Everyone has something that motivates and encourages them to pursue their career, and everyone has something that influences their future career choice. One of the most common motivations you will come across is financial reward. You can live a decent life and have something to look forward to at work when you have a financially rewarding job.
While there are many jobs that pay well, only a few pay exceptionally well. This article is intended to provide you with detailed information on the most financially rewarding careers available in the world today. These jobs aren’t just for college graduates; there’s also a section for jobs that don’t require a college degree. Continue reading to learn more.
What Makes a Career Financially Rewarding?
There are different opinions on what constitutes a financially rewarding career. Some argue that a career is financially rewarding if it pays your bills and allows you to improve your quality of life while remaining debt-free. However, some will only qualify as financially rewarding a job that allows for a life of luxury.
For the purposes of this article, we will consider a job to be financially rewarding if the pay is commensurate with the level of education, skills, effort, and time it requires. Careers that require a lot of time and money to get started but that don’t have a very high salary in return won’t make it to this list.
Top 10 Financially Rewarding Careers You Should Consider in 2023
Financially rewarding careers can be found in any field or area of specialization. This section contains detailed descriptions of financially rewarding jobs from various fields.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Salary: $234,990
- Job growth: 10.3%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree and dental degree
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are medical specialists who treat a wide range of face, mouth, jaws, and neck diseases, injuries, and conditions. They specialize in the hard and soft tissues in the oral and maxillofacial regions, diagnosing conditions and performing surgeries. When necessary, they also consult with other specialists and work to improve the appearance of these body regions.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are in high demand in the medical industry due to the critical role they play. The competition in the field is intense with approximately 11,000 professionals in the US. One reason for the high level of competition is the financial reward that comes with the job, with even the lowest 10 percent of professionals in the field earning nearly $64,000.
- Salary: $217,100
- Job growth: 3.6%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree and medical degree
Psychiatry is a financially rewarding career path that requires a significant amount of hard work to achieve success. Psychiatrists are professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These professionals work in a wide range of settings, including private practices, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Psychiatry typically requires a comprehensive education that includes a medical degree from medical school and a residency. Requirements for practice differ according to the state, but all psychiatrists must be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and obtain a practice license. Currently, competition in the field is low due to a reported shortage. This means people looking to practice will have access to many open positions.
- Salary: $208,000
- Job growth: 3%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree and a medical degree
Surgeons are medical professionals who provide preoperative, operative, and postoperative surgical care as well as treatment of illnesses, deformities, and injuries. They are in charge of making life-or-death decisions during the course of the operation, which is why they must undergo extensive and thorough training.
Surgeons typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a scientific or medical field before enrolling in medical school for their specialty. They will then complete their internship or residency program. The entire training could take up to 12 years to complete. Surgeons are among the highest-paid professionals, and the field is extremely competitive.
Architectural and Engineering Manager
- Salary: $149,530
- Job growth: 4%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
These professionals plan, direct, coordinate, and manage architecture, engineering, research, or development projects. They are in charge of the technical aspects of each project, as well as the project designs and client communication, to ensure that the project meets the requirements and specifications.
Architectural and engineering managers must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture or Engineering as well as a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management, Technology Management, or Business Administration. While the median salary for professionals in this field varies depending on experience and skills, the lowest 10 percent earn around $95,000, which is still significantly higher than most occupations.
- Salary: $141,490
- Job growth: 10%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
A marketing manager is in charge of promoting businesses, products, services, or brands. It is their responsibility to make the brand, service, or product appealing enough to attract customers and profit the company. To accomplish this, they must create marketing campaigns, pricing strategies, and business leads. They are also in charge of the sales and marketing departments of a company.
Marketing managers are expected to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Law or a degree in management, economics, accounting, finance, marketing, or related fields. These professionals play a big role in a company’s performance and profit, which is why they are so well compensated. Some companies may reward marketing managers with a bonus or commission if they meet a specific goal.
- Salary: $137,330
- Job growth: 8%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
Petroleum engineers are experts in the safe extraction of oil and natural gas. They plan and construct boreholes and oil wells, design extraction equipment, and devise plans to recover the oil and gas. They also make cost, effort, and feasibility returns recommendations during drilling activities.
Petroleum engineers must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering. While they can get by with a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions, they will need an advanced degree for career progression. However, even entry-level professionals are well compensated.
- Salary: $130,440
- Job growth: 13%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
An airline pilot does much more than fly commercial aircraft. They also create flight plans after studying weather conditions and gauge aircraft performance. The airline pilot must also inspect the aircraft before takeoff to ensure that the cargo does not exceed weight limits, collaborate with flight attendants, and communicate with air traffic control.
A bachelor’s degree in any field, including engineering or business, is required for an airline pilot. They also need to obtain a commercial pilot license and an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate. They typically begin their careers as commercial pilots before becoming airline pilots. This is one of the highest-paid occupations in the country.
- Salary: $126,930
- Job growth: 9%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree and professional degree
Lawyers are certified professionals who advise individuals, families, and organizations in matters of the law and represent them in court. They communicate with their clients and other parties involved in a case, provide legal counsel to their clients, conduct legal research, and draft legal documents to represent and defend their clients.
To practice law in the US, lawyers must first obtain a bachelor’s degree and then a law degree. Depending on the state of your practice, you may also be required to obtain a Juris Doctor degree from a school accredited by the American Bar Association. This is a lucrative career because there is a high demand for these professionals in the country.
- Salary: $117,670
- Job growth: 45%
- Education needed: Master’s degree
Nurse anesthetists are medical professionals who work under the supervision of doctors or anesthesiologists to oversee the safe use of anesthesia in patients. They administer pain medication to patients before, during, and after surgery. They also help to stabilize patients and monitor their recovery.
Nurse anesthetists work in hospitals and must complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing before obtaining a registered nurse license. They must then complete an internship in acute care before pursuing an advanced degree in nurse anesthesia. Nurse anesthetists earn a six-figure salary because they play an important role in the healthcare system.
- Salary: $111,030
- Job growth: 24%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree
An actuary is a professional who analyzes and calculates the financial costs of risks and uncertainty using their knowledge of math, statistics, and finance. They must calculate and predict the likelihood of certain events, as well as collaborate with businesses to avoid or reduce risk. Actuaries work for insurance or investment companies.
To work as an actuary, you must have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or statistics. You must also complete several certifications and obtain relevant licenses in your state of practice. Actuaries are among the highest-paid occupations, with the lowest 10 percent earning up to $66,030 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $196,010.
10 Financially Rewarding Careers That Don’t Require a Degree
You don’t necessarily need a college degree to earn a good living today. There are many lucrative jobs that don’t require a university degree. Some offer on-the-job training or can be accessed via alternative education programs such as a coding bootcamp. The following is a list of the most profitable jobs that do not require a college education.
- Salary: $110,140
- Job growth: 22%
Software developers design, develop, and maintain software systems and applications. They also collaborate with other developers to design algorithms and flowcharts and write clean, efficient code based on the company’s specifications.
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This occupation doesn’t require a college degree. To become a software developer and work for a top employer, all you need is a strong portfolio that shows you have the skills needed for the job. Many developers are self-taught or have acquired their expertise by attending a coding bootcamp.
Video Game Developer
- Salary: $110,140*
- Job growth: 22%
These professionals design and develop video games for computers, game consoles, and mobile devices. A video game developer works as part of a team to plan and code games based on the ideas of a game designer. They may contribute to character and level design, animation, and unit testing.
You don’t need a college degree to become a game developer. You can learn what you need to enter the field on your own or by enrolling in a coding bootcamp. To have a successful career, all you need is specialized knowledge, technical skills, creativity, teamwork and collaboration abilities, and passion for video games.
- Salary: $74,880
- Job growth: 8.8%
Working under the supervision of the lighting director or art director, lighting technicians prepare and operate a lighting system for a production or show. They are in charge of moving and setting up lighting equipment to ensure that the illumination is optimal.
Starting a career as a lighting technician does not require any degree or formal education. You will need, however, mechanical skills, knowledge of electricity and electronics, and normal color vision, as well as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Salary: $67,290
- Job growth: 7%
A patrol officer is assigned to a specific area and tasked with maintaining order, preventing illegal activities, and protecting people and property. They can also issue tickets and arrest people for violating the law. Most police officers start out as patrol officers.
You don’t need a degree to start a career as a patrol officer. However, you must have certain qualities, such as problem-solving skills, the ability to multi-task, empathy, compassion, courage, resourcefulness, assertiveness, and integrity.
- Salary: $62,120
- Job growth: 11%
Fire inspectors are professionals who study buildings and their blueprints to find out if they comply with federal, state, and local fire codes. They ensure that the building is properly equipped for fire suppression, recommend and enforce corrective actions, and prepare inspection reports. If a fire does break out, they work to determine its cause.
A high school diploma is all that is needed to become a fire inspector. However, depending on the agency, you may be required to complete a training program before assuming this role. To become a fire inspector, you need in-depth knowledge of the fire code and safety principles, as well as communication and leadership skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work as part of a team.
- Salary: $59,600
- Job growth: 9%
An electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical wiring, systems, and fixtures in buildings to ensure proper lighting, temperature control, and communication. Electricians install conduits and pipes to house electrical wires. They also install electrical equipment and safety and distribution components.
Electricians do not need a degree because they are trained on the job. They must also be highly skilled in problem-solving and time management. Good oral communication and collaboration skills, as well as honesty and patience, are also common traits in electricians. Electricians earn significantly more than most trade professionals.
- Salary: $59,050
- Job growth: 30%
Flight attendants, also referred to as cabin crew or cabin attendants, are in charge of ensuring the safety and comfort of the passengers on a plane. Some of their responsibilities include inspecting the plane before takeoff, providing food and beverages to passengers, demonstrating emergency procedures, directing passengers, and performing safety checks.
There is no degree requirement to become a flight attendant, but these professionals have to go through a training program. To become a flight attendant you need excellent interpersonal skills, diplomacy, tact, good health, and good vision and hearing, as well as composure to remain calm under pressure or in an emergency.
- Salary: $56,330
- Job growth: 5%
A plumber is a professional who installs, maintains, and repairs pipes, valves, fittings, fixtures, and drainage systems. Their primary focus is building heating, cooling, water distribution, and sanitation. They work on home appliances such as dishwashers and cookers. They also interpret blueprints and building specifications to create a plumbing material layout.
Plumbers only require on-the-job training with an expert in the field. Some of the traits required for the role are physical strength, mechanical skills, good communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and the ability to follow instructions.
Wind Turbine Technician
- Salary: $56,230
- Job growth: 68%
Wind turbine technicians are in charge of the installation, inspection, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. Their job duties include climbing wind turbines to inspect them, testing electrical and mechanical components, collecting turbine data, and troubleshooting and repairing faulty parts.
Wind turbine technicians don’t require a degree but must possess relevant mechanical skills, attention to detail, communication, and great physical strength. They must also have collaboration, teamwork, coordination, basic troubleshooting, and computer skills. It is important that they are not afraid of heights.
- Salary: $50,850
- Job growth: 38%
Professional athletes compete at the local, national, or international level in a particular sport. They must train regularly to develop and improve their skills and ensure they are at the top of their game. Following a strict diet is also a critical part of the job.
Not all athletes become professionals as it requires a high level of dedication, commitment, and training. Only those that are resilient and determined make it as professional athletes. You also need good decision-making and teamwork skills, as well as a lot of stamina, eye-hand coordination, and physical strength.
*Figure from the BLS page for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers
How to Find Financially Rewarding Careers
Today, there are many places where you can find financially rewarding jobs, including job boards, company websites, and search engines. Below, we go over some of the best places to find openings for lucrative jobs.
Indeed is a top-rated and widely used job site that posts thousands of job openings on a daily basis. Here, you’ll find openings for many of the jobs on this list. Indeed allows applicants to apply directly with a few clicks. You simply need to upload your resume beforehand. You can also sign up for email notifications for job ads that you may be interested in.
ZipRecruiter is another popular job board. It allows applicants to customize their resumes for each opening and apply directly from the app with a single click. Applicants can also message employers through the platform and get notifications for new job postings.
Glassdoor is popular due to its job reviews and salary data. However, this site also has a job board with opportunities from many companies around the world. As with some of the other sites on this list, you can apply directly to these jobs from the Glassdoor website. Job seekers can also save search results and be notified of new openings.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform where people can create profiles to highlight their qualifications, skills, and experience. Companies can also create profiles and use them to publicize job openings and attract candidates. LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with some of the best employers in the world.
Knowing how to use Google effectively can make the job search much easier. Proficiency with this search engine can help you find ads for lucrative jobs in line with your interests and qualifications. You can also leverage this powerful tool to find openings inside your favorite companies.
Why Finding a Financially Rewarding Career Is Important?
A financially rewarding job will help you cover your living expenses without stress and save for retirement, your children’s education, or your dream house. Having a high salary will also help you stay motivated and willing to improve as a professional. All in all, pursuing a financially rewarding career such as the ones highlighted in this article will improve your quality of life and secure your future.
Financially Rewarding Careers FAQ
Some of the most financially rewarding occupations are civil engineer, agricultural engineer, audio engineer, graphic designer, cruise director, cruise ship entertainer, food scientist, art therapist, music therapist, ethical computer hacker, and concert promoter.
Some fun jobs that pay well include video game designer, cruise director, art therapist, music therapist, concert promoter, and personal chef. Personal trainers, financial advisors, personal shoppers, fashion designers, and database administrators also get paid well and report high levels of job satisfaction.
The top-paying professions in 2023 are psychiatrist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and surgeon. Professionals in these jobs earn huge salaries that are well above the national average.
Software development is the highest-paying career that doesn’t require a college degree. Software developers earn a high salary and can get the skills they need for the job by attending a coding bootcamp or some other form of hands-on training.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.