> Employment: 281,560
> Median wage: $116,670
Pharmacists, like many of the medical professions, are highly paid, partly because of the amount and cost of the training required. After earning their bachelor’s degree, pharmacists must spend an additional three to four years obtaining their doctorate in pharmacy. A smaller group of those looking for a clinical pharmacy or research job must also go through one to two years of residency. As pharmacies often can be open past normal business hours, some pharmacists may work nights and weekends as well. Because of the growing number of new drugs available and the increasing elderly population, pharmacists are also a growing occupation nationwide. The number of pharmacists increased an estimated 28.3% between 2002 and 2012.
4. Computer and Information Systems Managers
> Employment: 309,740
> Median wage: $120,950
Computer and information systems managers are responsible for managing the work of an IT department at a private sector company or government entity. Their responsibilities include proposing improvements to an organization’s hardware and software needs, overseeing the execution of these improvements, and ensuring the security of the network and data. Some IT managers, such as chief information and chief technology officers, are among the senior executives at a firm. Pay for a typical manager exceeded $120,000 per year as of 2012, and more than one in four earned more than $150,000 last year.
3. Sales Managers
> Employment: 344,730
> Median wage: $105,260
Sales managers typically run a sales team. They direct and train members of the team and review performance data. Pay for someone in this position can vary widely, depending on their role and what industry they are in, according to the BLS. The bottom 10% earned less than $53,000, while the top 25% earned more than $150,000. Commissions, too, can be a major factor for total compensation. Therefore the product being sold and the team’s success can make a big difference in the managers’ final take-home pay. There are an estimated 344,730 sales managers in the country.
2. Financial Managers
> Employment: 484,910
> Median wage: $109,740
Financial managers create financial statements and direct investment strategies. They typically do not need more than a bachelor’s degree, but lower-level workers usually need at least five years on the job before they can advance to the position. These managers are often responsible for keeping the company finances, cash flow and credit in good order. Many financial managers work at insurance companies, banks and other institutions, offering financial advice and services to businesses, but they can work in all industries.
> Employment: 581,920
> Median wage: $113,530
There were well over half a million lawyers in the United States as of 2012, making the profession the largest among those with a median wage of at least $100,000 annually. Attorneys are required to first earn a bachelor’s degree. They then typically have to complete a law school education and pass a state’s bar exam. Lawyers can specialize in criminal law, tax law, litigation or many other areas. However, in recent years, many of the most lucrative positions — those at the firms collectively known as Big Law — have disappeared. According to a July report by The New Republic, most Big Law firms may soon disappear as businesses cut costs and demand for high-cost legal services continues to decline.