The 10 Best-Paying US Jobs in 2014

The best path to an extremely high-paying job still lies with a college education. But it takes more than just an ordinary college education; an advanced degree is almost certainly required to secure one of the occupations on this list. It should come as no surprise that doctors and lawyers show up on this list – further validating your mom’s desire that you grow to pursue one of those careers. In addition to high pay, almost all the occupations on this list are expected to see a large growth rate in regards to hiring over the next decade. The lesson as always for the kids, if you want a high-paying job, it’s best to attend college.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

10 Attorney -- Average Salary: $113,530

Via patentsearchmanagersoftware.com

The average salary for attorneys in 2014 came in at $113,530. It’s a diverse career field often overshadowed by the idea of trial lawyers, but in truth most attorneys don’t practice criminal law. Large corporations employ contract lawyers to manage business contracts, negotiate deals, and deal with corporate law. They show up in every major and minor corporation in the world and lawyers have many options when it comes to employment. Outside of the law, many lawyers become businessmen, congressmen and of course judges.

9 Podiatrist -- Average Salary: $116,440

Via patientleads.org

Turns out feet are big business. Podiatrists have made an average of $116,440 so far in 2014 and projected growth for the industry is expected to rise 23% by 2022. Podiatrists like other doctors require four years of medical training and three years of hospital residency. Many podiatrists further specialize in sports medicine, surgery, diabetic care, and child care. They not only care for the feet but also the ankle and other structures of the leg.

8 Pharmacist -- Average Salary: $116,670

Via spacecoastdaily.com

Drugs are everywhere these days. We’re inundated with commercials for Viagra and Zoloft. Cures for all of our concerns and ailments can be found in one little pill it seems. While over the counter drugs are more common than ever, there remains an increasing need for pharmacists who doll out specialized drugs. Pharmacists expect to see 14% growth by 2022 and currently they make an average of $116,670 a year. Our interest in casual prescription drugs (for lack of a better term) indicates that there should be no shortage of need for pharmacists in the coming years.

7 Air Traffic Controller -- Average Salary: $122,530

Via onlineschoolscenter.com

Air traffic controller is the only occupation on this list that doesn’t expect double digit growth by 2022. Even so, current controllers make an average of $122,530 a year. To become a controller one must attend and graduate from the FAA Academy and pass a number of security and medical clearance, and pre-employment tests. There are currently 15,000 air traffic controllers working every day in the U.S., and the need for their services isn’t likely to decrease any time soon. Even so, the growth rate for this industry is expected to be only 1% over the next eight years – while the need for controllers is unlikely to change.

6 Petroleum Engineer -- Annual Salary: $130,280

Via gigaom.com

In 2012 there were 38,500 petroleum engineers in the United States. Extracting oil and gas from the Earth requires a lot of precise calculation, and that requires some pretty smart people. Earning a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering is the best method of becoming a petroleum engineer, but a degree in chemical or mechanical engineering would also suffice. Petroleum engineer is one of the only jobs on this list that doesn’t require an advanced degree. Today these engineers earn an average of $130,280 a year. Expected job growth is quite substantial and there’s an expected rise of 26% by 2022 – making this one of the largest growth industries on this list.

5 Dentist -- Average Salary: $146,340

Via abridental.com

Becoming a dentist is similar to becoming a doctor. It requires courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math plus a four-year degree and passing an accredited dental program. One must then become licensed in order to practice dentistry after performing a successful residency. In exchange for this a dentist can expect to earn an average of $146,340 in 2014. Expected job growth is substantial and the rise in jobs over the next eight years is expected to be in the neighborhood of 16%.

4 Orthodontists -- Average Salary: $149,310

Via ritebite.ca

Like dentists, orthodontists are highly paid for work on your mouth. Orthodontists primarily work with correcting irregular bites and crooked teeth. Orthodontists require an additional two to four years of study even after becoming a dentist. Acceptance into orthodontic programs is both aggressive and competitive and often requires several attempts before dentists are able to earn admission. Once the program is completed a series of successful tests must be completed in order to become certified. As specialists, orthodontists earn a higher wage than their general practitioner cousins. In 2014 orthodontists earned an average of $149,310 a year, and just like dentists the job growth rate is expected to be at 16% by 2022.

3 Psychiatrist -- Average Salary: $178,950

Via huffingtonpost.com

Those who train in the study of and treatment of mental disorders are called psychiatrists. They are well-paid for listening to our worries and hopefully helping us through them. Many prescribe drugs, perform psychotherapy, and determine whether patients are physically or mentally ill. Like most doctors, becoming a psychiatrist requires an advanced degree. Most psychiatrists also choose to specialize in one of several highly specific fields of study. Average pay for psychiatrists is $178,950 in 2014 and the expected job growth is expected to be about 18% over the next eight years.

2 Physician (General Practice) -- Average Salary: $187,200

Via sprypub.com

Doctors are in extremely high demand and the growth rate for them is expected to increase rising by 18% through 2022. Like most medical professionals becoming a doctor requires an extensive education, and advanced degree, and a successful residency. Once licensed, doctors have many options in regards of what type of work they can embark upon. Physicians earn an average of $187,200 a year and with the rising cost of healthcare it’s unlikely that demands of doctors will decrease any time soon.

1 Surgeon -- Average Salary: $233,150

Via basicspine.com

As is almost always the case, specialists earn far more than generalists, and surgeons are no exception. They top this list for not the first time, and by a considerable margin. In 2014 surgeons earn an average of $233,150 a year. Like physicians the growth rate of surgeons is expected to be roughly 18% over the next eight years. Most surgeons specialize further, and in doing so have the potential to greatly increase their income. There are over twenty specialized fields of surgery and a number of fellowships and organizations they can belong to. Of course, the path isn’t easy. It requires nine years of training, including four years of medical school and five years of residency.

More in Job & Salaries