15 Best-Paid Jobs in America

Last Updated May 17, 2011 4:07 PM EDT

What jobs pay the most? It's that time of year when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics crunches through reams of data on 800 different jobs to tell us how much Americans earn and which jobs pay the most and least.

If you're well established in a career, the news is merely voyeuristic -- a matter of looking over your colleagues shoulders to see what they might earn. But if you're young and seeking work -- or older and retooling -- the annual occupational wage data might suggest where to focus your energy.

Of course, the jobs that pay the most are also the hardest to get. The 10 largest occupations account for more than 20% of the nation's 127 million jobs, according to the BLS. But only one of the 10 largest occupations paid more than the national average wage of $44,410. That one positon: Registered nurse, which pays an average wage of $67,720.

It's far easier to get a job as a waiter or fast-food worker, which account for nearly 5 million positions, but pay less than $10 an hour and make up some of the America's worst paid positions.

Earning a really lucrative income is likely to require lots of schooling. An analysis of the government data shows that the top-paid professions in America are dominated by positions that require a medical degree -- although there are 27 jobs that don't require a medical degree. What jobs pay the most -- and how much is that exactly?

1. Surgeon..........................$225,390

2. Anesthesiologist............$220,100

3. Oral surgeon...................$214,120

4. Obstetrician/gyn.............$210,340

5. Orthodontist....................$200,290

6. Internist...........................$189,490

7. Other physicians..............$180,870

8. Family doctor...................$173,860

9. Chief Executive.................$173,350

10. Psychiatrist.....................$167,610

11. Pediatrician.....................$165,720

12. Dentist (specialist)..........$162,190

13. Dentist (general)..............$158,770

14. Podiatrists.......................$133,410

15. Lawyer.............................$129,440

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