Though money is not the prime motivation for all employees, plenty seek great financial gain when choosing their careers. In a highly-competitive job market, finding one that pays the big bucks can seem difficult.
With this in mind, CareerTrends searched for the most common high-paying careers. Using the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center, we found the six-figure jobs with the highest employment. Employment data from the BLS is from May 2014, while salary data from the FLCDC is from June 2015.
For this list, we focused on the experienced level salary of each career. The FLCDC uses four categorizations for experience level: entry level, qualified, experienced and fully competent. Experienced workers typically have multiple years of experience (three years or more) in their careers and require less on-the-job supervision than entry level or qualified workers. Fully competent workers have five or more years of experience and require little to no on-the-job supervision. We filtered for all jobs with an experienced salary of at least $100,000 and ranked them according to the total number of current employees.
Of the 25 most popular six-figure jobs, many are health-related careers. Surgeons have the highest experienced salary of any occupation on the list. Three medical careers — including pharmacists — are listed in the top 10. Though there are plenty of high-paying jobs in the medical field that don't require med school, reaching the six-figure salary mark is going to require extra schooling.
Notes on the data:
O*Net categorizes each individual occupation, though there are some specific jobs that fall under the same BLS category. Chief executives and chief sustainability officers, for example, are grouped together. For this list, we only chose one of the related occupations to be included.
#25. Obstetricians & Gynecologists
Current employees: 21,740
Experienced salary: $187,917
Job description: Provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. May also provide general medical care to women.
#24. Air Traffic Controllers
Current employees: 22,860
Experienced salary: $108,076
Job description: Control air traffic on and within the vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers, according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.
#23. Information Research Scientists
Current employees: 24,210
Experienced salary: $104,154
Job description: Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
Current employees: 25,080
Experienced salary: $175,619
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent disorders of the mind.
Current employees: 28,090
Experienced salary: $102,315
Job description: Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases.
Current employees: 30,060
Experienced salary: $171,601
Job description: Administer anesthetics prior to, during or after surgery or other medical procedures.
#19. General Pediatricians
Current employees: 31,010
Experienced salary: $173,384
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent children's diseases and injuries.
Current employees: 33,340
Experienced salary: $111,114
Job description: Diagnose, manage and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
#17. Petroleum Engineers
Current employees: 33,740
Experienced salary: $131,212
Job description: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.
#16. Nurse Anesthetists
Current employees: 36,590
Experienced salary: $158,211
Job description: Administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.
Current employees: 41,070
Experienced salary: $191,323
Job description: Treat diseases, injuries and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances or by manual manipulation.
#14. General Internists
Current employees: 48,390
Experienced salary: $184,335
Job description: Diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults who have a wide range of problems associated with the internal organs.
#13. Natural Sciences Managers
Current employees: 53,290
Experienced salary: $109,593
Job description: Plan, direct or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics and research and development in these fields.
#12. Airline Pilots
Current employees: 75,760
Experienced salary: $108,750
Job description: Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, national and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.
#11. General Dentists
Current employees: 97,990
Experienced salary: $161,598
Job description: Examine, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.
#10. General Practitioners
Current employees: 124,810
Experienced salary: $180,314
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.
#9. Engineering Managers
Current employees: 179,320
Experienced salary: $121,021
Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.
#8. Marketing Managers
Current employees: 184,490
Experienced salary: $111,594
Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors, and identify potential customers. Develop pricing strategies with the goal of maximizing the firm's profits or share of the market while ensuring the firm's customers are satisfied. Oversee product development or monitor trends that indicate the need for new products and services.
#7. Chief Executives
Current employees: 246,240
Experienced salary: $154,303
Job description: Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.
Current employees: 290,780
Experienced salary: $118,499
Job description: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions and side effects of medications.
#5. Other Physicians & Surgeons
Current employees: 311,320*
Experienced salary: $182,792
*Note: Other physicians and surgeons include allergists, immunologists, dermatologists, hospitalists, neurologists, nuclear medicine physicians, ophthalmologists, pathologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, preventive medicine physicians, radiologists, sports medicine physicians, and urologists. The BLS groups all of these specific occupations into the same category.
#4. Computer and Information Systems Managers
Current employees: 330,360
Experienced salary: $107,989
Job description: Plan, direct or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis and computer programming.
#3. Sales Managers
Current employees: 358,920
Experienced salary: $106,675
Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer. Coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers.
#2. Financial Managers
Current employees: 518,030
Experienced salary: $104,576
Job description: Plan, direct or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office, or department of an establishment.
Current employees: 603,310
Experienced salary: $101,903
Job description: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
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