It stands to reason that higher earners have more financial opportunity and flexibility than workers who don't bring in as much income. That's why it pays to know which professions offer greater earnings opportunities than others. Glassdoor conducted some in-depth research on what various professionals earn across the country, and here are the 10 highest-paying jobs, in order of average median salary.
1. Physician -- $242,371
It's not all that surprising to see that doctors top the list of highest-paid professionals in the U.S. But let's not forget that the above stated $242,371 median salary comes at a cost. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average cost to attend in-state public medical school, based on the 2016-2017 academic year, is $138,368. Out-of-state students, meanwhile, pay an average of $234,672, while those who attend private medical school tend to fork over even more. In fact, as of 2013, the average doctor graduated with over $166,000 in student debt. Given that between medical school, residencies, and fellowships, it takes some medical professionals well over a decade to reach the point where they can actually start practicing, that $242,371 may not seem quite as remarkable.
2. Attorney -- $97,150
When some of us think about lawyers, we picture high-powered professionals in business suits toiling away in their offices until all hours of the night. But not all lawyers put in crazy hours, nor do they all bring home the big bucks. In fact, the median salary for a U.S. attorney is just $97,150, and while big-name firms might pay their associates considerably more, public sector lawyers often earn considerably less. Furthermore, those vying for jobs at those big corporate firms are far more likely to get them if they attend a top school -- and that means spending over $60,000 a year on tuition and fees.
3. Data scientist -- $94,859
Technology jobs are booming nowadays, but if you really want to bring home the bacon, you may want to think about a career in data science. Not only does it lend itself to a wide array of industries, but it's currently the highest-paying tech job out there.
4. Tax manager -- $92,370
You'd think financial analysts might have an edge over accountants when it comes to earnings, but the latest data tells us otherwise. Not only do tax managers out-earn regular accountants, but they also bring home roughly $30,000 more per year, on average, than the typical analyst. Tax managers can work in either the public or private sector, though you might fare better by opting for the latter.
5. Product manager -- $90,721
Product managers typically have a lot on their plates, what with developing, marketing, and pricing the products they're responsible for. As such, they're the highest-paid employees in what's considered the "professional services" bucket, which covers everything from marketing analysts to account managers.
6. Professor -- $90,274
Imparting knowledge to future generations can apparently be rather lucrative. U.S. professors earn a median salary of just over $90,000 annually, and considering that many are awarded generous amounts of time off during the school year, that's not such a bad deal.
7. Software engineer -- $86,462
Second to data scientists, software engineers are the highest-paid professionals within the technology realm. Those who get hired by investment banks or research giants are likely to earn even more.
8. Electrical engineer -- $77,152
Though engineers tend to be well-compensated on a whole, electrical engineers earn over $4,600 more per year, on average, than mechanical engineers, the next-highest-paid subset of the lot. But even field engineers, who earn the least among engineers, don't do too badly -- their median salary is $69,831.
9. Physical therapist -- $73,946
Physical therapists don't undergo close to the same amount of training as doctors, and as such, don't typically spend nearly as much on school. Yet they still earn a pretty respectable living -- almost $74,000 a year for the privilege of helping patients recover from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries.
10. Project manager -- $73,162
The beauty of being a project manager is that you can market your skills to a number of industries. Though the median project manager salary is pretty impressive in its own right, you might earn substantially more if you're hired by a banking or large corporate firm.
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