When you live in a state like California where the cost of living is higher than the national average, you’ll likely be interested in the high-paying jobs. Finding jobs that pay well is definitely your gateway to living a good quality of life. In this article, we compiled a list of the highest paying jobs in California and included the best jobs in California that you can apply for even without a degree.
California Economic Outlook
California’s economy is one of the largest in the United States, with a gross domestic product of more than $3 trillion as of 2021. As the most populated state in the US, California is a tech hub and is home to a lot of large companies like Apple, Google, and Meta. It’s also arguably the most popular state in the US with its iconic tourist spots, such as Hollywood, Disneyland, and Silicon Valley.
There are a lot of booming industries where you can get the best jobs in California, as finance, real estate, rental and leasing industries add the most value to the state’s GDP, according to Statista. Some of these jobs don’t even require advanced degrees.
The Highest-Paying Jobs in California
|Job Title||Average Salary in California||Average Salary in the US|
|Vice President of Marketing||$281,893||$252,373|
|Pain Management Physician||$265,275||$298,872|
|Internal Medicine Physician||$251,159||$221,202|
|General Surgery Physician Assistant||$137,051||$122,695|
|Software Development Engineer||$102,580||$95,069|
The Best Jobs in California: Explained
In this section, we take a closer look at the highest-paying jobs in California. We detail their various job descriptions and some of the professional degree and education requirements needed. This section will be followed by the best jobs in California that pay well but don’t require a degree.
1. General Surgeon
General surgeons is a medical specialist that performs surgery on patients to cure a wide range of illnesses. They also carry out emergency medical operations and repair damages caused by injuries.
They are also in charge of the operating room and the supervision of other medical professions. General surgeons take almost 20 years to be highly regarded as a licensed medical professional in their surgical specialization, and this is the highest-paying occupation in California.
Ophthalmologists, like optometrists, provide eye care services, such as vision testing and eye exams. However, they differ from optometrists in terms of treating eye conditions and performing eye surgeries. They are licensed to treat glaucoma, remove cataracts, and fix other eye problems. Ophthalmologists need a Doctor of Optometry degree and a license to practice their profession. Optometrists often also need a doctoral degree, though they don’t perform surgery.
3. Vice President of Marketing
Vice presidents of marketing lead the company’s marketing team in executing marketing strategies and achieving business goals. They are responsible for brand management, market research, goal-setting, and budget reviews, to name a few. They provide tactics in response to changing market dynamics and recommendations on how to strengthen the company’s brand position in the market.
4. Pain Management Physician
Pain management physicians recommend treatments to patients with chronic pain problems and work in various healthcare facilities. They help patients relieve their pain and guide them in coping with the stress of chronic pain.
Like any other doctor, to be a pain management physician, you’ll also need to complete a pre-med degree, finish medical school, get a license, and then pick a specialization related to pain management.
5. Internal Medicine Physician
Internal medicine physicians, also known as internists, are medical doctors who diagnose and treat a range of diseases involving internal organs. They employ both surgical and non-surgical methods to provide healthcare services and treat patients. Similar to other physicians, you need a medicine degree, license, residency, and specialization to be an internist.
6. Hospitalist Physician
Hospitalist physicians focus on examining, diagnosing, and treating patients in the hospital. They manage patients and patient history and offer them direct care and offer advice on preventative care. They also conduct research and recommend medicine and treatment programs.
7. Pulmonary Physician
A pulmonary physician has various job responsibilities and some of them include the examination and diagnosis of disorders and lung diseases. They also consult with patients to determine the best treatment plan, they also interpret pulmonological exams.
8. General Surgery Physician Assistant
General surgery physician assistants support surgeons before and after surgical procedures. Apart from assisting surgeons, they also help prepare patients for surgery. They also monitor patients and provide medical care after leaving the operating room.
9. Software Development Engineer
A software development engineer is one of the many types of software engineer jobs with a strong job outlook in the job market. Software development engineers’ primary duties revolve around software programs, from their ideation and design up to their deployment and maintenance. To get this role, you’ll need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, programming, or other related fields.
10. Vice President
Vice presidents are usually the second or third in command at a company. They support the president or chief executive officers by supervising all internal affairs of the organization. They oversee the various departments in a firm and represent the president in his absence during meetings of the board of directors. Vice president roles require a minimum education of bachelor’s degree, extensive business acumen in various departments, and leadership experience.
Highest-Paying Jobs in California Without a Degree
- Real Estate Agent | $93,163. Being a real estate agent in California pays well, as there are a lot of expensive homes and properties in this state. A real estate agent doesn’t require a college degree. You’ll only need a high school diploma and pass a licensing exam for real estate agents.
- Nuclear Power Reactor Operator | $80,394. Nuclear power reactor operators monitor nuclear reactors, generators, and turbines. They also do quality control checks, detect anomalies, and implement control measures. You don’t need to enroll in any degree program for this role. A high school diploma would be enough for this role.
- Web Developer | $75,001. A web developer basically builds and maintains websites. They are in charge of a website’s look and also handle the technicalities of developing a website. A college degree or a graduate degree isn’t required to get this role. You can instead join bootcamps or learn from other resources to be a web developer.
- Boilermaker | $59,956. Boilermakers need some engineering skills to perform the duties needed in their job. They assemble, install, and maintain boilers and other large containers that hold liquids and gas. A high school diploma is required here, but passing the apprenticeship is what will help you get the job.
- Police Officer | $46,175. Police officers have various responsibilities in their job description, such as reporting criminal incidents and speaking to victims and witnesses to crime scenes. Although some police agencies require a college education, police officer applicants typically only need a high school diploma to be considered for the job.
What Is the Cost of Living in California?
The cost of living in California is $2,417 for one person. This cost is 1.25 times more expensive than the national average cost of living at $1,951. California is considered one of the most expensive states to live in the US, but it’s 18th in the best states with good quality of life.
The cost of living index will vary dramatically depending on where you live. In major cities like Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the cost of living will be much higher.
Is California a Good Place to Work?
Yes, California is a good place to work because there are numerous high-paying jobs in California that are available for job seekers. Also, California has the largest economy in the US, which means the career development potential can be limitless. Being ranked 18th best out of 55 places to live in the US tells you a lot about its living and working conditions.
Highest-Paying Jobs in California FAQ
General surgeon is the highest-paying job in California. They receive an annual average income of $464,100, which surpasses the average annual salary of general surgeons all over the US at $410,400.
Five of the in-demand jobs in California are solar photovoltaic installers, occupational therapy assistants, statisticians, and information security analysts. All of these have above 30 percent employment growth forecast by 2028. A degree in nursing can also lead to careers with a strong job outlook in California.
The fastest-growing industries include agriculture, tourism, healthcare, construction, and tech and information sector.
The following are the top 10 best California cities to live in:
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Diego
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Rosa
- Los Angeles
- Vallejo & Fairfield
This list is based on the US News & World Report’s Best Places Rankings 2021-2022, as a result of public data and opinion based on the criteria of desirability and quality of life.
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.
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