America has long been known as the land of opportunity and dreams. By the late nineteenth century, the United States had become a haven for those fleeing job shortages, famine, and religious and political persecution.
Over a century later, the country remains a symbol of limitless possibility for many, attracting those seeking a brighter future.
Work opportunities remain one of the most important factors driving immigration, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains why.
Examining the BLS website’s list of the highest-paying professions is like staring at a gold mine!
Interested in learning more? Let’s take a look at the top ten highest-paying jobs in the United States from various industries, with annual median salaries of more than $100,000.
- Personal financial advisor.
Personal finance advisors are among the highest-paid jobs in the United States.
Personal financial advisors help their clients make decisions on investments, mortgages, taxes, and insurance by closely examining their clients’ financial needs.
They provide guidance for achieving both short- and long-term goals through research and discussion.
How to Achieve: Typically, a bachelor’s degree in business or mathematics is required.
Additional tax, investment, and risk management courses or certifications are also advantageous.
They make $119,960 per year.
- Make-up artist (theatrical and performance).
Makeup artists in the United States are well compensated.
What they do is as follows: Make-up artists in theater and performance are master illusionists, changing actors’ appearances for specific roles.
Aside from being able to replicate any character’s appearance multiple times, they also know how to evaluate the performers’ skin type to avoid breakouts and irritation.
Attending cosmetology school is usually a good place to start because it will teach you useful skills such as bacteriology and sanitization.
Courses in stage makeup are typically included in an associate or bachelor’s degree in theater or drama. They make $124,380 per year.
- Postsecondary healthcare educator.
What they do: Postsecondary health specialties teachers typically work in colleges and universities, instructing students in subjects such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and laboratory technology.
How to Become: Medical Specialties Doctorates are typically held by postsecondary teachers.
In some cases, such as working at community colleges, a master’s degree is sufficient.
Employment for all postsecondary teachers is expected to grow 12% by 2031, much faster than the national average for all professions, according to the BLS. They make $133,310 per year.
- Computer and information science researcher.
A computer scientist was named one of the highest-paying jobs in the United States.
What they do: Computer and information researchers create new programming languages and software systems.
Though it may appear to be a solitary job, it involves a great deal of social interaction with programmers, technicians, and computer and information systems managers.
Programming and robotics are two major areas of specialization.
How to Achieve: A master’s degree in computer science or a related subject is usually required to enter this field. They make $142,650 per year.
- Petroleum engineer.
Petroleum engineers in the United States are well compensated.
Petroleum engineers work in the oil and gas extraction industry, developing drilling plans as well as designing, installing, and maintaining oilfield equipment.
They collaborate with geoscientists and engineering managers to gain an understanding of the geologic formation and determine the best drilling methods.
How to Become a Petroleum Engineer: College students interested in becoming petroleum engineers typically major in petroleum, chemical, or civil engineering. They make $145,720 per year.
Lawyers represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies in legal disputes, either defending or prosecuting on their client’s behalf.
Their responsibilities include providing advice, gathering evidence, and drafting legal documents.
Business law, criminal law, and intellectual property law are popular legal specializations.
How to Become: After graduating from high school, it typically takes seven years of full-time study to become a lawyer: four years of undergraduate study followed by three years of law school.
They make $148,030 per year.
What they do: As one might expect, physicists spend a significant amount of time studying the properties of energy and matter.
They may arrive at theories and models through the planning and execution of experiments, which can then be used in the development of scientific equipment for further experimentation.
How to Achieve: A PhD in physics, astronomy, or a related subject is required to enter research or academia.
Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree who want to work in the federal government or at a school can usually apply after completing their bachelor’s or master’s degree.
They make $151,580 per year.
- Pilot for an airline.
A pilot is one of the highest-paid jobs in the United States.
What they do is as follows: Can you guess how many commercial planes are flying around right now? Perhaps between 7,782 and 8,755, excluding cargo, military, and private jets.
Airline pilots fly those planes and are responsible for ensuring that the radars, engines, and navigation systems work properly before each takeoff.
How to Achieve: Lifting 50,000 pounds of aluminum into the sky undoubtedly necessitates extensive training. But how intense is it?
Airline pilots begin their careers by learning to fly single-engine planes.
They then go on to complete multi-engine training and obtain a commercial certificate.
After 1,500 hours of flight time, they will be able to obtain their airline transport certificate. They make $198,190 per year.
- Chief Executive Officer.
CEOs earn some of the highest salaries in the United States.
What they do is as follows: These C-level executives are the highest-ranking individuals in a company, reporting directly to the board of directors.
They are in charge of developing and executing policies and strategies, allocating capital, and coordinating operational activities.
How to Become: The vast majority of successful chief executives around the world have a master’s degree or higher.
According to a 10-year study conducted by researchers Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell, becoming a head honcho takes an average of 24 years of experience.
They make $213,020 per year.
- Cardiac surgeon
A cardiologist is the highest-paid job in the United States.
What they do is as follows: Cardiologists, who specialize in “heart matters,” have one of the most rewarding careers and are responsible for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions.
Despite the fact that cardiologists are not trained to perform surgery (cardiac surgeons are), they can perform procedures such as stent placement.
How to Achieve: Unsurprisingly, becoming a cardiologist is a lengthy process.
A bachelor’s degree in science or health-related field is required first, followed by four years of medical school.
Then there’s the three-year residency program, followed by the three-year cardiology fellowship program (last one, promise!).
They make $353,970 per year.
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Although our list includes professions from various industries, when we look at individual sectors, the medical industry has the highest-paying professions.
Family medicine doctors, nurse anesthetists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and other medical specialists all make well over $200,000 per year!
Though a good salary is appealing, especially in light of the rapidly rising cost of living, it can be difficult to make time for loved ones, care for your mental and physical health, and enjoy the fruits of your labor without work-life balance.
Choosing a high-paying job often entails a lot of responsibility and long hours, but if you thrive knowing that your work is meaningful and impactful, these careers may be right for you.
It all comes down to your priorities and aspirations, both professionally and personally.