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What Are The World's Top Paid Careers?

Updated on September 30, 2015

Get Ready for the Big Money List of Best Paying Careers

Where do you fit into this list of top money earners?

We live in an age where everybody is competing for their slice of the proverbial pie. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the job market where opportunities appear to be getting scarcer and the pool of applicants appears to be growing larger. However, there are ways to equip yourself with the requisite skills to make yourself more marketable for higher paying jobs. And in this vein, it's important to draw distinctions between a job and career.

A job is simply something that you do to get paid – it's not necessarily a long-term endeavour. A career on the other hand is something entirely different; a career allows for growth, development and increased earnings power. Today we're going to explore the many fantastic opportunities available to people by looking at careers that provide you with the best opportunities in the job market.

Without further ado, let's get started with the highest paying careers in the world. Suffice it to say, the vast majority of them are in the healthcare sector. Many of these jobs require you to have an undergraduate degree and a secondary degree, and many years of on-the-job experience to hit your peak earning potential. We're going to group the top healthcare industry jobs together so that we can explore the other career opportunities available to you outside of it.

* Surgeons

Surgeons command the highest salaries of all, with a 2014 average annual income of $233,000. If you are looking to become a neurosurgeon like Republican presidential contender Ben Carson, your average annual salary would be around $340,000. However it should be remembered that these professionals are required to study for over 10 years from their undergraduate courses through their residency. Incidentally, psychiatrists have an annual median salary of $178,000, and their focus is on mental health and the prescription medication to ensure mental health. They are required to have medical doctorate degrees.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics the projected growth of surgeons’ salaries, GP’s salaries and psychiatrists’ salaries is 18% by 2022. If you're a GP (general practitioner) you would average an annual salary of $187,000, but the rigourous educational requirements are no less intensive. In fact, medical practitioners are required to complete 4 years of undergraduate studies and 4 years of medical school in addition to 8 years of residency. That's an incredible sacrifice to make for a career that is as demanding as it is well compensated. Not to be excluded are dentists who earned a median salary of approximately $146,000 in 2013. The average annual salary for dentists was reported at $164,000 for the same period. Dentists do not typically see every patient who comes in, since many procedures are non-routine teeth cleanings and oral hygiene-related issues.

* Pharmacists

Also ranking high on the list are pharmacists. Pharmacists are some of the most highly-skilled scientists in the medical field, and their extensive knowledge pays off. The average annual salary of pharmacists in 2014 was recorded at $116,000 – no laughing matter. It should be pointed out that in the U.S. many people are now thinking twice about entering the medical field, owing to the constraints of Obamacare on the medical profession. Regardless, it remains a prestigious and well compensated vocation.

Before we continue with the list of high income earners, it should be pointed out that taking on a medical career requires extensive financial sacrifice. Your student debts typically average over $180,000 by the time you qualify, thereby justifying the high salaries there are required upon graduation.

* Air traffic controller

One of the lesser known vocations is that of an air traffic controller. If you're thinking about standing in those control towers directing hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of planes, helicopters and other flying contraptions, consider that this is one of the most highly stressful jobs in the world. One mistake could cost many lives and cause damage of catastrophic proportions. But for your efforts you will be rewarded with a handsome salary averaging around $122,000 per year.

* Lawyers

The legal eagles are not to be outdone in terms of earning potential. Law is a highly competitive career and simply attending law school, passing the bar and entering the job market is insufficient to guarantee a lucrative career. Attorneys typically earn approximately $113,000 per annum, and they require postgraduate degrees from the very best law schools in the country. Following that, the bar exam must be passed, and in the U.S. this is done on a state-by-state basis. Many law professors discourage potential law students from pursuing a legal career unless the student is passionate about law as a profession. Extensive study and on-the-job training is required to rise through the ranks in the legal profession. However, once you emerge as a competent professional with a respected law from, your earnings will be in six figures.

* Engineers

Engineers are some of the most important professionals in society, as their expertise is required for infrastructure growth and development, strategic insights into planning operations and project management across the board. Petroleum engineers are some of the highest paid careers on the market, with an average annual salary of $130,000 and a projected growth rate by 2022 of up to 26%. It's important to consider the projected growth of careers since this future-oriented thinking indicates scarcity of professionals and the concomitant remuneration for this specific skill set. With petroleum prices currently at multi-year lows, the number of rigs and drilling operations in effect is presently declining. Prices will however rise and new operations will be set up as the daylight between demand and supply narrows and prices begin to rise. This is definitely a career worth considering within the next 5 to 10 years.

* Stocks traders

Professional stocks traders are always in the money, especially if they are financially savvy and can spot market trends. While it is difficult to ascertain precisely how much these professionals can make, six figures plus is guaranteed. Professional stock traders manage millions of dollars in financial assets, sometimes billions of dollars. Depending on where they are in the hierarchy, professional stock traders can command their own salary by spotting important trends in individual stocks and acting accordingly.

Of course we are only considering the legal aspect of stocks trading, since illegal activities have netted hundreds of millions of dollars. Recently a group of traders gained access to press releases from companies before they were made public, thereby accumulating $100 million in profits before the markets knew about the information. As a legitimate stock trader, you can seize opportunities without resorting to underhanded tactics, by simply trading on sensible news releases, upcoming announcements and trends that you spot in the market.

A 2013 report by Forbes Magazine indicated that professional stocks traders can earn big money. Summer interns on Wall Street earned on average $71,000, first-year analysts earned $85,000 and third year analysts earned over $149,000. Don't forget in the stocks trading arena, it's more about bonuses and commissions than it is about total base pay. The more you consult your clients and the more successful you are, the bigger your paycheck. It's entirely possible to not be involved with the Wall Street crowd and still make substantial profits trading stocks. One such way to do this is by trading binary options from the comforts of home while maintaining your day job. And with binary options trading, you needn't concern yourself with the actual size of price movements – the only thing that matters is the direction of price movements vis-a-vis call and put options.

It's important to point out that earning a lot of money in your job, or your career does not require you to spend a decade of your life in university. What is required is passion for what you do. Without that passion, success is going to be hard to come by. Whatever career you opt for, there is no sacrifice for hard work. Fortunately, in most cases your efforts will be rewarded in the career that you undertake. Whether you’re working on an oil rig earning $500 - $1,000 per day, or working as a day trader on the stock markets – your efforts will determine your rewards. Bodybuilding icon and multiple Mr. Universe Reg Park routinely told people that the best path to success was to find something that you enjoy doing and then get paid for it!


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    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      dental, surgeons and nurse jobs are high paying ranks now

    • profile image

      Getrude Hillary 

      3 years ago

      Nice. When I 'grow up' I want to be a plastic surgeon!


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