10 Best Jobs for Wage Growth
By Alida Moore, PayScale.com

When it comes to choosing a job, wage growth over time can be just as important as starting salary. So which jobs offer a high probability for pay growth over the years?

According to the PayScale Index, compiled by online salary database PayScale.com, the national average wage growth for all jobs between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012 was 3.8 percent. By contrast, the 10 jobs on the following list have all shown wage growth exceeding 9 percent over that same time.

"The jobs featured here are those that are experiencing demand in the labor market, which drives pay rates up," says Katie Bardaro, director of analytics at PayScale. These wage gains were tied to “economic effects, such as a strengthening labor market or increased consumer demand, rather than from [workers' increasing their] competencies or moving to a larger company or higher-cost area,” she says.

Here are the 10 jobs that have experienced the highest wage growth over the past two years:

Bus or Truck Mechanic
Two-Year Wage Growth: 12.6 Percent

As cities and populations grow, so does the need for public transportation. So when cities add buses to their transportation fleets, more mechanics are needed to keep these vehicles running smoothly. No degree is required for this career, though training and certifications can help you get noticed in the job market.

Find mechanic jobs.

Writer/Author
Two-Year Wage Growth: 12.2 Percent

With the increase in e-books and self-publishing, anyone can become a published author. Additionally, as the Internet grows, so does the need for original content. A writer might find work as a copy editor, blogger or online marketer. Depending on the work, a bachelor’s degree is typically required. A strong portfolio of writing samples can help.

Find writer jobs.

Social Media Manager
Two-Year Wage Growth: 11.7 Percent

When you woke up this morning, you might have checked your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts before you finished your coffee. Our society’s increasing dependence on social media might account for the growth in wages for social media managers, who act as the voice and ambassador for a brand in the social media space. A bachelor’s degree is often required.

Find social media manager jobs.

Tax Accountant
Two-Year Wage Growth: 10.6 Percent

Tax accountants may be reporting higher wages on their tax returns because the tax code has gotten more complicated, Bardaro says. “Now more than ever, people are trying to find loopholes and [are] seeking assistance with complicated tax issues,” she says. A bachelor’s degree is required for this career.

Find tax accountant jobs.

General Surgeon 
Two-Year Wage Growth: 10.4 Percent

As the population ages, the demand for healthcare services has increased. General surgeons are among the healthcare professionals needed to provide care for aging Baby Boomers. A medical degree is required, along with years of training.

Find surgeon jobs.

Biological Technician
Two-Year Wage Growth: 10 Percent

In recent years, the biotech industry has been booming. Laboratories often need biological technicians to conduct experiments. This profession requires a bachelor’s degree.

Find biological technician jobs.

Software Developer
Two-Year Wage Growth: 9.9 Percent

In today’s rapidly growing tech world, startups have become more common, giving software developers more opportunities to find work. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Find software developer jobs.

Fitness Trainer
Two-Year Wage Growth: 9.8 Percent

The success of shows like The Biggest Loser and weight-loss apps like MyFitnessPal indicate that many people are interested in leading healthier lifestyles. Fitness trainers use their knowledge of fitness and nutrition to help people improve their fitness and overall health. Trainers often hold bachelor’s degrees.

Find fitness trainer jobs.

Truck Driver
Two-Year Wage Growth: 9.4 Percent

“As the economy recovers from the Great Recession and consumer confidence increases, merchandise is in higher demand,” Bardaro says, That means truck drivers -- who transport that merchandise from place to place -- are in demand as well. High school grads who don’t mind working alone for long periods of time and who want to see the country could enjoy this career. A specialized license is often required.

Find truck driver jobs.

Family or General Practitioner
Two-Year Wage Growth: 9.4 Percent

As the population grows and more people obtain insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more primary healthcare providers will be needed. Like surgeon, this career requires a medical degree and extensive training.

Find family-practice physician jobs.

Source: All salary and educational information provided by PayScale.com. Wage growth is calculated as the percent difference in pay between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012 for workers with five to eight years of experience. The national percent change over two years is determined by the PayScale Index.

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