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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.