20 Jobs that Pay America's Average Salary


Salaries are always a hot topic in the office -- most often, as an area of complaint. In today's economy, most are simply grateful to earn a salary of any size, but you still hear things like, "I don't earn enough to survive or pay the bills" or "So-and-so is making X amount, I should be, too." Or -- my personal favorite -- "I deserve more."

Well, we all deserve more, but the reality is that right now, not many of us will get it. And, in looking at the national average salary, some of you may be surprised how you compare.

In 2008, the U.S. median wage was $32,390 per year, according to the most recent data from the Occupational Employment Statistics* of the U.S. Department of Labor. That's not a bad chunk of change, right?

Wouldn't it be nice to know what jobs paid this salary, or better yet, what jobs pay that salary where you live and work?

Jobs by Salary, a new salary tool provided by CBSalary.com, does just that. You can look up a salary range in the area where you work, and the results show what jobs in your local area pay that amount. To see what jobs in your city pay close to the national average, for example, you would input $30,000 to $39,000, plus your city and state. You'll then get a list of jobs you can look for in this range.

Since we can't give you a list of jobs in every single city, we've provided you instead with a national list of jobs that earn America's median salary.

Here are 20 jobs that fit those criteria, and the training you'll need to get them, according to the OES:

1. Forest and conservation technicians

Qualifications: On-the-job training.

Salary: $32,000

2. Floor sanders and finishers

Qualifications: On-the-job training.

Salary: $32,050

3. Medical transcriptionists

Qualifications: Postsecondary training in medical transcription is preferred by employers.

Salary: $32,060

4. Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers

Qualifications: Most learn through apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training.

Salary: $32,080

5. Automotive glass installers and repairers

Qualifications: A high school diploma or GED.

Salary: $32,110

6. Printing machine operators

Qualifications: On-the-job training.

Salary: $32, 170

7. Semiconductor processors

Qualifications: Associate degree; completion of a one-year certificate program in semiconductor technology may also be sufficient.

Salary: $32,230

8. Dental assistants

Qualifications: On-the-job training, although an increasing number are trained in dental-assisting programs offered by community and junior colleges, trade schools or technical institutes.

Salary: $32,380

9. Parking enforcement workers

Qualifications: N/A

Salary: $32,390

10. Structural metal fabricators and fitters

Qualifications: High school diploma or GED; experience and extra training is needed for more advanced assembly work.

Salary: $32,400

11. Loan interviewers and clerks

Qualifications: A college degree.

Salary: $32,470

12. Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks

Qualifications: High school diploma and some accounting coursework or relevant work experience.

Salary: $32,510

13. Log graders and scalers

Qualifications: On-the-job training, learning from experienced workers.

Salary: $32,520

14. Metal pourers and casters

Qualifications: A few weeks of on-the-job training is sufficient for most workers to learn basic machine operations.

Salary: $32, 570

15. Engine and other machine assemblers

Qualifications: A high school diploma or GED; experience and extra training is needed for more advanced assembly work.

Salary: $32,660

16. Opticians, dispensing

Qualifications: On-the-job training, mainly through apprenticeship programs that may last two years or longer.

Salary: $32, 810

17. Broadcast technicians

Qualifications: A college degree.

Salary: $32,900

18. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers

Qualifications: On-the-job training is OK, but formal training enhances employment and advancement opportunities.

Salary: $32,940

19. Meter reader, utilities

Qualifications: High school graduates qualify for many entry-level production jobs.

Salary: $32,950

20. Painters, construction and maintenance

Qualifications: On-the-job training or an apprenticeship program.

Salary: $32,960

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

*OES provides employment and wage estimates for workers in 22 major occupational groups and 801 detailed occupations. Wages published are straight-time, gross pay and don't include benefits or other extra wages, such as overtime. They are calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a "year-round, full-time" hours figure of 2,080 hours.

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