6 Industries That Offer Sign-On Bonuses – AARP

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Donna Fuscaldo,
Forget a competitive salary; in this labor market companies are dangling generous sign-on bonuses in prospective workers’ faces. It makes sense; as of July the unemployment rate was hovering at 3.5 percent. Sure, more people are returning to work, but the job market is still hot. Companies vying for talent are pulling out all the stops. ​
Take Walgreens as one example. The drugstore chain is offering bonuses of up to $75,000 to pharmacists. The Portland, Maine, police department is another. Candidates get $10,000 upfront to join the force. In New York, the state government is paying up to $3,000 in sign-on bonuses to new health care workers. 
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According to employment site Indeed, 5.2 percent of job positions advertised in July included a sign-on bonus. That’s more than three times higher than in July 2019. But these bonuses may not continue much longer. When compiling the data, Indeed said sign-on bonuses are cooling off. “It’s probable that such offers will slacken further as the supply of workers comes into better balance with employer demand, which appears to be returning to more normal levels,” wrote the company in a research report. 
But for now, if you are looking for a job and want a sign-on bonus, consider these six industries.​
Ever since the pandemic began, nursing jobs have been in serious demand. As of July, 18.1 percent of job postings in the field had a sign-on bonus, compared with just 6.2 percent of postings in July 2019, according to Indeed.
It’s worth noting that many of the occupations offering sign-on bonuses must be performed in person and require licensing. Bonuses range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more in the nursing field.
Drivers have been in demand too since the pandemic began. Whether for hauling cargo across states or delivering packages to doorsteps, drivers are needed — and companies are willing to pay to get them. As of July, 15.1 percent of driving jobs offered a sign-on bonus, compared with 13 percent in July 2019, according to Indeed. Bonuses run the gamut from $1,500 to $10,000. 
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Whether you’re a dentist, periodontist or dental assistant, dental practices are hard-pressed to fill open positions and are offering bonuses to lure workers. The amount you’ll get depends on the position. As of July, 14.7 percent of dental jobs advertised a bonus, compared with 5.5 percent in July 2019, according to Indeed. A dental assistant can earn a $1,000 bonus, while a general dentist can get up to $100,000. 
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Just like other health care professions, medical techs are in huge demand, so sign-on bonuses are common. As of July, 12.6 percent of medical tech job listings advertised a bonus, compared with 2.5 percent in July 2019. Depending on your skills and licenses, they can range from $1,000 to $10,000.​
From teachers to day care workers, educators across the country are trying to find professionals to fill open positions. The COVID-19 pandemic created a glut of unfilled jobs as people exited the workforce to stay safe or care for loved ones. Now with almost everything reopened, nonprofit and for-profit schools are struggling to find workers. As of July, 11.3 percent of child care jobs offered a sign-on bonus, compared with 2.1 percent in July 2019. Don’t expect to get a $75,000 bonus for taking a job as a nursery school teacher, but employers are paying anywhere from $500 to $2,500.​
Home health aides provide health services to older adults, those suffering from illness and disabled persons. They travel to patients’ homes or facilities to provide care. They too are in demand, which is why the percentage of jobs offering bonuses are up double digits since 2019. As of July, 11.3 percent of personal care and home health aide jobs advertised bonuses, compared with 3.3 percent in July 2019. In this industry, bonuses can range from $500 to $5,000.
Donna Fuscaldo is a contributing writer and editor focusing on personal finance and health. She has spent over two decades writing and covering news for several national publications including the Wall Street JournalForbes, Investopedia and HerMoney.
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