20. Mechanical engineers
> Median annual earnings: $89,076
> Total number of workers: 348,000
> Projected employment change 2019-2029: +3.9%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: 80.9%
Mechanical engineers design and create tools, engines, machines, and other equipment. The typical mechanical engineer earns just over $89,000 annually, one of 20 jobs in which most workers earn at least that amount. Of the 240 jobs considered, the field of mechanical engineering has one of the largest workforces, with nearly 350,000 workers.
Six of the 25 highest paying jobs in America are in the engineering field. Many others are also in STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — fields.
19. Database administrators and architects
> Median annual earnings: $89,700
> Total number of workers: 107,000
> Projected employment change 2019-2029: +9.7%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: 73.6%
Database administrators and architects create and use software to organize data on computers. The career field has one of the highest median annual earnings of any job in America, with the median worker earning $89,700 per year.
In every job field that ranks among the highest paying for which there is data, workers are much more likely to hold at least a bachelor’s degree compared to the typical American worker. Many high-paying jobs require high levels of specialization and training that come with a college education, and database administrators are no exception. Some 73.6% of these workers hold at least a bachelor’s degree, nearly double the bachelor’s degree attainment rate for all year-round, full-time jobs, which is 38.9%.
18. Sales managers
> Median annual earnings: $93,288
> Total number of workers: 495,000
> Projected employment change 2019-2029: +3.5%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: 59.2%
Sales managers are responsible for coordinating the distribution of a product or a service to customers. These workers, like many other managers or executives in advanced positions at their companies, tend to be well compensated. The typical sales manager earns over $93,000 annually.
Most jobs that rank among the highest paying in America are in STEM fields, frequently involving computers, health care, or engineering. Sales management is an exception — as such, sales managers are less likely to have a college degree than almost any other career on this list. It is one of just two careers to rank among the 25 highest paying in which fewer than 60% of workers do not have at least a bachelor’s degree.
> Median annual earnings: $93,340
> Total number of workers: 55,000
> Projected employment change 2019-2029: +15.9%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%
Veterinarians are some of the highest paid workers in America, with median annual earnings of $93,340 .Veterinarians provide animals — be it pets, wild, or farm animals — with medical care. Because they need a doctorate degree to practice, they are some of the better-educated workers in the country. It is one of just a handful of career fields in which 100% of workers hold advanced degrees.
Americans have spent increasing amounts of money on the well-being of their pets’ health. As a result, the number of veterinarians are projected to increase by nearly 16%, well beyond the 3.7% projected growth for the all U.S. career fields.
16. Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers
> Median annual earnings: $96,512
> Total number of workers: 60,000
> Projected employment change 2019-2029: +3.1%
> Workers with a bachelor’s degree: N/A
Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers apply and oversee the legal process in places like courts. It is one of just 16 jobs in America in which the majority of workers earn over $96,000 per year.
Judges and other judicial workers tend to be much older than the typical U.S. worker as they typically earn their law degree and often spend years practicing before they are considered for the position. The median age of judges is 54.4 — the oldest median age of any job on this list, and the second oldest of all jobs in the U.S. The typical U.S. worker is 42.5 years old.