For most of us, six-figure salaries are nothing more than a pipe dream.
Last year, the average annual compensation for someone with an advanced degree was just more than $60,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning it’ll take a significant amount of extra schooling to reach the six-figure mark.
Still, there are plenty of lucrative careers to be had. With this in mind, CareerTrends has ranked the most popular jobs with a mean salary of $150K or higher. We ranked the $150K occupations — 14 total — by the number of people employed, and all but one are in the healthcare field. Five of the jobs have more than 40,000 full-time employees, including surgeons and general internists, though neither of them are in the top three. The mean annual salaries of the careers on this list range from $160K to more than $258K, which would probably make all those extra years of medical schooling worth it.
It’s important to note that working in the field of medicine is not the only route to a high-paying career. There are other jobs that can pay six-figure salaries with only a graduate degree, but to reach the even-more-elite $150K level, a more advanced education level is required.
Total employment: 20,090
Mean salary: $222,400
Job description: Provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. May also provide general medical care to women.
Total employment: 24,060
Mean salary: $193,680
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent disorders of the mind.
Total employment: 28,660
Mean salary: $183,180
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent children’s diseases and injuries.
Total employment: 29,220
Mean salary: $258,100
Job description: Administer anesthetics prior to, during or after surgery or other medical procedures.
Total employment: 39,410
Mean salary: $160,250
Job description: Administer anesthesia, monitor patient’s vital signs and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.
Total employment: 41,600
Mean salary: $247,520
Job description: Treat diseases, injuries and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive or non-invasive surgical methods.
Total employment: 48,920
Mean salary: $196,520
Job description: Diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults who have a wide range of problems associated with the internal organs.
Total employment: 100,080
Mean salary: $172,350
Job description: Examine, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.
Total employment: 127,430
Mean salary: $192,120
Job description: Diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.
Total employment: 238,940
Mean salary: $185,850
Job description: Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.
Photo by Lisa Brewster
Nick is an associate editor at Graphiq. He writes about education, health and sports, with an emphasis on colleges and careers. When Nick isn’t writing, he's playing basketball or watching an episode of Seinfeld that he's probably seen at least 10 times.