If you are trying to decide among various career paths there are many considerations to make. Obviously you want to be happy over the long-term, but you also probably want a certain level of prosperity.
US News & World Report recently released its 2016 Best Jobs rankings, which showcases the best occupations in the United States.
The publication ranked each job based on median salary, employment rate, growth, job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance. The publication’s full methodology is here.
Here are the top 20 high-paying jobs with pay data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mean annual salary: $113,010
Optometrists are responsible for diagnosing and treating visual issues and eye conditions, such as glaucoma. An optometrist is requires to complete a college-level bachelor’s degree and then finish a four-year doctor of optometry program.
19. Business-operations manager
Mean annual salary: $117,200
A Business-operations manger is responsible for keeping a business running smoothly. Typical tasks for this type of manager include hiring new talent, negotiating contracts, making strategy decisions, and building and leading effective teams.
Mean annual salary: $118,470
A pharmacist doesn’t just sit behind a counter and dole out drugs, they also must understand potential side effects of each drug and understand how one drug may conflict with another. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions from your clients. Be prepared to spend 4 years in pharmacy school before you land this job.
17. Sales manager
Mean annual salary: $126,040
Sales managers are responsible for taking their company’s product or products and getting them in the hands of other businesses or consumers. Typically this role provides each salesperson with a territory and a sales team that they motivate to get the job done.
While some sales managers stumble into the role by providing years of expert sales. Many sales managers typically hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration and have an expert understanding of modern-day marketing.
16. Financial manager
Mean annual salary: $130,230
Financial managers control the checkbook. In this role you will produce profit projections, oversee the cash flow of projects, and coordinate accounting practices. In this role you must be willing to pay incredible attention to detail and a background in finance with a masters degree is desired.
Mean annual salary: $133,470
The nice part about becoming a lawyer is that there are many different career paths to choose from. You can work for a big corporate firm, accept a position as a district attorney, or go into business for yourself. The drawback? You can expect to be in the office for long hours and your clients will spend a lot of money to ensure that you win. If you want to hedge your bets, the highest paid lawyers live in and around San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, California.
14. Information-technology manager
Mean annual salary: $136,280
IT managers are the backbone of a company’s computer systems. They supervise software and hardware upgrades, protect systems from hackers and malware, and coordinate technology issues with top executives. The role of the IT manager continues to evolve as new technologies enter the marketplace. This role also experiences different responsibilities based on industry.
13. Marketing manager
Mean annual salary: $137,400
The marketing manager can take on many roles at a company. For example, they may help with hiring of new employees, and they may complete design work that extends the company’s brand or even re-brands an organization. You will lead a team of very creative people and you must keep them on task as they attempt to deliver marketable items to the organization.
Mean annual salary: $137,480
Podiatrists specialize in feet and ankles. They examine bunions and toenails and offer treatments. They also consult in matters of fractures and sprains. After completing a bachelor’s degree, a podiatrist must attend medical school, complete a three-year residency program, and pass the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam.
Mean annual salary: $142,830
The prosthodontists are dental specialists who build oral prostheses that replace missing teeth. This isn’t just a vanity project — sure you might give someone a great smile, but you could also restore a persons ability to speak and eat.
10. Nurse anesthetist
Mean annual salary: $158,900
Nurse anesthetists help doctors complete painful procedures by administering anesthesia through intravenous drugs or inhaled gases. If you want to become a nurse anesthetist, you must first become a registered nurse and then you must complete at least one year of critical-care experience and earn a master’s degree from an accredited nurse-anesthesia program.
Mean annual salary: $166,810
Dentists help maintain the health of patients’ mouths, gums, and teeth by filling cavities, diagnosing oral diseases, and extracting teeth when needed. You will spend four years in dental school before you have the opportunity to practice dental medicine.
Mean annual salary: $175,400
Pediatricians focus on the physical and mental health of children, from infancy to adolescence. In this role doctors typically have specialties that range from oncology and hematology to developmental behavior and psychiatry.
Mean annual salary: $182,700
Psychiatrists tend to patients’ mental health. In this role you will be responsible for developing diagnosis’ for such disorders as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. You will also treat those disorders and write prescriptions when necessary.
Mean annual salary: $190,530
As a physician you may fit into one of many roles that include primary-care doctors to gynecologists to cardiologists and dermatologists. You will once again need to finish medical school and a residency in order to fit into any type of physician role. The salary you earn will also vary based on the type of physician role you choose.
Mean annual salary: $201,030
Orthodontists build beautiful smiles by fixing irregular bites and realigning crooked teeth. Your tools of choice include traditional braces, invisalign, retainers, and optimized dental plans.
4. Obstetrician and gynecologist
Mean annual salary: $214,750
Obstetricians and gynecologists help maintain women’s reproductive health. Gynecologists screen for HPV and other STDs, help manage contraceptives, and assist patients with various issues. Those who are also obstetricians, or OB-GYNs, deliver babies and monitor mothers-to-be throughout pregnancy.
3. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
Mean annual salary: $219,600O
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons must complete an additional four years of surgical training to be able to perform surgical procedures pertaining to the face, mouth, and jaw.
These surgeons do great work for people in need. You will often find them fixing a cleft lip or administering a face-lift. These doctors are also able to administer anesthesia and diagnose cancer.
Mean annual salary: $240,440
As a surgeon you will open up people’s bodies to correct injuries, diseases, or deformities.
With such heavy responsibility you can expect to spend years in training. After completing a bachelor’s degree and four years of medical school, you will enter a surgical residency program, which takes a minimum of five years to complete.
Mean annual salary: $246,320
As an anesthesiologist you are responsible for administering the drugs that allow surgeons to complete painful, invasive procedures without discomforting patients. While it may sound simple to turn on some gas or administer a needle, this job is actually very complete and requires years of doctoral training.