Are you struggling to pick a career path to pursue in 2023? Perhaps you’re considering making a career switch, choosing a college major, or deciding what coding bootcamp is best for you. While it’s important to be passionate about your job, picking a career that pays well and has promising growth prospects is an essential part of the decision-making process.
Your career is an investment and every good investment yields profitable returns. If your career won’t make you financially independent, or at least let you comfortably cover your basic needs and wants, then you should review your decision. To make your career decision as seamless as possible, this article offers you a compiled list of the highest-paying careers to consider in 2023.
What Makes a Career High Paying?
In a high-paying career, you’ll earn more than the national average of salaries across all industries. As of this writing, the median salary for all occupations is $41,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). If your earnings make it easy for you to comfortably purchase goods without taking on debt, then you have a high-paying career.
A high-paying career would enable you to purchase adequate health insurance and allow you to fund a good retirement package. It would allow you to comfortably invest in real estate, go on vacations, and set up alternative passive sources of income. With a high annual wage, you can also enjoy the luxury of early retirement.
Top 10 Highest Paying Careers You Should Consider in 2023
Below are some of the best-paying careers in the world. You’ll find details about their educational entry requirements, average salary, and industry growth outlook.
Chief Executive Officer
- Salary: $781,550
- Job growth: -6%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s Degree in Business Management
Chief executive officers (CEOs) are the top executives in companies. They report to a company’s board of directors. With the help of the other top executives in the company, CEOs utilize their problem-solving skills to oversee the daily running of a business. They implement the decisions of the board and provide feedback on the business’ performance. This role is challenging, especially because the position is often under a lot of scrutiny from stakeholders.
CEOs receive high annual earnings and lots of privileges which make up for the stresses of the job. To become a CEO, you need a vast knowledge of all the interrelated disciplines in business, including law, economics, and finance. Professionals in this role are usually graduate degree holders with a Master’s Degree in Business Management from a business school. Some extend their educational qualifications to include doctorate degrees.
Neurosurgeons are highly skilled medical care professionals who are experts at diagnosing and performing complex surgeries on patients with neurological diseases and disorders. These specialists are knowledgeable about the nervous system, including both the peripheral and central nervous systems. Individuals who choose this profession are subject to a demanding career but will earn a high annual wage.
To become a neurosurgeon, you need to attain multiple education levels. Typically, you would need to go through a four-year undergraduate degree, medical school, an internship, an intensive residency, and fellowship in a reputable hospital. To practice medicine you’ll need to be licensed by a national medical board, state board, and the national board of neurosurgeons.
- Salary: $404,100
- Job growth: 3%*
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Medical degree
A cardiologist is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of the heart and the blood vessels in the cardiovascular system. Cardiologists study and develop new treatment procedures, conduct complex surgeries on the heart, and provide consultations to other professionals within and outside their field.
To become a cardiologist, you’ll need an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree. You also need multiple professional certifications including a United States Medical license, state license, and cardiology board license. The training period for cardiologists typically lasts for more than 16 years.
- Salary: $402,000
- Job growth: 3%*
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree, Medical degree
An anesthesiologist is skilled in medically inducing numbness or unconsciousness during surgical procedures. They inject patients with anesthetic drugs that put them to sleep, relieve pain, or make them numb during the surgery. They also monitor the effects of the drug on the patient. Anesthesiologists are essential members of surgical operations, often liaising with nurse anesthetists after surgery is complete.
To become an anesthesiologist, you’ll need a college education in any of the science disciplines of your choice. Some students go for pre-med to prepare themselves for the rigorous training their field entails. An anesthesiologist will typically go through medical school, a residency program, and a fellowship program. They hold national, state, and board licensing to specialize in a particular niche in the field.
- Salary: $236,209
- Job growth: 3%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Medical degree
A psychiatrist is a health practitioner that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and diseases. Their job also extends to include the treatment of behavioral and emotional disorders. They conduct medical lab and psychological examinations on patients to detect the nature of their mental illness and properly classify their treatment.
To become a psychiatrist, you need a degree in psychology or a related discipline. Then, you must pass the medical college admissions test (MCAT), along with applicants in other medical professions. Successful candidates go on to medical school for four years. After acquiring your medical degree, you will apply to a residency program. At the end of your residency, you can sit the psychiatric board exam to be licensed as a specialist.
- Salary: $164,010
- Job growth: 8%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s degree, Professional degree from a dental program
Dentists provide care to individuals through dental and oral health. Their job role includes diagnosis, surgical treatment, and consultation on physical regions associated with the oral cavity. Most dental surgeons go on to own a private practice or enter partnerships with other professionals in their field.
Information Systems Manager
- Salary: $151,150
- Job growth: 11%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Coding bootcamp
Information systems managers are tech professionals who specialize in the maintenance of infrastructural systems and networks within an organization. They manage IT teams including database administrators, network architects, systems, and security analysts. An information systems manager coordinates efforts in researching, building, testing, debugging, and updating IT hardware and software systems.
To become an information systems manager, you need more than a computer science degree or a certificate from one of the best information technology bootcamps. You also need technical skills and years of work experience in an IT role. Some organizations prioritize applicants with a master’s degree but this isn’t a major requirement to become an information systems manager. You can substitute additional education with work experience and a broad IT skillset.
A software architect controls the technical efforts of a software development team. These professionals develop and implement the tools and techniques used by programmers and developers in the production process. They liaise with clients and other cross-functional teams to construct the technical development framework and implement standards to be adopted for projects.
- Salary: $142,170
- Job growth: 10%
- Education needed: Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing or Business, Master’s degree
A marketing manager is a business professional who specializes in coordinating the marketing efforts of businesses. Marketing managers lead marketing teams in devising and managing marketing plans and campaigns using effective marketing techniques, processes, and platforms. They position the company’s products as desirable and capitalize on the branding to generate sales according to business requirements.
To become a marketing manager, you need an undergraduate degree, preferably one in marketing, business, or media management. Some employers prefer master’s degree holders. To succeed in this role you need to build your creative, research, analytical, and interpersonal skills, alongside possessing strong communication skills.
Petroleum engineering involves crude oil and natural gaseous exploration, extraction, and production. These professionals are focused on all aspects of hydrocarbon production. They perform liquid and gaseous compound drilling operations. Petroleum engineers also test drilling equipment and troubleshoot complications that may arise with the drilling plants, processes, and equipment.
To become a petroleum engineer, you require a bachelor’s degree, typically majoring in chemical engineering. Some petroleum engineers go on to acquire a master’s degree to boost their industry leverage but it’s not a requirement for securing a job in this field.
*This statistic is grouped under Physicians and Surgeons on BLS
10 Highest Paying Careers that Don’t Require a Degree
There are several fields that enable individuals to make six figures without a degree. You may not be able to enter the highest-paying occupation out there, but you can still be an affluent professional with minimal education. Below you’ll find a detailed list of alternative careers that are easy to break into and have a high annual wage.
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A commercial pilot flies an aircraft conveying cargo and persons or performs other tasks like aerial surveillance. Commercial pilots hold a commercial pilot license, exceeded by that of an airline transport pilot. To earn a high annual salary as a commercial airline pilot, you need up to six months of education.
The US federal government stipulates that commercial pilot applicants must be up to 18 years old. Before being allowed to take the commercial pilot test, you should already possess a private pilot license. The required flight training hours for commercial pilots is 250 hours.
Corporate Executive Chef
A corporate executive chef works in a hotel or restaurant and manages the culinary efforts of other chefs in the kitchen. They decide and plan the kitchen menu that the cooks will work to create. Chefs manage the kitchen supply and coordinate the hiring and training of cooks and junior chefs.
To become a corporate executive chef, you need a high school diploma and a certification from a culinary arts school. A culinary school offers you the meal preparation training you need for a demanding career as a professional chef.
Power Plant Operator
Power plant operators work in power plants and coordinate the distribution of electricity. They control the voltage and flow of electricity to power plants. They maintain and repair the equipment used in distributing electrical power. This role is skill-based and requires more on-the-job training than formal education.
Power plant operators don’t need a college degree to get started in their roles. But they need a high school diploma or GED. Interested applicants typically go through intense apprenticeships lasting for a couple of years to gain the required knowledge and technical skills needed for their careers.
Elevator technicians are professionals who assemble, install, repair, and manage elevation and escalation services. They work on elevators, escalators, and electric lifts. They have technical knowledge of the electrical components and tools used in making elevators functional. They mostly work for building construction companies but some work as maintenance staff in government agencies or private buildings.
To become an elevator technician, you must be 18 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or GED. You’ll pursue an apprenticeship program to gain the required on-the-job training. This skill-based role is ideal for you if you are physically fit, have no fear of heights, and like repairing electronic systems and equipment.
Executive assistants provide administrative support to top executives in organizations. Their tasks usually include handling office files and calls, taking messages, and attending to clients and other members of the company on behalf of their bosses. They schedule meetings and manage the calendars of their bosses.
To become an executive assistant, you need a high school diploma. While some employers prefer candidates with degrees, it is not a requirement to break into the field. Some executive assistants hold certificates from technical schools, others have years of experience providing administrative assistance.
Police detectives are legal investigators. They work for the state’s defense department, particularly law enforcement agencies, and provide leads and evidence used in resolving criminal cases. To become a police detective, you need a high school diploma. You also need to attend a police academy.
All detectives have to start as police officers, especially as patrol officers, to gain the required field training on how to protect and serve civilians. After one or two years, they can choose a unit in the department and become training officers to rookie officers. To become a detective without a law school degree, you need years of experience and must pass the promotional exam.
Sales representatives sell products to consumers. They are usually in direct contact with prospective buyers. They implement marketing tactics to convert prospects into repeat buyers. Sales representatives can be door-to-door salespersons or sales managers and attendants in wholesale and retail stores.
Typically, this profession relies more on personal characteristics, like strong communication skills, rather than academic qualifications. The typical entry-level education for sales representatives is a high school diploma. Most employers handle on-the-job training for sales representatives to acquaint them with the products and culture of the company.
Electrical or Electronics Technician
Electrical or electronics technicians cover the assembly, installation, repair, and maintenance of electrical and electronics systems and tools. They work alongside electrical engineers to provide technical support in designing computer systems and other electronic devices. This role is skill-based and requires on-the-job training.
Interested candidates must have graduated from high school or have acquired their GED. Then, they must pursue an apprenticeship training program where they can learn the technicalities of this field. To advance in this career and become an electrical engineer, a degree in engineering is required.
Sound engineers are individuals who work with sound technologies. Individuals in this profession handle the technicalities involved in producing studio or live music. Sound engineers create sound outputs, and they also repair and maintain the equipment used in producing musical or audio content.
To become a sound engineer, you must have a high school diploma. This is a skill-based role so you can learn all you need to through an apprenticeship with a sound engineer or sound company. While this role is seen by most people as a creative role, it requires precise technical expertise which can only be nurtured through consistent practice.
Firefighters are trained professionals who fight fires. They are usually called upon to put out fires or rescue victims from dangerous situations and environments. Firefighters are typically between 18 to 35 years of age and hold a high school diploma. As an aspiring firefighter, you should have an EMT certification.
How to Find the Highest Paying Careers
There are several advantages to choosing a high-paying career but most people don’t know how to get started in securing one. If you’re interested in launching your career in a high-paying field with good job security, these are some of the steps you should take to achieve success.
Discover the Highest Paying Careers
The major emphasis here is on research. You need quantifiable data to make a rational decision and that’s what research affords you. You can conduct your career research online or by interviewing practitioners in your desired field.
You should gather details about the problems that professionals tackle, alongside their job outlook, challenges in the field, and work environment. It’s also important to learn about the annual salary, career development, job security, and the typical entry-level education requirements you’d need to enter their field.
Get the Requisite Education
Most of the best-paid jobs are in the medical profession. These roles often require almost two decades of education, including advanced degrees and a doctoral degree, to properly specialize as an expert in a particular niche.
You should ensure that you are aware of and comfortable with gaining the educational requirements of your chosen career path. Also, ensure you pick a role based on your passions and interests. This will motivate you to keep going when your career becomes complicated or stressful.
Build a Tailored Portfolio
A portfolio is a justification of your education. It’s a way to prove to employers and hiring managers that you have the knowledge and skills you claim to have. Your portfolio should be expertly structured and it should show the pace of your professional development. The advantages of building a portfolio are numerous. With an impressive portfolio, you can negotiate a better annual salary and better working conditions.
Visit the Right Job Platforms
To find some of the highest-paying jobs, check out platforms like 100K Crossing, Find MyProfession, Dice, The Ladders, Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Scouted. These professional job boards help job seekers find high-paying jobs from verified employers. Some of these platforms provide cover letter and resume templates and reviews to boost applicants’ chances of landing the best-paying jobs.
Apply to your Desired Employer
The last step in how to find high-paying jobs is getting a high-paying job! If you’ve taken the time to gain the knowledge, build your portfolio, and prepare your resume, start sending out applications to entry-level jobs you feel are the right fit for you. There are several factors to consider when choosing a company to work for. Always ensure there are opportunities for growth and collaboration. Your goals should also align with the culture of the company.
Why Finding a High Paying Career Is Important
A high-paying career enables you to attain stable financial independence. With a high annual wage, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and acquire advanced degrees or additional training since money is no longer a constraint. You can also acquire luxury items for yourself as compensation for your hard work. A high-paying career also positions you as an essential member of society.
Highest Paying Careers FAQ
Picking the right career can happen in three successive steps. First, discover what your interests and passions are. Secondly, find careers that can help you build your talents. Thirdly, find out the entry requirements, average salary, job outlook, growth opportunities, and cost of pursuing your top selected careers. The results of your research will give you a more reliable and realistic approach to picking the right career path.
Any career path can be considered the best career since it’s relative to the criteria set out by the individual. Generally speaking, a career can be considered the best when it provides opportunities for the professional to advance in knowledge, skill, income, and position. A successful career allows you to efficiently manage your work-life balance. It is engaging and actively solves a real-world problem.
There are a couple of jobs that can turn you into a millionaire within the course of your career. Jobs that position you as a public icon are usually the easiest ways to become a millionaire. Becoming an actor, musician, inventor, financial manager, financial advisor, creator, entrepreneur, or athlete are some of the credible channels to become a millionaire or billionaire.
According to BLS, the fastest-growing careers are those in technology, engineering, entertainment, and medicine. Careers such as motion picture projection, wind turbine services, ushering and attendance, nursing practice, and solar photovoltaic installation are projected to experience high career growth rates, and therefore better job security, within the next decade.
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.