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Careers and Earnings: Highest to Lowest

 
Interested in learning how much money you will make at a chosen career, or thinking about comparing projected earnings for a few different jobs or career paths? Perhaps you’d just like to browse the careers that might help you earn the salary you aspire to. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently released new data in its Occupational Outlook Handbook to help you determine how much you could expect to earn in your chosen career.
 

Highest Paying Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following 20 occupations had the highest median annual income in 2010:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons with an annual median income of $166,400
  • Physicians and surgeons with an annual median income of $166,400
  • Orthodontists with an annual median income of $166,400
  • Chief executives with an annual median income of $165,080
  • Dentists, all other specialists with an annual median income of $161,020
  • Dentists, general with an annual median income of $141,040
  • Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates with an annual median income of $119,270
  • Architectural and engineering managers with an annual median income of $119,260
  • Prosthodontists with an annual median income of $118,400
  • Podiatrists with an annual median income of $118,030
  • Natural sciences managers with an annual median income of $116,020
  • Computer and information systems managers with an annual median income of $115,780
  • Petroleum engineers with an annual median income of $114,080
  • Marketing managers with an annual median income of $112,800
  • Lawyers with an annual median income of $112,760
  • Pharmacists with an annual median income of $111,570
  • Air traffic controllers with an annual median income of $108,040
  • Political scientists with an annual median income of $107,420
  • Physicists with an annual median income of $106,370
  • Financial managers with an annual median income of $103,910

 
Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $75,000 or More
Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $55,000 to $74,999
Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $35,000 to $54,999
Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $25,000 to $34,999
Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of less than $25,000
 

Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $75,000 or More*

  • Actuaries
  • Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers
  • Administrative services managers
  • Advertising and promotions managers
  • Aerospace engineers
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers
  • Architectural and engineering managers
  • Art directors
  • Astronomers
  • Atmospheric and space scientists
  • Biochemists and biophysicists
  • Biomedical engineers
  • Chemical engineers
  • Chief executives
  • Civil engineers
  • Compensation and benefits managers
  • Computer and information research scientists
  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Computer hardware engineers
  • Computer systems analysts
  • Construction managers
  • Dentists
  • Economists
  • Education administrators for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools
  • Electrical engineers
  • Electronics engineers (not including computer engineers)
  • Environmental engineers
  • Financial managers
  • General and operations managers
  • Geoscientists (not including hydrologists and geographers)
  • Health and safety engineers (not including mining safety engineers and inspectors)
  • Human resources managers
  • Hydrologists
  • Industrial engineers
  • Industrial production managers
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists
  • Information security analysts, web developers, and computer network architects
  • Judges and magistrates
  • Lawyers
  • Management analysts
  • Marine engineers and naval architects
  • Marketing managers
  • Materials engineers
  • Materials scientists
  • Mathematicians
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Medical and health services engineers
  • Medical scientists (not including epidemiologists)
  • Mining and geological engineers
  • Mining safety engineers
  • Natural sciences managers
  • Nuclear engineers
  • Nuclear power reactor operators
  • Optometrists
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Petroleum engineers
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists
  • Physician assistants
  • Physicians and surgeons
  • Physicists
  • Podiatrists
  • Political scientists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Psychologists
  • Public relations and fundraising managers
  • Purchasing managers
  • Sales engineers
  • Sales managers
  • Software developers
  • Training and development managers
  • Veterinarians

 

Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $55,000 to $74,999*

  • Accountants and auditors
  • Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
  • Agricultural engineers
  • Animal scientists
  • Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators
  • Architects (not including landscape and naval architects)
  • Artists and related workers
  • Audiologists
  • Budget analysts
  • Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels
  • Chemists
  • Chiropractors
  • Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators
  • Clinical counseling and school psychologists
  • Commercial and industrial designers
  • Commercial pilots
  • Computer programmers
  • Conservation scientists
  • Cost estimators
  • Database administrators
  • Dental hygienists
  • Detectives and criminal investigators
  • Diagnostic medical sonographers
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technicians
  • Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay
  • Electrical powerline installers and repairers
  • Environmental scientists and specialists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
  • Fashion designers
  • Financial analysts
  • Financial examiners
  • Food scientists and technologists
  • Gaming managers
  • Geographers
  • Instructional coordinators
  • Insurance appraisers (for auto damage appraisals)
  • Insurance underwriters
  • Landscape architects
  • Loan officers
  • Logisticians
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  • Medical and clinical laboratory technologists
  • Microbiologists
  • Multimedia artists and animators
  • Network and computer systems administrators
  • Nuclear medicine technologists
  • Nuclear technicians
  • Occupational health and safety specialists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Operations research analysts
  • Orthotists and prosthetists
  • Personal financial advisors
  • Postsecondary teachers
  • Power distributors and dispatchers
  • Power plant operators
  • Producers and directors
  • Purchasing agents (not including wholesale, retail, and farm products)
  • Radiation therapists
  • Registered nurses
  • Sales representatives for wholesale and manufacturing, technical, and scientific products
  • Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents
  • Ship engineers
  • Social and community service managers
  • Sociologists
  • Soil and plant scientists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Statisticians
  • Subway and streetcar operators
  • Technical writers
  • Urban and regional planners
  • Writers and authors
  • Zoologists and wildlife biologists

 
 
 

Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $35,000 to $54,999*

  • Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors
  • Advertising sales agents
  • Aircraft mechanics and service technicians
  • Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers
  • Anthropologists and archeologists
  • Appraisers and assessors of real estate
  • Architectural and civil drafters
  • Archivists
  • Athletes and sports competitors
  • Athletic trainers
  • Audio and video equipment technicians
  • Automotive body and related repairers
  • Automotive service technicians and mechanics
  • Avionics technicians
  • Bailiffs
  • Biological technicians
  • Boilermakers
  • Brickmasons and blockmasons
  • Broadcast news analysts
  • Broadcast technicians
  • Brokerage clerks
  • Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists
  • Bus drivers for transit and intercity
  • Buyers and purchasing agents of farm products
  • Camera operators for television, video, and motion pictures
  • Cardiovascular technologists and technicians
  • Career/technical education teachers in middle and secondary schools
  • Cargo and freight agents
  • Carpenters
  • Carpet installers
  • Cartographers and photogrammetrists
  • Cement masons and concrete finishers
  • Chefs and head cooks
  • Chemical technicians
  • Child, family, and school social workers
  • Choreographers
  • Civil engineering technicians
  • Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers
  • Computer support specialists
  • Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers
  • Construction and building inspectors
  • Correctional officers and jailers
  • Court reporters
  • Crane and tower operators
  • Curators
  • Dental laboratory technicians
  • Derrick operators for oil and gas
  • Desktop publishers
  • Dieticians and nutritionists
  • Drafters
  • Drywall and ceiling tile installers
  • Editors
  • Education administrators for preschool and childcare centers or programs
  • Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors
  • Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers
  • Electrical and electronics drafters
  • Electrical and electronics installers and repairers for transportation, commercial, and industrial equipment
  • Electricians
  • Electro-mechanical technicians
  • Elementary school teachers (not including special education)
  • Eligibility interviewers for government programs
  • Engine and other machine assemblers
  • Environmental engineering technicians
  • Environmental science and protection technicians
  • Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators
  • Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants
  • Film and video editors
  • Fine artists (painters, sculptors, and illustrators)
  • Fire inspectors and investigators
  • Firefighters
  • First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
  • Fish and game wardens
  • Flight attendants
  • Food service managers
  • Forensic science technicians
  • Foresters
  • Funeral service managers, directors, morticians, and undertakers
  • Gaming supervisors
  • Geological and petroleum technicians
  • Glaziers
  • Graphic designers
  • Hazardous materials removal workers
  • Health educators
  • Healthcare social workers
  • Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  • Historians
  • Hoist and winch operators
  • Human resources assistants (not including payroll and timekeeping)
  • Human resources, training, and labor relations
  • Industrial engineering technicians
  • Industrial machinery mechanics
  • Information and record clerks
  • Insulation workers (mechanical)
  • Insurance sales agents
  • Interior designers
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers
  • Kindergarten teachers (not including special education)
  • Legal secretaries
  • Librarians
  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
  • Loading machine operators for underground mining
  • Locomotive engineers
  • Locomotive firers
  • Loading managers
  • Machinists
  • Maintenance workers for machinery
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Mechanical drafters
  • Mechanical engineering technicians
  • Medical and clinical laboratory technicians
  • Medical appliance technicians
  • Medical equipment repairers
  • Meeting, convention, and even planners
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers
  • Mental health counselors
  • Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders
  • Middle school teachers (not including special and career/technical education)
  • Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Millwrights
  • Mobile heavy equipment mechanics (not including engine mechanics)
  • Model makers for metals and plastics
  • Motorboat mechanics and service technicians
  • Motorboat operators
  • Museum technicians and conservators
  • Music directors and composers
  • Occupational health and safety technicians
  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
  • Painters for transportation equipment
  • Paralegals and legal assistants
  • Patternmakers for metals and plastics
  • Payroll and timekeeping clerks
  • Physicial therapists assistants
  • Pile-driver operators
  • Plasterers and stucco masons
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
  • Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers
  • Postal service clerks
  • Postal service mail carriers
  • Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators
  • Prepress technicians and workers
  • Private detectives and investigators
  • Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
  • Procurement clerks
  • Production, planning, and expediting clerks
  • Property, real estate, and community association managers
  • Public relations specialists
  • Radiologic technologists and technicians
  • Rail car repairers
  • Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, and hostlers
  • Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators
  • Railroad conductors and yardmasters
  • Real estate brokers
  • Real estate sales agents
  • Recreational therapists
  • Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Rotary drill operators for oil and gas
  • Sailors and marine oilers
  • Sales representatives for wholesale and manufacturing (not including technical and scientific products)
  • Secondary school teachers (not including special and career/technical education)
  • Self-enrichment education teachers
  • Service unit operators for oil, gas, and mining
  • Set and exhibit designers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Social workers
  • Sound engineering technicians
  • Special education teachers for preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary schools
  • Stationary engineers and boiler operators
  • Stonemasons
  • Structural iron and steel workers
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
  • Surgical technologists
  • Survey researchers
  • Surveying and mapping technicians
  • Surveyors
  • Tapers
  • Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents
  • Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers
  • Terrazzo workers and finishers
  • Tile and marble setters
  • Tool and die makers
  • Transit and railroad police
  • Transportation security screeners (federal)
  • Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers
  • Wholesale and retail buyers (not including farm products)

 
 

Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of $25,000 to $34,999*

  • Agricultural and food science technicians
  • Animal breeders and trainers
  • Assemblers and fabricators
  • Automotive glass installers and repairers
  • Bill and account collectors
  • Billing and posting clerks
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  • Bus drivers for schools or special clients
  • Butchers and meat cutters
  • Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters
  • Coaches and scouts
  • Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders
  • Coil winders, tapers, and finishers
  • Computer-controlled machine tool operators for metals and plastics
  • Construction laborers
  • Conveyor operators and tenders
  • Cooks for private households
  • Correspondence clerks
  • Court, municipal, and license clerks
  • Craft artists
  • Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks
  • Customer service representatives
  • Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Dental assistants
  • Dredge operators
  • Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
  • Electromechanical equipment assemblers
  • Electronic equipment installers and repairers for motor vehicles
  • Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers
  • Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
  • Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Fallers
  • Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians
  • Fiberglass laminators and fabricators
  • File clerks
  • Fishers and related fishing workers
  • Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors
  • Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders
  • Forest and conservation technicians
  • Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Foundry mold and coremakers
  • Furniture finishers
  • Gaming cage workers
  • Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators
  • Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Helpers for construction trades
  • Helpers for brickmasons, blockmasons, and tile and marble setters
  • Helpers for carpenters
  • Helpers for electricians
  • Helpers for pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
  • Home appliance repairers
  • Industrial truck and tractor operators
  • Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
  • Insulation workers
  • Insurance claims and policy processing clerks
  • Interviewers (not including for eligibility and loans)
  • Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Library technicians
  • Light truck or delivery services drivers
  • Loan interviewers and clerks
  • Log graders and scalers
  • Logging equipment operators and other logging workers
  • Machine feeders and offbearers
  • Maintenance and repair workers
  • Massage therapists
  • Medical assistants
  • Medical records and health information technicians
  • Medical secretaries
  • Medical transcriptionists
  • Models
  • Molding, coremaking, and casting machine settlers, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Motorcycle mechanics
  • Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • New accounts clerks
  • Occupational therapy aides
  • Office clerks
  • Ophthalmic laboratory technicians
  • Opticians, dispensing
  • Order clerks
  • Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics
  • Painters for construction and maintenance
  • Parts salespersons
  • Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators
  • Pest control workers
  • Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators for vegetation
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Photographers
  • Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders for metals and plastics
  • Pourers and casters of metals
  • Preschool teachers (not including special education)
  • Print binding and finishing workers
  • Printing press operators
  • Psychiatric technicians
  • Public address system and other announcers
  • Radio and television announcers
  • Receptionists and information clerks
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Reporters and correspondents
  • Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks
  • Roofers
  • Roustabouts for oil and gas
  • Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders for wood
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (not including legal, medical, and executive)
  • Semiconductor processors
  • Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks
  • Skincare specialists
  • Slot supervisors
  • Social and human service assistants
  • Structural metal fabricators and fitters
  • Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers
  • Team assmblers
  • Timing device assemblers and adjusters
  • Travel agents
  • Tree trimmers and pruners
  • Upholsterers
  • Veterinary technologists and technicians
  • Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers for recordkeeping
  • Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders
  • Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders (not including sawing)

 
 

Jobs Paying an Annual Median Income of less than $25,000*

  • Bakers
  • Barbers
  • Bartenders
  • Cashiers
  • Childcare workers
  • Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food
  • Cooks
  • Counter attendants for cafeterias, food concessions, and coffee shops
  • Couriers and messengers
  • Demonstrators and product promoters
  • Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers
  • Driver/sales workers
  • Floral designers
  • Food batchmakers
  • Food cooking machine operators and tenders
  • Food preparation workers and servers
  • Forest and conservation workers
  • Gaming and sports book writers and runners
  • Gaming dealers
  • Gaming service workers
  • Grounds maintenance workers
  • Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists
  • Helpers for painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons
  • Helpers for roofers
  • Home health aides
  • Hosts and hostesses for restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops
  • Janitors and cleaners
  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
  • Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
  • Legislators
  • Library assistants (clerical)
  • Maids and housekeepers
  • Manicurists and pedicurists
  • Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
  • Miscellaneous agricultural workers
  • Nonfarm animal caretakers
  • Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants
  • Packers and packagers
  • Painting, coating, and decorating workers
  • Personal care aides
  • Physical therapist aides
  • Psychiatric aides
  • Recreation workers
  • Retail salespersons
  • Security guards
  • Sewers (by hand)
  • Shampooers
  • Slaughterers and meat packers
  • Stock clerks and order fillers
  • Taxi drivers and chauffers
  • Teacher assistants
  • Tellers
  • Umpires, referees, and other sports officials
  • Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers
  • Waiters and waitresses

 
*All data from the 2010 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics
 
 

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