Could You Make More Money in a Different Field?

The thought of being saddled with student loan debt can feel overwhelming — unless you know you’re headed into a high paying career upon graduation. There are too many individuals who leave universities with advanced degrees only to discover that they cannot obtain high salary jobs that could pay off their education.

Which professions will offer great paying jobs to college graduates who are desperate to make more money?

High Paying Careers

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Highest Paying Jobs

We’ve studied the numbers and came up with the top six highest paying jobs in the country. From medical professionals to lawyers, these professionals are almost guaranteed to find good paying careers in their line of work. You’ll have to keep in mind that many of these high salary jobs do require advanced degrees and education, though.

If you’ve been contemplating a career change or are just curious about which of your neighbors makes the most money, you’ll want to know which of these six high salary jobs comes with the biggest paycheck. You’ll be surprised to know how much each of these good paying careers has the potential to make and what their average salary is each year.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best High Paying Careers

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the professions below to go directly to the detailed review section for that high paying job):

Top 6 Best High Paying Careers | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Highest Paying Jobs

Median Salaries




-Undergraduate degree

-Medical degree

-Two to four years of experience in the field



-Undergraduate degree in specialized area

-Law school degree

-Must pass state bar exam



-Undergraduate degree

-Degree from dentistry school



-Undergraduate degree

-Medical school degree

-Experience within specialized area



-Undergraduate degree

-Medical degree

-Four-year residency



-Undergraduate degree

-Medical degree

-Three to ten years of experience in residency programs

Table: Top 6 Best High Salary Jobs | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Cost of the Highest Paying Jobs

Most paying jobs require us to have some sort of skill set that would prove useful to our customer base or clientele. While customer service may come naturally to some folks, the skills associated with the highest paid professions typically come with a cost to acquire. What do you need to think about before you decide to pursue some of the high salary jobs on today’s market and job outlooks?

Most importantly, you will want to consider the ultimate cost of choosing a high salary job. 

Highest Paying Jobs

Image Source: Pixabay

Many of the highest paying jobs require advanced degrees and extensive college education before you can qualify for employment. Doctors and lawyers both make the list of the highest paying jobs, and both require graduate work and experience within the field before the good paying careers become available to you. This education and knowledge comes at a cost, with many people leaving universities saddled with unthinkable student loan debt.

According to CBS News, the average student loan debt for a new physician comes in at $166,750. Over the course of a 30-year repayment (the same length of time as the typical mortgage) at 7.5% interest, medical degrees will cost $419,738 overall. Can you stomach the idea of paying back your student loan debt with interest on a new doctor’s salary?

Not only that, but you will need to account for the time it takes you to qualify for these top paying careers. Undergraduate degrees and medical degrees both take four years to complete in addition to any residency programs that are necessary after graduation. Good paying careers come with financial and time costs that are hard to ignore.

Make sure you count the real cost required to obtain good paying careers for the long haul. The highest paying jobs are also often the ones that will require the most personal sacrifice to achieve.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Highest Paying Jobs

Below, please find the detailed review of each profession on our list of high salary jobs. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these good paying careers to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Anesthesiologist Review

As of November 2016, becoming an anesthesiologist is one of the highest paying jobs you can find. The median annual salary for someone in these high paying careers comes in at $358,638.

Salaries can reach upward of $450,000, and approximately 10% of them actually do. Even on the low end of the bell curve, only about 10% of all anesthesiologists make less than $267,063 annually. Those numbers are enough to make most consumers dizzy at the prospect of having that much money in their bank accounts each year.

High Salary Jobs

Image Source: Anesthesiologist


If you plan to become an anesthesiologist, be prepared to find these high paid jobs at the cost of an extensive education. This type of doctor specializes in sedating and numbing patients via local, intravenous, or spinal anesthetics. These high paying careers come with great risk, as they are also responsible for monitoring patients under this condition.

Not only do these high paying careers require a medical degree, but you will also need an additional two to four years’ worth of experience in a related anesthesiology field. Of course, as a doctor, education never truly ends with new advances in science and medicines being made on a regular basis. Anesthesiology may be one of the highest paying jobs, but it also comes with a great cost for continuing education.

You should be good at physics, math, biology, and chemistry before you consider exploring high paying careers within this field of medicine.

Lawyer Review

Lawyers have long been known to have high salary jobs that are associated with prestige. It comes as no surprise that lawyers and attorneys made the list of the highest paying jobs in the country. The median base salary for high paying jobs in the law field comes in at $144,500, according to CNBC.

Law has been of the highest paid professions over the past several years, and it is likely that the trend will continue. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the median salary for a lawyer to be at $114,790 with some earning more than $187,199.

That being said, some lawyers opted not to take advantage of being immersed in high paying careers and took employment that offered just $55,000 or less.


Like most high paying jobs, becoming a lawyer requires specialized degrees and a lengthy stint in universities to obtain a higher education. These high salary jobs require an undergraduate degree first, usually aimed at obtaining information in the specific field of law you intend to practice when all is said and done. You can specialize in several different areas of the law, from family law to construction law and more.

From this point, you will then need to take the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, to determine your eligibility for law school and ultimately one of these good paying careers. While at law school, you will spend approximately three years learning the ins and outs of these high salary jobs before earning your Juris Doctor (J.D.).

Once education is complete, you must pass the state bar exam in order to officially become a lawyer and start applying for high paying careers in your field.

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Orthodontist Review

Orthodontists are another of the highest paying jobs within the medical field. While significantly different than an anesthesiologist, both have high pay rates and require a medical degree. With a median salary of $133,005, orthodontists make just slightly less than a lawyer but get to practice within the field of medicine.

More than 10% of the orthodontists make over $187,000 each year, according to Salary.com. However, a quick glance at the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that good paying careers in the dentistry industry maintained a median pay of $158,310 just one year ago in 2015. Not only does orthodontia offer great paying jobs, but the outlook is set to increase as well over the coming years.

Good Paying Careers

Image Source: Orthodontist  

Orthodontia work itself is costly, as most parents can attest to. With the popularity of perfect teeth on the rise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for people to take more of these top paying careers to increase approximately 18%. This is much faster than the average growth rate in other industries.


Whether you’re searching for high paying jobs for women or just great paying jobs in general, orthodontia will require some specialized education within the dentistry field. You will, of course, need an undergraduate degree and medical degree as well as a license to practice dentistry from a medical university.

These good paying careers typically require two to four years’ worth of experience.

You will be responsible primarily for preventing and correcting defects related to the mouth and teeth. Orthodontists and their good paying careers are perhaps most well-known for helping to create picture-perfect smiles with braces, retainers, and other tools to straighten teeth and correct bite problems.

Physician Review

In general, physicians have the corner on most high paying jobs. It doesn’t have to be a particular specialty or area of study. Rather, the entire field holds a plethora of high paying careers for physicians to choose from.

The median salary for a physician comes in at $191,485, according to surveys from Salary.com. The Bureau of Labor Statistics assigns a slightly different number to these good paying careers, perhaps because their review groups both physicians and surgeons into one category. This number comes to more than $187,200 per year or $90.00 per hour.

In 2014, there were 708,300 of these high paying jobs available in the United States. Growth for this high paying profession is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 14% over the coming decade. This is still much faster than the average rate at which other professions are estimated to grow over the same period.


To qualify for these good paying careers, personnel must have an undergraduate degree and a degree from a medical university. They have a number of job duties, including:

  • Caring for injuries and wounds
  • Disease prevention and preventative health maintenance
  • Vaccinations
  • Diagnosis and treatment of various conditions

Depending on the specialty of the physician, they may take additional years to study and practice medicine in a particular area. For example, physicians could work specifically in family medicine, pediatric medicine, or other areas. All of these high paying careers will require additional experience in those areas.

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Psychiatrist Review

Psychiatry is quickly becoming one of the highest paid professions among professionals in the medical industry. Payscale.com estimates that the median annual salary for these high paying careers comes in around $189,825. Only 10% of all psychiatrists find themselves with salaries under $96,000 each year, and the highest paid professions that comprise 10% of all psychiatrists make more than $260,000 each year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the mean average hourly wage for a psychiatrist is $93.12 with the mean salary coming in at $193,680.

There is quite a discrepancy in the earnings for these high paid jobs, especially in a field that is already quite specialized among doctors. However, the location of employment can make a huge difference in these high salary jobs. Most paying jobs can say the same thing, but psychiatrists know this to be true:

  • Physician offices: $188,110 annual mean wage
  • Home health care services: $231,400 annual mean wage
  • Outpatient care centers: $205,410 annual mean wage
  • General medical and surgical hospital: $186,260 annual mean wage


In order to become a psychiatrist, you’ll need to complete your undergraduate degree and medical degree. In addition, as with most paying jobs on our ranking, you will need to complete a specialized residency. This four-year residency gives you hands-on experience to complete the work associated with the high paid job you’re training for.

Psychiatrists will ultimately be responsible for diagnosing and treating mental health issues, addictions, and mood disorders. They may also manage prescriptions and medications for their clients as a subset of their high paying jobs.

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Surgeon Review

Not many consumers will be surprised that surgeons made the list of the highest paying jobs available in the country. A general surgeon alone earns a median salary of $255,473 without any type of specialty experience necessary. Some branches of surgeons, such as an orthopedic surgeon, can earn up to $519,000 annually.

High Paying Jobs

Image Source: Payscale 

Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics groups physicians and surgeons into one category together, it is estimated the combined total of these high paying jobs comes to 708,300. Like many paying jobs, the number of surgeons needed over the coming decade is predicted to increase at a rate of 14%, which is faster than the average job growth rate.

Unfortunately, TIME magazine points out that these are not necessarily high paying jobs for women. While women do still earn quite a bit more than they could in other professions, jobs within the medical industry still see an increased salary being given to their male counterparts with some discrepancies being as large as $100,000. There are high paying jobs for women on the rise within the surgical and medical community, though.


Like most high paying jobs, surgeons will leave their education with a staggering amount of student loan debt. Many will encounter more than $140,000 in debt, which is what causes them to seek out some of the top paying careers in the industry.

In order to become a surgeon, be prepared to receive your undergraduate degree and a degree from medical school. This will occur before applying for residency positions to obtain further knowledge and experience within the field for these high paying careers. Many residency programs will require an additional three to ten years, with the average being five years.

Additional time may be spent learning very specific and highly specialized surgeries within a certain field.

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best High Paying Careers

Consumers who want to know what line of work they need to enter to get a little more money in their pocket will want to consider these highest paying jobs. While you may find that your education is lacking for some of the high paying careers available, others may just send you back to school or into a new program for additional or more specialized training.

Great paying jobs do come with the cost of your higher education. For your own financial security and peace of mind, you need to consider the additional cost of student loan debt to be certain you can afford one of these top paying careers in the first place.

Not only that, but you will have many years of education ahead of you depending on which of the high paid jobs you opt to pursue.

If you’ve been wondering whether a career change is right for you or whether your friend makes as much as he says he does, our review of the top six highest paying jobs should give you a great starting point for factual accuracy. The highest paid professions could be within your grasp with just a few more years of schooling under your belt.

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