Charted: America's Top Paying Jobs

You may have heard growing up that the path to a good salary was to become a doctor or a lawyer. It turns out that this conventional wisdom is right—at least partly. Our new visualization uses the most recent data from Glassdoor to illustrate the highest-paying jobs nationwide, based on median salary.

Top Paying Jobs

  • Most of the highest-paying jobs are in the medicine or technology industries. Notably, five of the top ten occupations by salary are related to healthcare.
  • While physician ranks highest on the list, the median pay for this occupation is down compared to last year ($195,842 vs $193,415).
  • Seven of these top ten lucrative careers, especially those related to medicine and law, require a graduate degree. The technology and management roles are also likely to require a college education and/or many years of experience before reaching top dollar.
  • Demand for these occupations also varies significantly. According to Glassdoor’s data from August 2019, there were 17,572 job openings for nurse practitioners, but only 299 for corporate controllers.

The information for this visualization comes from Glassdoor’s 25 Highest Paying Jobs in America report. The report’s methodology relies on data shared by U.S. employees about their compensation, collected from the period of July 2018 to June 2019. All job titles included in the final report received at least 100 salary reports during this time period. To calculate a median base pay that took into consideration factors such as location and seniority, Glassdoor used a proprietary statistical algorithm, grouped similar job titles, and eliminated C-suite level jobs from the analysis.

Our visualization charts each of the top 25 occupations by median base salary, with the highest salaries on the top and the lowest salaries on the bottom. The longer the line on the graph, the higher the median salary. The colors also correspond to the occupation’s relevant industry, broken out into medicine, management, technology, and law.

America's Top Paying Jobs 

1. Physician: $193,415
2. Pharmacy Manager: $144,768
3. Dentist: $142,478
4. Pharmacist: $126,438
5. Enterprise Architect: $122,585
6. Corporate Counsel: $117,588
7. Software Engineering Manager: $114,163
8. Physician Assistant: $113,855
9. Corporate Controller: $113,368
10.Software Development Manager: $109,809

These jobs might pay a lot of money, but is job stability at risk if a global slowdown strikes? Maybe. The U.S. unemployment rate is still at record lows, but the number of job openings nationwide is starting to slow down. Some occupations, such as factory workers, are especially vulnerable to layoffs as the trade war with China drags on. The threat of automation also looms large, as robots are poised to replace the jobs that are highly reliant on technology (a significant portion of the top 25 list). However, jobs that require human interaction, such as those in healthcare, management, and education, are far less likely to be replaced by robots.

How do you think broader economic or technological trends will affect salaries and job demand? Do you think the highest-paid jobs will change over the next decade, and why? Please let us know in the comments.

About the article


Juan Carlos