Many Americans may feel as if they can't get ahead after years of stagnating income for the middle class. The good news is that high-paying jobs are available, but the bad news is that many of them require specialized skills and in some cases years of training.
Money is often the top factor when job hunters are on the prowl for a new position or career. But even so, salaries shouldn't be the only consideration, given that the biggest factors in whether workers are happy in their jobs turn out to be career opportunities, company culture and trust in senior leadership, said Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst at employment site Glassdoor.
The top-paying jobs in America tend to cluster in three categories, Glassdoor found: technology, finance and health care. While some require extensive training and graduate school, others can be found after taking classes or learning skills in technology, such as data science or computer programming.
"Seven in 10 of us look at salaries as the main factor before we determine where to work," Dobroski said. "If you're in college and determining where to work and want to make a lot of money, these are the jobs carrying the heftiest pay checks."
Still, he noted that money isn't everything. Job satisfaction is also important, and many people are driven by the desire to make a difference in the world through jobs such as social work or teaching, occupations that don't traditionally include big paychecks.
Since the median household income in the U.S. stands at about $54,000, all of the most lucrative careers offer considerably more than many Americans currently earn.
Read on to learn more about the 11 top-paying careers in America.
11. Engagement manager: $120,000
An engagement manager is a relatively new job description, notes Glassdoor. A person in this role is managing the relationship between a company and its clients. The job also includes handling the finances of a business relationship, such as overseeing account payable issues.
Glassdoor currently has about 1,452 openings for engagement managers on its site.
10. Solutions architect: $120,000
This technology-focused job title describes a person who "collaborates on products with colleagues and is responsible for the design of a product," said Dobroski. "They also meet with clients and turn requests into designs."
This position has more than 2,800 job openings on Glassdoor.
9. IT manager: $120,000
Many Americans may be familiar with IT managers through their own workplaces, where these employees oversee a company's computers, networks and data storage. Glassdoor currently has more than 3,150 job openings for IT managers.
8. Integrated circuit design engineer: $127,500
This specialized job falls into the category of engineering, Dobroski noted. Intergrated circuit designers help create circuits for electronics and computers. While a high-paying job, Glassdoor has only 165 openings for the role on its site, suggesting it may be more of a niche field than some other jobs on the list.
7. Software architect: $128,250
Software architect oversees which systems will work best for a company, and it's a job that requires years of training. Typically a software architect will have a computer science degree and excellent programming skills. This high-paying job has only 655 openings on Glassdoor.
6. Strategy manager: $130,000
This newer job title describes an employee who is hired to assess and determine company's strategy, Dobroski noted. These workers can be found in several industries, ranging from technology to health care. The role currently has 701 openings available.
5. Pharmacy manager: $130,000
Pharmacy managers are just that: pharmacists who manage a pharmacy. Reaching this role means having first earned certification as a pharmacist, which requires graduating with a PharmD from a pharmacy college, and then earning state licenses. Glassdoor has 1,766 job openings for pharmacy managers.
4. Software development manager: $132,000
Software development managers oversee software developers and projects to make sure that they're hitting their goals. Glassdoor has almost 3,500 job openings for this role.
3. Research & development manager: $142,120
Research and development managers may earn a lot, but there aren't many openings at the moment, given that Glassdoor lists only 112.
"This is someone who directs all research in company development initiatives," said Dobroski. "It involves introducing new products, then creating recommendations" on how to implement them.
2. Lawyer: $144,500
Becoming an attorney is a path many Americans may be more familiar with, given that the country has more than 1.25 million attorneys, according to the American Bar Association.
Would-be legal eagles need to go to law school, which can be a pricey proposition: The average graduate from a private law school leaves with $125,000 in debt. Still, securing a high-paying legal job can help pay down that debt. The number of job openings on Glassdoor is 995.
1. Physician: $180,000
Physicians may earn a lot, but they've often sacrificed a lot to reach that role. After earning a bachelor's degree, they spend four years in medical school, then earn a license. The next step is a completing a residency, which can last for three to seven years.
Physicians can work in a number of specialities, which can have varying rates of compensation and time demands. Glassdoor has more than 2,000 job openings for physicians.
Other top-paying jobs
Here are the remainder of Glassdoor's top-paying jobs.
12. Applications development manager: $120,000
13. Pharmacist: $118,000
14. Systems architect: $116,920
15. Finance manager: $115,000
16. Data scientist: $115,000
17. Risk manager: $115,000
18. Creative director: $115,000
19. Actuary: $115,000
20. Data architect: $113,000
21. Tax manager: $110,000
22. Product manager: $107,000
23. Design manager: $106,500
24. Analytics manager: $106,000
25. Information systems manager: $106,000