10 Highest Paying Jobs in the United States

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If you’re curious about which jobs in America pay the most, read on. But you won’t find many surprises here! As you might expect, most of the high-paying jobs are in medical and business fields.

Here are America’s highest salary-paying gigs, according to the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with their respective average salaries.

1. Surgeons ($219,770) – This is one career in which you can see tons of variation across geographic area and surgical specialty. Cardiac surgeons can make significantly more than this average.

2. Anesthesiologists ($211,750) – Folks who haven’t undergone surgery may not be familiar with the unique role of an anesthesiologist. These specially trained doctors work with a surgical team to develop an anesthetic plan and to keep a patient stable during surgery.

3. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons ($210,710) – For their handsome salary, these specialist dentists do everything from removing wisdom teeth to correcting defects in the head and neck.

4. Orthodontists ($206,190) – It turns out that straightening teeth makes for very lucrative pay. No word from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on whether or not orthodontists make more if they’re qualified to prescribe Invisalign.

5. Obstetricians & Gynecologists ($204,470) – OBGYNs are surgeons trained to maintain the health of female reproductive organs both during and outside of pregnancy. Both specialties are typically combined into a single training program, but some doctors specialize in only one of the two specialties following training.

6. General Internists ($183,990) – Internists are specialized physicians who deal with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in adult patients. Although internal medicine has many sub-specialties, this salary is for the general sort.

7. Family & General Practitioners ($168,550) – Family physicians and general practitioners, while not as well paid as other specialties, can still pull in very high wages.

8. Chief Executives ($167,280) – Here is another job whose compensation varies much, based on the size of the company and location. Bonuses for CEOs can often propel their salaries very high. We’ve all read reports of CEO compensation in the millions, but remember that many small companies have CEOs who aren’t paid as much. This number represents an average across CEO positions in the United States.

9. Psychiatrists ($163,660.) – Psychiatrists are specially trained physicians who specialize in mental disorders. They are trained to identify, diagnose and treat mental health conditions. These doctors are one of the few mental health professions who are able to prescribe psychiatric medication, in addition to conducting physical exams and ordering and conducting specialized medical tests.

10. Pediatricians ($161,400) – While not as well paid as other medical professionals, doctors who specialize in treating children are still handsomely compensated.

Other high-paying jobs include dentists, lawyers, and computer programmers and information specialists.

Of course, this list doesn’t take into account the massive educational investment required for many of these positions. While surgeons make big salaries, they also lose eight years of income to undergraduate and graduate education, and then spend three to five years in a low-paying resident position for further training.

If you’re wondering what the average salary is for someone in your position, head on over to Salary.com. The site can give you detailed information about salaries in your area. This kind of information can be vital to anyone entering salary negotiations or asking for a raise. When negotiating for salary, it’s best to have a realistic sample in mind. This way, you can go into the process with realistic expectations.

Published or Updated: April 4, 2013

Comments

  1. Janet says:

    I wonder if this will continue to be true after health care reform kicks in. I have a friend who was just accepted into dental school. She said she was lucky because so many people are trying to get into dental schools, but enrollment for med school is at a low. I can’t blame these bright people for looking into other careers. Who wants to go into hundreds of thousands in debt over the course of 8 years when there’s (potentially) not financial justification at the end of the tunnel?

    • Lively Jason says:

      Agree with you that these are times where people cannot afford to spend unless they have sponsors for their studies.

      With the financial crisis in such stage and expected to be prolonged, the priority for many people would be to earn enough to get out of debt quickly.

      Med schools? Can wait.

  2. Im quite surprised that Veterinarian wasn’t in there, not that I think it should be particularly, but I just thought it would have been. Its good to see that the medical profession does get paid respectively as some professions within the sport sector are way way over blown to be fair.

  3. Nerdizen says:

    It’s not surprising to see that the medical profession is reportedly at the top of the salary scale, but I’m amazed that as a profession, the personal injury attorneys weren’t in the Top 10. I know of several personal injury attorneys who do very, very well, but then too, maybe they just hide their assets better than medical professional, huh?

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