to prospective employers or freelance clients. Having additional graphic design skills in addition to knowing the current trendy programming languages will make you extra competitive.
Power plant operators are responsible for the control and operation of the machines that generate electric power. With this job, you’ll work in a control room containing the status information on the numerous components required to produce electricity. With this information, power plant operators can control the plant’s voltage and electricity flow. Sure, you know the popular image of do-nothing Homer Simpson with this job. However, power plant operators are professional industrious employees responsible for the safe creation and delivery of electric power throughout the US. It’s a great job for those who love science and technology. Furthermore, those with a commitment to public service.
A power plant operator’s median salary is $66,130 and only requires a high school diploma to get this job. Some employers will require you to complete an associate’s program or attend a trade school. You will also need extensive on-the-job training. Power plant operators have a great deal of responsibility, so if you like to goof around or have trouble concentrating, it may not be the job for you. It’s also a job with a lot of “boring” downtime that can require springing to act quickly in an emergency. Do you have the temperament and skills fit for this job? You can make it a well-paying lifetime career.
If you’d like to work in public transportation, you may want to become a subway or streetcar operator. In this position, you move passengers from one place to another by navigating a subway car that runs underground. A subway operator is responsible for keeping passengers safe as well as strictly adhering to traffic signals. Obviously, this job requires living in a major city since rural areas and most mid-size towns don’t have subway or streetcar systems. However, if you already live or have always wanted to live in a major city and work in transportation, a subway or streetcar operator position could be an ideal fit for you.
The median salary for a subway and streetcar operator is $62,730. You only need a high school diploma to get this job. Most likely, some degree of on-the-job training is involved in becoming a subway or streetcar operator. Much like bus drivers, you don’t necessarily need any professional licensure but will need a minimum of on-the-job training and a clean personal driving record and criminal record. You most likely have to complete drug and alcohol testing at a regular or random interview for this and most other transportation jobs for the public’s safety. Working with public transit is an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious.
Also known as an ultrasound technician, this job involves operating ultrasound equipment in a medical capacity. In this job, you’ll use sound waves to take images of internal organs and soft tissue. Diagnostic medical sonographers usually work at clinics and hospitals. People mostly associate this job with pregnancy. However, professionals use ultrasounds to diagnose various medical conditions, including kidney stones and soft tissue disorders. A kind and compassionate bedside manner is a must since you will be working directly and very closely with patients. If you enjoy small talk and the medical field, you could be an excellent medical sonographer.
You need an associate’s degree and on-the-job training to become a diagnostic medical sonographer. The median salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer is $65,860. With the way the medical field is growing, more than 35,000 jobs will be opening in the next six years. Much like nursing or MRI technicians, mid and entry-level medical jobs will continue to see rapid growth due to the aging US population requiring more advanced medical care. Tech school is a great way to start a medical career, with many associate’s degree programs in medical technology operations.
This position entails planning and managing the behind-the-scenes operations of a post office. You will be in charge of coordinating services and doing administrative work. Postmasters are also responsible for organizing the schedules and duties of postal workers who work for them. To enter the Postal Service, most people start as mail carriers or sorters, which requires taking the Postal Exam 473, which measures your speed, accuracy, and memory, all of which are necessary to handle mail effectively. The Postal Service is unionized, which means excellent benefits and advancement from within. If you have what it takes to ace the exam, the Postal Service can be very rewarding.
The median salary for a postmaster is $63,050, and more than 5,000 jobs will be opening in the next five years or so. You need a high school diploma to work as a postmaster. An associate’s degree in business, public administration, or communications can help you get a job as a postmaster as well. The federal government often challenges the Postal Service with budget cuts to make the Service look inefficient. However, it is, at its core, a public service and one of the greatest common good programs in the United States. If you like to exercise, a good mental challenge, and want to commit yourself to public service, the Postal Service may be a great career path.
Nurses are an invaluable part of the medical world. Registered nurses are in charge of treating patients under a doctor’s supervision. They also provide emotional support to patients and their families. They are the primary contact point and source of care for hospitalized patients. You can choose to specialize in a particular area, including pediatrics, oncology, critical care, neonatology, surgery, geriatrics, and more. As a registered nurse, you will evaluate patients’ needs, administer medications, and work with doctors to coordinate patient care. Well-trained nurses have the pick of virtually any job they want, with the US facing a massive shortfall of nurses. Many hospitals have large sign-on bonuses for nurses.
The median salary for a registered nurse is $65,470. The good news is that more than 1 million registered nurse jobs will open in the next three years. In addition to a high school diploma, you’ll need to get an associate’s degree in nursing. If you want to become an RN, many places do still require a four-year degree. However, there is a nursing shortage throughout the US. Thus, professionals are relaxing those requirements in some areas. You might only need an associate’s level LPN and years of experience. If you enjoy nursing, you can follow education as far as a Ph.D. to become a nurse practitioner.
If you love the entertainment industry, you may want to consider becoming a media and communication equipment worker. In this job, you will repair, install, and maintain audio and visual systems. You will also be in charge of training clients on how to use the equipment properly. This type of job is quite in demand in the film and television industries. Universities and museums also often require media and communication equipment workers to manage the multimedia displays and communication tech used in classrooms and exhibits. School systems may also have dedicated media and communication equipment workers on staff.
The median salary for a medical equipment worker is $79,580. The number of jobs is expected to grow more than eight percent in the next six or seven years. You will only need a high school diploma to become a media and communication equipment worker. It may be a bit easier to break into the industry if you have experience and certification in the electrical installation industry. In and of itself, electrical installation is a growing profession, so gaining training through tech school or an apprenticeship could open an entire field of opportunities to you. If you enjoy working with your hands and have a sharp mind for reading schematics and instructions, you may thrive in electrical installation.
A magnetic resonance imaging technologist is a valuable part of the medical industry. They’re responsible for taking images inside the human body with a magnetic field and radio waves. A magnetic resonance imaging technologist helps patients get inside an MRI machine. They then guide them through the scan process. Professionals frequently use MRIs to diagnose many different injuries and conditions. These machines are a vital part of a hospital’s diagnostic ability alongside CAT scans and more. With an aging population, the US will see a continuing need for well-trained MRI technicians, especially those with a satisfactory bedside manner who can make patients feel comfortable.
The median salary for a magnetic resonance imaging technologist is $65,360. Over 11,000 jobs will be available in the next six years. A magnetic resonance imaging technologist needs to have at least an associate’s degree to get a job. Once you become certified, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years. Much like nursing, MRI technician jobs are almost always open at most major hospitals and may even have a sign-on bonus for qualified workers. Medical careers are in extremely high demand and will continue to grow in need with an aging US population as more and more Boomers will require more medical care.
A patrol officer is an essential member of the law enforcement community. They work hard to keep citizens safe and get criminals off the streets in addition to everyday duties like writing parking tickets and conducting speed monitoring stations. In addition to being on patrol, an officer will spend time in the office updating records, following up on community leads and requests, and writing reports. This job can be exhausting since you will spend a lot of time on your feet. It is also a high-stress job that requires a lot of training and a particular temperament to avoid becoming a bully or corrupt.
The median salary for a patrol officer is $61,050. Many jobs are continuing to open up every year. Most cities require only a high school diploma before you can enter the police academy. You will learn about patrol protocol, firearms, first aid techniques, and legal codes in the police academy. You will also be required to pass a strenuous physical exam. Many police forces are now requiring additional psychological testing as well in an attempt to avoid ongoing incidents of police brutality. Ensure your reasons for entering the police profession are noble and beneficial for the community and not wanting control or power.
If you enjoy the fast-paced world of a casino, you can become a gaming manager. This position puts you in charge of the inner workings of a casino. You will monitor the floor and ensure that the business runs smoothly because of the wild, unpredictable gambling nature. The gaming manager works to create a fun, memorable experience for casino visitors. They must have excellent customer service skills and a fun, charming personality. Gaming management is a unique combination of business management and customer service, so experience or training in either area will give you a leg up over the competition.
The median salary for a gaming manager is $65,220. The job only requires you to earn a high school diploma. It doesn’t hurt to take a few courses in business administration as well. While these jobs aren’t typical in all areas, if you live in a region with a lot of commercial gaming, your odds are likely much higher. Areas like Las Vegas have the most gaming manager jobs but don’t forget about Florida retirement gaming communities and places like Atlantic City, New Jersey. Many Native American reservations in the Midwest also have commercial gaming operations that need management.
Most CEOs would agree that their business would not run as smoothly if they didn’t have help from their trusty executive assistant. Executive assistants manage their boss’ calendar, provide high-level administrative support for executives, coordinate meetings, and take notes during sessions. Executive assistants need to be prepared for anything. If you thrive on a bit of controlled chaos and don’t mind running errands, an executive assistant position may be a phenomenal fit for you. Attention to detail and the ability to multitask are musts since you will be running your boss’ day-to-day life on a busy professional schedule.
The median salary for an executive assistant is $57,410, and these jobs are competitive. You most likely can get a job as an administrative assistant with just a high school diploma, but the experience will then be at a premium. It would give you the advantage of getting a degree or certification in business administration. Getting new certifications every few years can help you stay up to date with new technology and business practice changes. The ability to show competence in new software is always an asset. That goes double for a commitment to being flexible and doing whatever is required to keep your boss’ day-to-day operations running smoothly. It doesn’t matter if you are grabbing dry cleaning or scheduling important meetings.
Transportation inspectors are responsible for inspecting goods and equipment before commercial drivers start on a long trip. They look at luggage, cargo, and various items before rail, freight, or other voyage types. Safety and security are a top priority for a transportation inspector. They are typically the final safety stop before a trip begins. Transportation inspectors evaluate how safely the load is secured. They also evaluate if the weight offers optimal, safe distribution, and more. They are the last eyes on a cargo shipment before it ends on America’s highways, railways, or airways. An eye for detail is a must.
You may also have to inspect semi-trucks to ensure that they align with safety codes and regulations. The median salary for a transportation inspector is $63,680 and only requires a high school diploma. You may also need to have some on-the-job training or take courses in automotive engineering. Many transportation inspectors start as commercial drivers, so getting your commercial driving license from a tech school could be a great entry point into the relatively lucrative and rapidly growing field of commercial transportation. The US faces a long-haul driver shortage, and many jobs associated with long-haul are sitting open, including inspectors.
A sales representative primarily sells goods and services to various businesses, organizations, and government agencies instead of directly. They work heavily in marketing and can sell items from possibly any industry. Some sales representatives sell medical equipment, while others offer food and soft drinks. A sales representative must be good at communication, have a charming personality, and travel a lot. If you like fast-paced environments that are continually changing, you would likely thrive as a sales representative. Some sales representatives work in training and merchandising as well, training new employees and setting floor displays.
The median salary for a sales representative is $56,970. Experts predict about 76,400 jobs to open up between now and 2026. This position requires no formal education, just a high school diploma. It’s advantageous to have experience in sales. You can get a leg up on your competition by taking a few business or marketing courses. Communications courses at tech school would also likely be beneficial for becoming a sales representative. Regular retail sales experience is also valuable. Many people receive promotions from retail sales jobs to sales representatives within their chains. Find an industry you’re passionate about and dive into it.
Being an electrical power line installer is an active job that can occasionally be dangerous. With this job, you will be in charge of installing and repairing electrical power systems as well as fiber optics and telecommunication cables. Electrical power-line installers work with high-voltage electricity and at great heights, which can be a dangerous job. However, it’s also an incredibly important and underappreciated job that keeps the entire country running. Anyone who has ever listened to Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman will understand how hard-line installers work to keep everyone’s power running smoothly and safely.
The median salary for an electrical power line installer is $63,350, and nearly 50,000 of these jobs will be available by 2026. You will need to have a high school diploma and take a rigorous on-the-job training course. It’s also common to go through an apprenticeship before being hired. Electrical power-line installer jobs are always available due to the risky nature and skills required. If you aren’t afraid of heights and want a career with a sense of purpose and responsibility, becoming an electrical power line installer might be the perfect career path for you.
A sound engineering technician is a vital part of the audio industry due to the high demand for their services. Sound engineers are in charge of setting up audio equipment and operating audio equipment during an event or live performance. Sound engineering technicians can work in movies, theater, sports games, concerts, and more. Basically, any event or item of entertainment that includes sound requires at least one sound engineer. Every movie and television show you’ve ever watched, as well as any live music or sports event you’ve attended, has featured the work of at least one sound engineer.
The median salary for a sound engineering technician is $55,810, and about 1,100 of these jobs will be available in the next few years due to demands. Many sound engineering technicians learn the trade on the job, but it’s beneficial to get an associate’s degree in sound engineering. Consider doing an internship to get your foot in the door. While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to successfully work as an engineering technician, you can also study to get one if you end up enjoying the field. Many colleges around the US offer four-year sound and audio engineering programs.
Service delivery analysts work in any industry that involves delivering a product or service directly to a client, be it another business or an individual customer. Anytime there is a service being rendered, a service delivery analyst is vital to determining the quality of the service. They also determine how the render’s efficiency as well as identifying any room for improvement. They are the ultimate gurus of customer service analysis and service delivery improvement. Typically, you only need strong computer skills and a good willingness to learn new software and skills to become a new service delivery analyst.
The median salary for a Service Delivery Analyst is $56,433. There looks to be tremendous growth for new positions since every industry can benefit from analyzing how well they deliver their services or items to customers. What CEO isn’t always looking for ways to improve their service and maximize profit and competitiveness in their industry? If you enjoy learning how to maximize a system and continually improve things in your day-to-day life, you may be uniquely qualified for this position. While some business training certainly won’t hurt, many employers are simply looking for a few years of experience in a related field.
If you’ve always enjoyed tinkering and making things with your hand, becoming a Tool-and-Die Maker might be a great fit for you. Tool-and-Die Makers are specialized machinists who use machine-controlled tools to produce complex tools. In turn, experts use these tools for other manufacturing processes. Basically, you use advanced technology to create parts for other advanced technologies. Tool-and-Die makers usually work for the private industry and are often employed by universities to make their science laboratories equipment. Some Tool-and-Die makers even end up making specialized parts that go into space aboard scientific rockets!
Generally, tool-and-die makers only need an associate’s degree in a manufacturing skill in addition to extensive on-the-job training with the specific machinery they’ll be working with. There are also many apprenticeship programs for Tool-and-Die making within different industries. Depending on how complex the machinery and input required, some Tool-and-Die Maker positions require a general understanding of Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) imagery and function. Tool-and-Die Makers are one of the highest-paid manufacturing positions, with a median income of $45,750. The field has fantastic room for growth as more manufacturing processes continue to be automated, which requires the specialized parts Tool-and-Die Makers produce.
While becoming a pharmacist is an incredibly rigorous process that requires as many as eight years of school and demanding licensing exams, becoming a pharmacy technician is, thankfully, considerably easier. While some pharmacy technicians have a four-year degree, it is not necessarily a requirement for employment at most major pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians most often work in pharmacies, assisting pharmacists with dispensing medications. Others work in nursing homes or private medical practices where they also assist pharmacists. They work directly with customers or patients and need excellent customer service and communication skills. Attention to detail and accuracy are also absolute musts since life-saving medications are involved.
Many vocation and technical skills offer two-year or shorter pharmacy technician programs, and some pharmacies provide extensive on-the-job training for new pharmacy technicians. As with many significant medical positions, the pharmacy technician position sees explosive growth due to the rapidly aging US population and the increased demand for prescription medications. While the median pay is one of the lowest on the list at $33,950, the sky-high demand will likely lead to higher wages as pharmacies begin to compete to retain top-notch pharmacy technicians. If you like customer service but want to move to a step above retail sales, becoming a pharmacy technician could be a well-paying fit for you.
It should come as no surprise to see another medical job on this list since so many require a surprisingly obtainable and far more affordable associate’s, or two-year degree, instead of a bachelor’s four-year degree. Respiratory therapists help patients with every element of the respiratory system. These professionals usually work in hospitals to help those hospitalized with respiratory system conditions or after surgeries that impact the respiratory system. They often help patients regain lung capacity and strength and provide a lot of comfort and care for those dealing with emphysema, lung cancer, and many more serious conditions.
In most states and hospital systems, you only need an associate’s degree to become a practicing respiratory therapist. You will need to pass an examination conducted by The National Board of Respiratory Care to become a respiratory therapist. However, your associate’s degree or vocational program will help you work towards passing that licensure examination. Respiratory therapists have a relatively high median income of $61,300. That will likely only go higher as demand soars as part of the general shortage of healthcare workers amidst the growing demand for healthcare services. As with nursing and other specialties, respiratory therapy is very likely to see immense growth.
An underappreciated element of the medical field is the immense amount of work that maintains the extensive, sensitive records that medical care provides. The wizards managing all of that data are medical records technicians who specialize in organizing, storing, and protecting a healthcare network’s patients’ confidential health data. If you’ve ever had to ask for health records to be released to either yourself or another health care provider, you likely spoke to a medical records technician. Those who are comfortable with computers and have an excellent eye for accuracy and attention to detail would be ideal fits for this fast-paced, high-tech profession.
Becoming a medical records technician typically requires a two-year associate’s degree and then passing some certification exams that indicate proficiency in medical abbreviations, coding language, and more. The median pay is somewhat lower than direct patient care providing medical fields at $37,887. However, like all of the other medical careers we’ve discussed, it shows promising signs of continued growth. As more and more older Americans require more medical care, there will be correspondingly large increases in the amount of medical records data that must be organized and maintained. Hospitals continue to transition to exclusively digital record-keeping, which will necessitate more trained medical records technicians.