10 Professions For Highest Income

While fit and suitability are very important factors in choosing a career – some would say the most important – expected income is important too. Below you will find a list of ten professions with the highest income in America. Many of the highest paying jobs are in the medical field, but in the interest of diversity this list has included high-paying positions in other fields. Nearly all of them are managerial positions and do take plenty of experience and training to be qualified for.


Physicians earn an average of $187,200 annually, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The outlook for this position is quite good, as it is expected to grow much faster than average in the foreseeable future. Physicians must be able to work with and counsel patients on issues relating to their health, including diet, exercise, medications and preventative healthcare. They must also use their knowledge and critical thinking skills to diagnose patients and prescribe medications. Becoming a physician involves an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, and additional residency after that, especially if a specialization is desired.


Attorneys average an income of $115,820 per year according to the BLS. To become an attorney, one needs to possess an undergraduate degree and undertake a further three years of law school. They are also required to pass the bar examination in any state they wish to practice law. Attorneys represent clients in court and give legal advice to individuals, businesses and government agencies, with many specializing in different areas of law.


With average annual earnings of $183,611 per PayScale, psychiatry is yet another high-paying position. Psychiatrists diagnose mental illnesses and disorders and help their patients learn to manage them. Psychiatrists, unlike psychologists (in most states), are able to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists must be board-certified and have graduated from an accredited medical school of psychiatry in addition to holding a bachelor’s degree.


Chief executive officers boast an average yearly salary of $159,891 according to PayScale, but the only true limit on CEO income is the success of the business. They are responsible for managing top employees, planning business strategies to direct their company, making major decisions and shouldering accountability of the organization. Unlike other high-paying professions, CEOs do not even need to have a college degree to run a successful business, although a major in business or a master’s in business administration can be extremely beneficial.

IT Systems Manager

The BLS reports that IT Systems Managers make an average of $131,600 per year. This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field and several years of experience. Responsibilities include implementing, maintaining, designing and expanding the information technology systems of an organization. They ensure systems are working properly and remain updated at all times, fix issues when they arise, and that proper security measures are in place. The occupation is projected to grow much faster than average due to the continued increase in importance of technology and computers in the business world.

Creative Director

Glassdoor reported that Creative Directors earned an average of $115,000 as of 2016. They lead teams responsible for creative work, whether that is graphic design, music, advertising, video or other types of media. They are typically responsible for promoting a product, service or organization and keeping a brand consistent across all media produced by an organization. A bachelor’s degree or education from a technical school, along with industry experience, is what is needed for this position.

Research & Development Manager

According to Glassdoor, Research and Development Managers command a $142,120 per year salary on average. They manage teams responsible for improving existing products, developing new products, and testing products. A master’s or doctorate in engineering, physics, biochemistry or a related field is usually required for employment in this position, as well as industry experience. As with most other professions on this list, problem solving and leadership skills are a must.

Software Development Manager

PayScale reports an average annual salary of $116,657 for software development managers. They work to develop software for just about any field, including for government, military, medical, entertainment and scientific use. They are often also responsible for updating existing software to fix bugs or other issues. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or related field is typically required, as well as programming experience.


According to PayScale, orthodontists take home an average of $153,740 per year. Orthodontists provide treatment and relief of teeth and jaw abnormalities, typically through the use of braces or other dental implants. Besides a bachelor’s degree, aspiring orthodontists must complete three years of dentistry school and be licensed to practice in their state.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers command a respectable yearly salary of $124,850 per the BLS. Their job is to generate interest among buyers in services or products and work with other departments or staff in order to do so. The occupation is currently on the rise, with a projected 9% growth rate. Usually only work experience and a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or a related field are required to be a marketing manager.

While they can require a lot of schooling and training to be qualified for, these ten professions are without a doubt some of the highest paying ones in the country. If you’re looking to bring in the big bucks, these positions are the ones you should be aiming for.

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