Highest-Paying Jobs in 2017

Working at a job you love for top dollar — that’s the American dream in a nutshell.

Well, if you’re hoping to achieve that dream in 2017, it looks like you’re going to have to love healthcare, management, law or engineering.

Of course, there are plenty of great-paying jobs across the country, but according to recent studies, America’s best prospects come down to those four growing fields.

America’s Top 20 Highest-Paying Jobs

The following 20 occupations make up America’s top high-paying jobs for 2017, as ranked by US News and World Report and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to salary and projected job growth, these jobs were ranked based off employment rate, work prospects, stress and work-life balance.

Rank Job Title Average Annual Salary Projected Growth from 2014-2024
1 Anesthesiologist $258,100 21%
2 Surgeon $247,520 20%
3 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon $233,900 18%
4 Obstetrician and Gynecologist $222,400 18%
5 Orthodontist $221,390 18%
6 Physician $196,520 9%
7 Psychiatrist $193,680 15%
8 Pediatrician $183,180 10%
9 Dentist $172,350 18%
10 Prosthodontist $161,020 18%
11 Nurse Anesthetist $160,250 19%
12 Petroleum Engineer $149,590 10%
13 Information-Technology Manager $141,000 15%
14 Marketing Manager $140,660 9%
15 Lawyer $136,260 6%
16 Podiatrist $136,180 14%
17 Financial Manager $134,330 7%
18 Sales Manager $130,400 5%
19 Business-Operations Manager $119,460 7%
20 Pharmacist $119,270 3%


Health care positions largely dominate this top 20. Despite the stress and unpredictable hours many people associate with medical jobs — especially those “Grey’s Anatomy” fans — the positions that made it onto this list are much more regulated than the schedule of your average TV drama surgeon.

The Highest-Paying Jobs Geographically

Want a more localized breakdown? Here it is. On the graphic below, borrowed from Business Insider, you’ll see the high-paying jobs laid out by state:

The Highest Paying Jobs in Each State, 2017

Careers in health care dominate the map, although the highest paying opportunities vary by state.

What does this mean for you? Simple. It means location can have an impact on the best opportunities for career growth, and it never hurts to have some awareness of how the two influence one another in your field.

Great Careers Outside of the Top 20

Even if your professional field falls somewhere outside the realm of these 20 jobs, that doesn’t mean you can’t also get killer benefits, fair work terms and competitive pay. To ensure that you’re capitalizing on career-growing opportunities, run through this checklist before your next job hunt:

  • Determine where you want to live and work — if top dollar is your priority, make sure you research where your specialty is most valued
  • Research competitive pay and benefits in that geographic area
  • Armed with your research, brush up on how to negotiate a salary before your interview

The bottom line — make an effort to stay informed. Being knowledgeable about the current state of your field helps you determine your own specific career goals, simplifies your job search and impresses interviewers.

Share More, Learn More

If you’d like to stay up to date on more ways to grow your career, or even if you just want to share your thoughts on 2017’s top 20, subscribe to the Punched Clocks newsletter.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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