In this article, we're going to provide several lists of the highest paying jobs in America, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We're also going to slice and dice that information several different ways to allow you to see what we believe are some interesting trends in the information.
And yes, we do realize that money can't buy happiness, but we're going to set that notion aside today so we can concentrate on answering the question: What is the highest paying job today? Later in this article we're also going to help answer the question: What's the value of a higher education?
Highest Paying JobsAs mentioned earlier, the information in our lists is based on data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics here in the United States. That current data is gathered via a survey conducted in May 2009 and the results of that survey are published in 2010. We expect the 2010 information to be available around May of 2011, at which point we will update this article.
The salary information presented here is based on what are called Standard Occupational Classification codes. These codes give those conducting the salary survey a consistent way to describe certain careers, or professions, as well as a way to group similar jobs into larger categories. In many of the tables below, we'll not only provide the average salary for each job type, but also the percentage change in salary from the prior survey.
Highest Paying Careers in AmericaTo demonstrate how this works, our first list will contain what we're going to call the highest paying careers in America. This particular list ranks the categories of occupations, similar types of jobs, from the highest to lowest paying, on a National basis:
High Paying Careers / Occupations
|Career / Occupations||Average Salary|
|Computer And Mathematical Science Occupations||$76,290|
|Architecture And Engineering Occupations||$73,590|
|Healthcare Practitioner And Technical Occupations||$69,690|
|Business And Financial Operations Occupations||$65,900|
|Life, Physical, And Social Science Occupations||$65,660|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, And Media Occupations||$51,720|
|Education, Training, And Library Occupations||$49,530|
|Construction And Extraction Occupations||$43,350|
|Community And Social Services Occupations||$42,750|
|Installation, Maintenance, And Repair Occupations||$42,210|
|Protective Service Occupations||$41,740|
|Sales And Related Occupations||$36,020|
|Office And Administrative Support Occupations||$32,990|
|Transportation And Material Moving Occupations||$32,180|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||$26,710|
|Building And Grounds Cleaning And Maintenance Occupations||$24,970|
|Personal Care And Service Occupations||$24,680|
|Farming, Fishing, And Forestry Occupations||$23,990|
|Food Preparation And Serving Related Occupations||$20,880|
One item we found interesting in the above table was that medical careers as described by "Healthcare Practitioner and Technical" only ranked fifth on this list. But as you'll soon see, that ranking can be deceiving.
Highest Paying Jobs - All TypesNext up is the list that many will agree is the single most interesting statistic published on wages and salaries. The highest paying jobs in the U.S.:
Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs
|Profession||Average Salary||% Change|
|Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeons||$210,710||10.7%|
|Obstetricians And Gynecologists||$204,470||6.1%|
|Physicians And Surgeons, All Other||$173,860||5.4%|
|Family And General Practitioners||$168,550||4.4%|
- If you want to make a lot of money, and claim to be among the highest wage earners in America, then you need to be in the medical profession.
- Despite all the healthcare industry claims otherwise, medical doctors are the highest paid professionals in the working world today.
Highest Paying Jobs - Excluding Healthcare ProfessionsTo answer that question, we've provided a second list of high paying jobs. This time we've removed all of the medical professions to see what's left over:
Top 10 Highest Paying Non-Medical Professions
|Profession||Average Salary||% Change|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$127,000||3.10%|
|Computer And Information Systems Managers||$120,640||1.60%|
|Airline Pilots, Copilots, And Flight Engineers||$117,060||-2.20%|
Computer / Information Technology JobsSince we're publishing this information on the World Wide Web, we thought we'd add something extra for all of those IT and Computer professionals surfing the Internet. To help all those aspiring computer professionals out there, we put together a list that outlines the higher paying computer / IT careers:
Highest Paying IT Jobs
|IT Jobs / Professions||Average Salary||% Change|
|Computer And Information Scientists, Research||$105,370||4.4%|
|Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software||$96,620||2.2%|
|Computer Software Engineers, Applications||$90,170||2.6%|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$80,430||2.0%|
|Computer Specialists, All Other||$78,010||2.6%|
|Network Systems And Data Communications Analysts||$76,560||3.7%|
|Network And Computer Systems Administrators||$70,930||2.0%|
|Computer Support Specialists||$47,360||2.1%|
Money and EducationWhile we were busy gathering up all of the highest paying job information we could find, we came across one other bit of information we thought would be interesting to take a closer look at: How much someone is paid versus their investment in an education.
Here again we were able to grab data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but this time the information is current as of the first quarter of 2008. The data we're going to provide is for persons engaged in full-time employment, both salaried and hourly workers. All of the following information is for workers that are 25 years of age and over.
Value of an EducationThis first table is the median annual salary for workers separated by the level of education attained. Remember, that the median is the midpoint of the salary range - roughly half of the individuals in the group earn more than the median and half earn less. Many statisticians prefer to state this type of information using median as opposed to using the mean, or average.
Earnings by Education Level
We thought that last statistic was so interesting that we took the information one step further. We wanted to see how much each progressive level of education was worth. So we put the following table together:
Comparison of Annual Pay versus Education
|No Diploma||HS Diploma||Some College||College Diploma||Advanced Degree|
Final High Paying Jobs ListWe'd thought we reward all of you that read this entire article with one last piece of information - and it's a big one. We've taken the information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compiled a list of the average salaries for all professions covered. This is not a list of the top 20, 50 or 100 professions - but this list covers nearly 800 different jobs.
We've sorted our list of average annual salaries in descending order - meaning the highest paying jobs are ranked at the top of the list. The spreadsheet also contains five worksheets. The first represents the most current information published today. The next three worksheets contain information for prior years. Finally, the last sheet compares each year, and calculates the increase in average salary for each career type. As is the case with all of the information we publish, it's yours to download for free.