The 25 highest-paying jobs for people who don’t want to sit at a desk all day

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Veterinarians earn $42 an hour.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Stepping into the real world doesn’t have to mean being chained to a cubicle for the rest of your life.

Some of the most lucrative careers in the US are nondesk jobs, according to an analysis of data provided by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., CareerBuilder’s labor market data arm that pulls from over 90 government and private resources.

It turns out that 90% of these jobs are medical professions that require a doctoral or professional degree – but there are a wealth of high-paying options for those without a college diploma.

If you don’t like the idea of sitting at a desk all day, consider these 25 professions.

Aaron Taube contributed to an earlier version of this article.


25. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

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Flickr/justin

Median hourly pay: $31.93

BLS job description:Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.


24. Producers and Directors

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Vancouver Film School/Flickr

Median hourly pay: $33.40

BLS job description:Produce or direct stage, television, radio, video, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Responsible for creative decisions, such as interpretation of script, choice of actors or guests, set design, sound, special effects, and choreography.


23. Ship Engineers

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U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet

Median hourly pay: $33.49

BLS job description:Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.


22. Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels

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Flickr via patrick

Median hourly pay: $33.62

BLS job description:Command or supervise operations of ships and water vessels, such as tugboats and ferryboats. Required to hold license issued by US Coast Guard.


21. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

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Reuters/Mike Blake

Median hourly pay: $33.71

BLS job description:Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments.


20. Speech-Language Pathologists

Median hourly pay: $34.04

BLS job description:Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders.


19. Dental Hygienists

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Boston Globe/Contributor/Getty Images

Median hourly pay: $34.19

BLS job description:Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.


18. Audiologists

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Flickr/_e.t

Median hourly pay: $34.22

BLS job description: Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders.


17. Occupational Therapists

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BSIP/Getty Images

Median hourly pay: $36.99

BLS job description:Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to people with disabilities or developmental delays.


16. Elevator Installers and Repairers

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Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington/flickr

Median hourly pay: $37.81

BLS job description: Assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters.


15. Radiation Therapists

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Jack Miller/flickr

Median hourly pay: $38.05

BLS job description: Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.


14. Physical Therapist

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roger_mommaerts/flickr

Median hourly pay: $38.96

BLS job description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.


13. Veterinarians

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Median hourly pay: $41.66

BLS job description: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.


12. Nurse Midwives

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ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

Median hourly pay: $44.37

BLS job description: Diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a healthcare team.


11. Nurse Practitioners

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Flickr / COD Newsroom

Median hourly pay: $44.55

BLS job description: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team.


10. Physician Assistants

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John Moore/Getty Images

Median hourly pay: $44.70

BLS job description: Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients.


9. Optometrists

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Official U.S. Navy Page/flickr

Median hourly pay: $48.70

BLS job description:Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment.


8. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

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Reuters/Tim Chong

Median hourly pay: $55.38

BLS job description: Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo.


7. Dentists

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Scott Olson/Getty

Median hourly pay: $70.36

BLS job description:Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums.


6. Nurse Anesthetists

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isafmedia/flickr

Median hourly pay: $72.64

BLS job description:Administer anesthesia, monitor patient’s vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia.


5. Psychiatrists

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Carin Baer / AMC

Median hourly pay: $86.03

BLS job description: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent disorders of the mind.


4. Orthodontists

Median hourly pay: $90

BLS job description:Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.


3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

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Getty Images

Median hourly pay: $90

BLS job description:Perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries, or defects.


2. Surgeons

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REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

Median hourly pay: $91.66

BLS job description: Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally invasive, or noninvasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation.


1. Anesthesiologists

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ChaNaWiT/Shutterstock

Median hourly pay:$92.41

BLS job description: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery, or other medical procedures.