Salary is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re trying to choose a career path. Even though education can determine your salary and even employment, not all high-paying jobs require advanced degrees.
Listed below are the highest paying jobs in the U.S. — based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
This job involves applying the principles of psychology to the workplace — for administration, management, human resources, sales, and marketing. An industrial psychologist helps to shape company policies, trains employees, undertakes organizational analysis, and works with the management to improve worker productivity.
To become an industrial-organizational psychologist, you’ll need a master’s degree or a doctoral training in psychology. A license or certification is also required.
Average annual salary: $124,160
Computer and information systems manager
The primary job of a computer and information systems manager is to analyze and coordinate activities in data processing, information systems, and computer programs. The motion picture and video industry is the top-paying industry for computer and information systems managers, with individuals in those areas receiving an annual mean wage of $162,520.
Becoming a computer and information systems manager requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Most employers require additional 5 years of experience.
Average annual salary: $125,660
A marketing manager organizes marketing policies and programs. They determine the demand for products and services offered by their firms, identify new customers, develop strategies for pricing, study the competition, and work towards maximizing company profits and market share.
Although you don’t need a degree to become a marketing manager, a bachelor’s degree in marketing is highly recommended.
Average annual salary: $126,190
Natural science manager
Natural science managers work in various aspects of the economy, including research and development, agricultural engineering, pharmaceuticals, and even government. They plan, direct, and coordinate activities in life sciences, physical sciences, math, and other science- related fields.
Most natural science managers start their career as scientists before becoming managers. At least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or related field is required.
Average annual salary: $128, 230
Architectural and engineering manager
With most of their work done in an office, architectural and engineering managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in architectural and engineering projects. The industries that pay the most for this occupation are pipeline transportation of crude oil ($186,800) and oil and gas extraction ($167,060).
To become an architectural or engineering manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and few years of related work experience.
Average annual salary: $129,350
This profession is one of the most difficult to break into, as it requires seven schooling years (four undergraduate, three law school) and a passing grade on the bar examination. Lawyers draw up legal documents and advise clients on legal matters. They also represent clients in both criminal and civil proceedings.
The top three highest paying industries for lawyers are petroleum and coal products manufacturing at around $215,760 per year, motor vehicle manufacturing at $187,360 and specialty hospitals (excluding psychiatric and substance abuse) at $184,610.
Average annual salary: $130,490
Because of the booming oil industry, petroleum engineers are now among the most highly paid professionals in the country despite the downsizing of the oil sector. Petroleum engineers develop plans for oil and gas extraction, production, and tool modification. They also oversee drilling operations and provide technical advice.
To become a petroleum engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree.
Average annual salary: $138,980
Chief executive officer
Even though they are at the top of their company, CEOs, on the average, rank third as far as compensation is concerned. A CEO formulates policies, coordinates operational activities, and plans the overall direction of the company or organization.
The required qualifications depend on the company, but many firms want their CEOs to have at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable amounts of work experience.
Average annual salary: $176,550
The increasing demand for examination, diagnoses, and treatment of teeth and gum-related diseases, injuries, and malformations makes dentists and orthodontists more essential in this time and age.
Dentists earn an average annual salary of $210,440, while orthodontists — whose specialty is straightening teeth — earn around $100,000 per year. That figure for orthodontists might seem low but it takes into account orthodontists who don’t have a private practice and work instead in general medicine and surgical hospitals.
Average annual salary: $161,750-$204,670
Doctors and surgeons
There is always high demand for healthcare, and this is why doctors and surgeons are highly relevant — and highly paid, too. The salaries of doctors vary by concentration: Anesthesiologists are the highest-paid workers of 2011 at $234,950, while other high-paying medical positions include surgeons ($231,550), OB/GYNS ($218,610), and oral and maxillofacial surgeons ($217,380).
Becoming a doctor or surgeon requires extensive education and training. Doctors are required to have four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school and between three and eight years of an internship and residency, depending on their specialization or area of surgery.
Average annual salary: $168,650-$234,950