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Top Paying Jobs

On March 29th 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their newest update of the Occupational Outlook Handbook which provides profiles for hundreds of different occupations including job descriptions,  median pay, education necessary, number of jobs in the U.S., and even job outlook for the decade from 2010 – 2020.  A couple of days ago, we looked at those jobs that the BLS estimated to have the largest number of new jobs created during the 2010 -2020 decade. Unfortunately, we found that 13 out of the top most prevalent jobs were low paying positions like fast food preparation or daycare workers.  So, yesterday we looked at the BLS list of Fastest Growing Occupations although we found some overlap in the positions of the fastest growing vs. the most plentiful, we found many more good paying jobs on the fastest growing list, in both the construction industry and the health care industry.

Today we are going to look at the  top 20 highest paying positions. As you would expect these positions require a combination of high level skill, experience and education. Interestingly, of the top six, four are in the area of dental medicine with oral surgeons coming in first and orthodontists coming in second each earning over $166,400 per year. Unfortunately the BLS chart doesn’t break down the top few positions other than to say that it was over $166,400 per year but according to Salary.com – Oral Surgeons earn an average of $246,834 with 10% of Oral Surgeons earning over $290,802 per year. Salary.com estimates Orthodontists average less than the $166,400 the BLS says with the median salary of “only” $125,137 although the top 10% of earners earn more than $175,943.

The other top 18 paying positions are:

Top Paying Jobs

  #3 Physicians and Surgeons which the BLS also estimates to earn more than $166,400 per year. And this is actually a broad category since there are various specialties and some will earn considerably more than this, while others may earn only slightly more.  For instance according to Salary.com the median salary for an Anesthesiologist is $334,661,  while the median for a Cardiologist is $358,213, and Heart Transplant Surgeons average $484,210.

The next category highlighted by the BLS is Chief Executives with an average salary of $165,080. This again is a broad category with a lot of variation based on company size. This number seems extremely low and might apply for chief executives of small companies but would not apply to larger companies. According to Salary.com the median salary of Chief Executive Officers in the U.S. is $725,456 with 10% of CEOs earning more than $1,112,447 and that may not include things like stock options, bonuses and other benefits.

The next two categories are Specialist Dentists and General Dentists with average earnings according to the BLS of $161,020 and $141,040 respectively. Followed by Judges ($119,270), Architectural and Engineering Managers ($119,260 /yr.), Prosthodontists ($118,400 /yr.), Podiatrists ($118,030 /yr.), Natural Sciences Managers ($116,020 /yr.), Computer and Information Systems Managers ($115,780 /yr.), Petroleum Engineers ($114,080 /yr.), Marketing Managers ($112,760 /yr.), Lawyers ($112,760 /yr.), Pharmacists ($111,570 /yr.), Air Traffic Controllers ($108,040 /yr.), Political Scientists ($107,420 /yr.), Physicists ($107,420 /yr.) and Financial Managers ($103,910 /yr.).

Obviously salaries will vary based on experience, length of time in the position and geographic location i.e. not only where in the country but whether the position is located in a city or more rural location. And none of the top paying positions are going to be for entry level positions. It takes a long time to become the CEO of a company but some of these positions have good starting salaries. For instance according to Payscale.com a Pharmacist with less than 1 year of experience can still earn between $40,851 and $117,507

Pharmacist Salary

and a Petroleum Engineer with less than 1 year of experience can earn between $50,916 and $97,693 of course these positions still require the appropriate education.

Petroleum Engineer Salary

One new job not mentioned by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that has some great potential is that of a Social Media Manager. If you enjoy using social media like Facebook and Twitter your skills are in demand. You can help companies with their Facebook and Twitter by monitoring online communications and making companies more “personal”.  Find out more about how you can become a Social Media Manager.

See Also:10 Awesome Jobs You Can Do From Home

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+