20 Careers Where the Average Salary is Over $150k (Some Will Surprise You)

These are currently the country’s highest-paying jobs — and some gigs on the list come as quite a shock.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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With the cost of living and purchasing basic necessities going up, many people are looking for ways to bring in more cash these days.

Sometimes, asking for a raise just isn’t enough. If you’re looking for a career change — or simply curious about what the country’s highest-paid gigs are — here are 20 jobs that typically pay more than $150,000 a year. Some might surprise you.

All average salaries in this story come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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abriendomundo/Adobe astronomer man looking the night sky through an amateur telescope

Astronomers and physicists, which were put into a category together by the BLS, make just over $150,000 per year, clocking in with an average salary of $150,510.

The bureau says people in these jobs study the interactions of matter and energy.

Marketing managers

foxyburrow/Adobe  businesswoman is sitting at table working on laptop with graphs

The title of “marketing manager” can refer to jobs across many different industries, including technical companies, advertising and public relations, and information services.

A marketing manager is anyone who plans, directs, or coordinates marketing policies and programs and strategizes how companies can make more money. This may also refer to employees who oversee product development and monitor trends.

On average, marketing managers make $153,440 a year.

Financial managers

kerkezz/Adobe woman consulting with a female financial manager

Financial managers plan, direct, and coordinate financial activities for different companies, or departments within companies. This may include accounting, banking, insurance, and other tasks related to their company’s finances.

The average annual salary is $153,460.

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Architectural/engineering managers

Jacob Lund/Adobe architect hands making model house

Management jobs in the architectural/engineering field also pay well and include research and development in these fields.

The average salary is $158,970.

Computer/information system managers

Gorodenkoff/Adobe back view of skilled focused system administrator

People in managerial positions in the computer/information system field can make great salaries as well. The jobs involve planning, directing, and coordinating activities in fields like data processing, computer programming, and more.

The average annual salary is $162,930.

Aircraft pilots/flight engineers

Drew Woolery/Adobe Over the shoulder of pilot flying a small plane

With the current pilot shortage in the U.S., the average salary for people who fly and work on planes might rise in the coming years.

Currently, pilots and flight engineers make $169,540 on average every year.

Natural sciences managers

Rawpixel.com/Adobe Family in a car

These jobs involve planning, directing, and coordinating activities in fields like physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development.

On average, these management positions pay $156,110 per year.


Nadzeya/Adobe trauma surgeon evaluates x-rays of legs closeup

It’s not exactly surprising to see doctors on the highest-paid list, but some specialties tend to make a lot more than others on average.

Podiatrists — doctors who diagnose and treat diseases or other issues related to the feet — make about $158,380 on average every year.


luckybusiness/Adobe young female dentist drilling tooth to patient

Dentists can make quite a bit each year, with an average salary coming in at about $177,770. However, salary varies depending on what the dentist offers in their practice and if they have any specialties.

For example, orthodontists — who are in charge of providing dental braces and fixing any other issues to realign teeth and or jaws — make $267,280 a year on average.

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fizkes/Adobe female doctor give high five to little biracial patient

A pediatrician who works in a general practice — which could be your local primary care doctor’s office — gets pretty close to the $200,000 mark.

These doctors who diagnose, treat, and help prevent illnesses in children make $198,420 per year on average.

Nurse anesthetists

shevchukandrey/Adobe anesthesiologist doing her work

Nurse anesthetists are licensed to administer anesthesia, monitor vital signs, and oversee patient recovery. These nurses may work with anesthesiologists or other physicians.

On average, they make about $202,470 per year — more than the average salary of several types of doctors on this list. A salary like that can help you crush your debt in no time.

Chief executives

Drazen/Adobe Female leader in meeting

You’ve probably heard the term chief executive, or CEO, before, but perhaps you’re unclear about what people in this top role actually do.

Plenty of major companies — such as Apple or Facebook — have well-known CEOs. The job basically entails providing overall direction for a company and coordinating operation activities at the highest level of management.

The average salary for a chief executive is $213,020, although CEOs at the country’s biggest companies make far more than this.


SHOTPRIME STUDIO/Adobe psychologist on all professional diagnostics consultation

Psychiatrists are doctors who can help diagnose, treat, and prevent mental disorders. Unlike therapists, psychiatrists must have a medical degree and can prescribe medications to treat illnesses.

The average psychiatrist in the U.S. makes about $249,760 per year.


marvent/Adobe technicians working together with samples in a lab

Pathologists, whose work often revolves around examining parts of the human anatomy, can also make quite a bit per year.

These doctors can diagnose diseases and conduct lab tests using organs, body tissues, and fluids. A medical examiner would fall in this category.

The average annual salary is $267,180.


Gorodenkoff/Adobe diverse team of neurosurgeon and neurologist

Neurologists study the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. They may diagnose, manage, and treat disorders related to these body parts.

The current average salary is around $267,660 annually.


NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe health care people eyesight and technology concept

Ophthalmologists specialize in treating disorders and diseases of the eye. They may perform surgery, and also provide vision services like eye exams and prescribing glasses and contacts.

The average annual salary is $270,090.


Seventyfour/Adobe female doctor holding ultrasound transducer to pregnant belly

Obstetricians and gynecologists provide care related to pregnancy and childbirth and may diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases related to the female reproductive system.

These doctors may also provide gynecological surgeries. The typical annual salary is $296,210.


LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe dermatologist sitting at table examining skin of patient in clinic

Dermatologists were one of the highest-paid doctors on the BLS list, with an annual salary of $302,740. These doctors diagnose and treat diseases related to the skin, hair, and nails.

They may prescribe medications to help with skin-related issues, and may also provide other services like surgery for both cosmetic and non-cosmetic purposes.


Georgiy/Adobe female surgeon in operation room with reflection in glasses

As a general category, the BLS list notes the average yearly salary for a surgeon is $294,520. However, salaries can vary quite a bit depending on what kind of surgery these doctors perform.

For example, orthopedic surgeons — who perform surgery to treat or prevent rheumatic or other diseases of the musculoskeletal system — can make around $306,220 a year.

Oral/maxillofacial surgeons — who may perform procedures on the face, jaw, and mouth — make $311,460 annually on average.


Friends Stock/Adobe Doctor anesthesiologist holding breathing mask on patient

Anesthesiologists are responsible for providing anesthetics and analgesics to patients for pain management as part of the surgery process.

They are among the highest-paid doctors on the BLS list, behind only cardiologists. They make $331,190 per year on average.

Just in case you are wondering, cardiologists make an average salary of $353,970.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe businessman using laptop in cafe

While it might seem like you have to be a doctor or a CEO to make more than $150,000 a year, there are plenty of positions in other industries that also pay well.

So, if you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, consider pursuing one of the lucrative careers on this list.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.