The 20 Highest-Paying Jobs in the World

Mirror, mirror on the wall – which job is the highest-paying of them all? We did the research and found out, and we want to share our findings with you!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Highest-paying jobs in the world concept showing doctor and ceo

In a fast-changing world, making smart career choices can become a real brain teaser. With some jobs gaining demand and other jobs disappearing, where do you begin?

When deciding on a rewarding career, one important factor to consider is remuneration. Our list of today’s top highest-paying jobs, based on the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, comprises a good mixture of technical and non-technical professions for you to consider.

Below, you’ll find 20 of these jobs, outlining what their average salaries are, as well as the qualifications you need to pursue them. Let’s jump right in!

Watch our video of the jobs that pay the big bucks:

20. Electronics engineer

Electronics engineer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Electronics engineers are the dexterous individuals behind the design and development of electronic components and systems, such as mobile phones. Since these systems are used for commercial, industrial, military or scientific purposes, it’s no surprise that electronics engineers remain in high demand.

How to become: While electronics engineers are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree, any practical experience gained through apprenticeships is also greatly valued.

What they earn: $110,670 per year

19. Electrical engineer

Electrical engineer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Despite the two roles sounding similar, electrical engineers work on more large-scale projects compared to electronics engineers. For example, they may work on building power-generating equipment or electrical systems for aircraft.

How to become: For anyone looking to become an electrical engineer, a bachelor’s degree is typically required. However, we advise you to look into individual companies prior to applying, as requirements may vary.

What they earn: $110,670 per year

18. Postsecondary teachers (engineering and architecture)

Postsecondary teacher of engineering and architecture - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Postsecondary educators don’t only teach college and university students; they help prepare them for their first jobs, too. Though teachers in general have one of the most important jobs in the world, postsecondary teachers in engineering and architecture particularly receive some of the largest paychecks.

How to become: Most postsecondary teachers are required to hold a PhD in their field. However, in some cases, like teaching at community colleges, master’s degrees may also be considered sufficient.

What they earn: $113,150 per year

17. Web developer

Web developer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: You know that gaming app that can hypnotize you for hours at a time? Well, that’s the doing of a skilled web developer. A typical workday for web developers includes creating and maintaining websites and applications, and ensuring that all layouts and functions are accessible. With overall employment projected to grow 23% by 2031, web development can certainly be considered one of the top jobs of the future.

How to become: The requirements for web developer jobs can vary. Although many companies require a relevant bachelor’s degree, high school diploma holders with a strong portfolio are often considered.

What they earn: $113,720 per year

16. Software developer

Software developer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Software developers are “multilinguals” who create and test computer software and applications. We’re not referring to French or Spanish here, but rather the hundreds of coding languages that exist in today’s world.

How to become: Most employers desire applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field, such as information technology. In some instances, a master’s degree may also be required.

What they earn: $113,720 per year

15. Judge

Judge - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: While judges are responsible for presiding over courtrooms all around the world, how they earn their role varies greatly. In the US, for example, federal judges are appointed, not elected, while there’s no standard procedure for appointing judges across Europe.

How to become: In the US, bachelor’s degree holders must attend law school to obtain their JD. Once a licensed lawyer has gained broad experience in court proceedings, they may become elected or earn an appointment as a judge.

What they earn: $119,690 per year

14. Postsecondary teacher (health specialties)  

Postsecondary teacher of health specialties - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: These sought-after postsecondary educators teach courses such as dentistry, medicine and pharmacy. While most find employment in colleges and universities, some may work in general or surgical hospitals.

How to become: A doctoral degree is commonly required for postsecondary health teachers. In some cases, like when applying to work at a community college, a master’s degree may be required.

What they earn: $119,880 per year

13. Fundraising manager

Fundraising manager - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Fundraising managers are excellent communicators who plan, develop and run fundraising campaigns for organizations and nonprofits. One of their main tasks is to identify potential donors and maintain healthy relations with them.

How to become: A bachelor’s degree in PR, marketing or business is a typical requirement. Being comfortable with public speaking and following the latest social and political happenings is also essential.

What they earn: $132,800 per year

12. PR manager

PR manager - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: PR managers often give the impression of omnipresence; they seem to know everything and everyone. This makes sense, as connections are vital in building and maintaining a positive public image for clients and aptly handling crises.

How to become: To work as a PR manager, a bachelor’s degree in PR, advertising or communications is often required. Some positions may require a master’s degree or several years of relevant work experience.

What they earn: $132,800 per year

11. Judicial law clerk

Judicial law clerk - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Judicial clerkships are some of the most high-paying jobs you can get with a law degree. Law clerks are responsible for providing full-time assistance to judges, by carrying out tasks such as legal research and the drafting of court opinions.

How to become: In most cases, judicial law clerks need to have completed their law degree and passed the bar exam. Exceptional research, writing and interpersonal skills are also crucial.

What they earn: $146,220 per year

10. Lawyer

Lawyer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: A profession as old as Ancient Greece! Much like doctors, some lawyers are general practitioners while others specialize in a particular area of law, like intellectual property protection or criminal defense. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an astonishing 48,700 legal jobs will become available each year for the next decade.

How to become: Pre-law undergraduates come from a wide range of educational backgrounds. Many of them major in political science, economics or philosophy prior to starting their three-year JD law degree.

What they earn: $146,220 per year

9. Sales manager

Sales manager - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: The ones with a phone receiver permanently glued to their ear! Sales managers lead companies toward profit maximization while striving to offer the best value to customers. This is achieved by streamlining the entire sales team’s efforts and harnessing the deep insights of data analysis.

How to become: Sales managers usually hold a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing. Previous work experience is also necessary, as it leads to the development of solid sales skills, like networking and communication.

What they earn: $146,600 per year

8. Marketing manager

Marketing manager - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Several missed calls, dozens of new emails and an array of coffee cups surrounding the computer monitor: that’s a day in the life of a marketing manager. Their responsibility is to coordinate the marketing team’s efforts in order to execute fantastic marketing campaigns for services, products or causes.

How to become: Marketing managers are usually expected to hold a bachelor's degree in marketing, business or related field. Previous work experience in marketing is also required, but how much tends to vary from company to company.

What they earn: $146,600 per year

7. Physicist

Physicist - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Physicists do more than dedicate their lives to studying the properties of energy and matter. Through their findings, they often help develop scientific equipment, like particle accelerators, that can be used in further experiments and research.

How to become: Physicists looking to go into research or teach at university level should have a PhD. Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physics may also teach at high school level or find relevant entry-level employment in the federal government.

What they earn: $150,510 per year

6. Astronomer

Astronomer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: The studiers of the cosmos, astronomers devote their time to observing energy and matter in outer space. A lot of the time, astronomers are night owls, as nightfall ensures better visibility of celestial objects.

How to become: Much like physicists, astronomers need a PhD to work in either research or academia. Attention to detail, technical proficiency and a whole lot of patience are also a must.

What they earn: $150,510 per year

5. Flight engineer

Flight engineer - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: While commercial pilots often dazzle us with their abundance of knowledge and skills, there would be no planes to fly without flight engineers. Originally referred to as “air mechanics,” these engineers monitor aircraft systems to diagnose and eliminate any faults.

How to become: It’s a long, long road to becoming a flight engineer. You must first graduate high school, earn a bachelor's degree in aviation, attend flight school to get a commercial pilot’s license — and then obtain a flight engineer certification from the FAA.

What they earn: $169,540 per year

4. Aircraft pilot

Aircraft pilot - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Into the clouds and beyond they go, commanding multimillion-dollar aircraft. Pilots can hold a private certificate for personal transportation, a commercial certificate to hire out their services, or an airline transport certificate to operate commercial airplanes.

How to become: The journey to becoming a commercial pilot begins with learning to fly single-engine airplanes. Once pilots are comfortable flying privately in all sorts of weather, they must complete their multi-engine training and earn a commercial certificate. After a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time, commercial pilots can obtain their airline transport certificate.

What they earn: $169,540 per year

3. Dentist

Dentist - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Our best friends when the clock strikes tooth hurty. While dentists diagnose and treat oral ailments, they’re also trained in interpreting diagnostic tests such as X-rays and safely administering anesthetics.

How to become: As requirements vary between dental schools, pre-dental students may begin their studies by majoring in sciences, such as chemistry or biology. Once they have their bachelor’s degree, they may start their DDS or DMD degree.

What they earn: $177,770 per year

2. Physician

Physician - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Using a combination of preventive care measures and treatment plans, physicians help patients maintain or restore their health. An interesting fact is that family medicine physicians in particular rank the highest when comparing the top highest-paid medical jobs!

How to become: To become a physician, a bachelor’s degree is needed prior to enrolling in medical school. Popular undergraduate majors for medical school include biology and biochemistry. Med students must then complete four years of full-time study to earn their MD or DO degree.

What they earn: $252,480 per year

1. Surgeon

Surgeon - Highest-paying jobs in the world

What they do: Surgeons work closely with theater nurses and nurse anesthetists to diagnose and treat diseases or injuries. While some train in general surgery, others acquire specializations, such as in thoracic, orthopedic, or oral and maxillofacial surgery. For obstetricians and gynecologists specifically, their role combines medicine and surgery, as they train to carry out a wide range of procedures.

How to become: Like all physicians, surgeons must start with a bachelor’s degree, move onto medical school, and then undertake specialized training. Specialty residency programs for surgeons can last anywhere between three to seven years.

What they earn: $294,520 per year

Final thoughts

We hope this list of the world’s highest-paying jobs has satisfied your curiosity! Although deciding on a future career as a student or changing career path later on can be difficult, familiarizing yourself with the highest-paying, most in-demand jobs could be a great place to start.

Are you surprised to see any of these careers listed here, or shocked that others didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on February 27, 2015.