Personal Finance

What Careers Make the Most Money: 75 Jobs for Fuller Pockets

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Deciding what career to pursue can be difficult when you don’t know where to start or don’t have a passion for a particular field yet. However, planning early on and researching things such as potential salary can help you feel eager to get your future started.

Choosing to follow a career field that pays a lot can be a difficult but rewarding process. Whether you’re a recent grad or changing careers, learning more about jobs that can help you live a comfortable life is the first step. In this guide, you’ll find out what careers make the most money and what you need to get started.

The Benefits of a High-Paying Job

Choosing a career that pays well can be very beneficial for your future. If you are looking to start a family, build retirement savings, or travel around the world, finding a high-paying career can get you a step closer to your goals.

Although some people may say that money doesn’t bring you happiness, knowing that you have enough money for all your necessities, such as rent, bills, and groceries, can bring you peace of mind. A recent study shows that larger incomes are associated with a greater well-being and a higher level of satisfaction with life overall​​. In addition to that, it can also make you more productive and help you succeed at work.

the benefits of a high-paying career

What Careers Make the Most Money?

If you’re ready to find a career that will bring you financial security and are willing to persevere and work hard, here are the 75 best-paying jobs in the U.S. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics National Occupational and Wage Estimates:

1. Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist is a doctor that administers anesthetics and analgesics before, during, or after surgery. They are critical to surgery procedures since they allow the surgeon and other physicians to complete invasive procedures with no discomfort to the patient. In addition to administering general and regional anesthesia, they also closely monitor the patient’s vitals. Due to the risk involved, anesthesiology can be a stressful but rewarding career to follow.

  • Average Annual Salary: $271,440
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internship (one year)
    • Residency (three years)
    • Obtain a state license

2. Surgeon

Working together with anesthesiologists, surgeons* operate on patients who have suffered from injuries or diseases. Surgeons are also leaders of the surgical team, so they have to make important decisions quickly, sometimes involving life or death. There are many different kinds of surgeons, and you can train to become a general surgeon or have a specialization such as neurology or cardiology. If you plan to become a surgeon, it’s necessary to understand the gravity of the job and have a passion for the STEM field.

  • Average Annual Salary: $251,650
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Residency (three to seven years)
    • Obtain a state license

3. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

From providing reproductive system care to bringing a new life into the world, obstetricians and gynecologists play an important role in women’s health. They help prevent, diagnose, and treat conditions affecting the female reproductive system. As a gynecologist, you would primarily handle women’s reproductive health, and as an obstetrician, you would also deal with childbirth in the surgical field.

  • Average Annual Salary: $239,120
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Residency (four years)
    • Pass a written board exam
    • Practice (two years)
    • Pass an oral board exam

4. Orthodontist

If you’re amazed by how braces can help fix teeth irregularities, a career as an orthodontist may be for you. Orthodontists diagnose, examine, and treat imperfect positioning of teeth and oral cavity anomalies. By prescribing and installing braces, orthodontists help improve not only mouth and teeth function but also the appearance of patients’ smiles.

  • Average Annual Salary: $237,990
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Pass a national board exam
    • Residency (two to three years)

5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

If you’ve ever seen yourself as a dentist but you’re also amazed by how surgery procedures can better someone’s life, becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a great option for you. These surgeons are dentists with additional training who perform surgeries on the mouth, jaw, and face. They may also diagnose and treat problems in that area, as well as perform surgery to improve the function and appearance of the patient’s facial structure.

  • Average Annual Salary: $234,990
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (three to five years)
    • Residency (four to six years)
    • Board Certification

6. Physician

Just like surgeons, physicians* diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries and help maintain the patient’s overall health. There are two main types of physicians: doctors of osteopathy, who specialize in preventive medicine and holistic care, and doctors of medicine, who take a more scientific approach to diagnosis and treatment. However, within these types, you could choose to have a specialty such as urology, immunology, or radiology, to name a few.

  • Average Annual Salary: $218,850
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internship
    • Residency according to specialization (three to eight years)

7. Psychiatrist

Mental health is as important as physical health, so if you’re fascinated about how the mind works, becoming a psychiatrist* will help you understand the relationship between the mind and body. Psychiatrists diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. They can also prescribe medications and recommend a patient be hospitalized.

  • Average Annual Salary: $217,100
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Obtain a license
    • Certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
    • Residency (four years)

8. Prosthodontists

Prosthodontists specialize in improving the function of your mouth. They diagnose and treat complex issues, as well as design and rehabilitate prostheses for patients who have trouble with their bite, missing teeth, or who want to improve their appearance. If you have a passion for physics, medicine, and have great attention to detail and some artistic skills, prosthodontics may be a great fit for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $214,870
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Post-doctoral residency (three years)
    • Obtain a state license

9. Family Medicine Physician

If you don’t want to be tied to diagnosing and treating a particular health condition, becoming a family medicine physician can be a good career option. They diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to families of all ages. As primary care providers, they are very versatile and can treat anything from a simple cough to a broken bone.

  • Average Annual Salary: $214,370
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Family medicine residency (four years)
    • Pass board exam

10. General Internal Medicine Physician

General internal medicine physicians diagnose and treat a variety of injuries and diseases relating to the internal organs. Commonly referred to as general internists, they primarily treat adults and adolescents and are trained to handle a broad spectrum of illnesses. If you enjoyed your anatomy science class in high school, this may be a good career path for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $210,960
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internal medicine residency (three years)
    • Obtain board certification

11. Chief Executive

If leadership is your forte and you thrive by helping others achieve their goals, becoming a CEO can help you put your skills into action. At the highest level of management of a company, chief executives decide and formulate company policies according to the guidelines set up by a board of directors. They are not only tied to planning, directing, and coordinating operational activities within the company, but also act as a leader to help the company meet its goals.

  • Average Annual Salary: $197,840
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Business and industry experience

12. Dentist

Similar to orthodontists, dentists* also diagnose and treat issues with the mouth, gums, and teeth. Dentists treat more than just cavities — they extract teeth, perform teeth cleaning, and fit dentures. Another benefit of being a dentist is being able to build relationships with patients and see improvement with their teeth over time.

  • Average Annual Salary: $194,930
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Pass National Board Dental Examinations

13. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists* administer anesthesia on patients as well as monitor their vital signs and their recovery. They are registered nurses who specialize in anesthesiology and assist surgeons and physicians to help them complete procedures. If you want to meet patients of all ages and from all walks of life and make them feel secure and calm before surgery, becoming a nurse anesthetist might be just right for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $189,190
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Registered nurse licensure
    • Experience in critical care (one year)
    • Nurse anesthesia program
    • Pass the national certification exam

14. Pilot

Are you an adrenaline junkie with a head for heights? If so, becoming an airline pilot can be a great way to make a living off your passion. Pilots* operate and fly airplanes that transport passengers and cargo. As a pilot, you can fly aircraft regionally, nationally, and internationally or even become a flight instructor. In addition to flying, pilots also make sure the aircraft is functioning properly, checking for malfunctions and needed maintenance, as well as ensuring the weather conditions and routes are safe.

  • Average Annual Salary: $186,870
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Military, college, or civilian flight school
    • Federal Air Transport certificate
    • ATP license (1,000-1,500 hours of flying)
    • Pass a medical exam

15. Pediatrician

If seeing children develop their skills and grow strong sounds fascinating to you, you can be part of their journey as a pediatrician*. Pediatricians diagnose, treat, and help prevent injuries and diseases in children from infancy to adulthood. For more specific treatment, they might also refer them to a specialist. Pediatricians tend to love being around children and can also acquire a subspecialty, such as oncology or developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

  • Average Annual Salary: $184,570
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Pass a licensure exam
    • Residency (three years)
    • Obtain American Board of Pediatrics certification

16. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Technology is a big part of our lives these days, and if you’re good with computers and data, you might find a passion for this career. Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in electronic data processing, computer programming, information systems, and systems analysis. They are there to help companies and organizations navigate technology. In addition to supervising workers, they also help install and upgrade systems and protect them from potential threats.

  • Average Annual Salary: $161,730
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

17. Architectural and Engineering Manager

From a small coffee shop to a huge skyscraper, do you ever wonder how buildings come to life? As an architectural and engineering manager, you would plan, direct, and coordinate architectural and engineering activities or work on research and development. Some managers work in offices designing and coordinating the creation of buildings that are safe and purposeful. Others may also work in research laboratories and construction sites.

  • Average Annual Salary: $158,100
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

18. Natural Science Manager

If science was your favorite subject as a kid and you loved to do experiments, becoming a natural science manager might make your younger self very happy. Natural science managers supervise scientists such as chemists, physicists, and biologists by planning, directing, and coordinating activities in those fields. They may spend their time in labs or in the office coordinating production, testing, and quality control of research projects.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,930
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Experience as a scientist

19. Marketing Manager

Are you a creative person with a love for problem-solving and communicating with others? If so, becoming a marketing manager* might be what you’re looking for. Marketing managers supervise the whole process of creating and implementing marketing campaigns. They determine the demands of products and services and identify potential customers and opportunities. In addition to developing strategies to maximize profits, they also provide help with hiring staff and team-building.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,470
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

20. Petroleum Engineer

Becoming a petroleum engineer* is the right path for you if you want to help provide the world with energy. Petroleum engineers design equipment to help extract oil and gas from the earth and determine the need for new tools and equipment. To do this, they spend a lot of time researching, studying, and analyzing data to find the safest and most cost-effective way to perform the extractions.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,330
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Professional engineering license
    • Society of Petroleum Engineers certification (recommended)

21. Financial Manager

Financial managers* are responsible for the finances of a company by planning and directing accounting, insurance, securities, banking, and any other financial activities. Their tasks can range from creating financial reports, developing long-term financial goals, and directing investment activities. If you have a love for numbers and have great attention to detail and communication skills, this is the job for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $151,510
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Obtain some certifications and licensures

22. Podiatrist

If you want to join a critical field and make an impact in people’s lives by relieving their pain, becoming a podiatrist* might be the right step for you. Podiatrists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and deformities of the human foot, ankle, and lower leg. They are able to perform surgeries and transplants, and can also prescribe medications and braces for less complex cases.

  • Average Annual Salary: $151,110
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Podiatric medical school (four years)
    • Residency (three years)
    • Pass American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam

23. Lawyer

Representing clients in civil and criminal legal issues and disputes, lawyers can also advise clients on legal transactions and prepare legal documents. As a lawyer, you may work in the private sector for big firms and even small businesses, or work in the public sector for the government as a district attorney or public defender. If you have a passion for helping people and solving conflicts, this might be the right path for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $148,910
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Law school (three years)
    • Pass a state-specific law exam
    • Internship experience

24. Sales Manager

Sales managers* direct an organization’s sales team by planning, directing, and coordinating the distribution of a product or service. Some duties may include establishing sales territories, setting quotas and goals, analyzing sales statistics, and training sales representatives. If you want to become a sales manager, you have to not only be great at selling but also making strategic decisions and motivating people.

  • Average Annual Salary: $147,580
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Industry experience and certifications

25. Advertising and Promotion Manager

As an advertising and promotion manager*, you would plan and coordinate advertising programs and policies. They build interest in purchasing products or services from their organization, as well as create marketing materials such as posters, giveaways, brochures, and coupons. If you want to have a job in which you can put your creativity to action, this is the right career for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $147,560
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Industry experience and certifications

50 Additional High-Paying Careers

If the careers mentioned above are not a fit for you, there are plenty of other jobs that pay a lot of money. Here are 50 additional careers that make the most money, listed by average annual salary:

Deciding your future is never easy, but planning in advance can not only give you peace of mind but help you achieve your goals faster. If having financial freedom and emotional well-being is a priority to you, having a high-paying job can help you achieve that. It’s not always easy to do, and having a job with a high salary will be demanding. Now that you went through the list of careers that make the most money, you can feel inspired to begin following your dreams.

How to Land a High-Paying Career

Methodology

In order to find out the top 75 careers that make the most money, we used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics National Occupational and Wage Estimates from May 2020. The average annual salary is the data provided under annual mean age and sorted from highest to lowest. To calculate the average of what Americans spend their yearly salary on, we used the average expenditure per consumer unit research. To achieve the percentages, we added up the income quintiles percentages provided in Table C for each category and divided them by 5, which resulted in the average percentage spend.

*The salaries in Mint’s Salary tool have a different source and might differ from the ones listed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Indeed | Monster | BLS Expenditures | PNAS | AmeriTrade

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