No two ways about it: Money matters. And thankfully, wages are on the rise.
The mean annual wage in 2009 for all occupations was $43,460 ($20.90/hour), according to the Labor Department's Occupational Employment Statistics* program. That's up from $32,390 in 2008.
Want to know what jobs make close to the national average salary? Here are 10 jobs that pay a salary similar to America's mean salary, plus the skills and education needed for each.
1. Airfield operations specialists
Annual salary: $43,250
Hourly wage: $20.79
Education and training: Long-term on-the-job training is the most significant source of post-secondary education or training.
2. Production, planning and expediting clerks
Annual salary: $43,260
Hourly wage: $20.80
Education and training: These jobs are usually entry-level and don't require more than a high school diploma. These clerks usually learn on the job.
- Find a job as a clerk >>
- Related jobs: Cargo and freight agents; shipping, receiving and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; weighers, measurers, checkers and samplers; record-keeping
3. Reporters and correspondents
Annual salary: $43,270
Hourly wage: $20.80
Education and training: Most employers prefer individuals with a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications, but some hire graduates with other majors.
- Find a job as a reporter >>
- Related jobs: Authors, writers and editors; public relations specialists
4. Flight attendants
Annual salary: $43,350
Hourly wage: N/A**
Education and training: A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement, but flight attendants must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. An increasing number of airlines prefer applicants who have a college degree.
- Find a Job as a flight attendant >>
- Related jobs: Food and beverage serving and related workers; reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks
5. Radio operators
Annual salary: $43,400
Hourly wage: $20.86
Education and training: Radio operators need high school education and can usually learn their jobs through several months of on-the-job training.
- Find a job as a radio operator >>
- Related jobs: Communications equipment operators, audio and video equipment technicians, broadcast technicians, sound engineering technicians
6. Environmental science and protection technicians, including health
Annual salary: $43,520
Hourly wage: $20.92
Education and training: Most science technicians need some formal post-secondary training, such as an associate degree or a certificate in a science-related technology. Technicians with a high school diploma and no college degree usually start work as trainees under the supervision of a more experienced technician. They eventually earn a two-year degree in science technology.
- Find a job as a science technician >>
- Related jobs: Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers, drafters, engineering technicians, radiologic technologists and technicians
7. Child, family and school social workers
Annual salary: $43,540
Hourly wage: $20.93
Education and training: A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation, but some positions require an advanced degree. All states and the District of Columbia have varying licensing, certification or registration requirements.
- Find a job as a social worker >>
- Related jobs: Clergy, counselors, health educators, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, psychologists, social and human service assistants
Annual salary: $43,640
Hourly wage: $20.98
Education and training: Carpenters can learn their craft through on-the-job training, vocational schools or technical colleges, or formal apprenticeship programs, which often take three to four years.
- Find a job as a carpenter >>
- Related jobs: Brick masons, block masons and stonemasons; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers and terrazzo workers; construction equipment operators; drywall and ceiling tile installers, tapers, plasterers and stucco masons; electricians; plumbers, pipe layers, pipefitters and steamfitters
9. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers
Annual salary: $43,670
Hourly wage: $21.00
Education and training: As with all technology, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems have advanced. Employers prefer to hire people who have completed technical-school training or a formal apprenticeship. Some mechanics and installers, however, still learn the trade informally on the job.
- Find a job in HVAC >>
- Related jobs: Boilermakers, electricians, home appliance repairers, plumbers, pipe layers, pipefitters and steamfitters, sheet metal workers
10. Chemical technicians
Annual salary: $43,900
Hourly wage: $21.11
Education and training: Most chemical process technicians have a two-year degree, usually an associate degree in process technology. Chemical technicians in research and development also often require a bachelor's degree.
- Find a job as a chemical technician >>
- Find Related jobs: Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers, drafters, engineering technicians, radiologic technologists and technicians
*OES provides employment and wage estimates for workers in 22 major occupational groups and 801 detailed occupations. Wages published are calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a "year-round, full-time" hours figure of 2,080 hours.
**Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full time, are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics either as hourly wages or annual salaries, depending on how they are typically paid.
- She Married The Man Who Fired Her [AOL Jobs]
- The Tree Types of Power [Ask Men]