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1. Psychiatrist

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

Psychiatrists are at the top of this list. How do you feel about that?

Unlike all the other medical professions on this list, a psychiatrist specializes in treating mental health problems. You’re able to focus on either adult or childhood psychology with some flexibility in how and where you work.

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2. Obstetrician-gynecologist

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

An obstetrician-gynecologist — or OB-GYN — specializes in vaginal, ovarian, uterine and cervical reproductive health.

While the schedule can resemble something closer to that of a dentist, the responsibility of delivering babies can add irregularity to your schedule.

3. Surgeons, except ophthalmologist

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

Becoming a surgeon is a highly specialized profession. The job is quite literally life or death.

While being a surgeon is one of the highest paid jobs in the medical field, it’s also grueling work. You'll work long, irregular hours while constantly on-call and fielding questions about procedures.

Focusing on preventative or elective surgeries can help regulate your schedule, but this is often a luxury in the profession.

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4. Orthodontist

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

Orthodontists specialize in correcting the teeth you have rather than replacing them. You’ll be applying braces and retainers, molding mouthguards and all the pleasant dental accouterments that prevent you from chewing gum.

If you’re good at diagnosing problems while they’re preventable, this might be the right path for you.

5. Family medicine physician

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

Your family doctor is someone you should visit regularly for your entire life. If you love seeing the same friendly faces once or twice a year, then this career path is right up your alley.

You won’t be dealing with any major surgeries, but you are the first line of defense when diagnosing. Physicians also have the responsibility to refer out to specialists when a medical issue goes beyond their scope of work.

6. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

When a dentist has reached their last resort, they call in the oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

This job requires you to do surgery on anything related to the mouth or jaw. This can be as simple as a routine wisdom teeth surgery, but could escalate to something like a misaligned jaw, tumor removal or dental implants.

7. Physician, all other; and ophthalmologist, except pediatric

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

The “other” part of this type of physician is a little broad. It could mean being an allergist, cardiologist, dermatologist, oncologist (cancer treatment) or ophthalmologist (eye specialists).

Basically, any of the -ists specializations that aren’t dental related go here.

8. Anesthesiologist

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

Anesthesiologists have access to the best stuff, which is a high-paying salary. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t give an exact range, ZipRecruiter puts the median salary at $363,124.

Your work life depends on when surgeries happen — scheduled or emergency. It can often lead to a long and unpredictable work schedule. But you’re an important part of the operation, as you make sure you provide the right amount of anesthesia to keep the patient sedated.

9. General internal medicine physician

Median salary: $208,000+ per year

As with the family medicine physician, general internal medicine physicians — or internists — deal with common diagnoses. The difference is they specialize in adult diagnosis.

The appointment times are usually quick, so you need to be good at diagnosing effectively.

10. Airline pilot, copilot or flight engineer

Median salary: $202,180 per year

Becoming an airline pilot is a fairly accessible career path, as the required education is relatively low.

You gain the technical skills by getting your pilot's license with a Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight instructor or school. Once completed, there are a few ways to gain experience such as being a flight instructor, on-demand charter pilot or working in the military.

You need a certain amount of work experience to get a job at a major airline. If you want the travel perks without the hassle, consider working as a flight attendant instead.

11. Nurse anesthetist

Median salary: $195,610 per year

If you have always wanted to enter the medical field by becoming a nurse and you’re willing to put in the extra work for more pay in the long run, becoming a nurse anesthetist could be the right career for you.

For this specialized job you will first need a Bachelor of Science and must be licensed as a registered nurse. You will then need at least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit and you'll have to complete a Master of Science in nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Finally, you need to complete a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist training program and pass the National Certification Examination. The entire process will take seven to 10 years.

12. Chief executive

Median salary: $179,520 per year

If you don’t want to go into the medical field but still want to make a lot of money, becoming a chief executive is your best option.

The educational requirements for this position are easy enough to get, but you’re going to have to develop your leadership skills through various management positions to get to the top. There’s flexibility in what industry you choose, but success comes at the price of long hours.

13. Dentist, specialist

Median salary: $175,160 per year

Becoming a specialized dentist, like an endodontist or periodontist, does come with a few more years of school on top of your dental degrees.

But if you want to step up your salary from being a general dentist, picking up a specialization can get you some extra money.

14. Pediatrician

Median salary: $170,480 per year

Getting to make children feel better is a reward in itself, but the pay you’d receive as a pediatrician certainly doesn’t hurt.

Becoming a pediatrician requires the same training as becoming any other doctor. While general pediatricians make less than other general doctors, their work schedules can often be more regular. Be sure to stock up on lollipops!

15. Dentist

Median salary: $160,370 per year

The requirements to become a dentist in each state differ, but mostly the job requires that you be a doctor of medicine in dentistry or a doctor of dental medicine.

You’ll also need to complete a two- to four-year residency from a Commission on Dental Accreditation program.

16. Computer and information systems manager

Median salary: $159,010 per year

Contrary to what you might think, an information technology professional does more than tell you to restart your computer. People in this job need at least a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology to gain the technical skills to assess that restarting your computer is the best option.

A computer and information systems manager requires several years experience in lower-level IT positions before moving up to management.

17. Physicist

Median salary: $152,430 per year

Physicists are out of this world. Well, not quite.

Most physicists actually work in research labs, offices and observatories studying the interactions of matter and energy.

To work in an academic or laboratory setting, physicists need a Ph.D. However, there are also entry-level physicist jobs that don’t require anything more than a bachelor’s degree in physics or a closely related field.

18. Architectural or engineering manager

Median salary: $152,350 per year

If you had fun playing with Lego as a child, then you might have the technical skills to become an architectural or engineering manager.

It’s preferable that you have a master’s in engineering management, technology management or business administration for this position. You’ll need a track record of leading construction on different types of structures.

19. Judge

Median salary: $148,030 per year

Being a judge means having a lot of power within a courtroom and there is a lot of responsibility that goes along with that. Accordingly, becoming a professional judge is a process that can take decades.

Most people in this profession come from a long career of practicing law in addition to years of post-secondary education. They are often appointed or elected into their positions to serve a fixed renewable term.

20. Podiatrist

Median salary: $145,840 per year

When you’re thinking head-to-toe, there’s a reason “head” comes first. But that’s not to say our feet should be looked over.

Podiatrists are responsible for providing medical and surgical care for foot, ankle and lower leg problems. Most podiatrists work in podiatry offices, but some work in hospital settings, outpatient care centers and more. While employment growth is slower than average, the job does offer fairly stable hours.


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About the Author

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton

Freelance Writer

Chris Middleton is a freelance writer at Moneywise. He’s written for CBC News, blogTO, Parton and Pearl and a number of other places. He has a Master’s in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire.

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