The 25 Best High-Paying Jobs In America For 2018

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Rachel Gillett

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Most of these jobs pay more than $100,000 a year and offer other perks like low stress levels and great work-life balance. Phalinn Ooi/flickr

When choosing a career, it's important to seek out jobs that are meaningful, will allow balance in your life, and that will be around in the future.

But a high salary doesn't hurt, either.


US News & World Report recently released its 2018 Best Jobs rankings, which determines the best occupations in the US based on median salary, employment rate, job growth, job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance.

The publication then ranked these coveted positions by pay, finding that, unsurprisingly, many of America's top jobs come with six-figure salaries.

Positions in the healthcare sector dominated the list, with anesthesiologists claiming the top spot.

Read on to see the 25 best high-paying jobs in the US, with salary data and projected job growth from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and job descriptions provided by US News & World report (we included mean annual salary data where specific median annual salary data was not available):

  1. 25. Medical and health services manager
  2. Maryland GovPics/Flickr

Median annual salary: $96,540

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 19.8%

Medical and health services managers are the planners, directors and coordinators who work behind the scenes to keep hospitals, nursing homes, group practices, and other health care facilities running efficiently.

  1. 24. Political scientist
    US Embassy Canada/Flickr

Median annual salary: $114,290


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 2.1%

Political scientists look back at history and monitor current affairs to understand how the policies and laws affect government, business, and people and to forecast trends. Their employers range from the federal government to nonprofits.

  1. 23. Actuary

Median annual salary: $100,610

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 22.5%


Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to measure, manage, and mitigate financial risk and uncertainty. They're essential to the insurance industry, and they're increasingly finding niches in other businesses.

  1. 22. Optometrist
  2. Official U.S. Navy Page/flickr

Median annual salary: $106,140

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.3%

Optometrists perform different tests on patients to determine common eyesight issues like near- or farsightedness, for which they can prescribe glasses or contacts, or eye diseases like glaucoma, for which they can prescribe medicines.

  1. 21. Pharmacist

Median annual salary: $122,230

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 5.6%

Imperative to the healthcare industry, pharmacists not only fill prescriptions, but also educate patients on the potential side effects of their medications, teach them how to handle side effects, and monitor which prescriptions each patient is taking to prevent mixing incompatible drugs.

  1. 20. Business-operations manager
  2. Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

Median annual salary: $99,310


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 9.1%

Business-operations managers take care of the details that are vital to keeping a business running, including hiring new talent, negotiating contracts, making strategy decisions, and building and leading effective teams. 

  1. 19. Financial advisor

Median annual salary: $90,530

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 14.4%


Financial advisors meet with clients and counsel them on their finances. This could mean sitting down and creating budgets, firming up retirement plans, giving advice about investing, and investing a client's funds on their behalf.

  1. 18. Sales manager
  2. WOCinTech Chat/flickr

Median annual salary: $117,960

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 7.4%

Sales managers get their company's product into customers' hands. This requires managers to establish client relationships and sales territory, guide sales teams, develop training programs for new hires, outline team strategies, and set short- and long-term goals. 


Sales managers typically hold either a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration and have expertise in marketing.

  1. 17. Financial manager

Median annual salary: $121,750

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 18.7%

Financial managers are integral to their companies because they advise and control the checkbook. Individuals in this position produce profit projections, oversee the cash flow of projects, and coordinate accounting practices. The job is incredibly detail-oriented and requires finesse in handling numbers and communicating complicated financial statements to other employees.

  1. 16. Lawyer
  2. bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock

Median annual salary: $118,160

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 9.4%

There are quite a few different career paths and specializations lawyers can take, from working at a private firm to a public position as a district attorney. But one thing holds across the many different iterations: Being a lawyer requires long, committed hours in the office.

  1. 15. Podiatrist

Median annual salary: $124,830


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 9.7%

Podiatrists specialize in feet and ankles, treating conditions that range from ingrown toenails and bunions to fractures and sprains. It's no easy task to become a podiatrist, however. After completing a bachelor's degree, individuals must attend a podiatric medical school, complete a three-year residency program, and pass the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam.

  1. 14. Marketing manager

Median annual salary: $131,180

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 10%


Being a marketing manager doesn't come with a set-in-stone list of responsibilities. It requires employees to balance a variety of tasks, including everything from hiring new talent to strategic planning to design work.

  1. 13. IT manager
  2. Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/flickr

Median annual salary: $135,800

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 11.9%

IT managers supervise software and hardware upgrades, protect office networks from hackers and malware, and coordinate technology issues with top executives. The position isn't industry-specific, either. As technology becomes increasingly integral to day-to-day business operations, IT managers have become necessary across all sectors.

  1. 12. Petroleum engineer
  2. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District/Flickr

Median annual salary: $128,230

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 14.5%

Petroleum engineers create new technology or create new ways to apply existing technology to help untap oil. Because the industry and the federal government want to encourage engineering breakthroughs and more environmentally friendly extraction techniques, most university students can expect to get their studies fully underwritten and even receive a stipend.

  1. 11. Nurse anesthetist
  2. Flickr/isafmedia

Median annual salary: $160,270


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 16%

Nurse anesthetists help doctors complete painful procedures by administering anesthesia through intravenous drugs or inhaled gases. To become a nurse anesthetist, registered nurses must complete at least one year of critical-care experience and earn a master's degree from an accredited nurse-anesthesia program.

  1. 10. Prosthodontist
  2. Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

Median annual salary: $126,050

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.2%


Different from an orthodontist, prosthodontists are dental specialists who build oral prostheses that replace missing teeth. These replacements can help patients in a number of ways, from improving appearances to restoring the ability to speak and eat.

  1. 9. Dentist

Median annual salary: $159,770

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.2%

Dentists help maintain the health of patients' mouths, gums, and teeth by filling cavities, diagnosing oral diseases, and extracting teeth when needed.

  1. 8. Pediatrician
  2. Eden, Janine and Jim/flickr

Median annual salary: $168,990

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.8%

Pediatricians focus on the physical and mental health of children, from infancy to adolescence. Specialties range from oncology and hematology to developmental behavior and psychiatry, but at the end of the day, it's all about advocating the best course of care and communicating it to parents and patients.

  1. 7. Psychiatrist
  2. Joe Houghton/flickr

Median annual salary: $194,740


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 13.1%

Unlike podiatrists and surgeons, who deal with physical afflictions, psychiatrists tend to patients' mental health. They diagnose and treat complex conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. Psychiatrists use a combination of methods to treat these disorders and write prescriptions when necessary.

  1. 6. Physician

Mean annual salary: $201,840

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 14.9%


The term "physician" encompasses everything from primary-care doctors to gynecologists to cardiologists to dermatologists — and every niche in between.

  1. 5. Orthodontist
  2. Wonderlane/flickr

Mean annual salary: $228,780

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.3%

Orthodontists are tasked with constructing beautiful smiles by fixing irregular bites and realigning crooked teeth. This is most often done through braces, but they also use retainers and other appliances to create an optimized plan for each patient.

  1. 4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
  2. Mikhail Olykainen/Shutterstock

Mean annual salary: $232,870

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.2%

Unlike a regular dentist, oral and maxillofacial surgeons go through an additional four years of surgical training to be able to perform surgical procedures pertaining to the face, mouth, and jaw, such as fixing a cleft lip or administering a face-lift. These doctors are also able to administer anesthesia and diagnose cancer.

  1. 3. Obstetrician and gynecologist
  2. Flickr

Mean annual salary: $234,310


Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.9%

Obstetricians and gynecologists help maintain women's reproductive health, though the positions differ. Gynecologists screen for HPV and other STDs, help manage contraceptives, and assist patients with issues like abnormal bleeding. Those who are also obstetricians, often referred to as OB-GYNs, deliver babies and monitor mothers-to-be throughout pregnancy.

  1. 2. Surgeon
  2. Phalinn Ooi/flickr

Mean annual salary: $252,910

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 16.8%


Surgeons undertake a heavy job: opening up people's bodies to correct injuries, diseases, or deformities. Surgeons are rigorously trained for the serious nature of the job, however. After completing a bachelor's degree and four years of medical school, they must enter a surgical residency program, which takes a minimum of five years to finish.

  1. 1. Anesthesiologist

Mean annual salary: $269,600 

Projected growth (2016 to 2026): 17.8%

Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering the drugs that allow surgeons to complete painful, invasive procedures without discomforting patients. They also closely monitor a patient's vital signs and critical life functions before, during, and after a surgery.