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10 Best Paying Jobs in the U.S.

Q.   What are the 10 best paying jobs in the United States?

A.   It depends on who you ask and what they count

Official Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the official compiler of employment data for the country. It counts salary and wage earners. That means it doesn't count people who are self-employed or work as contractors. Nor does it include all the tips, bonuses, stock options and other perks people receive. So stock traders, with low salaries and millions of dollars in bonuses, do not make the BLS list of the 10 best paying jobs.

10 Best Paying Jobs

The following 10 best paying jobs listing is the latest reported by BLS, and is based on a national survey of large and small employers in all sectors of industry. Included in each listing are the basic occupational description, the average annual salary and the state that pays the highest salary for that occupation.

  1. Surgeons treat injuries and illnesses using invasive procedures. Average annual salary: $206,770. Highest-paying state: Wisconsin.
  2. Anesthesiologists administer anesthetics during surgery and other medical procedures. Average annual salary: $197,570. Highest-paying state: Kentucky.
  3. Orthodontists treat dental anomalies, often using appliances such as braces. Average annual salary: $194,930. Highest-paying state: New Hampshire.
  4. Obstetricians and Gynecologists diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those related to reproduction. Average annual salary: $192,780. Highest-paying state: Wisconsin.
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons perform surgery on mouths and jaws. Average annual salary: $190,420. Highest-paying state: Michigan.
  6. Internists, General, diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of internal injuries and diseases. Average annual salary: $176,740. Highest-paying state: Wisconsin.
  7. Prosthodontists construct oral prosthesis to replace missing teeth. Average annual salary: $169,810. Highest-paying state: New Jersey.
  8. Physicians and Surgeons, all other (outside of main specialties). Average annual salary: $165,000. Highest-paying state: Minnesota.
  1. Family and General Practitioners diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries. Average annual salary: $161,490. Highest-paying state: Wisconsin

  2. Chief Executives provide the overall direction for public or private organizations. Average annual salary: $160,440. Highest-paying state: New Jersey.

To put these salaries in perspective, the average annual wage at the time of the report, across all industries in the U.S, was $42,270. Fast food workers averaged $17,400 a year, the lowest in the country. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, D.C. had the highest average annual wage ($67,810). South Dakota and Mississippi had the lowest (about $33,000).

Other Factors To Consider

If you're looking for a high-paying career, the above list of the 10 best paying jobs may be useful.

If salary isn't your main concern and you're undecided about which career path to follow, we encourage you to consider using a career interest test to help you decide.

Consider also job security and career potential (what are the best jobs for the future?) as well as possible careers in the United States government. With 1.9 million civilian employees, the federal government is the largest employer in the U.S. Here's an article on the best government jobs.

When you're ready, here's some great advice on conducting a proper job search.

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