Home Careers 34 Best-Paying Occupations For 2019

34 Best-Paying Occupations For 2019

Trista September 1, 2019

Do you think that you need to go back to school for a degree and take on a tremendous amount of student loan debt in order to secure a high-paying job? Think again. With some ingenuity and development of personal leadership skills, you can get a high-paying job that may not require a degree. Read on to learn about the best-paying jobs in America.


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There are numerous career paths to follow in the healthcare field.

1. Most of the Best-Paying Jobs Are in Healthcare

If you are looking for a stable career that will last over the long-term, the best place to start looking is in healthcare. People will always need healthcare, so you run little chance of your job becoming obsolete in the long-term. Additionally, healthcare jobs tend to be surprisingly stable over the years.

Healthcare jobs go far beyond being a doctor or nurse. Pharmacists and many technicians require much less training than an MD, but they still bring home sizeable salaries. In 2019, most of the 25 best-paying jobs, according to a survey by CNBC, were in healthcare.

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The best-paying jobs are in healthcare with an anesthesiologist being at the top.

2. The Best-Paying Job in America in 2019 is Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists took home an average salary of just under $270,000 per year, which breaks down to over $20,000 per month. Imagine having that kind of an income to support your lifestyle! You could get your student loans paid back in an instant.

Anesthesiologists and many other healthcare professionals do have to pay a pretty high premium on medical malpractice insurance. After all, one lawsuit is all that it takes to bring them to financial ruin. However, even after the cost of insurance, they bring home a sizable salary that can provide a comfortable lifestyle.

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If you want to become an anesthesiologist, be prepared to put in much training.

3. Anesthesiology is Competitive

In order to become an anesthesiologist, there is a pretty intense educational process. First, you have to complete a bachelor’s degree to go to medical school. Getting into medical school is competitive, so you need to choose your major wisely.

You also have to pass the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, before admission. After completing four years of medical school, you have to do a four-year residency program for anesthesiology. You will do on-the-job training with a highly skilled professional before getting the license to practice anesthesiology on your own.

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Being a surgeon is hard, but it pays off financially.

4. Surgeons Brought Home Over a Quarter Million Dollars in 2019

Surgeons come next on the list of highest-paying jobs in America in 2019. They brought home an average income of $252,910, over a quarter of a million dollars, for 2019. That is over $20,000 a month. Granted, the starting salary is much lower, but the highest-paid surgeons make well above $252K.

Like anesthesiologists, surgeons have to pay a lot of money in malpractice insurance. They also have to have incredibly steady hands, as one slip of the finger can mean life or death for the patient. They also have to work long hours and be alert for procedures that can take 12 hours or longer. If you have what it takes and are looking for a high-paying job, surgeon might be the answer.

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Being a surgeon requires medical school plus residency training.

5. Becoming a Surgeon is a Lengthy Process

From beginning to end, you can spend as much as 20 years in training to become an independent surgeon. First, you must complete a four-year undergraduate degree with the intention of going to medical school. You probably want to study something like pre-med or biology to boost your chances of getting admitted to medical school.

After finishing medical school, you will have to complete between three and ten years of residency with a highly trained professional; the length of time will depend on which branch of surgery you wish to go into. After residency, you can become licensed. Throughout your career, you will have to go through ongoing training to ensure that your skills are up to date with the latest technology.

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Healthcare can bring a stable, lucrative career.

6. Obstetrician and Gynecologist Have Financial Success

As previously mentioned, the best-paying jobs in America in 2019 are in the healthcare field. Ob-gyns are doctors who specialize in the female reproductive system. They may perform routine examinations on women and provide specialized care should a problem arise with the reproductive system.

Ob-gyns are particularly important when women are pregnant. They provide specialized care throughout the pregnancy and are trained to deliver babies. While midwives can also deliver babies, an ob-gyn is specially trained for difficult delivers, and some states may require an ob-gyn rather than a midwife to perform a difficult delivery. In 2019, ob-gyns brought home just over $234,000 on average.

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Dentistry can be a stable job.

7. Dental Fields Come in Next

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental surgeons who perform surgery on the face, jaws, and mouth. They came in at number for best-paying jobs in America, bringing home an average of $232,870 for the year.

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may treat many different conditions, including TMJ, a painful condition caused by swelling in the jaw. He or she may also perform plastic surgery, or be part of a plastic surgery team, for someone whose face was severely damaged from some form of trauma. They may do facial reconstruction and even be called upon to identify human remains based on the skull and teeth.

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Being successful in healthcare does require a caring heart.

8. Becoming an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is Hard

In order to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you have to first complete an undergraduate degree, which usually takes about four years. After that, you have to complete four years of dentistry school. Some countries also require that you also complete a full course of medical school.

Following successful completion of dentistry school, you will have to do a four-year residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery in order to get a certificate of specialty training. If you do a six-year residency program, the specialty certificate is awarded in addition to a formal medical degree.

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These people’s jobs are stressful, but they are also meaningful and important.

9. Orthodontists Came in Next

Orthodontists are the dentists who specialize in correcting problems associated with the teeth and jaws being malpositioned. If you have ever had braces, you were probably treated by an orthodontist. Their work is hard, but it does pay well: nearly $229,000 on average in the year 2019.

If you want to become an orthodontist, the first step is to complete an undergraduate degree and get accepted into dentistry school. Whereas most dentists can practice after completing four years of dentistry school, orthodontists must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training.

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Physicians make a sizeable salary and a significant impact.

10. Physicians Made Over $200K

If you are looking for a stable job in the healthcare field that will pay well but require less specialized training, you may want to consider becoming a physician. A physician is what people usually refer to when they talk about a doctor. However, being a physician is not just about making money; in order to be a competent physician, your parents have to be able to tell that you genuinely care about them.

The average physician in 2019 brought home $201,840. Considering that many degrees don’t pay off, a medical degree almost certainly will. Students who have to take out student loans in order to become physicians will almost certainly be able to pay them back within a reasonable amount of time.

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Becoming a physician requires extensive training.

11. Being a Doctor Takes Commitment

If you want to bring home a doctor-sized paycheck, you are going to have to do more than wake up and decide that you want to become a doctor. You are going to have to first go to medical school, which is four years of training following successful completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Following the completion of medical school, you will need to complete at least one year of residency, during which you receive on-the-job training by a well-qualified physician. You may need as many as seven years of residency, depending on if you choose to specialize in a specific field. After that, you can take a test to become licensed to practice medicine.

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Psychiatrists are part of many people’s care teams.

12. Psychiatrists Made $200,000 in 2019

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in mental health rather than in physical conditions. That said, a psychiatrist is usually considered to be part of a person’s care team and, as such, coordinates with the person’s physician and other medical professionals to make sure that a patient receives the best treatment possible.

Though they don’t practice medicine the way that physicians do, psychiatrists also go to medical school. After all, they have to prescribe medication to patients who are mentally ill and need pharmaceuticals. They also have to complete residency training. In the end, though, psychiatry training does pay off, as the average salary is over $200,000.

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A pediatrician and a diabetic patient.

13. Pediatricians Made $184,000

Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in the medical care of children, sometimes up to the person’s twenty-first birthday. Pediatricians have to be aware of behavioral concerns associated with physical health, as behavioral concerns can be symptomatic of poor childhood development or a physical condition.

They also have to talk with parents about children’s development and what parents may need to do to help their children grow better. These conversations can be hard, so being a pediatrician is not for everyone. For the right person, though, the salary can make an effort more than worth it.

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Dentists bring home a comfortable pay.

14. Dentists Came in Next

In 2019, dentists brought home an average salary of $173,860. This sizeable income has to be used to pay for medical malpractice insurance and often student loans, but after a couple of years, someone practicing as a dentist can live a very comfortable life on his or her salary.

Dentists have to go to dentistry school after successful completion of a four-year undergraduate degree. After dental school, they can choose to complete a residency program to get additional training and skills. However, some begin practicing independently right after completing dentistry school.

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Healthcare requires that you work with a team, even if you practice independently.

15. Prosthodontists Made Nearly $170,000 in 2019

Prosthodontists are dentists who specialize in prosthetic of the teeth, especially people who are missing teeth or have oral and maxillofacial problems that cause them to need additional devices for proper oral health. They improve people’s quality of life by performing procedures that allow them to eat, talk, and engage in other oral functions without impairment.

Becoming a prosthodontist is a lengthy process that requires a lot of education, including dentistry school and specialized training. However, with an average salary of $168,140, a prosthodontist will be able to adequately provide for his or her own needs and the needs of a family.

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Could you become a nurse anesthetist?

16. Nurse Anesthetists Made $164,000

The best-paying jobs in America for 2019 really are in healthcare. Case in point: a nurse anesthetist brought home nearly $165,000 in 2019. In order to become a nurse anesthetist, you have to first obtain a Master’s degree in nursing. Many nurses begin as LPNs, then go on to RNs. Some become BSNs, which is a bachelor of science in nursing.

The dedicated few who have the skills and opportunity get Master’s degrees in nursing. If you have already gone that far, then you may want to become a nurse anesthetist. You would be the one to administer anesthesia to a patient and would bring home a sizeable salary, one of the best in the country.

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Petroleum engineers can work in the office and also out in the field.

17. Petroleum Engineers Made $147,000

Petroleum engineers are engineers who specialize in the field of hydrocarbons, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. They may work with geologists to do an exploration of potential oil fields and also develop plans for drilling wells to extract the oil. For their efforts, they are well-paid.

Though they made nearly $150,000 in 2019, getting a degree in petroleum engineering may not be the best bet. With global warming and society trying to move away from fossil fuels, being a petroleum engineer may not offer the best job stability. You may be better off pursuing an engineering degree in a different field.

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IT managers lead teams of professionals.

18. IT Managers Made $145,740

With the rapid growth of computing jobs and artificial intelligence, it’s no surprise that people working in IT, or information technology, have the opportunity for stable jobs and a substantial income. The average salary for IT managers is nearly $150,000, but a good one could make a lot more than that.

If you are technology-inclined, then even if you don’t have a specialized degree, you may be able to climb your way to becoming an IT manager. However, be aware that if you work in tech, you have to always be updating your skills, as the field is rapidly changing. If you don’t keep your skills current, your job might not last for more than two years.

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Becoming a marketing manager can lead to a lucrative salary.

19. Marketing Managers Made Over $144,000

With an average salary of $144,140 in 2019, marketing managers comfortably fell into the 25 best-paying jobs in America. In addition to doing marketing work, marketing managers have the responsibility of managing teams, which means hiring new members, firing unproductive ones, strategic planning, and tracking results.

With the importance of marketing nowhere near becoming obsolete, there is little chance that this lucrative field will pass away anytime soon. If you have a knack for marketing and can prove yourself within a marketing organization, you could work your way up to a manager position and bring home the comfortable salary associated with it.

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Healthcare jobs can undoubtedly pay off.

20. Podiatrists Made an Average of $144,110

Podiatrists are foot doctors who diagnose and treat conditions associated with the foot, lower leg, and ankle. Practicing podiatry requires a specialized medical degree, which requires an undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency for specialized training. They can easily make $120,000 in their first year of practice.

The average salary for a podiatrist in 2019 was over $144,000, but that number can be higher with performance and productivity incentives. This medical position can be enough to generate a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family, and it will be stable as long as people have feet and problems with them.

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The most accomplished lawyers can bring in seven figures or more.

21. Lawyers Made $140,000

The average salary for a lawyer in 2019 was $140,000, but don’t be deceived: many lawyers make significantly more. They may have a base salary with the firm that they work for, but they usually get paid per case. For a successful lawsuit, a lawyer will usually take home one-third of the settlement amount.

This means that successful lawyers with a solid clientele can quickly bring home half a million dollars a year or more. Lawyers do have to go through ongoing training to make sure that they are current on new laws, and they tend to work long hours. They also have to be able to argue cases in court, a skill that not many people have. However, if you have always had a knack for debate and can work long hours, you may want to consider law school.

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If you have the resume for it, becoming a financial manager can pay off.

22. Financial Managers Made Nearly $140,000

Financial managers are people who, well, get paid to manage other people’s money. They may advise on investments that may be profitable and advise people on how they should save for major expenses, like a mortgage or retirement. Bad advice on an investment can cost a financial manager his or her reputation, but a solid FM can have a stable, lifelong career.

The average income for a financial manager in 2019 was $139,720. However, at the higher end of the ladder, FMs who work with the most well-paid clientele can make significantly more. If you enjoy finance and accounting, you may be able to enter the field with a degree in one of those fields.

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Succeeding in sales requires a vibrant, outgoing personality.

23. Sales Managers Raked In $135,000

Do you have experience in sales? Maybe you have worked on the floor of a store, interacting directly with customers and answering their questions about products that are available for sale. If you have extensive experience in sales, you could become a sales manager with little to no formal education.

A sales manager leads a team of salespeople, so he or she is responsible for hiring, firing, ensuring best practices, and staying ahead of current trends. If you have what it takes to be a sales manager, you could make $135,000 every year, possibly more depending on the success of your team.

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Assessing risk can make you rich.

24. Financial Advisors Made $123,000

If you want to build a career in finance but don’t yet have a strong enough resume to become a financial manager, you might become a financial advisor. Financial advisors help people create plans for themselves, their families, and their futures based on their financial situations.

Financial advisors have to be licensed, and they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC. If you think you have the necessary educational background to get licensed and practice as a financial advisor, you could make a sizeable income.

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High-level business jobs are very lucrative.

25. Business Operations Managers Brought Home $122,000

Do you have a degree in business and experience working in business administration? If so, you could join one of the highest-earning occupations by becoming a business operations manager. For 2019, the average salary was $122K.

A business operations manager handles the affairs of businesses and nonprofits, such as developing business plans, developing a strategy for hiring new employees, and overseeing various departments, such as human resources. While you can work as a business operations manager with just a bachelor’s degree in business or finance, some major companies may require an MBA.

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Pharmacists can enjoy a stable, well-paying career.

26. Pharmacists Made Over $120K

Pharmacy is another healthcare field that is on the list of the top-paying careers in the United States for 2019. Pharmacists do more than dispense medication; they also provide advice and information to people on issues like how to quit smoking and what to do about allergies.

Requirements to become a pharmacist may vary by state, since the state conducts the licensing requirements. Generally, you need to complete a two-year pre-pharmacy program, followed by four years of pharmacy school. Upon completion of pharmacy school, you will probably need to complete a paid internship for a year or more. The effort is worth it, as you can provide a comfortable income to support yourself and your family.

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Optometrists measure the health of people’s eyes.

27. Optometrists Made Almost $118,000

Optometrists are doctors who assess the health of people’s eyes, as well as determining the prescriptions that they need for corrective lenses. Many optometrists have a private practice, but there is a sizeable market for optometrists to practice in established companies so that they can practice medicine without having to worry about the business aspect.

To become an optometrist, you will need a Doctor of Optometry after you complete a four-year degree. A Doctor of Optometry program takes about four years to complete. Afterward, you may need to complete an internship before you can become licensed. The hard work will quickly pay off when you are able to enter a lucrative yet rewarding career.

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Many actuaries work for insurance companies.

28. Actuaries Made Upwards of $114K

Actuaries are professionals whom asses risk, as well as try to develop plans to manage risk and uncertainty. Many actuaries work for insurance companies and help the companies determine the risk of individuals or companies so that the proper premium can be determined. Actuary is a highly desirable career field and consistently ranks high on surveys.

To become an actuary, you need to have a knack for mathematics, as actuaries frequently have to use calculus and statistics, as well as economics and finance, to help businesses asses risks. Becoming an actuary requires that you pass a series of exams, which can take several years. If you already work for an insurance company and want to become an actuary, the company may provide support and on-the-job training as you progress through the licensing and exam requirements.

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Want a lucrative job that could take you to the Hill? Consider political science.

29. Political Scientists Made $112,250

With a pretty hefty take-home pay, if you are interested in politics but more inclined to the academic side of understanding social structures that underlie political systems, you may want to look at becoming a political scientist. Political scientists analyze trends and make forecasts based on their knowledge and current affairs.

Political scientists may work for universities, political campaigns, or companies that need a lobbyist. Sometimes they develop their own consulting firms to advise politicians and campaigns on different issues. They can also become professors or work for periodicals, like Newsweek or major newspapers that try to understand and analyze political trends.

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Medical and health services managers oversee the business side of healthcare.

30. Medical and Health Services Managers Made Nearly $110K

If you have a knack for business but want to work in healthcare, you may want to look at becoming a medical and health services manager. People in this position direct health offices and medical systems to oversee the business affairs of medical practices. They may have offices inside nursing homes, hospitals, and group practices.

Being a medical and health services manager doesn’t require any specific degree. Instead, it requires an individual whose personality is suited to both business and healthcare. Successful medical and health services managers are adventurous, entrepreneurial individuals who look for ways to grow businesses. They are also caring, compassionate people who are concerned about providing high-quality care to patients.

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Plenty of jobs require raw talent, not a formal degree.

31. Some Well-Paying Jobs Do Not Require Degrees

Yes, the vast majority of the top 25 best-paying jobs are in healthcare. As such, they require extensive academic and on-the-job training before individuals can become fully licensed. However, there are plenty of jobs on this list that do not require a particular degree.

If you are looking to enter a high-paying field, the best course of action is to first asses your own personality and what you want out of a job. If all that you want out of a job is financial security, then you are probably best suited for something business-related. However, if you want to grow personally while developing a career, you may want something either in healthcare or that combines business with another field.

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Entrepreneurs can strike it rich.

32. Don’t Forget Entrepreneurship

If you are interested in starting your own business, there is no guarantee of success. You haven’t assured a particular salary, and you don’t even know if your business will succeed. However, many of the wealthiest people in the world began their own businesses.

Consider Bill Gates, who was the wealthiest person in the world for many years after starting Microsoft. Or Steve Jobs, who, with his partner Steve Wozniak, revolutionized computing by beginning Apple. Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are both household names. While you may not become as fantastically wealthy as these individuals, if you become a successful entrepreneur, you can have financial security while setting your own hours. No degree required.

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Can writing pay? Ask Stephen King.

33. Authors Can Make a Good Living

Do you have a book idea that you have never sat down to write out? Successful authors can become incredibly wealthy. Keep in mind, though, that becoming a successful author is actually a form of entrepreneurship. If all you do is write the book, you probably won’t make much money off of it.

However, if you are willing to treat your writing like it is a business to be promoted, then if you are a good enough writer, you stand a chance at making a decent living. Whether you self-publish or get a contract with a traditional publisher, you will have to be able to market your book to a target audience. Your efforts could pay off, as the most successful author can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

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You don’t necessarily need a degree to work in Silicon Valley.

34. Tech Jobs Can Have Stratospheric Salaries

Many companies in Silicon Valley aren’t necessarily looking for people with formal degrees. What they want are individuals who are innovative and possess the raw talent necessary to be successful in computing fields. If you are skilled at coding and have created your own software, you may be able to get a high-paying job at a tech company in Silicon Valley.

There are a lot of highly talented programmers and coders; the ones who are successful in Silicon Valley over the long run are those who remain innovative and stay on top of new trends. If you want a Silicon Valley job, make sure that you can continue learning so that you can dedicate yourself to remaining a top programmer.