Special Report

25 Highest Paying Jobs in America

gorodenkoff / Getty Images

The typical American working a full-time job earns $47,684 per year. There are also some professions, many of which require a college degree, years of experience, or both, that pay more than double that amount.

Using median wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 25 highest-paying jobs in America. The rankings are based on 2019 median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers by detailed occupation, multiplied by 52. Median earnings by gender, total employment by occupation, 10-year employment growth projections, and educational attainment by occupation also came from the BLS. 

Many of the jobs on this list have such high salaries because they are specialized positions that require high levels of expertise. In fact, most of these occupations require years of school and additional on-the-job training. While most high paying jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, there also a few exceptions. Here is a list of highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.

Many of the highest-paying jobs in America are in the technology sector, including jobs in information, hardware, and software. At a number of major U.S. tech companies, the average employee earns a six-figure salary. These are America’s highest paying companies.

Click here to see the 25 highest paying jobs in America
Click here to see the 25 lowest paying jobs in America

Source: GlobalStock / Getty Images

25. Personal financial advisors
> Median annual earnings: $84,136
> Total number of workers: 448,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 7.0%
> Personal financial advisors with a bachelor’s degree: 80.5%

Personal financial advisors help their clients manage their money and plan for their financial future. This line of work tends to pay well, with median annual earnings eclipsing $84,000, nearly $37,000 more than the median income across all workers.

Like nearly all of America’s highest-paying jobs, personal financial advisors tend to be well educated. Over 80% of workers in this field 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree — well more than double the 37% of all American workers.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Jirapong Manustrong / Getty Images

24. Management analysts
> Median annual earnings: $84,344
> Total number of workers: 692,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 13.5%
> Management analysts with a bachelor’s degree: 77.9%

Management analysts help businesses run more efficiently, saving companies time and money. This job ranks as one of the highest paying, with median annual earnings of $84,344, likely in part because the services of these workers are in high demand. The BLS projects employment growth in this occupation of 13.5% from 2018 to 2028, much higher than the 5.2% growth projected across all occupations in that time.

Source: monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

23. Mechanical engineers
> Median annual earnings: $84,500
> Total number of workers: 322,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 4.1%
> Mechanical engineers with a bachelor’s degree: 76.0%

There are roughly 322,000 mechanical engineers in the U.S. working to design and create machines and mechanical devices. Those working in the profession earn a median annual income of $84,500. Like many of the highest-paying jobs on this list, this occupation is dominated by men. More than 94% of mechanical engineers are male — the largest gender disparity among the 25 highest-paying jobs and one of the largest among all careers in America.

Source: sturti / Getty Images

22. Engineers, all other
> Median annual earnings: $85,072
> Total number of workers: 529,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 3.6%
> Engineers, all other with a bachelor’s degree: 81.1%

This segment of engineers includes those in biochemistry, wind and solar energy, nanosystems, and more. Like other types of engineers, these workers are highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree attainment rate of over 80% among adult workers in the field — more than double the rate among the American working population. These engineers typically make more than $85,000 in a year.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Suwat Rujimethakul / Getty Images

21. Database administrators
> Median annual earnings: $85,384
> Total number of workers: 96,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 9.0%
> Database administrators with a bachelor’s degree: 72.3%

As the world grows increasingly dependent on technology, database administrators have become one of the most in-demand career fields. The number of workers in this occupation, who store and organize data, is expected to grow by about 9% over roughly the next decade — much faster than the typical job growth.

Source: sanjeri / Getty Images

20. Physical scientists, all other
> Median annual earnings: $86,788
> Total number of workers: 278,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 3.4%
> Physical scientists, all other with a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%

Physical scientists in this category includes those who work as remote sensing scientists who analyze aerial or satellite data and images for a range of purposes, including resource management and urban planning. With a median annual earnings of more than $86,000, physical scientists rank in the top 20 highest-paying jobs in the nation. The profession is one of only a handful in the U.S. in which all workers have at least a bachelor’s degree.

[in-text-ad]

Source: gorodenkoff / Getty Images

19. Information security analysts
> Median annual earnings: $91,416
> Total number of workers: 128,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 31.6%
> Information security analysts with a bachelor’s degree: 67.1%

Information security analysts, who employ measures to protect computer networks, are in one of just 19 career fields in America in which most workers earn over $90,000. No job among America’s 25 highest paying is projected to grow as quickly as information security analysts in the next decade. The BLS predicts that there will be 31.6% more employed analysts in 2028 than there were in 2018. This is more than six times the projected growth of the typical job.

Source: LL28 / Getty Images

18. Nurse practitioners
> Median annual earnings: $91,520
> Total number of workers: 187,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 28.2%
> Nurse practitioners with a bachelor’s degree: 98.0%

There are just five jobs to rank among the 25 highest paying with more women than men. More than 87% of nurse practitioners are women. These health care professionals diagnose, treat, and prevent health issues. With a projected increase of over 28% in the next decade, nurse practitioners is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country, likely due in large part to the aging baby boomer population and the resulting expanded need for medical care.

Source: DjelicS / Getty Images

17. Veterinarians
> Median annual earnings: $92,196
> Total number of workers: 72,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 18.4%
> Veterinarians with a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%

Veterinarians is one of three occupations on this list that require a doctoral or professional degree. Veterinarians typically earn over $92,000 per year due in part to high educational requirements, as well as the high demand. The total number of veterinarians is projected to increase by 18.4% by 2028 from 2018, making it one of the fastest growing jobs in the country.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: nd3000 / Getty Images

16. Electrical and electronics engineers
> Median annual earnings: $92,612
> Total number of workers: 266,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 2.4%
> Electrical and electronics engineers with a bachelor’s degree: N/A

Electrical engineers design and manufacture a wide array of electronic equipment for consumer and commercial uses. More than a quarter of a million Americans work in this occupation, most of whom earn over $92,000. The electrical engineering field is not projected to grow very quickly. Its 2.4% growth rate is less than half the average projected growth for all American jobs.

Source: BrianAJackson / Getty Images

15. Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers
> Median annual earnings: $93,288
> Total number of workers: 61,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 3.4%
> Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers with a bachelor’s degree: N/A

With just 61,000 Americans working as judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers, it is the least common job to rank among the 25 highest-paying professions. Judges are the only job to rank among the highest paying in which most workers are elected rather than hired, as approximately 90% of state judges are voted into office, according to Harvard Law Today. One of the 15 highest-paying jobs in America, most judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers earn over $93,000 annually.

[in-text-ad]

Source: wmiami / Getty Images

14. Physician assistants
> Median annual earnings: $95,212
> Total number of workers: 109,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 31.1%
> Physician assistants with a bachelor’s degree: 93.8%

Physician assistants, who help to provide medical care, are one of just 14 occupations in which most workers earn over $95,000 annually. This profession typically requires at least a master’s degree, and physicians assistants are some of the best-educated workers. It is also projected to be one of the five fastest growing occupations in the country, as the baby boomer ages and needs more medical care. The BLS predicts an employment growth of 31.1% from 2018 to 2028.

Source: MatusDuda / Getty Images

13. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
> Median annual earnings: $96,564
> Total number of workers: 118,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 5.6%
> Aircraft pilots and flight engineers with a bachelor’s degree: N/A

Piloting is one of just a handful of America’s highest-paying jobs that do not require a college education. Most pilots earn their pilot’s license from the FAA. Pilots are one of the most gender-imbalanced of any occupation, as over 92% of pilots are men. There are over 100,000 male pilots, but fewer than 10,000 female pilots.

Source: Reptile8488 / Getty Images

12. Chemical engineers
> Median annual earnings: $96,876
> Total number of workers: 86,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 6.3%
> Chemical engineers with a bachelor’s degree: 91.1%

Over 91% of chemical engineers hold at least a bachelor’s degree, a far larger share than in most other jobs in the United States. This high level of specialization and education helps drive up their pay, which exceeds $96,000 in most cases. Chemical engineers work to design and produce fuel, medicine, and other products. A male dominated field, an estimated 86% of chemical engineers are men.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: golubovy / Getty Images

11. Computer hardware engineers
> Median annual earnings: $97,864
> Total number of workers: 71,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 6.1%
> Computer hardware engineers with a bachelor’s degree: 76.7%

Building and testing computers as a computer hardware engineer is one of the most lucrative jobs in the country, with a median annual income of $97,864. The number of employed computer hardware engineers is projected to increase by 6.1% between 2018 and 2018, slightly greater than the national projected growth figure for all occupations, but behind projected growth for software engineers, which are expected to increase by more than 20%. This is likely due to the fact that more innovations in computer tech come from software.

Source: gorodenkoff / Getty Images

10. Computer network architects
> Median annual earnings: $97,916
> Total number of workers: 104,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 5.3%
> Computer network architects with a bachelor’s degree: 58.1%

Computer network architects keep us all in touch by designing and creating communication networks. There are an estimated 104,000 Americans in this career field, most of whom earn over $97,000 a year.

Unlike most of the careers on this list, it appears more important for computer network architects to have relevant experience than a formal education. No other job among the 25 highest paying has a higher share of workers who either have just an associate’s degree, at 14.6%, or some college with no degree, at 22.4%. It is one of just four jobs, however, in which the typical worker has five or more years of relevant job experience.

[in-text-ad]

Source: ijeab / Getty Images

9. Software developers, applications and systems software
> Median annual earnings: $98,488
> Total number of workers: 1.7 million
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 20.8%
> Software developers, applications and systems software with a bachelor’s degree: 85.2%

With 1.7 million software developers working nationwide, the occupation is the most commonly held job on the list — and most developers earn over $98,000 per year. The occupation is also the 10th most commonly held job in the U.S. overall, and still growing rapidly. The number of people working as software developers is projected to increase by more than 20% from 2018 through 2028.

Source: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / Getty Images

8. Aerospace engineers
> Median annual earnings: $99,684
> Total number of workers: 138,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 1.7%
> Aerospace engineers with a bachelor’s degree: 87.3%

The median annual earnings for aerospace engineers, who design planes, spacecraft, satellites, and more, is nearly $100,000. The job requires a great deal of expertise, so nearly all aerospace engineers, 87.3%, have at least a bachelor’s degree. Aerospace engineer employment is not projected to increase very much in the next decade or so due largely to a decline in aerospace manufacturing.

Source: PeopleImages / Getty Images

7. Computer and information systems managers
> Median annual earnings: $103,168
> Total number of workers: 629,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 11.3%
> Computer and information systems managers with a bachelor’s degree: 74.1%

Computer and information systems managers work in one of just seven occupations in which most workers earn over $100,000. These managers are in charge of a company’s computer-related activities. As virtually every business works online, at least in part, these jobs are becoming in increasingly high demand. The 11.3% growth rate between 2018 and 2028 predicted by the BLS is more than double the average growth for all American jobs.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: PeopleImages / Getty Images

6. Pharmacists
> Median annual earnings: $104,676
> Total number of workers: 255,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 0.0%
> Pharmacists with a bachelor’s degree: 97.6%

Pharmacists, who dispense prescriptions and advise patients on their use, usually earn over $104,000 annually. As more than 60% of pharmacists are women, it is the highest paying job with a mostly female workforce. The BLS is projecting that the total number of pharmacists will remain roughly unchanged through 2028, with the potential for growth likely limited because of the increasing use of online and mail order pharmacies.

Source: belenox / Getty Images

5. Lawyers
> Median annual earnings: $106,236
> Total number of workers: 884,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 6.1%
> Lawyers with a bachelor’s degree: 98.3%

With median annual earnings of over $106,000, lawyers have the fifth highest-paying job in America. There are nearly 900,000 attorneys practicing in different fields of law across the nation, either in private practice, corporate offices, or on behalf of the government. Lawyers typically have a bachelor’s degree and must obtain a law degree and pass a bar exam that allows them to work in the state in which they practice law.

[in-text-ad]

Source: jacoblund / Getty Images

4. Physicians and surgeons
> Median annual earnings: $119,184
> Total number of workers: 857,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 7.3%
> Physicians and surgeons with a bachelor’s degree: N/A

As one of the most important and highly specialized careers in the country, physicians and surgeons are well compensated, typically earning over $119,000 per year. There are over 850,000 physicians and surgeons, covering a wide variety of specialties and practices.

Physicians and surgeons must earn a bachelor’s degree, graduate from medical school, and complete internship and residency programs. Employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to increase slightly faster than the average for American jobs, largely due to the expanding need for care among the elderly.

Source: filadendron / Getty Images

3. Dentists
> Median annual earnings: $119,704
> Total number of workers: 71,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 7.5%
> Dentists with a bachelor’s degree: N/A

Dentists are some of the highest paid workers in the labor force. The median annual salary among dentists working full time is nearly $120,000, well more than double the median annual earnings of $47,684 among full-time workers across all occupations.

As is the case with most occupations on this list, dentistry is a highly specialized profession that requires years of schooling and training. Dental school alone takes four years to complete for full-time students, and a bachelor’s degree is typically required for admission. Upon graduating, an additional period of two to six years of training in a residency program is required for those who are planning to specialize.

Source: Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

2. Chief executives
> Median annual earnings: $123,760
> Total number of workers: 1.1 million
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 -5.5%
> Chief executives with a bachelor’s degree: 69.9%

Chief executives work as the head of their respective company or organization. While their specific duties may vary, they are generally responsible for the direction and mission of their organization. Salaries for chief executive officers can vary considerably, but the majority of American CEOs earn over $123,000 a year. For CEOs of larger publicly traded companies, their annual salaries represent only a small share of their annual compensation, as annual bonuses and stock options can often be in the seven-figure range. The vast majority of CEOs in the United States — 73% — are men.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: dotshock / Shutterstock.com

1. Architectural and engineering managers
> Median annual earnings: $128,492
> Total number of workers: 148,000
> Projected employment change 2018-2028 2.8%
> Architectural and engineering managers with a bachelor’s degree: 84.4%

Architectural and engineering managers typically earn more than $128,000 per year, a higher annual salary than any other occupation by a significant margin. These managers direct the activities of architectural and engineering companies. The position requires not only expertise gained through a college degree, but also years of on-the-job experience.

Smart Investors Are Quietly Loading Up on These “Dividend Legends”

If you want your portfolio to pay you cash like clockwork, it’s time to stop blindly following conventional wisdom like relying on Dividend Aristocrats. There’s a better option, and we want to show you. We’re offering a brand-new report on 2 stocks we believe offer the rare combination of a high dividend yield and significant stock appreciation upside. If you’re tired of feeling one step behind in this market, this free report is a must-read for you.

Click here to download your FREE copy of “2 Dividend Legends to Hold Forever” and start improving your portfolio today.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.