10 highest paying jobs in the US — and the education to get you there

The highest paying jobs in the US require you to commit many years of studying and training.

By U2B Staff 

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What are some of the highest-paying jobs in the US? 

Data shows medical-related jobs dominate the 10 of the list, according to the job search portal, indeed.

Many of these high paying jobs require more than a four-year college degree, but the returns are well worth the time, money, and effort put into achieving it. 

Here are the top 10 highest paying jobs in the US:


1. Cardiologist

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. 

Cardiologists specialise in diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels. 

Cardiologists — like any other medical professionals — undergo years of training and study that typically begins with a bachelor’s in science or a health-related field before enrolling into medical school (which typically lasts four years) before completing a residency programme.

Following this, aspiring cardiologists also complete a cardiology fellowship. 

National average salary: US$351,827 per year

2. Anesthesiologist

Anyone who has ever gone into surgery has come into contact with an anesthesiologist. 

Part of their job includes putting patients to sleep before surgery to avoid feeling pain during surgical procedures. They also play a role in pain management and prep patients for surgery.

National average salary: US$326,296 per year

3. Orthodontist

An orthodontist specialises in oral healthcare.

Not unlike other doctors, orthodontists spend up to a decade studying, starting from an undergraduate course, dental school, and finally an orthodontics residency programme.

National average salary: US$264,850 per year

4. Psychiatrist

The American Psychiatric Association notes: “A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy) who specialises in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.”

To become a psychiatrist, you must complete medical school and complete four years of psychiatry residency. Upon completion, some psychiatrists also complete additional specialised training after their four years of general psychiatry training, said APA.

National average salary: US$224,577 per year

5. Surgeon

A surgeon specialises in evaluating and treating conditions that may require surgery or physically changing the human body. Surgeons engage in two main types of surgery: open surgery as well as minimally invasive surgery.

“Surgical residencies last at least five years, longer than other areas of medicine. After residency, doctors may begin working as surgeons,” notes WebMD.

National average salary: US$216,248 per year

6. Periodontist

The American Academy of Periodontology notes that periodontist are dentists who specialise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants. They are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation.

“Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.”

National average salary: US$214,896 per year

7. Physician

Physicians are also known as doctors, and they are qualified to diagnose and treat patients for illnesses and injuries.

National average salary: US$202,387 per year

8. Dentist

Dentists are doctors who specialise in oral health. 

The American Dental Association notes: “Dentists’ areas of care include not only their patients’ teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas.”

“After earning their undergraduate and dental degrees (eight years for most) many dentists continue their education and training. Some go on to achieve certification in dental specialties.”

National average salary: US$196,417 per year


9. Internal medicine physician

The American College of Physicians notes that internal medicine physicians are specialists who use their scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to diagnose and treat adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. 

“They are especially well trained in the diagnosis of puzzling medical problems, in the ongoing care of chronic illnesses, and in caring for patients with more than one disease. Internists also specialise in health promotion and disease prevention,” it said. 

Their training is not solely concentrated on adults and may include surgery, obstetrics, and paediatrics.

To become an internist, you must complete a residency in internal medicine after medical school before practising. Alternatively, you may choose to subspecialise in a particular area of internal medicine, such as cardiology or infectious diseases. “Subspecialty training, called fellowship, calls for two to three years of additional training,” it said.

National average salary: US$194,938 per year

10. Obstetrician

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) projected a shortfall of up to 22,000 obstetricians and gynaecologists (OB-GYNs) by 2050.

This makes it a strong speciality area for those who aspire to become an obstetrician or a doctor who specialises in pregnancy, childbirth, and a woman’s reproductive system.

National average salary: US$191,931 per year

Ultimately, many of the highest paying jobs in the US require lengthy years of training and study but expect to reap the rewards later in your career.