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The 5 Top Paying Careers in Each of the US Major Occupational Groups

By Edited Jun 29, 2016 3 4
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Choosing a Career

Are you planning to go to college but not sure what to major in?  Perhaps you’re already in college, maybe even close to graduating and still unsure or undecided about a career path. You might even be well past your college years but current circumstances require a change in careers. Whatever your situation, information is key when choosing a career path in life.  Knowing which careers pay top salaries can be an important factor when making decisions about your future.

Here is some important information that can help you make a decision on which career path to choose. The information outlines the top five paying careers in each of the US major occupational groups according to the United States Department of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.

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The Five Highest Paying Careers in . . .

The estimates were calculated using data collected from employers within all industry sectors in the metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in each State and the District of Columbia. Estimates, however, do not include self-employed workers. The annual wages were calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a year-round full-time hour’s figure of 2,080 hours (40 hours multiplied by 52 weeks). For those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data. Wages for some occupations that do not generally work full time or year-round are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.

For complete data on each specific career individually, including wage estimates, please refer to the specific articles titled “The Five Highest Paying Careers in…” There is an article for each occupational group, and every article includes detailed data on the industries with the highest levels of employment, top paying industries, the States with the highest concentration of workers, the top paying States, the metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of workers, the top paying metropolitan areas, and the annual mean wage for each occupation.

The following list includes the five top paying careers in each of the US major occupational groups according to the United States Department of Labor Statistics. The information is statistical and subject to change. It is not a promise or a guarantee of any kind. If you would like specific information on any of the occupations listed within the occupational groups, click-on the name of the group. For example, if you’re interested in learning more about the career of a Chief Executive, click-on the Management Occupations link. Not only will you see specific salary information on a Chief Executive, but you will also find information about Natural Sciences Managers, Engineering Managers, Computer and Information Systems Managers and Marketing Managers.

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The 5 Top Paying Careers in Each of the US Major Occupational Groups

Management Occupations

Chief Executives
Natural Sciences Managers
Engineering Managers
Computer and Information Systems Managers
 Marketing Managers

Business and Financial Operations

Personal Financial Advisors
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes
Financial Analysts
Management Analysts
Financial Examiners

Computer and Mathematical Science Occupations

Computer and Information Scientists, Research
Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software
Computer Software Engineers, Applications

Architecture and Engineering Occupations

Petroleum Engineers
Computer Hardware Engineers
Nuclear Engineers
Aerospace Engineers
Chemical Engineers

Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
Political Scientists

Community and Social Services Occupations

Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Social Workers, All Other
Health Educators
Marriage and Family Therapists

Legal Occupations

Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
Legal Support Workers, All Other

Education, Training, and Library Occupations

Law Teachers, Postsecondary
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Economics Teachers, Postsecondary
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations

Art Directors
Producers and Directors
Athletes and Sports Competitors
Fashion Designers
Broadcast News Analysts

Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Healthcare Support Occupations

Occupational Therapist Assistants
Physical Therapist Assistants
Massage Therapists
Dental Assistants
Medical Transcriptionists

Protective Service Occupations

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers
Detectives and Criminal Investigators
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Correctional Officers
Fire Inspectors and Investigators

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations

Chefs and Head Cooks
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Food Preparation and Serving Workers
Cooks, Private Household
Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria
Cooks, Restaurant

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Grounds keeping Workers
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Housekeeping and Janitorial Workers
Pest Control Workers
Tree Trimmers and Pruners
Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation

Personal Care and Service Occupations

Gaming Supervisors
Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance
Flight Attendants
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Personal Service Workers
High Paying Careers People Love
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Sales and Related Occupations

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Sales Engineers
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers
Real Estate Brokers

Office and Administrative Support Occupations

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Office and Administrative Support Workers
Postal Service Mail Carriers
Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators
Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers
Agricultural Inspectors
Farm Labor Contractors
Log Graders and Scalers

Construction and Extraction Occupations

Elevator Installers and Repairers
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers
Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas
Construction and Building Inspectors

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations

Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers
Commercial Divers
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers

Production Occupations

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
Power Distributors and Dispatchers
Power Plant Operators
Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
Gas Plant Operators

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
Air Traffic Controllers
Commercial Pilots
Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels
Transportation Inspectors

The preceding information was obtained through the United States Government, Bureau of Labor Statistics website. It is statistical in nature and not meant to be any type of promise or guarantee of any kind, and is subject to change.


Source - The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

 Copyright Information: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a Federal government agency and everything that we publish, both in hard copy and electronically, is in the public domain, except for previously copyrighted photographs and illustrations. You are free to use our public domain material without specific permission, although we do ask that you cite the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the source.”

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Jul 17, 2011 2:26pm
With the state of the economy, this is timely and helpful information for people who might want to switch careers!
Aug 26, 2011 1:35am
This article is very helpful for students going to University; it is getting harder to find a job and studying a useful subject should be part of your mindset when deciding your future.
Aug 26, 2011 8:08pm
This is a fascinating list. Some of these occupations are for careers that I know my children never considered. I'm sure that many people will find this information useful. Thumbs Up, +1 and Digg!
Apr 8, 2012 10:11pm
Thanks everyone!
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