12 Jobs That Prove the Early Bird Gets the Worm

A man wakes up early and shuts off his alarm

A man wakes up early and shuts off his alarm | iStock.com

They say that the early bird gets the worm. That can refer to the “early bird special” at a local restaurant, or to the literal birds who are out there early, pecking at worms. But the underlying wisdom in that phrase is that those who show up before everyone else take the spoils. Were you among the first to invest in Amazon? You get the “worm” — in that case, a massive profit, for example.

Job search site Indeed used the phrase as a launching point for a new research project. By looking at the average earnings of certain careers and the times at which the workers woke up and left their homes, they found some interesting statistical variances.

A lot of low-skill, low-wage work allows for some sleeping in. Bartenders, mail sorters, and waiters, for example, all have a median departing time (from their homes, for work) of after 10 a.m. Compare that to lawyers, doctors, and dentists? There’s a big divide.  Though there are many low-wage jobs that start early (bus drivers, loggers, etc.), those working in some of the most sought-after career paths are up and at ’em early, too.

“Jobs that require more education don’t tend to start extremely early or late, but they don’t all start at exactly the same time, either. Among occupations with relatively high earnings and education levels, engineers and doctors start the day earlier than lawyers and software developers,”Indeed’s brief said. “But the range is fairly narrow: most types of engineers typically leave home at 7 a.m., and software developers typically leave home at 8 a.m.”

Is it proof that the early bird actually does get the worm? You decide — here are 12 high-paying jobs in which people are up fairly early.

1. Civil engineers

An engineer at work

An engineer at work | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The median leave time for civil engineers is 7 a.m. — so, bright and early. But these early birds most certainly get the worm. Median annual wages for civil engineers top $82,000.

2. Mechanical engineers

A mechanical engineer works on a model of a wind turbine

A mechanical engineer works on a model of a wind turbine | Jean-Christophe Vehraegen/AFP/Getty Images

Not to be outdone by their civil counterparts, mechanical engineers share the same median leave time of 7 a.m. They tend to earn a little bit more, however, with annual median wages of $88,000.

3. Physician’s assistants

A medical professional uses a tablet

A medical professional uses a tablet | iStock.com

Physician’s assistants occupy the space between doctors and nurses. They need to be educated and on top of their game at all times. There’s no room for error. They also get up early — median leave time is 7:15 a.m. Earnings, or “the worm,” in this case, are $98,180.

4. Doctors

doctor talking to a male patient in an exam room

Doctor talking to a patient | iStock.com

Speaking of doctors, they’re also out the door fairly early. Physicians and surgeons have a median out-the-door time of 7:15 a.m. Wages are high, as you’d expect — well into the six-figures.

5. Electrical engineers

An electrician looks at a blue print

An electrician looks at a blueprint | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Engineers of all stripes are up at the proverbial crack of dawn, and that includes electrical engineers. These men and women are out the door by 7:20 a.m., and earn a median annual salary of $93,010.

6. Dentists

dental tools in mouth

Dentist doing god’s work | iStock.com

Dentists are up bright and early, sharpening all of those awful tools and drills. Dentists leave the house by 7:30 a.m., typically. Their “worm”? More than $152,000 annually.

7. Financial analysts

Finances and such

Finances and such | iStock.com

If you want to work in finance, you have to be up with the markets — even those around the world. That means getting out the door by 7:30 a.m. for that median salary of $80,000.

8. Nurse practitioners

A nurse taking a man's blood pressure

A nurse taking a man’s blood pressure | Firstlineapp.com

Nurse practitioners, like their health care counterparts, are up with the sun. NP’s typically leave the house by 7:30 a.m., and earn a median salary of $98,000.

9. Pharmacists

A pharmacist at work

A pharmacist at work | iStock.com

Pharmacists are also heading to work early, heading out by 7:30 a.m. Median salaries top $121,000.

10. Personal finance advisors

woman holding credit cards

Woman holding credit cards | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Like financial analysts, financial advisors are up early. These folks are leaving home by 7:45 a.m., and pull in $89,000 per year.

11. Legal workers

Judge's gavel

Judge’s gavel | Foter.com

Lawyer, judges, magistrates — all of them have to be in court before you do. Salaries for these people vary wildly, but typically, wages are pretty high. They’re all on the way to work by 8 a.m.

12. Software developers

An Apple exec discusses software development

An Apple exec discusses software development | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

You might envision software developers rolling out of bed late, chugging Red Bull, and putting on a hoodie. But a lot of them are up and at ’em early. The median leave time is 8 a.m., and median pay is $100,000.

Check out all of Indeed’s data here.

Follow Sam on Twitter and Facebook

More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet: