February 23, 2024
Discover the top high-paying jobs of 2021 and beyond, including niche career pathways that pay well. Learn about CEO salaries, in-demand professionals, and high-paying jobs abroad.


We all want to make good money, but finding high-paying jobs can be challenging. With so many career options out there, it can be confusing to know which paths to take to earn a decent salary. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of jobs that pay incredibly well, both within and beyond the mainstream career pathways. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the highest paying jobs that are currently available, offer insights on why these jobs pay well, and provide average salary ranges. We’ll also delve into niche career pathways that may not be as mainstream but offer lucrative opportunities for those with the right skills.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs of 2021

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the ten careers that pay incredibly well. The following jobs are ranked by average annual salary:

  1. Surgeon – $409,665 per year
  2. Orthodontist – $341,190 per year
  3. Physician – $196,490 per year
  4. Psychiatrist – $194,740 per year
  5. Pharmacist – $126,120 per year
  6. Data Scientist – $120,931 per year
  7. Software Development Manager – $120,822 per year
  8. Physician Assistant – $112,260 per year
  9. Product Marketing Manager – $107,584 per year
  10. Nurse Practitioner – $106,540 per year

It’s important to note that many of these jobs require extensive education and training. More than half of the top ten high-paying jobs require medical degrees, for example. Other factors that contribute to high salaries include job outlook and work-life balance. A surgeon, for example, may earn a high salary, but they may work long hours and experience significant stress while on the job. A data scientist, on the other hand, may not require as much education, but they must have strong analytical skills to excel in the field.

5 Lucrative Careers You Haven’t Considered

While many people aspire to become doctors, lawyers, or finance professionals, there are many other lucrative career pathways that may not be as mainstream. Here are five careers that you may not have considered:

  • Global Marketing Director – $215,000 per year
  • Real Estate Attorney – $126,931 per year
  • Patent Lawyer – $131,241 per year
  • Urban Planner – $75,890 per year
  • Geographer – $80,300 per year

Each of these careers requires unique skills and expertise. Being a global marketing director, for example, demands exceptional communication and leadership skills, while a patent lawyer must have a deep understanding of intellectual property law. The salaries offered in these fields may not be as high as those of the mainstream careers we mentioned earlier, but they still offer significant financial rewards for individuals with the right skills.

Behind the Fortune 500s: Salaries of CEOs

If you’re interested in becoming a top executive in a large corporation, you may want to know how much money the CEO of a Fortune 500 company can make. In 2021, the median total yearly compensation for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies was $12.7 million. However, there are notable gender disparities in CEO pay, with male CEOs earning significantly more than their female counterparts. In 2020, the top-earning female CEO in the Fortune 500 made $25.2 million, while the top male CEO made $211.7 million. Industries such as healthcare, technology, and finance tend to have higher-paying CEO positions compared to other sectors.

A Peek at the Paychecks of In-Demand Professionals

Jobs in technology, healthcare, and finance are currently in high demand, with many professionals earning significant salaries. Here are three fields and the average salary ranges for each:

  • Data Scientist – $120,931 per year to $200,000 per year
  • Software Developer – $65,000 per year to $130,000 per year
  • Product Manager – $99,000 per year to $170,000 per year

Professionals in these fields typically possess skills such as data analysis, programming, and critical thinking. The demand for these skills is expected to grow in the coming years, leading to greater job security and higher salaries.

The Cost of Expertise: How Specialized Knowledge Pays Off

Skills or expertise in a particular area can make a significant impact on a job’s salary range. Here are some examples of professions that require specialized knowledge and pay hefty salaries:

  • Chiropractor – $68,640 per year to $148,470 per year
  • Commercial Pilot – $76,470 per year to $169,560 per year
  • Aerospace Engineer – $73,960 per year to $164,210 per year

With specialized skills or knowledge, professionals can offer unique value to their companies, resulting in higher pay packages. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these professions often require extensive education or training, such as a degree in engineering, to gain the necessary skill set.

Exploring Beyond Borders: Jobs That Pay Well Abroad

If you’re looking for lucrative job opportunities overseas, you may find that some industries or professions offer higher salaries than others. Here are a few examples:

  • Oil and Gas Engineer in Norway – $31,760 per month
  • Software Engineer in Germany – $95,000 per year
  • Doctor in Saudi Arabia – $12,000 per month

When pursuing a job overseas, it’s important to be aware of any cultural differences and understand how the job market operates in that country. While the pay scales in certain countries may be higher, the cost of living may also be higher, which is an important factor to consider when weighing job opportunities abroad.


The job market is vast and constantly changing, but certain career paths have proven time and time again to offer high salaries. Whether it’s becoming a top executive or launching a career as a software engineer, many options are available for those looking to make a substantial amount of money. This article provided an overview of the top high-paying careers, both within and beyond the mainstream career pathways. We offered insights on why these jobs pay well, niche career pathways with lucrative opportunities, and provided salary ranges for each profession mentioned. If you’re looking for additional resources to further explore lucrative job opportunities, check out job portals or websites that offer career advice and guidance.

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