Top 10

Top 25 Best-Paying Jobs of 2021, According to U.S. News & World Report.

25. Political scientist
Mean salary: $115,300 per year

Industry: Social services

Education needed: Master’s degree

24. Actuary
Mean salary: $116,250 per year

Industry: Business

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

23. Optometrist
Mean salary: $119,980 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

22. Financial advisor
Mean salary: $121,770 per year

Industry: Business

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

21. Pharmacist
Mean salary: $123,670 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

20. Business operations manager
Mean salary: $123,880 per year

Industry: Business

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

19. Sales manager
Mean salary: $140,320 per year

Industry: Sales and marketing

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

18. Lawyer
Mean salary: $144,230 per year

Industry: Social services

Education needed: Doctorate degree

17. Pilot
Mean salary: $146,660 per year

Industry: Social services

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

16. Financial manager
Mean salary: $146,830 per year

Industry: Business

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

15. Marketing manager
Mean salary: $147,240 per year

Industry: Sales and marketing

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

14. Podiatrist
Mean salary: $148,220 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

13. IT manager
Mean salary: $152,860 per year

Industry: Technology

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

12. Petroleum engineer
Mean salary: $156,370 per year

Industry: Engineering

Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

11. Nurse anesthetist
Mean salary: $174,790 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Master’s degree

According to the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, as of January 1, 2025, all U.S. nurse anesthesia programs must award a doctoral degree for entry into nurse anesthesia practice.

10. Dentist
Mean salary: $175,840 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

9. Pediatrician
Mean salary: $183,240 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

8. Prosthodontist
Mean salary: $191,400 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

7. Physician
Mean salary: $196,490 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

6. Psychiatrist
Mean salary: $220,380 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

5. Orthodontist
Mean salary: $225,760 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

4. Obstetrician and gynecologist
Mean salary: $238,320 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

3. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
Mean salary: $242,370 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

2. Surgeon
Mean salary: $255,110 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

1. Anesthesiologist
Mean salary: $267,020 per year

Industry: Health care

Education needed: Doctorate degree

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