Top 10 Jobs That Make The Most Money

We all want to find a job that’s satisfying, challenging, and stimulating. After the expense and time investment that is higher education, sometimes those attributes are subordinated by the need for a big salary.

For a number of reasons, career choices within the medical community tend to have a high salary attached. To keep this list a diverse representation of different fields and skillsets, some medical career choices have been bunched together. Additionally, unconventional careers like professional athletes are not listed as well.

10. Airline Pilots, Co-Pilots and Flight Engineers

Average Annual Wage: $131,760

Expert pilots enjoy quite a few interesting benefits, not the least of which is flying a plane, wearing a smart uniform, and oodles of free travel. For good reason, professional pilots can’t just walk in off the street however, there is a significant amount of schooling and training that goes in before you can have a seat in the cockpit.

Becoming a top tier pilot that makes top tier money can take as long as 10 years, and when you consider the immense responsibility that pilots have to shoulder, that’s more than fair. Minimum requirements include a Bachelor’s degree in a discipline that is related to the world of aviation; an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate; and qualifying amounts of logged flight hours—often in excess of 100 hours of pilot-in-command fly time. Additionally, there is extensive training on specialized and advanced flight systems and rigorous physical and mental testing. Just keep in mind, the uniforms are really cool.

9. Lawyers

Average Annual Wage: $133,470

Lawyers frequently get a bad rap, but no one can deny how necessary and effective they are. Extensive schooling combined with a high hourly billing rate gives proficient lawyers a high earning potential. There are many areas of focus when it comes to practicing law, and some areas are more profitable than others. On average however, the salary is quite nice. The marketplace is crowded, but there is a seemingly endless need for qualified and professional lawyers.
Personal attributes that help are strong public speaking skills and the ability to think on your feet.

Minimum schooling requirements vary, but a baseline usually consists of a bachelor’s degree plus three years of law school. Entrance into the workforce is dependent on the grueling and unforgiving bar exam.

8. Computer & Information System Managers

Average Annual Wage: $136,380

The increasing reliance that major corporations have on their IT departments and digital infrastructure is matched by the compensation they provide to the people who make sure that everything runs smoothly. Responsibilities of this important position include coordinating massive IT efforts and organization-wide IT departments. Applicants must be computer literate.

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science, and the best bet to break the wage bank is to aim for the automotive manufacturing industry. There, on average, computer system managers make at least $40k more than in other industries.

7. Natural Sciences Managers

Average Annual Wage: $136,450

If you love being in the lab, but love the office just as much, then this position might be right for you. Natural science managers can be found in the fields of chemistry, biology, and physics—otherwise known as the technically complex fields. Employers come in two flavors: the lower paying government and state education positions bring averages wages down, while the private sector positions like the insurance and aerospace industry bring home enviable salaries.

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a related scientific field with years of—often low paying—lab work.

6. Marketing Managers

Average Annual Wage: $137,400

The world of marketing is high-powered, fast moving, and very dynamic. The reward for a skilled marketing manager is a hefty salary, it is his or her job to broadcast the company’s message in the most public and impactful way possible. Mega-industries like fossil fuels, finance, and consumer goods take the best care of their marketing managers though even at the lowest levels the pay is often competitive.

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in marketing, but there is a lot of wiggle room in this field when it comes to education. Often experience is a bigger asset than education in the marketing world, and that combined with the dedication and skill of a rising star can catapult hopefuls into the marketing manager’s seat.

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5. Architectural & Engineering Managers

Average Annual Wage: $137,400

For some the mathematical world that engineers inhabit is daunting and as a result the job market is under saturated. Professional engineers are in high demand, and as a result talented individuals can rise through the ranks rapidly. The fossil fuel industry is a source of some of the highest paying positions for engineering managers, with complex infrastructure coordination needs these employers make their managers work for their high paying salaries.

Minimum requirements entail a bachelor’s degree though advancement relies heavily on experience in the field.

4. Petroleum Engineers

Average Annual Wage: $137,400

The fossil fuel industry is at it again with high-paying positions that reflect the absolutely behemoth amounts of money that stand to be made with the extraction and processing of petroleum. Their jobs entail the extraction, processing, and transport of petroleum from subterranean deposits all the way to your gas tank.

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and extensive experience in the field working with coop programs during their schooling.

3. Chief Executive Officers

Average Annual Wage: $180,700

Interestingly the position of CEO doesn’t require as much schooling as other high paying jobs, but on average pays more. And the pay doesn’t’ just come in the form of a check. Many CEOs are paid in company stock, an option that allows them to circumvent tax law and ties their income to the company’s—and therefore the CEO’s—performance. There is a massive amount of responsibility as CEO, like the office of the president, the buck stops there. Smart decisions can keep massive organizations on the cutting edge of their industry while one bad call can bring them to their knees. Additionally, CEOs are often incentivized with outsized bonuses intended to push them to bring the company to new heights of profitability.

This is another field where experience trumps education. Being a successful manager and a quick thinker that can perform under stress is more important than years upon years of schooling. An MBA is recommended but not always necessary.

2. Dentists and Orthodontists

Average Annual Wage: $170,940 (Dentists), $201,030 (Orthodontists)

Medical doctors take the cake when it comes to the highest paying jobs, but dentists and orthodontists make more than comfortable wages themselves. Dentists are plentiful and while they receive fair—in some cases much more than fair—compensation, orthodontists are much harder to come by therefore commanding higher salaries. Jobs in the medical field are education intensive; becoming a dentist requires a minimum of eight years of schooling with in depth hands-on and practical exams.

1. Doctors And Surgeons

Average Annual Wage: $234,950

It’s no surprise that the highest paid professions on this list go to medical doctors and surgeons. Grouped together, medical doctors collectively make the most, but there is a bit of variation within the field. Anaesthesiologists tip the scales as the highest paid with surgeons, gynaecologists, obstetricians, and general practitioners only trailing by a small margin. Clocking in at an average of $175,400, paediatricians make the least in the medical field, though that number is still substantially more than many of the other positions on this list.

The major wages come with a major education requirement as well. Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree, graduation from medical school, and roughly 3 to 8 years spent as a resident.

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