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8 Jobs That Pay More Than You Think, Including the Trader Joe's Role That Pays Over $100,000 a Year Some high-salary jobs are hiding in familiar places.

By Jenny Powers

Key Takeaways

  • Many respected jobs come with a high paycheck, but salaries in some fields may surprise you.
  • The average salary in the US is $60,575, but you can make $125,000 managing a car wash at Buc-ee's.
  • Court reporters, captains at Trader Joe's, and bingo managers also bring in respectable wages.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images via Business Insider
Trader Joe's captains bag six-figure base salaries that start at around $104,000.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

In 2021, the average salary in the United States was $60,575, according to the Social Security Administration.

While you might expect certain careers to bring in a substantial income because of their prestige, on-the-job demands, or the advanced skills or education they require, you might be surprised by some of the higher-paying jobs we researched.

Insider compiled a list of several of those occupations and their requirements and combed through data to uncover the salaries associated with these positions.

Here are eight jobs that come with a much higher salary than you may have expected.

1. Court reporter/simultaneous captioners

People in these jobs use "verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, retrieve, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings," according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of 2022, about 14,200 individuals were employed in this field and the mean annual salary was $70,290, or an average of $33.79 an hour.

To enter the field, you must have an associate's degree or complete a two-to-three-year court-reporting program to become certified. During this time, students learn grammar, phonetics, and legal terminology, as well as how to prepare transcripts and how to use tools such as a stenomask and a stenotype machine.

Many community colleges or technical schools offer these certification programs to prepare students for the required licensing exam and typing tests. On-the-job training is also an integral part of the job and varies based on employer.

2. Captain at Trader Joe's

Topping Forbes 2019 America's Best Employers list and consistently ranked as a top company to work for, Trader Joe's employs captains who can bag a six-figure base salary of $104,756 with additional pay of about $16,351, for a grand total of $121,107 a year.

The captain serves as the leader of a store, directing strategy and developing the crew. Captains are always promoted from within the ranks from the mate, or assistant store leader, level, the Trader Joe's website says.

A recent classified ad for an open captain position said a bachelor's degree in hospitality, retail, or a similar field is preferred, and a minimum of two years of managerial experience in a retail setting is required.

3. Elevator and escalator installer/repairer

Tasked with assembling, installing, repairing, and maintaining electric and hydraulic commercial freight and passenger elevators, as well as escalators, this job requires technicians to work in tight, cramped spaces such as elevator shafts and mechanical rooms, often at considerable heights.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 24,380 technicians are employed in this field and earn a mean annual salary of $93,960, or an average of $45.17 an hour, more than twice the hourly rate of an emergency medical technician.

Candidates must have a high-school diploma or the equivalent to be considered, and nearly all technicians learn the skills of the trade through an apprenticeship. Most states also require techs to be licensed to provide services.

4. Car-wash manager at Buc-ee's

Everything at Buc-ee's, the largest gas station in the world, is big, including employee compensation. In fact, it's such a source of pride at this convenience chain, it publicly posts hourly wages and salaries inside the stores for all to see.

A car-wash manager earns a $125,000 annual base salary along with a 401k with a match of up to 6%; mental, dental, and vision insurance; and three weeks of PTO that employees have the option of using, cashing in, or rolling over.

All candidates must have at least three years of car-wash-management experience as well as proficiency with both hand and electric tools. A bachelor's degree in business or management is preferred.

5. Technical writer

Technical writing is an ideal position for someone who can understand and digest complex technical information and then break it down into simple, manageable steps in paper and digital instruction manuals, how-to guides, FAQ pages, and other supporting materials and resources.

These writers are commonly employed in the computer, science, and tech sectors and earn a mean annual salary of $86,760, or an average of $41.71 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While it is not always required, candidates typically need a bachelor's degree to enter the field, and it helps to have a technical background.

6. Bingo manager

Responsible for overseeing and managing bingo games at a casino, game hall, or parlor, this individual approves jackpots and payouts in accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations to ensure compliance.

According to recent information from Salary.com, bingo managers can earn between $51,965 and $112,599 a year, with a mean salary of $70,241.

A high-school diploma or its equivalent may be required, along with three to five years of experience in the field.

7. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver

These long-haul drivers are responsible for transporting goods, which may include hazardous waste, over intercity routes that often span several states, in trucks that typically weigh more than 26,000 pounds.

In 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the mean annual salary for truck drivers as $53,090, or $25.52 an hour. But Walmart, which was already paying its first-year long-haul drivers a starting salary of $88,000, bumped its base pay to between $95,000 and $110,000 to meet growing demand.

Candidates must have a high-school diploma and a commercial driver's license (CDL), which requires a driver-training course that can take up to six months to complete before taking a three-part test.

Typically, there's also a period of on-the-job training where new drivers may be shadowed by a more experienced driver.

8. MRI technologist/radiologist

Technologists are responsible for monitoring the safety and comfort of patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging. Their duties may include positioning patients in preparation for the scan, shielding exposed areas, explaining procedures, operating the scanner equipment, reviewing and evaluating images, and entering patient data into the computer. They may also be responsible for injecting a dye or contrast media into patients in order for the images to appear on the scanner.

The mean annual salary is $81,530, or $39.20 an hour, and 38,380 individuals were employed in this role in 2022, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Candidates must have an associate's degree, and most employers require technologists to be certified, which can take up to two years of training in an accredited program.

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