Special Report

25 Jobs With the Fastest-Rising Wages

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The U.S. unemployment rate has been steadily declining from an all-time high of 14.7% in April 2020 during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns to curb its spread.

The U.S. jobless rate now stands at 3.6%, only slightly higher than its historically low pre-pandemic level. The American private sector reached an important milestone in June – recovering more than all of the jobs lost during the pandemic. (Here are careers with the best job security.)

Strong demand for workers over the past year also accelerated wage growth. Last year, U.S. wages grew by their fastest rate since 1983, peaking at an annualized rate of 7% in 2021. Unfortunately, inflation has also surged, more than wiping out those gains and leaving American consumers feeling worse off economically as they pay more at the gas pump and the grocery store.

“Wages are still growing faster than before the pandemic, but they appear to be decelerating,” reported the Peterson Institute for International Economics in June.

But certain jobs continue to rake in raises. To determine the 25 jobs where workers are getting the biggest raises, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed occupational data on wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. Occupations were ranked based on the percentage change in real average annual wage from May 2020 to May 2021. Supplemental data on current and historical employment levels also came from the OEWS. Only detailed occupations with at least 1,000 workers in 2021 were considered.

The 25 jobs with the highest pay raises include both low-paying jobs like shoe and leather workers and occupational therapy aides as well as higher-paying professions like general internal medicine physicians and nuclear technicians. The jobs on the list include occupations that have both lost workers, such as fabric and apparel pattern-making, and those that have gained them, including oil and gas wellhead pumping. (Also see, these are the fastest growing jobs that don’t require a college degree.)

The 25 occupations on the list have had annualized wage increases of more than 10%. Among them, eight are in the health care industry and three are in the transport sector. The average annual wages for these jobs range from $28,960 for gambling dealers to $331,190 for anesthesiologists.

Here are the jobs where people are getting the biggest raises.

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25. Family medicine physicians
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.1%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $235,930
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +4.4%
> Total employment, 2021: 102,930

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24. Physicists
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.1%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $151,580
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +23.9%
> Total employment, 2021: 20,020

23. Astronomers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.4%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $139,410
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +1.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 1,930

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22. Fabric and apparel patternmakers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.7%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $64,070
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -31.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 3,220

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21. Shoe and leather workers and repairers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.8%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $34,890
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -23.8%
> Total employment, 2021: 5,620

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20. Gambling dealers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +10.9%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $28,960
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -3.9%
> Total employment, 2021: 64,700

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19. Wellhead pumpers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +11.0%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $67,170
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +33.1%
> Total employment, 2021: 16,040

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18. Order clerks
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +11.0%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $41,820
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +11.9%
> Total employment, 2021: 133,850

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17. Orthodontists
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +12.3%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $267,280
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +2.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 5,140

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16. Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators and locomotive firers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +12.8%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $63,050
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +10.7%
> Total employment, 2021: 16,200

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15. Passenger attendants
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +13.1%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $34,380
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -7.6%
> Total employment, 2021: 21,240

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14. Nuclear technicians
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +13.6%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $95,200
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -13.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 5,360

13. Commercial divers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +14.1%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $82,010
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -22.8%
> Total employment, 2021: 2,670

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12. Family and consumer sciences teachers, postsecondary
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +14.3%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $93,230
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +20.3%
> Total employment, 2021: 2,730

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11. General internal medicine physicians
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +14.8%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $242,190
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +15.1%
> Total employment, 2021: 58,260

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10. Occupational therapy aides
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +14.8%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $39,230
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -40.1%
> Total employment, 2021: 3,370

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9. Psychiatrists
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +15.0%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $249,760
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -0.1%
> Total employment, 2021: 25,520

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8. Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +18.7%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $116,410
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -23.2%
> Total employment, 2021: 12,480

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7. Ship engineers
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +19.5%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $96,910
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +2.3%
> Total employment, 2021: 7,650

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6. Anesthesiologists
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +22.0%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $331,190
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +8.9%
> Total employment, 2021: 31,130

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5. Athletes and sports competitors
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +23.4%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $116,930
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +47.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 12,320

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4. Obstetricians and gynecologists
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +23.9%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $296,210
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +14.1%
> Total employment, 2021: 21,570

Source: lokisurina / Getty Images

3. Makeup artists, theatrical and performance
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +24.4%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $124,380
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -29.5%
> Total employment, 2021: 1,960

Source: TerryHealy / iStock via Getty Images

2. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +28.8%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $51,710
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: -42.0%
> Total employment, 2021: 9,620

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1. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
> Wage increase, 2020 to 2021: +32.5%
> Average annual wage, 2021: $311,460
> Employment change, 2020 to 2021: +29.4%
> Total employment, 2021: 5,330

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