The typical American working a full-time job at the end of 2020 earned $984 per week, equivalent to $51,168 a year. In a handful of highly specialized occupations, workers can expect to earn double that amount, if not more.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on median weekly wage for 240 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey (BLS CPS) program to identify the highest paying job in America.
Nearly all the highest paying jobs on our finalist list in America are in STEM fields; that is, science, technology, engineering and math. These jobs typically require workers to have years of training and education. For every job on this list for which there is data, the majority of workers hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have high attainment rates of master’s degree and even doctorate degree.
People working the highest paying jobs largely have been able to keep working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as health care and engineering jobs were considered essential and those with high-paying tech jobs can often work from home. It was lower-paying jobs, like those in the service and hospitality industries, that were largely lost as businesses closed as a safety precaution.
Architectural and engineering managers
> Median annual earnings: $125,476
> Total number of workers: 155,000
> Projected employment change 2019–2029: +2.6%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: 83.4%
The highest paying job in America is architectural and engineering manager. These workers oversee building and engineering projects and research. Most workers in this occupation earn over $125,000 per year, nearly 2.5 times higher than the median annual earnings for all U.S. jobs.
Many architectural and engineering managers only reach this position after years of working as engineers and architects, so they tend to be much older than those in other careers. The median age of someone in this career field is 49.1 years. That is nearly seven years higher than the median age of all workers, and the 12h highest median age of any job in America.
To identify the highest paying job in America, occupations were ranked based on median annual wage (the median weekly wage multiplied by 52 weeks) in 2020. Median earnings by gender and total employment by occupation also came from the BLS CPS. Data on projected employment change from 2019 to 2029, educational attainment by occupation in 2019 and typical education requirements by occupation came from the BLS Employment Projections program. Jobs sorted into miscellaneous categories were not considered. For some jobs, the BLS either did not collect data or opted not to publish data that did not meet their collection criteria.