Most common jobs in America

Written by:
September 16, 2019
G-Stock Studio // Shutterstock

Most common jobs in America

Keeping America’s economy moving would be impossible without office workers, package handlers, food prep workers, and truck drivers. What would the sick do without the millions of hospital workers, nurses, and home health aides? Whether fixing America’s drinks as a bartender, vehicles as an auto mechanic, or legal problems as a lawyer, the top 50 jobs listed in this article employ more than 74.2 million people. While most of the jobs on the list make less than $20 per hour, 13 jobs had annual salaries above $60,000, with three clearing six figures.

Stacker analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine the 50 most common jobs in America. Jobs are ranked by total U.S. employment (excluding self-employed workers) as of the May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report (the most recent data available).

There are 144.7 million total employees in America as of May 2018. The 10 largest occupations in America employ 30.5 million workers, representing 21% of all workers. Most jobs on the list don’t require much beyond a high school diploma, but some can require years of schooling, certification, and state or federal licensing.

Supporting data is also provided around the average hourly and annual wages for most of the roles. The BLS calculates average annual wages for occupations by multiplying average hourly wages by 2,080 hours (40 hours per week for 52 weeks) to represent year-round, full-time workers.

Read on for Stacker’s list of the 50 most common jobs in America.

You may also like: Highest paying jobs in America 

1 / 50
santypan // Shutterstock

#50. Bartenders

- Total employment: 631,480
- Average annual wage: $26,780
- Average hourly wage: $12.88

Bartenders have been serving up spirits since the days of Julius Caesar, going from simple servers pouring ale in public drinking houses to certified mixologists at five-star restaurants. A bartender listens to humanity's problems through all hours of the night while cleaning the bar, checking identification, and collecting money. Though not nearly as glamorous as Tom Cruise in the movie "Cocktail" or Piper Perabo in "Coyote Ugly," there is something to be said for bartending as a cool gig.

2 / 50
Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#49. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- Total employment: 638,200
- Average annual wage: $70,960
- Average hourly wage: $34.11

Along with following product and service trends, market research analysts observe sale methods and pricing points to determine productivity, often creating campaigns around consumers’ buying habits. Recruiter reports while the average analyst salary is around $70,000, marketing specialists make up to $82,290 annually in Oregon, with manufacturing considered the most lucrative field of practice. The profession is one of the 15 fastest-growing industries, according to Moneywise, reporting that by 2026, another 138,300 jobs will open up in the field.

3 / 50
Nicola Forenza // Shutterstock

#48. Lawyers

- Total employment: 642,750
- Average annual wage: $144,230
- Average hourly wage: $69.34

Long before lawyers were more notorious than celebrated, they were merely Roman orators who pleaded their friends’ cases. Now, becoming a lawyer requires a rigorous academic career and passing the bar exam which is considered extremely challenging. Yet the role is so familiar, even reality star Kim Kardashian vows to be one by 2022.

4 / 50
PATIWIT HONGSANG // Shutterstock

#47. Automotive service technicians and mechanics

- Total employment: 648,050
- Average annual wage: $43,730
- Average hourly wage: $21.02

As long as there are cars on the road, automotive service technicians and mechanics will not want for work. Your Mechanic reports almost a dozen unique services, including parts specialist, battery mechanic, and brake technician. Meanwhile, Career Addict lists “The 10 Best Jobs for a Car Mechanic,” which range widely from automotive AC repairman to customer service representative. Additionally, the automotive service technician profession is expected to rise by over 14% in the next decade, according to

5 / 50
Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

#46. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

- Total employment: 655,590
- Average annual wage: $34,980
- Average hourly wage: $16.82

Assembling, addressing, and shipping packages is not physically easy and is more widespread than many understand, with stock fillers and order fillers also falling under this category. With FedEx reporting the delivery of over three million packages a day, and UPS claiming over 15 million, the trade is critical to meeting consumer demands. The addition of Amazon Prime and big-box stores like Walmart delivering items has called for even more shipping and receiving clerks to record merchandise and arrange for transportation.

6 / 50
welcomia // Shutterstock

#45. Electricians

- Total employment: 655,840
- Average annual wage: $59,190
- Average hourly wage: $28.46

In 1882, Thomas Edison suggested starting an electrical engineering course at Columbia University, and by 1889 an entire department was dedicated to the trade. While some electricians attend a technical school, others learn to install, maintain, and repair many types of power; others learn the trade through apprenticeships. Aside from providing residential and commercial services, other specializations include line repairmen and installers; electrical estimators; and drafters, who draw up system blueprints based on engineering and architectural plans.

7 / 50

#44. Police and sheriff's patrol officers

- Total employment: 661,330
- Average annual wage: $65,400
- Average hourly wage: $31.44

The police profession is rather new, according to Time magazine; what first began with night watchmen patrolling the streets later turned to full-time officers by 1838 in Boston. Nearly 200 years later, being a police or sheriff’s officer is considered a risky job, ranking 18 out of 25 on a recent investigation into the country’s most dangerous jobs. The difference between the two types of law enforcement officers is a sheriff works throughout county limits whereas police patrol in one designated town or city in a county.

8 / 50
Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#43. Packers and packagers, hand

- Total employment: 663,970
- Average annual wage: $26,490
- Average hourly wage: $12.74

Packers and packagers often work on factory lines or in warehouses, where they’re responsible for several procedures including counting, measuring, recording, and inspecting. Like shipping and receiving clerks, packers are in demand in the era of home delivery, but are not highly paid, according to USA Today. The only education required for the labor-intensive job is a high school diploma, with most positions found in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey.

9 / 50
Thor Winje // Shutterstock

#42. Medical assistants

- Total employment: 673,660
- Average annual wage: $34,540
- Average hourly wage: $16.61

The profession dates back to ancient physicians, such as Hippocrates and Galan, who were always surrounded by student residents who assisted them. While some states require a medical assistant to have a certificate or two-year education, others learn the clinical and administrative duties on the job. The American Association of Medical Assistants details clinical obligations including taking a patient’s medical history, drawing blood, and performing laboratory tests, along with administrative tasks like insurance coding, billing, and updating and filing medical records.

10 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#41. Management analysts

- Total employment: 684,470
- Average annual wage: $94,390
- Average hourly wage: $45.38

Reducing costs and increasing revenue is always the goal of any management analysts, who are ranked #16 in U.S. News & World Reports’ Best Business Jobs. Becoming a management analyst requires a bachelor’s degree and a Certified Management Consultant certification, with top-paid analysts making $110,600. By 2026, the profession’s projected job growth is 14% by 2028, which means 115,200 more jobs according to the BLS.

11 / 50
Dusan Petkovic // Shutterstock

#40. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

- Total employment: 701,690
- Average annual wage: $47,050
- Average hourly wage: $22.62

As the title notes, practical and vocational nurses must become licensed after completing a state-approved education program to practice in the medical field. Many in the field work in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices, while some can be employed privately. A typical office day for an LPN includes meeting with patients, checking vitals, monitoring medication and treatment, managing administrative tasks, and assisting in surgery when needed.

12 / 50
guruXOX // Shutterstock

#39. Carpenters

- Total employment: 718,730
- Average annual wage: $51,120
- Average hourly wage: $24.58

While carpenters build structures in all shapes and sizes, 22% work on residential building construction, with up to 27% self-employed in 2018, according to the BLS. The physical job of cutting, shaping, and installing wood and building materials includes standing, kneeling, lifting, and carrying material for hours in sometimes unpleasant weather conditions, and can be hazardous

13 / 50
Robert Hoetink // Shutterstock

#38. Home health aides

- Total employment: 797,670
- Average annual wage: $25,330
- Average hourly wage: $12.18

Along with long hours and low pay, cultural differences between aides and clients and union contracts make this occupation difficult to maintain. As indicated by the title, home health aides work at the residence of a disabled or chronically ill clients, in nursing homes, and with outpatient programs. While no formal education is required to assist a client with their personal care needs, a high school diploma is needed to obtain a job in the field.

14 / 50
DenisProduction // Shutterstock

#37. Food preparation workers

- Total employment: 814,600
- Average annual wage: $24,830
- Average hourly wage: $11.94

Food preparation workers do everything from sanitizing work areas to slicing and dicing vegetables while working under a chef. They are also responsible for weighing and measuring ingredients for chefs and storing food at recorded temperatures. The BLS reports food preparation workers are often in charge of salad bars and buffets, keeping them supplied with fresh food on time, and can be found doing dishes in downtime to keep the kitchen clean and stocked.

15 / 50
REDPIXEL.PL // Shutterstock

#36. Software developers, applications

- Total employment: 903,160
- Average annual wage: $108,080
- Average hourly wage: $51.96

In the day and age of apps, software developers are in demand, with an expected 21% growth by 2028, which according to the BLS is swifter than average. While software developers must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, most attain a master’s degree, which is becoming more expected in the field. Basic tasks of a software developer are not so simple, with O*NET reporting they, “design, develop and modify software systems, using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcome and consequences of design.”

16 / 50
RomeoLu // Shutterstock

#35. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers

- Total employment: 913,480
- Average annual wage: $30,940
- Average hourly wage: $14.88

Making sure the grass is always greener falls to landscapers and groundskeepers, whose duties can also include tree trimming, digging, planting, or non-concrete wall installation. Serving America’s homes and buildings is where most landscapers and groundskeepers find their work, although places like golf courses, sports complexes, and local governments need their grounds kept as well. Landscape architecture dates back to the Ancient Romans and Greeks, who used their gardens as much as their homes.

17 / 50
Sean Locke Photography // Shutterstock

#34. Light truck or delivery services drivers

- Total employment: 915,310
- Average annual wage: $36,920
- Average hourly wage: $17.75

Light truck drivers operate vehicles of less than 26,000 pounds to pick up and deliver packages and merchandise, like flowers and construction supplies. Companies like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other delivery services are some of the larger employers in the space, which requires minimal education outside of a driver’s license and on-the-job training. The industry traces its roots to the early 1900s, when trucks began to replace trains and horse-drawn carriages as the primary ways to transport goods.

18 / 50

#33. Maids and housekeeping cleaners

- Total employment: 924,290
- Average annual wage: $25,570
- Average hourly wage: $12.30

Hotels employ over half of these workers, who perform duties like vacuuming, making beds, and cleaning. No education is required, but the $12.30 hourly wage is among the lowest on the list, with much of the work revolving around tourism and a strong economy. Maids were so prevalent in the U.S. in the early 1900s that a woman “either had a maid, or she was one,” according to The Atlantic.

19 / 50

#32. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers

- Total employment: 964,400
- Average annual wage: $36,190
- Average hourly wage: $17.40

Supervising over 3 million food prep workers falls to these supervisors, who train, schedule, and oversee the day-to-day activities of their employees. Restaurants, including fast-food establishments, employ almost three-quarters of these professionals, while specialty food services and schools are also viable workplaces. No education is required to obtain a position supervising food prep and serving workers, but most places hire from within the ranks of their workforce.

20 / 50

#31. Construction laborers

- Total employment: 1,001,470
- Average annual wage: $40,350
- Average hourly wage: $19.40

The first occupation on our list to hit one million workers, construction laborers work with their hands or tools in their role. Their responsibilities vary from job to job, from cleaning and digging to erecting scaffolding and heavy lifting. Construction laborers, which have been plying their trade since civilizations began building, have one of the highest rates of injury and illness among the professions.

21 / 50
nd3000 // Shutterstock

#30. Sales representatives, services, all other

- Total employment: 1,033,820
- Average annual wage: $64,860
- Average hourly wage: $31.18

Selling goods and services to customers falls to sales representatives, who can use a variety of methods, including in-person sales, house calls, and cold calling. Electronics and appliance stores are the top employers of sales reps at just under 10% of the market. Several factors determine a sales reps’ salary, including location, experience, and performance.

Note: This category includes all services sales representatives outside of (1) advertising sales agents, (2) insurance sales agents, (3) securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, and (4) travel agents.

22 / 50

#29. Receptionists and information clerks

- Total employment: 1,043,630
- Average annual wage: $30,350
- Average hourly wage: $14.59

Receptionists are often responsible for the first impression of a company, whether answering and directing calls on the phone or greeting customers as they walk through the door. A high school diploma, computer skills, and a positive attitude are often all that is required to work the front desk anywhere from hotels, where some fear automation will shrink the industry, to doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Before 1880, the role was mostly occupied by men, but the advent and mass production of the Remington typewriter spurred a complete gender flip (women were thought to have smaller fingers).

23 / 50 // Shutterstock

#28. Secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education

- Total employment: 1,051,570
- Average annual wage: $64,340
- Average hourly wage: not available

Shaping the minds of America’s teenagers requires a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate at a minimum. Secondary educators create and implement lesson plans according to their districts’ curriculum and often use their own money to stock their classrooms. Secondary school teachers became a specialized profession in Massachusetts in the early 1800s.

24 / 50 // Shutterstock

#27. Business operations specialists, all other

- Total employment: 1,060,580
- Average annual wage: $76,960
- Average hourly wage: $37.00

Business operations specialists keep things running smoothly by optimizing day-to-day activities and setting future business plans. Earning an annual salary approaching $80K requires an associate’s degree at the minimum, while many businesses, universities, and government offices expect a master’s. The federal government is one of the chief employers of operations specialists, with those working around the nation’s capital earning over six figures, according to the BLS.

Note: This category includes all business operations specialists outside of (1) agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes, (2) claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators, (3) insurance appraisers, auto damage, (4) compliance officers, (5) cost estimators, (6) human resources specialists, (7) farm labor contractors, (8) labor relations specialists, (9) logisticians, (10) management analysts, (11) meeting, convention, and event planners, (12) fundraisers, (13) compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists, (14) training and development specialists, (15) market research analysts and marketing specialists.

25 / 50
Fh Photo // Shutterstock

#26. Security guards

- Total employment: 1,114,380
- Average annual wage: $32,050
- Average hourly wage: $15.41

Working as a security guard usually requires little more than a high school diploma or GED, though some states mandate licensing; more if the position is armed. The profession dates back to the days of ancient Egypt, when pharaohs would hire private security forces to protect their families. There are a variety of settings to secure, including banks, housing developments, and shopping areas.

26 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#25. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers

- Total employment: 1,181,530
- Average annual wage: $45,080
- Average hourly wage: $21.67

Retail salespeople make up much of the nation’s workforce, and it requires more than a million people to supervise those workers in settings like food stores, gas stations, or department stores, which employ more than any other field, according to the BLS. Apart from supervising workers, duties include budgeting, purchasing goods, accounting work, and ensuring a quality customer experience.

27 / 50
Andrei_R // Shutterstock

#24. Accountants and auditors

- Total employment: 1,259,930
- Average annual wage: $78,820
- Average hourly wage: $37.89

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, making this well-paying job virtually recession-proof according to the Wall Street Journal. While they’re most visible at tax time, accountants work behind the scenes with businesses, schools, and governments to handle financial statements, balance the books, and forecast trends throughout the year. Becoming a Certified Public Accountant requires a bachelor’s degree, national exam, and extensive field training.

28 / 50
DGLimages // Shutterstock

#23. Teacher assistants

- Total employment: 1,331,560
- Average annual wage: $28,750
- Average hourly wage: not available

Over 1 million teacher assistants work in elementary and secondary schools per the BLS, helping teachers implement lesson plans and keep classrooms running smoothly. TAs need a minimum of an associate’s degree and certificate to work in a public school, with further certification required for more specialized classrooms. Teaching assistants in Alaska can make up to $50,000 per year, while in Mississippi, the figure barely eclipses $10,000.

29 / 50

#22. Cooks, restaurant

- Total employment: 1,340,810
- Average annual wage: $27,580
- Average hourly wage: $13.26

The restaurant industry is projected to generate roughly $863 billion in sales in 2019, with cooks working behind the scenes to season and prepare every dish that goes out the door. Attention to detail and a love for food are all that’s required to become a cook where competition is fierce to acquire and keep top talent.

30 / 50
Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

#21. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products

- Total employment: 1,350,180
- Average annual wage: $69,480
- Average hourly wage: $33.40

Sort of like retailers for retailers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods and merchandise to businesses. Duties are wide-ranging but can include generating new customers, keeping current clients satisfied, negotiating prices, and preparing sales contracts. The products sold by wholesale sales representatives are limitless, from household goods to large-scale farming equipment.

31 / 50
John Gress Media Inc // Shutterstock

#20. Assemblers and fabricators, all other, including team assemblers

- Total employment: 1,354,150
- Average annual wage: $34,270
- Average hourly wage: $16.48

Ever since Henry Ford invented the assembly line in 1913, fabricators and assemblers, who use tools, machines, and even their bare hands, remain prevalent in the American workforce. The auto industry still employs over a half a million workers, and although automation has affected the job market, Forbes says robots aren’t quite ready to take over for assembly line workers.

Note: This category includes all assemblers and fabricators outside of (1) aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers, (2) coil winders, tapers, and finishers, (3) electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, (4) engine and other machine assemblers, (5) structural metal fabricators and fitters, (6) fiberglass laminators and fabricators, (7) timing device assemblers and adjusters, and (8) assemblers and fabricators, all other, including team assemblers.

32 / 50
Naparat // Shutterstock

#19. Maintenance and repair workers, general

- Total employment: 1,384,240
- Average annual wage: $41,020
- Average hourly wage: $19.72

Maintenance and repair workers keep machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings running in tip-top shape. General maintenance workers may need a variety of skills, including carpentry, plumbing, and electrical knowledge. No education is required, but many companies prefer some college along with certifications if working in a specialized field like wind turbine maintenance.

33 / 50
wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#18. Elementary school teachers, except special education

- Total employment: 1,410,970
- Average annual wage: $62,200
- Average hourly wage: not available

Elementary school teachers lay the groundwork for future learning, instructing the youngest students on basic academic and social skills since after World War I. Teaching kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade requires a bachelor’s degree at least, along with a state teaching license, with some states mandating certification for each individual grade. Those overseeing students in New York, Massachusetts, and California can earn over $80,000 per year, according to the BLS.

34 / 50
michaeljung // Shutterstock

#17. Nursing assistants

- Total employment: 1,450,960
- Average annual wage: $29,580
- Average hourly wage: $14.22

Nursing assistants help patients perform necessary activities like bathing, eating, and grooming, along with tasks like taking vital signs and preparing medical equipment. Nursing homes and hospitals are the primary employers of nursing assistants, who must be state-certified to work in the field. Nursing assistants are expected to grow by 9% over the next decade, thanks to an aging Baby Boomer population.

35 / 50

#16. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

- Total employment: 1,477,560
- Average annual wage: $59,340
- Average hourly wage: $28.53

Monitoring the nation’s office and administrative workers, making sure they adhere to company standards and procedures, falls on the shoulders of these first-line supervisors. Credit intermediation services are the top employers of office supervisors, but settings vary and include doctors’ offices, food stores, and local government. Education isn’t a necessity, but a significant number of managers are promoted from within their respective companies.

36 / 50
Natee K Jindakum // Shutterstock

#15. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

- Total employment: 1,530,430
- Average annual wage: $42,110
- Average hourly wage: $20.25

Accounting and bookkeeping clerks assist—and perform many of the same duties as—accountants, maintaining financial data and ensuring bottom-line accuracy. Educational requirements are minimal, but adding certifications can raise a practitioners’ profile. A majority of clerks work for tax preparers, and the emergence of at-home tax software like TurboTax and H&R Block has the field projected to lose 4% of its workforce by 2026.

37 / 50

#14. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

- Total employment: 1,800,330
- Average annual wage: $45,570
- Average hourly wage: $21.91

A commercial driver’s license is all that’s required to spend a life on the open road, hauling goods across town or to the other side of the country. Trucks move 70% of all products in the United States, and Business Insider reports that grocery stores would run out of food in three days without this vital occupation. Despite the rise of self-driving trucks, there are still plenty of job opportunities, with the Washington Post reporting a massive shortage of drivers because of the rough lifestyle.

38 / 50

#13. Stock clerks and order fillers

- Total employment: 2,056,030
- Average annual wage: $28,520
- Average hourly wage: $13.71

Keeping the shelves full, displays organized, and customer orders filled are just a few of the responsibilities of a stock clerk. Food and beverage stores employ more than a quarter of the workforce, but automation has slowed the industry’s growth. In response, companies like Amazon and Walmart offer training for stock clerks in other areas of business to preserve jobs.

39 / 50

#12. Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

- Total employment: 2,156,270
- Average annual wage: $28,950
- Average hourly wage: $13.92

It can be a dirty job, but over two million people make their living cleaning, performing routine maintenance, and keeping management apprised of needed repairs in their role as a janitor. Providing services to buildings and dwelling employs over one-third of the field, according to the BLS. Being a janitor requires no formal education and advancement is limited, but one janitor, Richard Montanez, went from janitor to a marketing executive at Frito-Lay after creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

40 / 50
fizkes // Shutterstock

#11. Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive

- Total employment: 2,165,310
- Average annual wage: $38,030
- Average hourly wage: $18.28

Secretaries and administrative assistants have been around since before the Roman Empire, and today perform a variety of tasks from simple clerical work to scheduling appointments. Ten percent of the field is employed by elementary and secondary schools.

41 / 50
wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#10. Personal care aides

- Total employment: 2,211,950
- Average annual wage: $25,090
- Average hourly wage: $12.06

Personal care aides take care of the elderly and those with disabilities in a home or a healthcare facility setting. Forbes reports that although “aides are poorly paid, have little opportunity for advancement, and often get no benefits,” demand will increase by 50% over the next decade. California is home to over half a million of these professionals, where the average wage is $27,000.

42 / 50
GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#9. General and operations managers

- Total employment: 2,289,770
- Average annual wage: $123,880
- Average hourly wage: $59.56

After lawyers, general and operations managers are the highest-paid professionals on this list at nearly $60 per hour. While they serve several roles overseeing a company’s operations, these managers are primarily responsible for keeping productivity high and costs low. The profession dates back to 5,000 BCE, when Sumerian priests first devised a system of inventory and business transactions.

43 / 50
Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#8. Waiters and waitresses

- Total employment: 2,582,410
- Average annual wage: $25,830
- Average hourly wage: $12.42

Taking food and drink orders is just one part of being a waiter or waitress, who can work anywhere from chain restaurants to upscale dining halls. Waiters and waitresses primarily work off tips, so personality and friendly service are important aspects of the job where employers can still pay less than minimum wage.

44 / 50
ESB Basic // Shutterstock

#7. Customer service representatives

- Total employment: 2,871,400
- Average annual wage: $36,470
- Average hourly wage: $17.53

Customer service representatives field questions and concerns from the public, usually either in a call center or at a front desk. A high school education or GED is all that is required to work as a customer service representative, though patience, good communication skills, and problem-solving ability are equally important. The need for customer service agents will grow slower than the national average over the next decade because of advances in technology, which Forbes predicts will handle 85% of customer service interactions by 2020.

45 / 50
Patrick Foto // Shutterstock

#6. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

- Total employment: 2,893,180
- Average annual wage: $30,890
- Average hourly wage: $14.85

These professionals work in warehouses manually moving goods, packing and unpacking products, and keeping records of what goes where. Physical strength, listening skills, and hand-eye coordination are some traits of good laborers, as well as customer service skills when dealing with the public at a carwash or grocery store. Most employers have on-the-job training for laborers that negates the need for formal education.

46 / 50

#5. Registered nurses

- Total employment: 2,951,960
- Average annual wage: $75,510
- Average hourly wage: $36.30

Registered nurses help heal the sick and injured by administering care, performing tests, monitoring patients, and maintaining meticulous medical records. Becoming an RN is a difficult process, which involves getting a degree from an accredited nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and obtaining a state license. Demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 12% by 2028, more than double the national average, due to an aging Baby Boomer population and more emphasis on preventative care.


47 / 50
Stokkete // Shutterstock

#4. Office clerks, general

- Total employment: 2,972,930
- Average annual wage: $35,200
- Average hourly wage: $16.92

Schools, health-care assistance, and local government settings are the top spots you can find an office clerk, who can do a little of everything around the office, including answering phones, bookkeeping, and clerical work. The role of office clerks emerged in the 1800s with the growth of railroads, with a need for people to manage the rapidly expanding business. High school education is usually all that’s required, and candidates are most often hired based on experience and skills.

48 / 50
LDprod // Shutterstock

#3. Cashiers

- Total employment: 3,635,550
- Average annual wage: $23,240
- Average hourly wage: $11.17

Processing payments from customers for goods and services falls to cashiers, who find their home in retail settings like food stores, gas stations, or restaurants. Cashiers also can be responsible for greeting customers, checking identification, and some cleaning. The expanded use of self- and automated checkouts at stores like Walmart and Target has the role of a cashier which requires no formal education, projected to lose 4% of its workforce in the next decade.

49 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#2. Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

- Total employment: 3,676,180
- Average annual wage: $22,140
- Average hourly wage: $10.64

America loves its fast food, with the industry generating more than $500 billion in revenue annually, and behind every Big Mac and Dunkin’ coffee is a food prep worker. Restaurants, including fast-food chains, employ nearly three million food prep workers, which requires no education, but also has the lowest hourly and annual wage on our list. Outside of restaurants, special food services and school lunchrooms are the next top employers of food prep workers.

50 / 50 // Shutterstock

#1. Retail salespersons

- Total employment: 4,448,120
- Average annual wage: $28,310
- Average hourly wage: $13.61

The only occupation with over four million employees, this field entails helping customers find products and processing their payments. On-the-job training is usually all that’s required to break into the field which can range from selling clothing and accessories to cars and electronics. The rise of online sales has forced the closure of a number of brick-and-mortar stores, and the need for retail salespersons is expected to decline 2% by 2028.

You may also like: Highest paying jobs in America

Trending Now