Ten Highest-Paying Careers

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Most people choose a career based on what they like to do and what they are good at doing. However, income also can be a major factor to consider when deciding on a career. It is important to remember, though, that the jobs that pay the most often also require the most education and carry the longest hours and the highest stress. This is evident in looking at the top 10 highest-paying careers, as ranked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, for May 2009.


Because of its long and demanding training and its control over life and death, the medical profession has the top-paying careers. According to the BLS, surgeons lead the pack with a mean salary of $219,770 in 2009. Anesthesiologists follow with compensation at $211,750. At number three are oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who perform surgery on the mouth, jaw and head; they make $210,710 per year.


Three types of specialists show the next-highest-paying careers. Orthodontists earn a mean of $206,190 in 2009, according to the BLS. Obstetricians and gynecologists make $204,470. And internists earn $183,990.

Other Doctors

Rounding out the list of medical profession are all other physicians and surgeons not classified into separate categories by the BLS. Their mean salary as of 2009 is $173,860. Family doctors and and general practitioners make $168,550, and psychiatrists earn $163,660.

Chief Executives

The only non-medical career on the BLS top 10 list is chief executive; CEOs rank ninth with a mean income of $167,880. Their high compensation is related to their great responsibility in either the private or public sector. They can control the jobs of thousands and handle goods and services worth millions or billions of dollars. Individual chief executive officers can earn far more than this mean. For example, CNBC states that the highest paid CEO in America earned $56.8 million from Oracle in 2009.



About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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  • money career upstairs image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com