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Top Ten Best Paid Jobs in America

Updated on July 25, 2016
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I have a B.A. and a PGCE from the University of Oxford and many years experience trading the stock market.

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Highest Paying Jobs

What are the best paid jobs ?
What are the best paid jobs ?

Highest Paying Jobs in America

The Top Ten Best Paying Jobs in America and the Worst

Which are the highest paying jobs and careers in the USA and which are the worst ? Times are tough and we can't all be bankers and get government money to top up our bonuses, somebody actually needs to do something useful ! So which are the best paying jobs? The highest paid jobs are listed below, surprisingly CEOs are only 10th (the lowest paying jobs are also listed as you may wish to try to avoid them). By the way, this article was first written here - best paid jobs in America

If you are anything like me then you may have thought that the best paid jobs were to be found in the stock market or working as a lawyer or attorney or selling discount car insurance. Well, think again. The highest paying jobs in America are almost all found in the healthcare sector, although to be fair they tend to be at the top of the profession - medical assistants for example are not in the top 10 but then again they are not in the bottom 10 either. So by and large healthcare jobs are a good bet if you are wondering which career to go for, pharmacy technicians would be another alternative for a steady job.

It could be that people working in finance get low salaries and high bonuses, but there is no mention of that in the government statistics. You can see all the statistics on best paid jobs in America here top paid jobs.

But for a quick look at the top wages in the USA just read the list below

Top Ten Best Paid Jobs in the USA - 2014

1. Anesthesiologist: $235,070 (Mean annual pay)

2. Surgeons: $233,150

3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: $218,960

4. Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $212,570

5. Orthodontists: $196,270

6. General Internist: $188,440

7. Physicians and Surgeons (all other): $187,200

8. Family and General Practitioners: $183,940

9. Psychiatrists: $182,660

10. Chief Executives: $178,400

(NB: These have increased about 15% over the last 6 years - but the professions are the same, except that anesthesiologists are now top instead of surgeons)

For reference here are the next 30 best paying jobs in America (still lots of medical professionals!):-

Pediatricians, $170,530
Dentists, $170,340
Nurse Anesthetists $157,690
Petroleum Engineers $149,180
Architectural and Engineering Managers $136,540
Podiatrists $135,070
Marketing Managers $133,700
Natural Sciences Managers $132,850
Computer and Information Systems Managers $132,570
Lawyers $131,990
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $129,600
Prosthodontists $128,310
Lawyers, Judges, and Related Workers $128,070
Financial Managers $126,660
Marketing and Sales Managers $126,640
Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and Sales Managers $124,640
Sales Managers $123,150
Law Teachers, Postsecondary $122,280
Top Executives minor $121,010
Air Traffic Controllers $118,650
Physicists $117,040
Pharmacists $116,500
Astronomers and Physicists $116,440
General and Operations Managers $116,090
Operations Specialties Managers minor $114,160
Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers $113,090
Advertising and Promotions Managers $112,870
Compensation and Benefits Managers $112,040
Optometrists $111,640
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $111,260
Human Resources Managers $111,180

Lowest Paying Jobs in America

The Worst Paid Jobs in the USA

Here is the bottom of the list - lots of people working in the catering and entertainment industries - they make in one year what the best-paid make in one month - so you might want to get some qualifications!

Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers $20,370
Amusement and Recreation Attendants $20,310
Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse $20,080
Food and Beverage Serving Workers $20,020
Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers $19,940
Other Food Preparation and Serving Related Workers $19,670
Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop $19,670
Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop $19,650
Dishwashers $19,180
Shampooers $18,910
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food $18,880
Cooks, Fast Food $18,870
Actors - mean hourly wage - $41.94
Dancers - mean hourly wage - $20.00
Musicians and Singers - mean hourly wage - $32.10
Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers - mean hourly wage $25.69

If you want all the figures - check out Top Jobs or Best Paying Jobs or Top Ten Best Paying Jobs So if you are young and looking for a job then start studying medicine !

14 of 15 Best Paying Jobs are in Medicine and Healthcare

As you can see from the Government figures for 2013 above, (published May 2014) the Top Paying Jobs are Anesthesiologist and Surgeon. Around $230K a year.

Also - 14 of the top 15 best paying jobs are in healthcare. After the top 15 you find things like marketing managers, sales managers, computer managers, airline pilots but these generally make only half of what the top healthcare professionals make.

The worst paying jobs, so as you know how to avoid them presumably, are in the food preparation and serving sectors.

Where to avoid ? Waiters and waitresses in Yauco, Puerto Rico, are the worst paid of all - getting just $13,610 a year, Counter attendant in a cafeteria in Owenboro, Kentucky, is also to be avoided (they just gonna have to learn to serve themselves!)- at just $13,810 a year.

D.C. has the highest average annual salary, at $67,810 - followed by New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, at $50,000.

Puerto Rico has the lowest average salaries at $24,650 -- despite the strange fact that the cost of living is similar to D.C..

South Dakota and Mississippi are the lowest paying states, at $33,000.

If on the other hand you don't want to work for someone else but prefer to work from home for yourself then you may want to make money blogging - one way to do that is right here at hubpages, just sign up for free and learn how. It is an easy way to earn some money online while you are learning the ropes, I fyou are already making money blogging then Hubpages can add some extra income,


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    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 2 months ago from Oxford

      Congratulations - do you have one of the best paid jobs in the US ?

    • Chuck Norris 2 months ago

      im a boss!!!

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 months ago from Oxford

      O T - fair comment but I still think nurses should be paid more it's a lot of hard work and long hours

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 months ago from Oxford

      Dan - thanks for the info. it's always good to know, especially for people looking for well-paid job

    • Singular Investor 5 months ago

      Dan - thanks for the info. it's always good to know, especially for people looking for well-paid job

    • Occam's Tool 6 months ago

      A person may become an RN with 2 years of college singular investor. To become a pediatrician requires 11 years of training, 7 of them after college. Psychiatry is 12 years, 4 of which are training at 80 plus hours a week. Unnecessary payment differential?

    • Dan 6 months ago

      I know it's a vairing job but a home inspector can make around $200,00 it dosent seem like it cause you aren't in a hospital or cubical but it's true that if you do it right and honestly you can make that much

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 4 years ago from Oxford

      Yup - I suggest self-employed journalist - writing your own blogs and websites - hard work and the money ain't great unless you put a lot of effort into it, but it lets you work at home !

    • any hope with a teacher's degree? 5 years ago

      I'm an elementary teacher (3rd-6gr) in Ga, and the system stinks. I want a change of occupation...(BA degree in Edu.) Any suggestions?

    • umakemesmile 5 years ago

      All this stress about jobs!!! Omg!! Thanks for the information! Its really interesting. I for one would love to do something in the math/science field! But then again i love kids and wish to be a pediatrition. But then again i wide like to be a psychologist since i find the human mind to be extremly fascinating!!! But then again id like to be a lawyer. I'm a great debater and love debating!! I wish to be something big but i also want to have time for family bonding. Id want my kids to know that they could count on there mother for anything. I want them to be successful, happy, respectful and just someone important in life! Many parents these day just don't comprehend the importance of parenting! Im probly going to get descent job then go back to school once my kids get older. Anyway, thank you so much! Haha i made this longer than its sopoused to be! Sorry!! Haha ;)

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Atika - in a year

      Silas and Alyiana - don't know what you're talking about but thanks for taking the time to brighten up this best paid jobs hub !

    • alyiana 5 years ago

      interesting information but this guy is so dam funny.....omg! i love listening to

    • atika 5 years ago

      in a month or a year?????

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Nicole - thanks for the comment - yes you are right tips make up a large part of their income. The figures above are the official government figures, so I guess people need to bear in mind other factors such as tips when considering if they want to take a job on or not.

    • nicole 5 years ago

      I don't believe that servers/waitresses are actually the lowest paid...they work for tips, therefore they don't claim the majority of their earnings to the irs. They are required to of course, but they don't. I heard of someone (not me of course, Mr. IRS), who worked as a server at a steakhouse while attending college, and made atleast 5 times what was actually claimed on taxes. Hey it's the only time in one's life when they can screw the government on taxes instead of vice versa.

    • Beli 5 years ago

      The worst paid jobs is for Pre-school teachers. They should get paid more. They are the moms for our kids while we are away.

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Colleges - fair comment, and thanks for the further information. Although the medical profession has lots of the best paid jobs around, it is clearly a lot of work to become a top doctor, and people would be well-advised to take this into consideration when embarking on their studies.

    • collegesdt21 5 years ago

      Just to clear a few things up. Yes physicians do have the highest salaried jobs on that list. However, they also require the most training out of all of the jobs on the list. For someone to become a general surgeon it takes 4 years in college, usually graduating near the top of your class. You have to get into medical school. Four years of medical school, again doing well because surgery is very competitive and then five years of training on top of that. Also, once they are done with their training many surgeons work in excess of 80 hours a week.

      The previous comment on the salary's of nurses in my opinion is misguided. It takes four years to become a nurse, tops. Those who go on to get advanced degrees in nursing such as to become a nurse anesthetist which is usually only an additional two years make a salary that is similar to many family physicians these days.

      It is easy to have a grudge against doctors for the salary's that they make but one must keep in mind the amount of work that goes into getting where they are. Along with the amount of work that they consistently do every week. Many would excel at any career that they would decide to go into but they choose the long path to becoming a physician. Anymore, most come out over 200K dollars in debt and some that go to the big name private medical schools will be over 300k dollars in debt. Which is not including debt from their undergraduate degree. Debt that is acruing interest as they train. So lets take it easy on those guys and gals.

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Bob - You can have a look here for the rest of the list - - I'm afraid I don't know any more than what I put on this page but the BLS wil have more information

    • Bob 5 years ago

      Could you give us a clue what is the rest of the list look like or where we can find the complete list?

      I am also interested in occupation of mechanical engineer or mechatronics engineer.

      Also, which occupations are in demand among first 30 in this list? Do you have such information?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Good question me - not in the top ten best paid jobs apparently, these are the official figures but they do seem a bit odd even to me.

    • me 5 years ago

      where are investment bankers, hedge fund managers or other well paid jobs in finance?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Student - you are right the best paid jobs do not necessarily make the happiest people. But neither do the lowest paid jobs. It is better of course to do something you like doing, but information on the highest paying jobs is just information, after that people must make up their own minds what exactly they want to do with their lives. Thanks for the comment and good luck with your studies.

    • Fresh Student 5 years ago

      Hi everyone. To my point of view, anyone has weaknesses and strengths in the distinct fields they call MAJORS in the academic terminologies. If the person invests and gets advantage of his/her talent which in other words is his/her strength..I think he/she will excell in presenting that talent to the society. It is not about what amount of income do you earn but it is are you happy with who you are and what you accomplished during your life journey? Do you think that the surgeons or the multimillionaires you hear about are all happy and not having a nightmare whenever they tend to go to sleep?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Joseph, I'm afraid I don't know. I'm just a blogger and not even based in the USA. You need to ask someone else I'm afraid.

    • Joseph 5 years ago

      I would like to know what is a good rank in high school.I am in 3 honors classes(for the main subjects)and i got my rank. 121 out of 449.Since i am in all honors classes its a little bit harder. How many people in here are in regular classes? Approximately? I want to get into a good university. But with this 3.6 gpa i don't think i can get into even engineering? or can i?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Ernesto - according to the official table above the best paid job in America is surgeon - so get practising ! Good luck with your education, certainly the world will always need surgeons.

    • Ernesto 6 years ago

      Well I am in 11th grade.I have high grades. I want to become a doctor. I wanted to know what is the highest paying job in medicine?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Thank you JG. Indeed, the highest paying jobs do appear to be in the medical sector, at least officiallly, I am pretty sure that some of the best paid jobs are in fact in the finance sector.

    • JapanGulu profile image

      JapanGulu 6 years ago

      Nice post SI.

      Guessing it comes down to supply and demand really. I imagine there are less oral and maxillofacial surgeons than burger flippers at McDonalds in the US. Or the rest of the world for that matter..

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Mat - thanks for the information - it's good to know that there are well paying jobs like that around

      lalala - Iexpect people hit on doctors and dentists as they deal in the necessities of life (not luxuries) and people feel that their health therefore depends on how mcuh they can pay, not how ill they are

    • lalalala 6 years ago

      why does everybody hate on the doctors when they spend around 12 years training and preparing, spending a ton on schooling, and working countless hours during their residency. the deserve what they earn!

    • mat brooks 6 years ago

      There are plenty of trade jobs that can earn you 150,000 dollars a year.

      I'm a power line worker (set poles, string wire, work at heights) and I earned 130,000 dollars this year, not even taking all the overtime I could.

      You don't have to go to college for six years to earn six figures.

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Whiteeagle - nice one - go for enlightenment ! The pays awful but the perks are good

      Gizmo - I didn't call them worst paid jobs, they are government statistics, maybe 'lowest' paying jobs would be better - it justs means they are not very well paid, it is not a judgment on how good or bad a job is

      Dennis - coastguard academy sounds like good advice and a good job so thanks for the information. Don't know who the 'loser blogger' is you are referring to, I just published here some government statistics to provide information for people thinking about careers and what to choose to do - I didn't put the statistics together myself and I don't make a judgment about the jobs people do, but like I said coastguard sounds good and so if people read this they might be encouraged to apply - and why the remark about a 'lowlife naysayer' ? I really don't understand

      Bulldog and Joe Smith - thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment

    • Bulldog13 6 years ago

      Dennis needs to learn punctuation.

    • dennis 6 years ago

      try studying hard and get into the coastguard academy for the better part of my 34 years on active duty i've been payed well, housed, fed , clothed and stationed in some of the most beautiful places in the u.s and hawaii yes i did maine and alaska but a change is nice. key west and beachside resort and if your into it your swimming in women i retire next yearthe equivalent of a vice admiral and the pay at my level is between your 16 and nineteen and i will get 80% for the rest of my life med, dental, eyeglasses anything i need sowhile it may not be for everyonei'm retiring at 55 plenty of money stashed choice of living anywhere i want 6 ft3 210 of solid muscle so my advice is do well in high school get into the academy and work hard to advance and if you cant make the academy just join the coast guard and get all the benefits i described just at a lower rate and the retirement bennies are the bomb my last year and the next i'm commander of one of the new 195ft long chase frigate that chase cigarette boat drug runners 90 miles an hour in a 195 ft long cruiser is quite a trip and our success rate has quadrupled so don't listen to this loser blogger cause he's sitting home wanking his pud giving you advice while sitting in some dump making 40 grand pfffft and i'll bet he will delete this cause he's a shit for being called out and such a lowlife naysayer that gives no hope to the children of our country who can neither get into med school or maybe just might be smart enough -- ask all the thousands of lawyers working as supermarket managers

    • gizmo75 profile image

      gizmo75 6 years ago from Kuwait

      why do u call it a worst paying job if those type of work is only fit for those people who weren't able to finished college, right? I mean why would you choose to work as a dishwasher if you have graduated as doctor of medicine? So for me, you cannot call it a worst paying job if that is the only thing you are capable of doing so and of course if you haven't went to school.

    • whiteeagle 6 years ago

      i will be 68 in a FEW days and i still don't know what i want to do

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Dareraw - they are not on the list as I suspect they are not among the best paying jobs in the USA :-)

    • dareraw 6 years ago

      what about sociologist anthropolist and social worker there is nothing displyed

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Ron thanks for the comment and the insights. As you say, they should have named the list the best salary-based jobs in the USA - there have got to be plenty of people who have better paid jobs such as the lawyers that you mentioned, also CEOs make a lot more, so not a very accurate list but perhaps better than nothing, or maybe they are just trying to encourage people to study medicine ?

    • Ron F 6 years ago

      You have to understand that the list is biased towards salary-based jobs. Commission based sales can be ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more lucrative, but often the base salary is small, if there is any at all. Further, more than any other profession, compensation in sales is almost entirely performance-driven. Any associate level lawyer at a mid-sized firm who can cut the mustard to keep his job is going to make six figures. But a salesman can earn $10,000 or $10,000,000 depending on how he performs, and the company might keep him either way as long as it's profitable to do so.

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Godfrey - I don't know. How much does a structural engineer make ? The list above is the official government figures on which are the best paid jobs in the USA but there do seem to be some glaring omissions and CEOs make a hell of a lot more generally too.

    • GODFREY 6 years ago

      hey man, i'm a structural engineer, you've got to be kidding me, do you mean engineering doesn't make best benefit to make amongst? how could that be?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Hey pll - I'm just a blogger I'm afraid not a careers advisor - you need to ask someone more knowledgeable - this page is about best paid jobs but I'm afraid I don't know that you need to study to get them :-(

    • pll 6 years ago

      What college major do I need to take for general internist ??? Plz

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Yes Lea you are right - these are the official figures but clearly there are plenty of people who actually make more than these official Top Tne Highest Paying Jobs - such as like you say singers, artists, etc.. also sports people and the CEOs of big companies who all make millions. But the list above are the official figures :-)

    • lea86 profile image

      lea86 6 years ago

      Good information, thanks for sharing. But I think to get in certain field, especially to the youth who thinking of their future job should be in line with their ability in certain subjects. Like medicine is among the top to earn high salary but if the student didn't like it, I think it also will not make any success. To my opinion, sometimes, people make millions based on their talents, such as singing, painting and, etc,. You haven't mentioned the artises and the celebrities earning.

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Djmo - I don't know about pharmacists - I suspect they are in the top 30 or 40

      Shelby - I guess pediatrician is quite a lot of work and whether you enjoy it or not depends on whether you like working with children -personally I would find it exhausting bu tlot sof people like doing it - good luck

    • shelby 6 years ago

      Is being a pediatrition a lot of work? and do you enjoy it!

    • djmo 6 years ago

      There is no mention of pharmacists here at all, where do they fall in all this?

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Hi unsure - there are lots of jobs that pay decent money - it all depends on what you like doing or what you are good at - there is money to be made in computing, accounting, law, airline pilot, company manager, stock exchange trader, all require some degree of training of course but find something you like doing and learn how to be the best !

    • unsure 6 years ago

      I don't know what I want to do in life yet. I want to make money but I don't want to be a doctor or surgeon. Is there any job out there that will help me have a finacially good future?

      HELP!!!!! :(

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      I don't know what a flight dispatcher is - but the best paid jobs in the USA are in medicine

    • olugbenga 6 years ago

      Sir, out of psychiatric and a flight dispatcher with one is well paid out of the two career jobs

    • Stock Trading for Beginners 6 years ago

      I can't believe stockbrokers don't make more money than that - best paid jobs ? Seems like a very odd survey IMHO

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Good luck BT - you'll never be out of a job !

    • bluetoother 6 years ago

      weeee!...ill be a dentist in 4 years and will save smiles and earn big money B-)

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Don't know about nuclear physics but computing can be good if you get to be a Systems Manager

    • Lost Boy 6 years ago

      What About Nuclear Physics?... And Hotel Managament.

      Am in 11 Grade... And I Got High Marks. And Am Just lost.. I need Some Nice High Paying Career.. And I Am not REally into being a doctor.

      Could anyone please help me.

      I like Midicine tho.

      My e-mail is

      Please send me some tips And i need some help. :|


    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

      Thanks for the info. from an inaider. One thing that disturbs me when looking at all these best paid jobs is that even in the medical profession it is the doctors that are well paid whereas the nurses are not, our society seems to love creating enormous and unnecessary differentials in pay between the best paid and the worst paid, which is a great shame.

    • Orthodontist Edmonton 6 years ago

      Good information, thank you.

      I have to say your information isn't far off - what's interesting to see is the variance however.

      Orthodontists often have a fairly high cost of operation - meaning that they've got to pay for staff, equipment, and a number of other things.

      Thank being said, there are some good write-offs to be had :)

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