The 10 Highest-Paid Jobs in America

Healthcare jobs dominate among the highest-paid jobs in the nation.


Surgeons bring in more than $230,000 per year in average annual wages.

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It's college acceptance letter season, and as students prep for four years of higher education, parents would do well to give them one piece of advice: go pre-med.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its latest rundown of occupational statistics, which dates to 2012,and of the 10 highest-paid positions, nine require medical training. Anesthesiologists lead the field, making slightly more money putting patients to sleep than the people cutting those patients open. The only non-medical workers that make it onto the list are chief executives, who come in at No. 10 with around $177,000 in annual wages, or around 24 percent less than the anesthesiologists. 

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Below, the 10 highest-paid occupations in America as of May 2012:

Occupation Average Annual Wages
1. Anesthesiologists $232,830
2. Surgeons $230,540
3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists $216,760
4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons $216,440
5. Internists, General $191,520
6. Orthodontists $186,320
7. Physicians and Surgeons, All Other $184,820
8. Family and General Practitioners $180,850
9. Psychiatrists $177,520
10. Chief Executives $176,840

[SEE: The 10 Most Underpaid Jobs]

That's perhaps unsurprising—everyone knows doctors are handsomely compensated—but what is striking is the extent to which medical occupations dominate the top of the wage ladder. You can still make a decent living even if you are not a doctor, as the list below of 10 top-paying non-medical professions shows:

Occupation Average Annual Wages
1. Chief Executives $176,840
2. Petroleum Engineers $147,470
3. Architectural and Engineering Managers $133,240
4. Lawyers $130,880
5. Natural Sciences Managers $130,400
6. Marketing Managers $129,870
7. Computer and Information Systems Managers $129,130
8. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $128,760
9. Financial Managers $123,260
10. Sales Managers $119,980