9. Family and General Practitioners
> Employment: 110,050
> Median wage: $172,020
Family and general physicians treat commonplace injuries and illnesses, conduct check-ups and recommend patients to specialists as needed. Like other physicians, family and general practitioners have to attend medical school, complete a residency program and must be licensed. Unlike many surgeons and specialists, family and general physicians tend to have a solid base of regular clients. In 2012, the median wage for such physicians was more than $172,000, one of the highest in the nation.
8. Marketing Managers
> Employment: 171,430
> Median wage: $119,480
Marketing managers are responsible for monitoring market trends and demand in order to develop strategies that would help a company maximize its sales. This may involve changing prices or estimating the effect of introducing a new product to market. Marketing managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and a background in accounting, economics, statistics or one of several other fields. Most also have significant work experience prior to becoming managers. Pay can vary considerably: the top 25% earned more than $160,810 annually in 2012, while the bottom 25% were paid less than $85,740 — still over $50,000 more than the median wage for all occupations.
7. Architectural and Engineering Managers
> Employment: 187,640
> Median wage: $124,870
Architectural and engineering managers are charged with drawing up the plans needed to meet the technical goals of a project. They then oversee the project from its beginning to ensure its successful completion. Becoming an architectural or engineering manager requires either a bachelor’s degree in an engineering speciality, or a professional degree in architecture, according to the BLS. More than three-fourths of all such managers earned $100,000 annually as of 2012. However, the number of such managers also declined by an estimated 18% between 2002 and 2012.
6. Chief Executives
> Employment: 255,940
> Median wage: $168,140
There were more than a quarter of a million chief executives nationwide as of 2012. Becoming a top executive, however, is not very easy, especially at a large business. Top executives often require extensive managerial experience and many have a master’s in business administration. According to BLS figures for 2010, just 17% of top executives were chief executives. In 2012, the median wage for chief executives was more than $168,000 — although pay is determined by a combination of factors such as company size and type. Performance bonuses, stock options and executive perks actually may increase income substantially, although these compensation packages are often roundly criticized.