Advanced degrees = Advanced salaries
It’s hardly a surprise. The highest paying jobs seem to go to those who paid high tuitions.
According to CareerCast’s 10 Best-Paying Jobs of 2014, seven out of 10 of the highest paid professions are in medical professions. (We’re looking at real jobs and careers here and not movie stars or professional athletes.)
Most of these jobs are found in the health care industry and require advanced degrees. This means that a six-figure salary can often come at the expense of six-figure debt. For instance, general practice physicians make an average of $187,200 a year, but according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the medical school class of 2013 graduated with a median debt of $175,000, and 86% of all graduates left with some debt.
The highest paid salary on the list went to surgeons, who make an average of $233,150 a year; general practice physicians came in second. In ninth and tenth place were podiatrists at $116,440, and attorneys, at $113,530, who also face a lot of education before they can practice.
There were only two high paying jobs on the list that don’t require graduate degrees: petroleum engineers and air traffic controllers, who on average make $130,280 and $122,530 respectively. The report cautioned, though, that “for those who choose a different path [than graduate education] to attain one of the best-paying jobs, be prepared to exchange paychecks for a high level of stress.” It described air traffic controllers as dealing with “some of the most stressful working conditions.”
Despite stressful working conditions, jobs as air traffic controllers are hardly up for grabs. The industry predicts only a 1% growth outlook by 2022. Petroleum engineers, however, can look forward to a 26% growth outlook in the same period. All of the health care professions on the list anticipate growth of 14% or higher. “As baby-boomer doctors … reach retirement, there often aren’t enough new doctors,” explained CareerCast publisher Tony Lee.