The 30 highest-paying jobs in America

Obstetrician gynecologist
Obstetricians and gynecologists are among the medical occupations at the top of the ranking.

30. Postsecondary law teachers

Law professor

Average annual salary: $134,760

Number of people employed: 14,930

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in law.

29. Public relations and fundraising managers

Public relations

Average annual salary: $135,580

Number of people employed: 81,110

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities designed to create or maintain a favorable public image, raise issue awareness, or raise funds for their organization or client.

28. Compensation and benefits managers

human resources

Average annual salary: $137,160

Number of people employed: 16,340

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the compensation and benefits activities of an organization.

27. Physicists

Physicists

Average annual salary: $137,700

Number of people employed: 16,160

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

26. Advertising and promotions managers

Michael Roth IPG Advertising Week

Average annual salary: $147,560

Number of people employed: 22,490

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate advertising policies and programs.

25. Sales managers

salesman salesperson sales manager

Average annual salary: $147,580

Number of people employed: 390,170

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer.

24. Lawyers

lawyers

Average annual salary: $148,910

Number of people employed: 658,120

What they do, according to O*NET: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions.

23. Podiatrists

foot feet massage podiatry podiatrist

Average annual salary: $151,110

Number of people employed: 9,710

What they do, according to O*NET: Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.

22. Financial managers

financial analyst

Average annual salary: $151,510

Number of people employed: 653,080

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities.

21. Petroleum engineers

petrolum engineer

Average annual salary: $154,330

Number of people employed: 27,850

What they do, according to O*NET: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production.

20. Marketing managers

marketing manager

Average annual salary: $154,470

Number of people employed: 270,200

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate marketing policies and programs.

19. Natural sciences managers

boston scientific lab work science

Average annual salary: $154,930

Number of people employed: 75,870

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and statistics, and research and development in these fields.

18. Architectural and engineering managers

architectural engineer

Average annual salary: $158,100

Number of people employed: 195,900

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering.

17. Computer and information systems managers

coworkers looking at desktop computer at work

Average annual salary: $161,730

Number of people employed: 457,290

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.

16. General dentists

A dentist performs a dental examination.
A dentist performs a dental examination.

Average annual salary: $180,830

Number of people employed: 95,920

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums.

15. General pediatricians

pediatrician baby doctor family

Average annual salary: $184,570

Number of people employed: 27,550

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent children’s diseases and injuries.

14. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

airline pilot

Average annual salary: $186,870

Number of people employed: 83,550

What they do, according to O*NET: Pilot and navigate the flight of aircrafts.

13. Nurse anesthetists

anesthesia

Average annual salary: $189,190

Number of people employed: 41,960   

What they do, according to O*NET: Administer anesthesia, monitor patients’ vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia.

12. All other dentist specialists

x ray dentist aspen dental doctor office

Average annual salary: $194,930

Number of people employed: 5,610   

What they do, according to O*NET: Various dental specializations.

11. Chief executives

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves the EU Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

Average annual salary: $197,840

Number of people employed: 202,360   

What they do, according to O*NET: Develop policies and provide direction for a company or organization.

10. General internal medicine physicians

Doctor and patient. Office visit. Ivan Mendoza, MD, associate medical director for the Jackson Medical Group's cardiology practice, (L) shows where the worlds smallest pacemaker is located in Felipe Finale, 78, during a media event at Jackson South Community Hospital to announce his successful implant of the pacemaker into Felipe, a first for a South Florida hospital on September 8, 2016 in Miami, Florida.

Average annual salary: $210,960

Number of people employed: 50,600  

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems.

9. Family medicine physicians

doctor and female patient
Emlyn Louis, MD speaks with Julia Herrera as he examines her at the Broward Community & Family Health Center on April 20, 2009 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Average annual salary: $214,370

Number of people employed: 98,590  

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population.

8. Prosthodontists

Prosthodontist

Average annual salary: $214,870

Number of people employed: 530

What they do, according to O*NET: Construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures.

7. Psychiatrists

Psychiatrist

Average annual salary: $217,100

Number of people employed: 25,540  

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent disorders of the mind.

6. All other physicians and ophthalmologists, except pediatric

emergency physician

Average annual salary: $218,850

Number of people employed: 375,390 

What they do, according to O*NET: Various medical specialties.

5. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

dentist oral surgery surgeon

Average annual salary: $234,990

Number of people employed: 4,120  

What they do, according to O*NET: Perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

4. Orthodontists

Orthodontist

Average annual salary: $237,990

Number of people employed: 5,040 

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies.

3. Obstetricians and gynecologists

Obstetrician gynecologist
Obstetricians and gynecologists are among the medical occupations at the top of the ranking.

Average annual salary: $239,120

Number of people employed: 18,900

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women.

2. Surgeons, except ophthalmologists

Surgeons perform a total knee arthroplasty operation in an operating room at the Ambroise Pare hospital in Marseille, southern France, April 14, 2008.   REUTERS/ Jean-Paul Pelissier
Surgeons perform a total knee arthroplasty operation in an operating room at the Ambroise Pare hospital in Marseille

Average annual salary: $251,650

Number of people employed: 37,900

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods.

1. Anesthesiologists

anesthetist anesthesiologists with patient

Average annual salary: $271,440

Number of people employed: 28,590

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery or other medical procedures.

Method and data source

Using the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program (previously called the Occupational Employment Statistics program), we identified the 30 detailed occupations with the highest mean annual salaries as of May 2020, the most recent period for which data is available.

Although data is for May 2020, the pandemic’s effects on employment are not fully captured in these figures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote in the news release about the latest data that these “estimates do not fully reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” as previous surveys from periods in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were also used. 

The 30 highest-paying occupations all earned an average of six figures annually, all above $130,000. Anesthesiologists, which ranked No. 1, earned more than triple the average annual salary for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations of $85,900 with an average annual salary of $271,440. All 30 of these occupations also make more than the overall average for all occupations in May 2020 of $56,310.

In addition to ranking the average salaries, we also included the estimated number of people employed in each occupation as of May 2020, and a brief description of the occupation from the Labor Department’s O*NET occupational database.

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