Ten Highest Paying Career Paths

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March 24th, 2010 in Jobs

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By Kate Willson

We recently read an article detailing the top 10 highest paying jobs. For better or worse, the list was dominated by jobs in the health sector. We thought it would be even more useful to have a list of the top 10 highest paying career paths. So we researched the US Department of Labor's 2008 data (the latest we have access to) and used it to determine ten distinct career paths that could result in the highest salaries for average people. Obviously, rare jobs like "professional athlete" are not included.

1. Health Care Career Path

Surgeons earn the highest salary in the healthcare practitioner and technical occupation field. After training for at least 10 to 15 years (with additional schooling with specialization,) a surgeon has the ability to earn at least $206,770. A surgeon who treats illness and injury or specializes in heart and brain procedures has higher earning potential than general surgeons.

2. Business & Management Career Path

Chief Executives are hold the second spot in the highest salary rank. In the management occupation, Chief Executives earn $160, 440. The training time involved varies per occupation and education requirements depend largely on the company or organization. Job experience is also a huge factor in becoming a CEO. CEO's are responsible for strategic direction and operations within businesses.

3. Law / Legal Career Path

Lawyers claim the top earnings in the legal occupation field. Lawyers earn at least $124,750 and depending on the branch of law, 7 years of educational training is the minimum. Personal injury, criminal attorneys, environmental law, entertainment law, family law, real estate law, intellectual property, and civil law are vastly expanding branches of the legal system.

4. Aviation Career Path

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers earn top dollar in the transportation and material moving occupations. A pilot's earnings are usually at least $119,750 after training requires extensive and costly in-air flight hours. A pilot is usually not required to possess a college degree, though some airlines have shifted to a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

5. Architecture & Engineering Career Paths

Petroleum engineers have the highest salaries in the architecture and engineering occupations. Petroleum engineers earn $119,140 and require educational training of at least a bachelor's degree, with generally a master's degree to help the energy industry meet worldwide demands. Petroleum engineers are innovators for resource recovery and energy technologies.

6. Physical Sciences Career Path

Physicists are top earners in the life, physical, and social science occupations. A physicist has the potential to earn a $106,440 salary. A physicist must possess an innate desire to know the inner workings of everything at the most basic levels and requires extensive training, usually beyond a master's program.

7. Education Career Path

Post secondary health specialties teachers earn the highest salary in the education, training and library occupations. Health specialties teachers earn $102,000 while teaching courses in veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, therapy, laboratory technology, and public health. A post secondary health specialties teacher usually must possess at least a bachelor's degree but are more frequently required to have five years' work experience and a master's, if not a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. depending upon the field of specialization.

8. Computer & Mathematical Science Career Paths

Computer and mathematical science researchers and scientists earn the top salaries in the occupations of computer and information sciences. Computer and mathematical scientists and researchers earn at least $100,900. The computer since industry has reached boom in success despite dire economies since the creation of the first computers in the 1980's. A computer science researcher can invest in a bachelor's degree to open the doors of advancement and career opportunities to increase earnings potential.

9. Finance & Accounting Career Path

Personal Financial Advisors earn the highest salaries in the business and financial operation occupations. A personal financial advisor instructs clients on investments, insurance, and tax laws with the potential to earn $92,970 after n educational background a in four year bachelor's or graduate's program in accounting, finance, economics, business, or law.

10. Graphic Design & Marketing Career Path

Art Directors earn the one of the top ten highest salaries in the entertainment, sports, and design categories. An art director has the potential to earn a salary of $88,510 through the design of advertisements and print materials, the filming of television commercials, and various other outlets. A 4 year bachelor's degree or a master's is vital to success as an art director but is usually not a requirement.

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