These 30 highest-paying jobs offer the best salaries in the United States

These 30 highest-paying jobs offer the best salaries in the United States

The average annual wage for all workers in the United States is a little more than $48,000. Sure, there are one-off ways to make a little extra money, but if you're in serious need of a raise — and are feeling all sorts of professional ennui?

Your best bet might be going to med school. 

Mic crunched the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found the 30 highest-paying positions in the United States: More than half are in medicine.

Among the other top-earning jobs, management jobs dominate, according to the 2015 survey data (the most recent available).

Here are the 30 highest-paid positions, ranked by salary in ascending order.

Highest-paying job #30: Pharmacist

Average annual pay: $119,270

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 295,620

Projected growth (2014-2024): 3% 

Prescription meds are big business, with Americans spending $374 billion a year on their drugs. Pharmacists give prescription medications to patients and offer guidance on safe use. Increasingly, they also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles. Projected growth for jobs in the field is slower than average: Though pharmaceutical services will stay in demand (we are popping pills like fiends), the need for pharmacists working in traditional pharmacies is expected to decline.

Highest-paying job #29: Public relations and fundraising manager

Average annual pay: $119,390

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 60,380 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 7%

Managing a brand is even more critical given today's social media-centric landscape, and over the past decade many organizations and institutions have professionalized fundraising. That's why this job is not going anywhere. The industry is expected to expand in the next decade — 7% is about as fast as the average for all occupations. But be warned: This is a gig with a tremendous pay range. The lowest 10% earned less than $56,890 a year and the highest 10% earned more than $187,200.

Highest-paying job #28: General and operations manager

Average annual pay: $119,460

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 2,145,140 

Projected growth (2014-2024): N/A

These are folks who plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of public or private sector organizations. They might formulate policies, manage daily operations or plan the use of materials and human resources — but their work is too diverse and general to be classified in any one single area like personnel or purchasing. These jobs tend to be in places with a lot of people, like California, Texas, New York and Illinois, which tend to hire the most operations managers.

Highest-paying job #27: Compensation and benefits manager

Average annual pay: $121,630

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 15,930 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 6%

Millennials will change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. And compensation and benefit managers will be there at each stop, determining how much cheddar employees take home. Compensation managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to determine how much an organization pays its employees. Benefits managers plan, direct, and coordinate retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits. Since we'll have more jobs and we'll likely be working later into our lives, these managers are critical to a steady, fluid workforce.

Highest-paying job #26: Law teacher (post-secondary)

Average annual pay: $126,230

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 16,430

Projected growth (2014-2024): 13%

Why be a lawyer chained to your device when you can live the lush life of an academic? Well, with grueling research agendas and fickle faculty tenure decisions, this isn't necessarily the plumb position it once was. And even the above-average growth projected in this field is misleading — since much of the anticipated job growth will be for part-time faculty. Still, law schools aren't going out of business any time soon and law profs, as a group, are the most highly compensated teachers in the country.

Highest-paying job #25: Sales manager

Average annual pay: $130,400 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 364,750

Projected growth (2014-2024): 5%

Always. Be. Closing. If that's your motto, this gig can take you far. Sales managers direct organizations' sales teams. They set sales goals, analyze data, and develop training programs for sales representatives. The variation in pay among sales managers is determined by industry: Sales managers in the financial industry make an average of $148,000. Manufacturing and wholesale sales managers earn an average of $118,000 and folks in retail earn $81,000.

Highest-paying job #24: Financial manager

Average annual pay: $134,330

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 531,120 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 7%

After shedding jobs during the Recession, the financial industry is hiring again, though not quite as much as before. Financial managers handle the financial health of an organization. They produce reports, direct investment activities and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization. While the field anticipates average growth, competition is expected to become fiercer going forward: candidates with advanced degrees will do better.

Highest-paying job #23: Podiatrist

Average annual pay: $136,180 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 9,500 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

Podiatrists complete four-year graduate training at podiatric medical school. Podiatrists provide medical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities. Industry growth is expected because of an increasingly active and longer-living population, coupled with chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity.

Highest-paying job #22: Lawyer

Average annual pay: $136,260 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 609,930 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 7%

Becoming a lawyer can still be a winning enterprise, at least for those at the top firms. Though, given the cost of law school and tough job prospects, for the rest it can be an uphill slog. Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes. Industry growth will be average over the next decade and competition for jobs will be stiff: law school graduates outnumber new jobs available.

Highest-paying job #21: Airline pilot, copilot and flight engineer

Average annual pay: $136,400

Number of people with this job in the US: 81,350

Projected growth (2014-2024): 5%

There are some real occupational hazards that come with being a pilot: It is stressful, it's not a beloved industry and it's downright dangerous. But it's getting safer, and the money is good — especially given lower educational requirements for pilots than for other top jobs. Growth is expected to be average, but competition for the plumb posts — flying for major airlines — will be fierce. Low-cost regional airlines and non-scheduled aviation services will provide the most job opportunities

Highest-paying job #20: Natural sciences manager

Average annual pay: $136,570

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 53,450 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 3%

These folks direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. In other words, they oversee the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. You would expect that a buzzy industry that handles R&D and quality control would have strong growth projected. But demand can be affected by shifts in the economy and outside investment, and in the next decade, managers in the natural sciences are expected to see slower than average growth in their field.

Highest-paying job #19: Marketing manager

Average annual pay: $140,660

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 192,890 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 9%

Digital marketing alone is a $62 billion industry. Marketing managers estimate the demand for products and services offered by organizations and their competitors. They also develop pricing strategies to help organizations maximize profits while ensuring customers are satisfied. The industry will expand faster in the next 10 years than the average for all occupations. Advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns will continue to be essential for organizations as they seek to maintain and expand their share of the market, according to the BLS.

Highest-paying job #18: Computer information and systems manager

Average annual pay: $141,000

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 341,250 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 15%

The field of computer information systems managers — or IT managers — is expanding much faster than other occupations. There is high demand for IT professionals, who plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization, as firms increasingly expand their business to digital platforms.

Highest-paying job #17: Architectural and engineering manager

Average annual pay: $141,650

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 179,770 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 2%

It's a designer's world, and we just live in it. Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies. But projected growth is slower than the average for all occupations, the BLS reports.

Highest-paying job #16: Petroleum engineer

Average annual pay: $149,590

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 34,600 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 10%

Drill, baby, drill! Or not. It depends on oil prices. The whole industry does, which is why some petroleum engineers can't get jobs. Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth's surface. Job growth is expected to be faster than for other occupations over the next 10 years. But oil prices are key as higher prices lead to increasing complexity of oil companies' operations, more engineers may be required for each drilling operation. 

Highest-paying job #15: Nurse anesthetist

Average annual pay: $160,250 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 39,410 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 31%

Nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid of all advanced practice registered nurses, which include nurse midwives and nurse practitioners. These registered nurses, with advance graduate education, administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. They also assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians or dentists. There is huge growth expected in this field because of the increased emphasis on preventive care and growing health care demand from Baby Boomers.

Highest-paying job #14: Prosthodontist

Average annual pay: $161,020 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 710

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18%

Somebody has to keep Hollywood in veneered smiles. In addition to cosmetic dental enhancements like veneers, prosthodontists construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures for the mouth and jaw. This field is projected to see much faster-than-average growth: The demand for dental services will increase as the population ages, cosmetic dental services become increasingly popular, and access to health insurance keeps growing, according to the BLS.

Highest-paying job #13: Dentist (specialist)

Average annual pay: $171,040

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 5,550 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18%

Dental specialists focus on an area beyond general dentistry, such as pediatric dentistry. Just as with prosthodontists, the industry will benefit from growing demand.

Highest-paying job #12: Dentist

Average annual pay: $172,350

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 100,080 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18%

As with specialists, the field for traditional dentists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

Highest-paying job #11: Pediatrician

Average annual pay: $183,180 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 28,660 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is a shortage of pediatricians — physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent children's diseases and injuries — particularly in some subspecialties and in rural areas. Growth in this field is expected to be robust, according to BLS.

Highest-paying job #10: Chief executive

Average annual pay: $185,850 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 238,940

Projected growth (2014-2024): 5%

We've all read about CEOs whose pay greatly exceeds the $185,000 average here. But there are plenty of CEOs who lead their organizations without making millions. They are leaders who determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies. They plan, direct or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers, according to the BLS.

Highest-paying job #9: Family and general practitioner

Average annual pay: $192,120

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 127,430

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

Family doctors do pretty well, even as nurse practitioners squeeze in from one side and specialists from the other. General practitioners — physicians who 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. But this field, like most of medicine, will see fast growth in the next decade, BLS projected.

Highest-paying job #8: Psychiatrist

Average annual pay: $193,680 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 24,060

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

Psychiatrists are physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent disorders of the mind. More people use medications to treat psychological and behavioral disorders today than ever before: more than one in five adults now uses medicines prescribed by psychiatrists to address issues like anxiety and depression. So this job isn't going anywhere.

Highest-paying job #7: Internist

Average annual pay: $196,520 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 48,920

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

These doctors diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatments for diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Strong job growth is projected, according to BLS, as demand for health care services ramps up with the aging population.

Highest-paying job #6: Physician (all other)

Average annual pay: $197,700

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 322,740 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

These physicians are those who work outside the classic "doctor" job. They may work in research or at medical schools. They may work in government or laboratories or even private industry. While the position likely involves more research or policy-making than medical practice, these physicians may also examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications and perform and interpret diagnostic tests, according to BLS.

Highest-paying job #5: Orthodontist

Average annual pay: $221,390 

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 5,410

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18%

Orthodontists, who receive specialized education following dental school to examine, diagnose and treat specific dental issues and oral cavity anomalies. They put you in braces — and not just for teenagers anymore — and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws.

Highest-paying job #4: Obstetricians and gynecologists

Average annual pay: $222,400

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 20,090 

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18%

These physicians provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth, as well as diagnose, treat and help prevent women's diseases, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. Over the last 15 years, this field has shifted from being male-dominated to female-dominated.

Highest-paying job #3: Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Average annual pay: $233,900

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 5,000

Projected growth (2014-2024): 18% 

Want to perform surgeries on the face, mouth and jaw? You will be paid well, but not without effort. Requiring at least four years of additional surgery training, oral surgeons treat facial traumas, fix cleft lips and even diagnose and treat patients with head, neck and oral cancer.

Highest-paying job #2: Surgeon

Average annual pay: $247,520

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 41,600

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

Patients are growing savvier about the importance of a good surgeon. These health care professionals — who treat diseases and injuries by invasive, minimally invasive or noninvasive surgical methods — are in high demand.

Highest-paying job #1: Anesthesiologist

Average annual pay: $258,100

Number of people with this job in the U.S.: 29,220

Projected growth (2014-2024): 14%

Often compared with airplane pilots, anesthesiologists thread a delicate needle — administering anesthesia prior to, during or after surgeries and other medical procedures. Despite reports suggesting robots could perform better than humans, many in the medical field still contend that anesthesiologists are not going anywhere. And, as with all medical professions, significant job growth is expected in the next decade, according to BLS.

October 10, 2016, 11:20 a.m.: This story has been updated.