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Top Paying Professional Licenses licenses can sometimes make it easier to get a job, but there are only certain top paying professional licenses.

How you use a license can have more to do with the salary you get than simply having the license. The average hourly wage for driving a bus, which requires a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, was $15.31 an hour. Transit (public) and intercity bus drivers actually made out better; their average wage was $18.50 an hour.

Something else to remember is that transit bus drivers often get a good benefits package because most transit districts are unionized. Transit bus drivers are also in demand in some cities, such as Denver, where the Regional Transit District and contractors are constantly advertising for bus drivers. So putting that license to work as a public bus driver might make sense.

Professional Licenses That Don’t Pay

However, all licensed occupations do not pay well. Taxi cab drivers and chauffeurs have to carry licenses, but their average hourly wage was $12.09, which is pretty low. It should be noted that this figure doesn’t include all the cash tips cab drivers get. But it still sounds like low pay for having to put up with drunks and rude out-of-town visitors.

Top Paying Licenses

If you’re considering getting a CDL, you should consider using it to drive a big rig. The average yearly salary for tractor trailer or semi-truck drivers was $40,360 a year. You will have to go to truck driving school to get the license, but at least it can lead to a real paycheck. One advantage to truck driving school is that it lasts only a few months.  Other licenses that lead to good money require a two-year degree.

Many of the top paying positions for professional licenses are in the medical and dental professions. The downside to these jobs is that you need to have an associate’s or two-year degree to get them. Still if you’re considering going back to school, they might be worth it.

The most lucrative professional license was for a dental hygienist, believe it or not, and they make an average salary of $70,408 a year. The usual requirement for the job is an associate degree, but if you can live with sticking your hand in somebody else’s mouth all day, it can pay.

Having a Registered Nurse’s license can also pay off well. The average salary for a registered nurse is $65,853 a year, and you can get the position with an associate’s degree. Unlike most professions, registered nurses are nationally licensed.

Teaching Can Pay

What about a person who has a four-year degree and just can’t see themselves in healthcare or behind the wheel of a truck? Well there is always teaching, which does require a certificate. The average salary for a public school teacher in the U.S. is $54,550 a year, and as anybody who reads the newspaper knows, a lot of urban and suburban school districts pay a lot more.

Licenses Don’t Always Pay

The bottom line is that professional licenses don’t always pay off. Getting one will not always lead to more pay or a job even in a good economy. It’s best to research the field and talk to people in it before getting a professional license. A license that you don’t use is just an expensive piece of paper.