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Top 20 Highest Paying Careers to Consider

Not everyone considers salary a huge factor when it comes to choosing a career. However, salary is a defining consideration for many job seekers out there. If that sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 highest paying jobs for you. We cite the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the latest stats, so keep on reading!


2020 Mean Pay: $104.38/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Psychiatrists work closely with patients to diagnose and treat their mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. As the profession is in the medical field, becoming a psychiatrist requires a lot of work (and schooling!). After high school, psychiatrists must earn a bachelor’s degree, attend medical school, and finally complete a four-year residency. Altogether, this takes around a total of 12 years (unless you graduate early!).

P.S.: If you’re interested in attending medical school, we recommend checking out these helpful resources:

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

2020 Mean Pay: $112.98/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries, and defects. These issues are related to the head, neck, jaw, and surrounding regions. They can also perform dental surgeries and procedures. Among these include dental implant surgery, wisdom teeth removal, and fixing misaligned jaws. Typically, to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, one must receive a bachelor’s degree and then complete four years of dental study, followed by a four-to-six year-long residency training program.

Obstetricians and gynecologists

2020 Mean Pay: $114.96/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Obstetrician-gynecologists, better known as OB-GYNs, are doctors specializing in women’s health. Essentially, any problems related to biological functions that are unique to women, including menstruation, menopause, and childbirth, can be taken care of by OB-GYNs. While some OB-GYNs focus more broadly on general health services (like any of those you could receive from your primary care doctor), others focus more specifically on female bodily functions and the female reproductive system. To become an OB-GYN, one must earn their bachelor’s degree, complete four years of medical school, and finish off with a four-year residency program.

General internal medicine physicians

2020 Mean Pay: $101.42/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

General internal medicine physicians (aka internists) differ from general physicians, instead focusing only on the internal organ systems (e.g. respiratory, vascular, digestive). They are able to diagnose and help treat diseases, injuries, and disorders found within these internal organ systems. Most of the time, internal medicine physicians work with adult patients, and provide long-term care for them during their adult lives. Like most jobs within the medical field, a student must receive their bachelor’s degree, go to medical school, and complete a residency program in order to become a general internet medicine physician.

Surgeons, except ophthalmologists

2020 Mean Pay: $120.99/hour 
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Surgeons diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses, operating or performing surgery on patients if need be. They can treat a wide variety of injuries, sicknesses, and deformities, including broken bones, cancerous tumors, and cleft palates. Surgeons typically specialize in a particular type of practice and are experts on a specific part of the body. After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective surgeons must also attend medical school and complete an internship or residency program. If they choose to subspecialize, they may have to do an additional fellowship, which usually takes between 1 and 3 years to finish.


2020 Mean Pay: $130.50/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Anesthesiologists are the doctors who administer anesthesia to patients before they undergo surgery, to remove feelings of pain during the procedure. Besides this, though, anesthesiologists do a lot more: accessing patients’ conditions, diagnosing patients, helping prevent infection, and more. In terms of schooling, anesthesiologists take the typical path for those in the medical field: receiving their bachelor’s and attending medical school for four years, followed by a four-year-long anesthesiology residency program. If they choose to specialize, they will then have to complete a fellowship for one or a few years.


2020 Mean Pay: $103.30/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Prosthodontist is a specialized area of dentistry, focusing on treating and healing patients’ dental and facial problems that require restoring missing tooth or jaw structures. Prosthodontists themselves are very knowledgeable about and trained in dealing with cosmetics, dental implants, crowns, dentures, bridges, and more. To become a prosthodontist, one must receive their bachelor’s, attend dental school, and finally complete three years of training and education in a CODA-accredited prosthodontic graduate program.


2020 Mean Pay: $114.42/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Orthodontists are another specialty within the dental field, and if you’ve ever needed braces or retainers of some sort, you probably have one of your own. Essentially, orthodontists use dental devices such as braces, retainers, and bands in order to change the position of teeth within patients’ mouths. These tools help treat problems like crooked teeth, crowded teeth, jaw misalignment, and more. To become an orthodontist, one must earn their bachelor’s degree, finish dental school, and go to orthodontic school. Then, they must spend two to three years in an orthodontic residency program.

Physicians and non-pediatric ophthalmologists 

2020 Median Pay: $105.22/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

This grouping of “physicians and non-pediatric ophthalmologists” includes a wide variety of professions, such as cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, radiologists, and more. While it’s hard to generalize the responsibilities involved with each of these occupations, they are all in the medical field and specialize in either a particular body part, disease type, or conduct specific types of procedures. Each of them require students to receive their bachelor’s, attend medical school, and complete a residency (and do possibly even more training, depending on the specific career) to fulfill such roles.

Family medicine physicians

2020 Mean Pay: $103.06/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Unlike many other medical careers, family medicine physicians are not limited to working with a particular body organ or disease. Instead, they are trained to treat most illnesses and can provide health care to people of all ages – from toddlers to seniors. They must have a deep understanding of community and social determinants of health, often serve as a patient’s first contact for their health-related concerns, and consider the impact of a patient’s health on their family. To become a family medicine physician, one must receive their bachelor’s, attend medical school, and do a three-year residency. This is followed by additional training in which they learn about the human lifespan, and if they choose, fellowships to specialize in a particular concentration. 

Chief executives

2020 Mean Pay: $95.12/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Chief executives, as the highest-ranking heads of their companies, have many responsibilities. These include making major decisions for the business, handling the company’s operations and resources, and being the middleman between the point of communication between the board of directors and the corporate operations. They are also the face of the company, and should try to represent the business as best they can. To become a chief executive, one typically must earn a bachelor’s degree and need to accumulate on-the-job, relevant experiences. However, there is no guarantee that one will become a CEO (but don’t give up hope!).

Nurse anesthetists

2020 Mean Pay: $90.96/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 45%

Nurse anesthetists are a subtype of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who, similarly to anesthesiologists, administer anesthesia to patients before surgical, diagnostic, or obstetric procedures. They can also fulfill other nursing duties, including evaluating patients’ conditions, administering medicine, and forming close bonds with those they look after. To become a nurse anesthetist, one must complete undergraduate schooling, obtain their RN (registered nurse) license, and complete a specialized nurse anesthesia program. 

And, by the way, if you’re interested in a nursing career, don’t forget to check out these articles:


2020 Median Pay: $78.85/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Dentists diagnose and treat a wide variety of dental problems and conditions in patients’ teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They also provide patients with instructions and tips on how to take care of their teeth. This includes before a procedure, after a procedure, and in general. Some of their specific duties include filling cavities, treating or removing damaged teeth, and prescribing medications. In order to become a dentist, one must earn their bachelor’s degree, complete a dental program, and receive an appropriate license. Those practicing in a specialty area must also finish postdoctoral training.


2020 Mean Pay: $88.74/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 4%

Pediatricians are a subtype of doctors who work solely with children, teens, and young adults (under the age of 18). They are familiar with the diseases and sicknesses that most often affect young people, and diagnose, treat, and manage common childhood illnesses. Some, but not all, pediatricians do research on new types of treatments and medicines to evaluate their effectiveness in children. Those who want to become a pediatrician must do their undergraduate schooling on a pre-med track, attend medical school, and complete a residency program in their field. If they choose to specialize, students must also complete a fellowship. 

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

2020 Mean Pay: $186,870/year
Growth Rate (2019-29): 5%

Airline pilots and copilots are responsible for navigating planes or other aircrafts to transport either passengers or cargo. Flight engineers, on the other hand, are part of an aircraft’s flight crew and are responsible for making sure a plane (or other aircraft)’s systems are intact and running smoothly. Typically, one needs to attend flight school, accumulate at least 1,500 hours of flying experience, and receive their pilot’s license to become a pilot. Becoming a flight engineer similarly requires a pilot’s license and 1,500 hours of flying experience. For both positions, bachelor’s degrees are sometimes preferred, but not always required.

Computer and information systems managers

2020 Median Pay: $72.67/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 10% 

Computer and information systems managers (aka IT managers) plan, organize, and direct an organization’s computer-related operations. They are a large contributor to the organization’s technology goals and are responsible for implementing the necessary programs to reach such goals. Students typically need to earn their bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field to become a computer and information systems manager. However, having a graduate degree, related work experience, or both is preferred.

If you’re interested in a career in computer science or information technology (IT), we have some helpful resources for you! They are as follows:

Architectural and engineering managers

2020 Median Pay: $71.89/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for directing and managing the activities or architectural or engineering businesses. Specifically, they create detailed plans for new products or designs, determine staff and equipment needs, lead projects to develop new products and services, and more. Becoming an architectural and engineering manager requires one to have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, they need many years of experience as an architect or engineer.

Marketing managers

2020 Median Pay: $68.03/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 6%

Being in the field of business and marketing, marketing managers’ main goal is to generate public interest in their companies’ new products and services. They work with a wide variety of people, from those responsible for the artistic direction of their company, to advertising sales agents, to the financial staff of their companies in order to come up with ideas to create consumer interest in their company. Marketing managers typically hold bachelor’s degrees and have related work experience in advertising, marketing, or business.

Financial Managers

2020 Median Pay: $64.51/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 15%

Financial managers take responsibility for the financial health of their companies and organizations. In order to keep their companies financials “healthy”, they create financial reports and statements, lead investment activities, and create long-term financial plans and goals for their businesses. They also supervise other financial employees in charge of financial reporting and budgeting, in addition to watching over market trends to maximize profits and find opportunities for company growth. Most financial managers hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least 5 years of related experience in another business or financial profession.

Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates

2020 Median Pay: $59.71/hour
Growth Rate (2019-29): 3%

Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates are all responsible for advising, judging, and administering justice in courts of law. They can determine sentences for defendants in criminal cases, judge whether a defendant is liable in civil cases, and even perform wedding ceremonies. While the time it takes to become a judge is certainly long, the exact number of years can vary greatly. It takes 7 years to become a lawyer (4 years undergraduate + 3 years law school). After that, many people will spend several years as an attorney before attempting to become a judge. As the number of years one spends practicing law before trying for judgeship varies, there is not one specific path to become a judge.

Also see: Top law school scholarships

Final Thoughts

And that’s it – the top 20 highest paying careers! As you can see, they encompass a wide variety of positions and fields. 

While it can be a huge benefit to find a job that pays very well, it’s more important to go for a job that you think you’ll enjoy. Otherwise, you may just end up leaving a job with a high salary because you didn’t enjoy it. Just remember: do what you love!

And, no matter what career you decide to pursue, we wish you the best. Good luck!

P.S. If you’re interested in learning about the top college majors (with the best job prospects) or the fastest growing careers, we recommend checking out Top 15 College Majors for the Future and What are the Fastest Growing Careers?