Though $50 won't make all your wildest dreams come true, it's no chump change, either. There's still a lot you can get for $50 these days: a haircut, dinner for two, a tank of gas, a 50-day supply of macaroni and cheese. It can buy a lot of life's necessities and simple pleasures.
Now, just imagine what you could do if you got paid $50 for each hour on the job. (Lifetime supply of mac and cheese, anyone?)
While it may seem like the kind of money only doctors and lawyers make, it is possible to earn $50 an hour in a variety of career paths. Here's a sampling of jobs that pay $50 an hour* (or $100,000 a year, based on a 40-hour workweek, with two weeks' vacation time).
What they do: Computer scientists research everything from computer algorithms to programming languages and software properties. The goal of computer science varies, but objectives may include: improving the ease of computer use, expanding computer functionality and developing artificial intelligence.
Education: Most have a Ph.D.*
Average hourly earnings: $50.66*
What they do: Pharmacists work in hospitals, drugstores and outpatient facilities. They dispense patient medication, ensure proper dosage, analyze possible drug interactions and provide information to patients.
Education: Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.)
Average hourly earnings: $51.27
What they do: These professionals oversee residential and commercial construction sites. They manage construction workers and coordinate project timelines and budgets.
Education: On-the-job experience; bachelor's degree preferred, but not necessary
Average hourly earnings: $50.14
What they do: Funeral directors make plans for church services, wakes and burials. The embalming portion of the job title involves cleaning and sanitizing the body, and preparing it for burial.
Education: Licensing, two-year education program and apprenticeship required
Average hourly earnings: $52.47
What they do: Marketing managers help direct a company's advertising, promotional and sales strategies, with the goal of improving the company's reputation and increasing its revenue.
Education: Bachelor's degree in business, communications, advertising or public relations.
Average hourly earnings: $50.81
What they do: Financial aid officers direct disbursement of student scholarships, loans and grants, with the goal of making school more affordable for students.
Education: Bachelor's degree usually required.
Average hourly earnings: $51,203
What they do: Securities traders typically work at investment banks, managing securities such as stocks, bonds, futures and options for individual and institutional investors.
Education: Most securities traders hold a bachelor's degree in finance or other business concentration. Often, securities traders must pass financial certification exams such as the Series 7 and Series 63 tests.
Average hourly earnings: $50.79
What they do: Behavioral psychologists study and treat emotional and behavioral issues by helping patients change their perceptions and behaviors, often through therapy.
Education: A doctoral degree is required to practice as a psychologist
Average hourly earnings: $50.36
What they do: Adult day care directors manage day-to-day operations of the facility. Responsibilities may include overseeing employees and budgets, developing relationships with attendees and their families and planning activities.
Education: High school diploma required; bachelor's degree preferred.
Average hourly earnings: $50.64
What they do: Seismologists study, report on and predict earthquakes and seismic waves.
Education: An undergraduate degree in physics or geology is enough to get a foot in the door, though many seismologists have master's or doctoral degrees.
Average hourly earnings: $50.43
What they do: Judges preside over trials and hearings in local, state or federal courtrooms.
Education: Because almost all judges get their start as lawyers, law school is the most common educational path for judges.
Average hourly earnings: $49.99
What they do: Physicists study the physical world, with emphasis on the properties and laws of nature such as mass, gravity, inertia and the composition of matter. Physicists may also apply their findings practically, and develop new medical instruments and engineering technologies, for example.
Education: Though entry-level positions can be found with a bachelor's degree, most physicists have a Ph.D.
Average hourly earnings: $51.76
What they do: HR managers interview and hire workers, mediate employee complaints and act as information sources for employees.
Education: Bachelor's degree
Average hourly earnings: $50.73
What they do: General managers are responsible for the overall operation of venues such as amusements parks, restaurants and hotels. They oversee things such as employees, guest relations, budgets, marketing and purchasing.
Education: High school diploma; bachelor's degree preferred.
Average hourly earnings: $53.15
What they do: A co-pilot serves as one part of the two-part team that makes up an airplane cockpit crew. In-flight duties are usually shared between the more experienced pilot, also called the captain, and the less experienced co-pilot, also referred to as the first officer.
Education: High school diploma, pilot's license.
Average hourly earnings: $52.45
* Salary and education information from CBSalary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary info from CBSalary.com based on average earnings in Chicago. All salary information reflects pre-tax earnings.