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Air traffic controller cracks CareerCast’s top jobs list


August 21, 2015
By CareerCast

Skilled healthcare professions dominate CareerCast’s 2015 list of the highest paying jobs, with surgeon, psychiatrist and physician rounding out the top three. Other medical careers that landed in the Top 10 are dentist, orthodontist and pharmacist. Corporate executives, petroleum engineers and data scientists were the only careers outside of medicine to make the Top 10 best paid jobs. The Top 10 list was culled from the 200 jobs included in CareerCast’s annual Jobs Rated report.

These skilled healthcare professions require very specialized knowledge, hence the attractive salaries. However, many lucrative medical careers require postgraduate studies for varying lengths of time. Residency programs for surgeons and physicians can last up to 10 years. And, the debt accrued over an aspiring surgeon, physician, psychiatrist, dentist, pharmacist or orthodontist’s time in school can be astronomical. These healthcare professionals can log somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 in student loan debt before seeing any of the handsome salaries listed here.

Litigation also fuels the high salaries that those in the medical professions earn. Surgeons also face exponentially higher risk of malpractice lawsuits than other medical fields, a New England Journal of Medicine study found.

Not all of the highest paying jobs of 2015 require quite as much schooling. The BLS reports petroleum engineer, for example, only requires a bachelor’s degree and pays an annual median wage of $130,050.

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The following are 10 of the best paying jobs of 2015, per the CareerCast.com Jobs Rated report. Annual median wages are culled from the BLS and CareerCast methodology. Growth outlook is tracked over a 10-year span from 2012 through 2022 by the BLS.

  1. SURGEON – Annual Median Wage: $352,220, Growth Outlook: 18%
  2. PSYCHIATRIST – Annual Median Wage: $181,880, Growth Outlook: 18%
  3. PHYSICIAN (GENERAL PRACTICE) – Annual Median Wage: $180,180, Growth Outlook: 18%
  4. CORPORATE EXECUTIVE (SENIOR LEVEL) – Annual Median Wage: $173,320, Growth Outlook: 11%
  5. DENTIST – Annual Median Wage: $146,340, Growth Outlook: 16%
  6. PETROLEUM ENGINEER – Annual Median Wage: $130,050, Growth Outlook: 26%
  7. ORTHODONTIST – Annual Median Wage: $129,110, Growth Outlook: 16%
  8. DATA SCIENTIST – Annual Median Wage: $124,150, Growth Outlook: 15%
  9. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER – Annual Median Wage: $122,340, Growth Outlook: 1%
  10. PHARMACIST – Annual Median Wage: $120,950, Growth Outlook: 14%