We all want our careers to satisfy us on an intellectual and emotional level. And of course, we all need our career to reward us financially. Let’s face it, jobs need to pay the mortgage, put food on the table, and clothes on backs. At the end of the day, no matter how personally rewarding a job may be, if it doesn’t furnish one’s needs it won’t remain attractive for long.
While many careers are financially rewarding, there are some that pay a lot more than others, due to the highly skilled nature of the career as well as shifts in the job market and trends within the U.S. economy. Many careers that top the highest paying jobs of 2015 require years of education. Those that require the most education are careers that are in the medical field. Those that are not in the medical field require more experience than education and are obtainable through growth within a company or network of people. Regardless of how one of the top ten highest paying jobs in the U.S. is obtained, it will pay off financially in the end.
10. Principal Architect – $191,000
Just as in any business, an architectural firm needs to have a lead architect. This is the person who’s responsible for the business and the design decisions, and who oversees the staff architects. The principal architect is typically one of the owners of the architectural design firm.
While most people assume architects are only involved in drafting blueprints and designing a house, the requirements of a principal architect are much more. The principal architect will work with new staff architects, oversee a group of architects or a particular project, and manage the business end of the firm. They are responsible for the types of jobs that the firm takes on as well as take care of marketing and the financial planning of the firm. In essence they are in charge of the overall design firm rather than just the architectural work.
If you have a degree in architecture or enjoy mathematics, angles, and design, then this career may be of interest to you. Principal architects generally hold a bachelor or master’s degree in architecture. But the lengthy education pays off: The median wage for a principal architect is $132,000 and the top pay is $191,000.
9. Business Development Director – $136,000
In order to make the six figure income that most business development directors rake in, you must be comfortable reporting directly to a board of directors, shareholders, and/or the owner of a company. Business development directors hold the responsibility of identifying business opportunities and to manage and maintain relationships with clients. Essentially, they are needed to advance the business through key connections and networks.
Business development directors must be able to garner new interests in the company and represent it in a positive manner. They will need to be able to negotiate contracts and find new clients. They are also required to develop and implement sales and marketing plans for the company in which they work.
Though becoming a business development director takes experience and the connections, in the end, it is a career that is very financially satisfying. The median pay for business development directors in the United States is $136,000. Most business development directors are given bonuses and can invest in profit sharing, which brings the top pay to $205,000.
8. Strategic Planning Director – $139,000
As the title implies, a strategic planner is responsible for designing a plan for a corporation or business. The strategic planning director is simply the person that is in charge of the individuals and teams that are involved in the company’s strategic planning. The director is tasked with managing individuals, keeping the group focused on the method and growth plan for the company, and oversee all plans that are created.
The strategic planning director is also responsible for implementing strategic plans and consistently revise them to keep the business or company’s growth goals on track. This position requires a degree in marketing or communications. However, more than anything it requires experience as a strategic planner or with form of planning know how.
While it takes years to reach the level of a strategic planning director, the pay is well worth the wait. The median salary for a strategic planning director is $139,000 and the top pay is $199,000.
7. Analytics Director – $142,000
Do you love mathematics? How about statistics? If you answered yes to either question, you may enjoy being an analytics director. In this career you would supervise and educate a team that provides analytic data for their organization. You would spend a lot of time analyzing data in order to find risks, calculate opportunities, and aid businesses in their development, with data and research.
In order to excel at this position you must have analytic skills, high attention to detail, organizational skills, and a degree in mathematics, statistics, operations research, or a similar field. Analytics directors are well compensated, with the median pay around $142,000 and the top pay around $191,000.
6. Product Management Director – $148,000
If you have a degree in business or marketing, then you may want to look into becoming a product management director. Why? Because the average pay for product management directors is about $130,000 per year. But their total annual salary can be much higher from bonuses as well as profit sharing, which means their total income per year can be closer to $200,000.
What would you do as a product management director? Simply put, you would oversee a product’s development all the way from start to finish. You would be in charge of the creation, development, planning, and overall sales plan of a new or existing product or service.
Most product management directors have five to ten years of experience and must have be comfortable leading as well as communicating with a team. Most product management directors make about $148,000 with the top pay around $181,000.
5. Dentist – $152,000
We’ve all sat in the dental chair, our mouths hanging open while our dentist poked and prodded at our teeth with sharp tools and a crazy suction straw, and wondered why anyone would choose such an unappealing career. The salary could certainly have something to do with the appeal.
Although to us it feels just like a small form of torture, to dentists, the work that he or she is doing is essential to our oral health and the culmination of years of education and training.
Dentists’ responsibilities include diagnosing, treating, preventing patient’s dental diseases as well educating patients on proper dental health. Because dentists must care for patient’s overall oral health, they are required to complete an extensive education process. Aspiring dentists must first obtain a bachelor’s degree before completing dental school. At the end of their education, general dentists can choose to specialize in a specific area of dentistry such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics or pediatric dentistry, which can add an additional two to six years to his or her education.
The average salary for a dentist is $152,000 and the top pay is $271,000.
4. Associate Partner, Consulting Services – $196,000
An associate partner in consulting services is not usually a career that most people are aware of. However, associate partners are a vital part of a company because of the variety of roles that they play. First and foremost, an associate partner in consulting services needs to implement practices and policies that will improve how a company runs. In order to do this, associate partners in consulting services have to possess fantastic people skills. They must be able to develop relationships with executives and clients, present information clearly, assist the management team with data collection, analyze data, and help the company develop and grow.
In order to become an associate partner in consulting services you must have some form of higher education. Most associate partners have a bachelor’s degree as well as experience in consulting services. The median pay for an associate partner in consulting services is $196,000 and the top pay is $277,000.
3. ER Physician – $274,000
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that there would be an 18% job growth for physicians between 2012 and 2022. This increase comes from the growth in the nation’s aging population. Emergency room physicians differ from other physicians because their work is primarily done in hospitals or urgent care clinics. Because of the variety and constant change in patients that come into the emergency room, ER physicians are required to be knowledgeable of all areas of medicine. Their work is stressful and varies from day to day and hour to hour.
ER physicians diagnose and treat patients that are most often in life-threatening situations. Because working in an emergency room requires knowledge of a variety of medical conditions, ER physicians must be highly educated. After they complete bachelor’s degree they are required to attend and graduate from medical school. After successful completion and passing of the Medical Licensing Examination emergency room physicians complete a four year residency program at a hospital.
Like other medical professions, the career of an ER physician does require a large amount of education, but in the end pays very well. The average salary for an ER physician is $274,000 and the top pay is $416,000.
2. Anesthesiologist – $340,000
When most people think of surgery, they think of two people: the patient on the operating table and the surgeon. But there’s someone else in the room: the anesthesiologist. He or she is the person sitting directly behind the patient and monitoring their vitals signs for the entirety of the operation. He or she is also the person who administers and manages the anesthesia given to the patient during the surgical procedure.
Before surgery, the anesthesiologist does a complete evaluation of the patient, checking everything from blood levels to past medical conditions. The anesthesiologist must be prepared for any sudden medical complications during surgery which will require the administration of life-saving medications.
Because the work of an anesthesiologist is so important to the successful outcome of a surgery, anesthesiologists must be highly educated. First, a bachelor of science in pre-medical study must be obtained. Then, a degree from a four year Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy at an accredited medical school must be completed. After medical school graduation, aspiring anesthesiologists must complete a four-year residency program. Finally, anesthesiologists must complete a fellowship in a particular sub-specialty of anesthesiology. Before a person can be a practicing anesthesiologist, they must pass several examinations.
But all the education, over 12 years of education, is worth it in the end. Anesthesiologist on average make $340,000. The most successful anesthesiologists make $455,000.
1. Orthopedic Surgeon – $410,000
Ever needed surgery on a fractured wrist? How about surgery to repair a damaged tendon? Chances are, if you’ve had surgery on any part of your musculoskeletal system, you were operated on by an orthopedic surgeon – and a man or woman who has the highest salary of 2015.
What exactly does the highest paying job in 2015 consist of? Orthopedic surgeons are educated in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. Diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system range anywhere from bunions to bone tumors. In order to be fully educated on the various type of musculoskeletal disease and injuries, orthopedic surgeons much complete a bachelor’s degree program, complete medical school, pass the MCATs, pass the licensing exam, complete a residency, and obtain a specialty certification. Altogether that will take about thirteen years.
An orthopedic surgeon is generally seen after a referral from a primary care physician. Because the musculoskeletal system is so large and complex, orthopedic surgeons can specialize in one of several areas such as; arthroscopy, foot and ankle, hand, joint replacement, pediatric rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, shoulder and elbows, spine, sports medicine, trauma and fractures, and musculoskeletal oncology.
Just how much do the men and women of the orthopedic surgery field make per year? The median pay of orthopedic surgeons is $410,000. The orthopedic surgeons that make the top pay earn approximately $638,000 per year. So if you don’t faint at the sight of blood and you don’t mind a long stretch of education, this career is a great option.
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