The Country’s Highest Paying Jobs

highest paying jobs

So… you want to make some sweet dough? Check it out! Below are the top 11 highest paying jobs in the US! Keep in mind as you stroll through the list that all of these positions have a low-end pay and a high-end pay and several factors determine the salary you would receive, such as the size of the company you work for, whether you are self-employed, location, level of schooling, work experience, etc.

Your expertise in most of these positions could earn you into the millions if you play your cards right!  Well, what are you waiting for? Choose your career…get started NOW!



industrial organizational psychologists

Does the thought of telling everyone you meet that you are an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (whew! That’s a mouthful!) and then seeing the confusion in their eyes make you winch? First of all, you can shorten it by just saying you are an I-O psychologist but they are still going to look at you funny. All kidding aside, there is nothing funny about this job, an I-O psychologist is actually the heart of making THE workplace hum.

Your job as an I-O Psy. will be to research and apply psychological principles to workplace behavior. It contains two parts, one, the industrial side, where human behaviors such as fitting the right candidate to the right job, assessing managerial aspects, the efficiency of performance standards and job performance, is all part of the position.

The other part is the organizational side, in which, the psychology is geared towards how the organization affects individual behavior. How the organizational structures, such as managerial styles, social aspects, can all affect how people are behaving within the organization and with this information assessed and taken into consideration will, in turn, make the organization, as a whole, run much more smoothly and efficiently.

Areas of concern for an I-O Psy. are employee training, human resources, organizational development, and marketing and sales and may even include product testing and selecting THE best employees for the jobs.

Now….down to the nitty-gritty…what does an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist earn? There is quite a range of salaries with this position because it depends on your degree earned, where you are located, what company you accept a position from but, having said all that, the median annual salary for this position is around $84,000, but could range from, on the low end, around $48,000 to into the millions annually in the private sector.


In order to become an I/O Psychologist, you must earn a Bachelor’s Degree, then move on to a Master’s Degree, and finally, you will need to complete a Doctorate Degree.

Master of Arts or Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Master’s in Organizational Development
Master’s in Organizational Behavior
Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology



air traffic controller

If you fall asleep easily or are easily distracted, THIS is not the job for YOU! Air traffic controllers, situated within the airport’s control towers, have a super important job of making sure that pilots have safe takeoffs and landings. Also, while planes are in the air they are closely guarding the skies to make sure that aircraft stay a safe distance apart.

While you need, as far as secondary education is concerned, nothing more than an Associate’s degree in the form of an air traffic management degree to become an air traffic controller, you also must be a U.S. citizen, pass medical and background checks, achieve a qualifying score on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pre-employment test, and complete a training course at the FAA Academy.

So, let’s think about this….you only need an associate’s degree plus some specific training to become an air traffic controller AND you can earn on average $122,000 annually! We are talking about fewer student loans to pay back and less time in the classroom!! In addition, the benefits are wonderful including paid holiday, vacation and sick days, along with paid medical and dental insurance, an excellent 401k program, and retirement plan.

Although the job outlook is not projected to change greatly from now to the year 2022 for this position, those who are retiring and leaving the job will leave opportunities open for those best suited for the position as replacements.


If you enter the military, you will gain military experience as one option…the next option is to obtain an aviation degree at a college or university.

SEE: Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Aviation and Aeronautics



computer and information managers

Hey, let’s face it, it PAYS to be a computer geek… AND, not to mention, mega attractive to the opposite sex!  With an average annual salary in the $125,000 range, information technology (commonly referred to as IT) managers have one of the most important jobs in an organization. Their position consists of coordinating, planning and directing computer-related activities within the organization. The implementation of computer systems and security systems helps the company to reach technology goals and the IT manager manages the computer professionals as well as assisting the top managers to make important business decisions.

Typically, in order to achieve success as an IT manager, a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science is required along with 5 or more years of experience. Many IT managers have gone on to get their master’s degree, as well. Making this decision to expand your degree may prove highly beneficial to you due to the fact that the government economists predict that positions available for computer and information systems managers will increase at a faster than average rate for all related occupations, especially predicted in the healthcare industry. This can be attributed to the growing need to upgrade their computer networks and enhance their computer system security.

The salary range varies greatly with this position, for example, from $103,000 annually for college and university IT managers to $156,000 for securities and commodity exchange IT managers.


Typically, this career requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or management information systems, but obtaining a master’s degree is not only recommended but may be required by some employers.

SEE: Best Online Schools for Associate of Information Technology Degree Programs

SEE: Top 5 Online Bachelor’s of Information Technology

SEE: Most Affordable Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Computer Science

SEE: Top 15 Online Master’s in Computer Science

SEE: Best Online Schools for Doctor in Computer Science Degree Programs

SEE: Best Online Schools for Doctor of Information Technology




marketing managers

Marketing is key when you have a product or service that the world needs to know about. Your role as a marketing manager is to make certain that your team stays up-to-date on the changes in the marketing world and to research and develop ideas and strategies regarding means of producing an awesome marketing plan to suit your company’s needs. A marketing manager also performs evaluations of its staff and also in charge of hiring and training.  Communication skills and strong computer skills are also a must for this position as most employers are looking for candidates possessing these skills.

Becoming a marketing manager requires you a bachelor’s degree in marketing and, at the very least, 7 years of related work experience. Pay for this position depends on the size of the company, the industry, location and, of course, your level of experience and education.  According to the BLS, in 2012, the annual median pay for marketing managers was around $124,000 and the job outlook will grow faster than average through the year 2018.

SEE: Best Online Bachelor of Marketing Degree Programs



natural sciences manager

If it’s in your “nature” (see what I did there?) to be curious as to how things work or how you can make a change in the world for the better or if Chemistry was your best subject in school, then becoming a natural sciences manager is for you. A natural sciences manager sounds exactly like what the name says…a manager that supervises the work of scientists! Scientists that may include physicists, biologist, geologists, mathematicians and chemists and most are scientists themselves before landing the managerial position. They also are responsible for hiring, directing research and development as well as coordinating quality control and testing.

If you think you’d love spending your time in the laboratory, then becoming the manager may not be your cup of tea as natural science managers spend most of their time behind a desk, but naturally, are in the labs assisting as well. But, don’t get me wrong, not everything a manager does is from behind a desk! A natural sciences manager can lead expeditions to amazing locations performing scientific research, they may lead a team to discover how climate change is affecting our world, and even discover a cure for cancer, all kinds of interesting and very important things!

To become a natural sciences manager you will need to obtain, at least, a bachelor’s degree in natural science or a related field, related work experience of 5 or more years, and you can expect your average wages to be in the $115,000 range, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2012. There are, however, slow growth predictions in this field between now and the year 2022.

SEE: Top 20 Online Master’s Degrees in Natural Resources Management



architectural engineers and managers

If your forte is building and designing, then a career in architectural and engineering is right for you. Where would we all be without architects and engineers? Possibly still heading outdoors to use the bathroom in a little, dark house with a Sears catalog….(shutters) but seriously, there are engineers and architects designing everything from plumbing to massive machines in factories that make the parts of the cars we drive and the, well, toilets we use.

A managers duties in these fields direct, review and/or approve the plans for the projects they oversee.  You may see them working in a lab, on a construction site, in an industrial plant or behind their desk.

In May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average wage for architectural and engineering managers is around $125,000 per year and the employment growth rate for these positions is only 7% projected through the year 2022, which is a slower-than-most growth rate compared to other jobs. Expect a very strong competition for these jobs.

You typically would need a bachelors degree and 5 or more years of work experience as an architect or engineer before being considered for a managerial position.




Jokes, aside…..and, there are MANY of them, there are ALL types of lawyers….lawyers that represent businesses, lawyers that represent individuals and there are even lawyers that represent government agencies, state, local and federal, regarding legal disputes. And the list goes on…  If you choose this profession, prepare yourself for long hours and lots of research that is required to represent your client to the fullest capability that you can offer services for.

A law degree, typically in the form of a bachelor’s degree, 3 additional years of law school OR a doctoral degree or professional degree, AND passing a state’s written bar exam are required to become a lawyer. The average annual pay for lawyers was around $114,000 reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012. But, having said that, location and your area of expertise can greatly increase that number.

SEE: 20 Most Affordable Schools for Online Legal Studies Degree Programs for 2019



petroleum engineering

Sounds fancy and important, doesn’t it? Well, it is! As natural gas and new oil production sites open across the U.S., the demand for petroleum engineers is on the rise. As a matter of fact, the 10-year projected job growth rate is a whopping 26% through the year 2022!

What does a petroleum engineer do, day in day out? They design and create methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits that are below the earth’s surface and they also find new ways of doing the same from older wells. For the most part, they work in offices or research labs, but also spend time at drilling sites.  Pack your bags! You may be sent to a drilling site for a long period of time to do research on a particular drilling site.

If you are considering this career,  you must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, of course, the preference is petroleum engineering, but chemical or mechanical specialties are also accepted. Work experience is a plus when it comes to employers so entering a program, such as a cooperative engineering program that offers students credits for structured job experience are highly valuable to a student seeking this career choice.

According to CNNMoney, in 2012, the median wages annually for petroleum engineers was $162,000 with a top pay of $265,000 annually. While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median wage annually at $130,000.




“Good morning, Mr. CEO!” or “How would you like your coffee, Mrs. CEO?”….sounds nice, eh? YOU are the head of the organization, YOU are in charge of an entire company, YOU are the highest ranking executive manager in your corporation….need I say more? YOU, as Chief Executive Officer, are important! And with that comes a high salary and A LOT of responsibilities. Having said that, those responsibilities and your job description vary depending on the needs of your business. A business in which you may even own or have founded, a business in which you only report to its Board of Directors, a business you are dedicated to watching it succeed.

A chief executive officer may have even started at the lower end, albeit an important part, of the proverbial totem pole within the company and worked his or her way to the top with hard work and proven dedication to the company in which they work. Not only will you carry the fundamentals of management, your authority also places the burden of accountability for, the overall direction of the company, excellent leadership skills, and formulating strategic plans for the future success of the organization.

With this position can come high levels of stress and responsibility for failures, but if you love to see your ideas come to their fruition and have the confidence of making those things happen by running a tight ship, then the pros outweigh the cons, for certain.

To become a CEO, you must possess an undergraduate degree in a business field and a Masters degree in Business Administration.  You must also have at least 6 years of business work experience.

OK OK OK! The PAY! I won’t even begin with the bonuses you could receive…oh wait, I just did! On top of MEGA bonuses, your salary, of course, depends on what company you are the CEO of but the average median pay for CEOs is in the $176,000 range annually but can go as high as in the millions of dollars.

SEE: Top 20 Online Doctor of Business Administration Programs

SEE: Best Online Schools for Doctor of Management




Love a good smile? Can you see yourself improving those smiles or keeping them beautiful? If so, then dentistry and orthodontists work is for you! I don’t think I have to explain to you what a dentist does….if I do, then you may need to visit one. Dentists are a necessary evil as most fear them, but in reality, with today’s modern technology, dental evasiveness is nearly non-existent.

Of the two, orthodontists are a more specialized profession earning the highest annual median wages in the $205,000 range. Median annual wages for a dentist are around $162,000, but in both of these practices, many factors determine the pay.  You may own your own practice, in which case you may also carry on the administrative duties as well, but the profits are all yours. You may be a small town dentist as opposed to a dentist or orthodontist in a large city. So, location, years of experience, size of the establishment, in addition to, the amount of training, education and continuing education are all variables in salary in these fields.

Orthodontists are so much more than just teeth straighteners, they fix crooked jaws, chewing problems, and work with dental surgeons when surgery is required.

To become a dentist, you typically are required 8 years of education and must pass both written and hands-on exams. Dentists are licensed by the state and requirements vary by state. The rate of growth according to the US BLS projects that over a ten-year outlook thru the year 2022, a 16 percent growth.



surgeons and doctors

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!! …………SURPRISE! Doctors and Surgeons are the top earners on our list! (Bet you couldn’t have predicted THAT!) ………In all seriousness, doctors and surgeons make every bit of what they should earn.  They endured years and years of schooling and residencies and we depend on them to “fix” us and make us better.  Without them, I can’t imagine what our world would be like.

There are ALL kinds of physicians and surgeons and all of them went through a rigorous path to get there.  Most doctors complete 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on what they specialize in.

Physicians and surgeons pay scales vary depending on their specialization.  According to the BLS in 2012, physicians with primary care practices received a median annual pay of $220,942 while physicians with specializations in their fields received a median annual pay of $396,233.

Because of the continuing expansion in the healthcare arena, it is expected that by the year 2022 the employment of doctors and surgeons will grow 18 percent.