The 25 Highest-Paying Jobs in America
Most of us have to work for a living. But working hard doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making money.
In fact, the most physically demanding and dangerous jobs aren’t usually the ones commanding the highest salaries. Ever wonder which jobs will earn you the biggest paycheck? Glassdoor recently compiled a list of the highest paying jobs in America. Most of them require years of schooling and advanced degrees.
Whether you’re just starting out on your career journey or you’re trying to plan your second act (it’s never too late to make a change), read on to find out which jobs will put the most money into your bank account.
25. Data Scientist
- Median base salary: $96,116
No, a data scientist doesn’t examine beakers or conduct experiments in a lab – but they are very smart. This profession requires analytical thinking as the data scientist must use technical skills to solve complex technical problems. One of the hardest aspects of the job? Figuring out what the problem is in the first place.
Next: Tax Manager
24. Tax Manager
- Median base salary: $96,175
A tax manager is more than just a typical accountant – and they’re paid a salary that reflects that. Tax managers have responsibility for specific tax functions such as tax compliance or reporting. Interested in this career path? You better be great at math.
Next: Cloud Engineer
23. Cloud Engineer
- Median base salary: $96,449
The future is in the cloud – no, not the white puffy thing in the sky. Cloud engineers have extensive experience with cloud services such as open source technology, software development, system engineering, and scripting languages in the tech world. It’s a job that didn’t exist 50 years ago but is in hot demand today.
- Median base salary: $96,678
There are so many different kinds of attorneys making all kinds of money – how much depends a lot on your specialty, length of tenure, and geographical location. However, when you become a lawyer, you’re almost guaranteed to earn a six-figure salary eventually. That comes in handy for paying off all those pricey law school loans.
Next: Consulting Manager
21. Consulting Manager
- Median base salary: $97,154
Consulting manager is also a broadly defined category that can describe several different types of jobs. These individuals may work in specific departments for a whole company and might be independently employed or full-time. No matter what, consulting managers are highly analytical and adaptable. They can make a lot of money with the right gig.
Next: Scrum Master
20. Scrum Master
- Median base salary: $98,239
Speaking of jobs that didn’t exist 50 years ago… a scrum master facilitates agile development teams in the tech industry. “Master” may make the role sound more prestigious than it is, though – technically the scrum master doesn’t lead any projects, so they’re not directly responsible for the outcomes.
Next: Systems Architect
19. Systems Architect
- Median base salary: $100,984
Not all architects design physical structures. A systems architect is responsible for creating complex systems and networks for businesses. It may be complicated, but the result is worth it: this role almost always includes a six-figure salary.
Next: Strategy Manager
18. Strategy Manager
- Median base salary: $101,754
Strategy managers are individuals who keep the big picture in mind. This role requires innovative thinking and planning to help businesses implement major company-wide goals and initiatives. Usually getting hired for a lofty salary like this one requires a person to have proven results.
Next: Data Architect
17. Data Architect
- Median base salary: $101,900
This IT professional helps with designing, creating, deploying, and ultimately managing an organization’s data architecture. Generally, you need a computer science or computer engineering degree to get hired for this role.
Next: Financial Planning & Analysis Manager
16. Financial Planning & Analysis Manager
- Median base salary: $102,155
Financial planning is all about making educated guesses regarding a company’s financial future. This person will need to notice trends, deviations, and anomalies in the financial big picture and offer suggestions for improvement.
Next: Solutions Architect
15. Solutions Architect
- Median base salary: $102,160
This may sound like a complicated job, but it’s actually quite simple. In the IT world, some companies need help customizing solutions to issues they’re having. That’s where a solutions architect comes in – and gets paid handsomely for solving those problems.
Next: IT Program Manager
14. IT Program Manager
- Median base salary: $102,969
All the new information technology jobs require someone to keep track of them. An IT program manager organizes and plans for projects for companies. Usually, this role requires an MBA.
Next: Plant Manager
13. Plant Manager
- Median base salary: $103,892
Keeping track of daily operations in a manufacturing plant requires a significant amount of patience and expertise. Plant managers must oversee employees, production, and efficiency to keep the plant running smoothly.
Next: Applications Development Manager
12. Applications Development Manager
- Median base salary: $104,048
This management role oversees a team of analysts or developers and schedules projects, timelines, and appropriate resources. They get paid a huge salary, but that’s because the job is fairly complex.
Next: Engineering Manager
11. Engineering Manager
- Median base salary: $105,260
A successful engineering manager needs to be able to communicate, delegate, and motivate. He or she also requires technical ability and exemplary communication skills.
Next: Software Architect
10. Software Architect
- Median base salary: $105,329
The thing about IT jobs is that they often require candidates to move to technology hubs in the country – which are often some of the most expensive places to live. The high salaries may sound enticing, but they’re often required for settling into expensive cities like San Jose.
Next: Nurse Practitioner
9. Nurse Practitioner
Median base salary: $106,962
Nurses are some of the hardest-working professionals in the medical field. Extraordinarily long, grueling shifts are just par for the course, plus dealing with patients can be emotionally draining, too. That’s why nurses get paid so much – they deserve it.
Next: Software Engineering Manager
8. Software Engineering Manager
- Median base salary: $107,479
The career path in the IT field often goes from managing the data to managing the people who manage the date. Not only do you need a technical skill set, you also require people skills to manage effectively.
Next: Physician Assistant
7. Physician Assistant
- Median base salary: $108,761
The difference between physician assistants and doctors is minimal. First, they’re not licensed to perform surgery. Second, they always work under the supervision of a doctor and never autonomously. But like doctors, these medical professionals earn high salaries.
Next: Software Development Specialist
6. Software Development Specialist
- Median base salary: $108,879
Software developer jobs are numerous because they’re often difficult to staff. Developers work at all types of companies and can even work remotely if the company allows it. Typically, you need a computer science degree for this role.
Next: Corporate Counsel
5. Corporate Counsel
- Median base salary: $115,580
Any kind of lawyer is all but guaranteed to earn a healthy salary. Corporate attorneys are especially well-paid because businesses have a vested interest in protecting their assets – and profits.
Next: Enterprise Architect
4. Enterprise Architect
- Median base salary: $115,944
An enterprise architect gets paid the big bucks to help stakeholders, management, and subject matter experts develop the organization’s strategy and IT assets. This role requires big-picture thinking, organization, and people skills.
- Median base salary: $127,120
Becoming a pharmacist is more stressful than you might think. The great thing about this job is that it can be done in any state or city of the country and it often commands a healthy salary.
Next: Pharmacy manager
2. Pharmacy Manager
- Median base salary: $146,412
Who’s in charge of the pharmacist? The pharmacy manager, of course. Like a pharmacist, this job is very enticing to people who may not want to live in major cities but still want a high-paying salary. Typically, pharmacy programs are shorter than traditional degrees and only require two to three years of undergraduate study.
- Median base salary: $195,842
You know the old story: if you want to make money, you need to become a doctor. Physicians require many years of rigorous schooling and the profession isn’t well suited to some personality types. However, if you have the brains and stamina to become a doctor, your bank account will thank you for it.