Seeking a High-Paying Job? Consider One of These

Posted By Terri Williams on March 17, 2017 at 7:53 am
Seeking a High-Paying Job? Consider One of These

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions an individual can make. Research reveals that college grads often second-guess their school and degree choices, and some critics have even suggested that colleges should have a money-back guarantee, at least in part to guard against spending time and money on a degree that doesn’t lead to a job with at least decent wages. At the other end of the spectrum is a degree that leads to a high-paying job.

While great wages don’t guarantee career happiness, let’s be honest, a high-paying job does help to pay the bills, especially when the average grad leaves school with some degree of student loan debt.

For students who are considering a degree that leads to a high-paying job, Glassdoor’s report on the 25 Highest Paying Jobs in America is a good place to start. Consider the following:

Rank Job Median Base Salary
1 Physician $187,876
2 Pharmacy Manager $149,064
3 Patent Attorney $139,272
4 Medical Science Liaison $132,842
5 Pharmacist $125,847
6 Enterprise Architect $112,560
7 Physician Assistant $112,529
8 Applications Development Manager $112,045
9 R&D Manager $111,905
10 Corporate Controller $110,855
11 Software Engineering Manager $109,350
12 IT Architect $105,303
13 Software Architect $104,754
14 Nurse Practitioner $104,144
15 Solutions Architect $102,678
16 Data Architect $102,091
17 Actuary $99,507
18 IT Program Manager $98,883
19 UX Manager $98,353
20 Systems Architect $97,873
21 Plant Manager $97,189
22 Scrum Master $95,167
23 Financial Planning & Analysis Mgr $94,862
24 Nuclear Engineer $94,852
25 Attorney $94,695


Methodology for Determining the Best Jobs

The jobs evaluated for Glassdoor’s report had to meet specific criteria. There had to be at least 100 salary reports shared by U.S.-based employees from Feb.1, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017. And C-suite level jobs are not included in the report.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, tells GoodCall®, “To ensure the most reliable median base salary for all job titles, Glassdoor also applies a proprietary statistical algorithm to estimate annual median base pay, which controls for factors such as location and seniority.”

Trends for a high-paying job

One factor common to any high-paying job is a role that cannot be replaced by automation. “That is why we see several jobs within the technology and healthcare industries,” Chamberlain says. “High pay also continues to be one of the leading factors job seekers care about when accepting a job.”

The highest-paying job, physician, also was the highest-paying job last year.

Chamberlain also says there aren’t any jobs on the list that he wouldn’t recommend, but cautions, “Job seekers should determine what matters most to them when picking their career – not only salary, but other factors that impact their quality of life.” For example, he explains that becoming a physician might not be a good choice for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in grad school.


Most of the jobs in the top slots are in the healthcare industry. “Healthcare jobs are in demand right now because the expansion of healthcare access, affordability and range of options have increased the demand for providers,” according to Dr. Christian Wright, the Health Sciences Department Dean at Rasmussen College.

Wright tells GoodCall®, “Shortages in primary care providers have promoted the use of allied health professionals in assistant and technical roles. And he’s not surprised that healthcare jobs have lucrative salaries. “The healthcare field pays well because healthcare requires knowledgeable and technically-skilled individuals; their work truly affects people’s lives.”

Students who are pondering a career in a healthcare field might benefit from using the Healthcare Career Matchmaker, an interactive tool that matches personality traits to various healthcare occupations.

Patent lawyer

In third place on the list, a patent attorney earns $139,274 compared with an attorney, which is actually the 25th highest-paying job at $94,695.

A recent GoodCall® article revealed that professors who invent are attracting engineering students. However, they are also creating work for patent lawyers. For example, Lawrence Larson, founding dean of Engineering, and professor of engineering at Brown University, has over 40 patents.

Howie Choset, a robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon University has at least 10 patents. And Dean T. Kyle Vanderlick, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and the Thomas E. Golden, Jr. professor of chemical & environmental engineering at Yale University, tells GoodCall® that it’s not uncommon for patent lawyers to emerge from the field of engineering.


While most of the jobs in the top slots were in healthcare, technology dominates the list. Allison Cheston, New York-based career adviser, tells GoodCall®, “Today there are approximately 250,000 tech jobs that go unfilled – in fact, coding bootcamps are experiencing big growth to help meet that demand.”


Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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