17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money (+ exact salary numbers)

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money


17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money (+ exact salary numbers)

In high school, my best friend and I looked through a giant book of jobs and their salaries. We wanted to know which jobs or careers make a lot of money and immediately flipped to the end to find out.

In this article, we’ll cover the 17 best jobs and careers that make a lot of money, including what each job entails and salary expectations.

But if you’re already employed and want to negotiate a raise, I have some great tips to help you get the bump you deserve. You can also check out my helpful video on properly asking for a raise:


Top 17 Jobs & Careers That Make a Lot of Money

1. Accountant

One of the best jobs that makes a lot of money and is stable, is an accountant. An accountant performs financial calculations for individuals, small businesses, and large corporations.

Accountants must know how to examine and prepare a variety of financial reporting forms, helping customers or businesses remain in compliance with accounting rules and laws.

Accountants may need to work long hours at certain times of the year, such as during tax calculation time.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree for highest-paying jobs, some licensing and certification
  • Average annual salary: $70,500
  • Top annual earners: $500,000 plus
  • The downside is that some of the work is pretty dull. It’s also rare to reach a seven-figure salary compared to other jobs on our list

2. Business Executive

A business executive could hold a multitude of jobs at a company, including CEO, CFO, or COO. A founder of a business could end up being the CEO because he or she knows the industry and the business.

On the other hand, someone with a formal business degree and business training could move into an executive role to help any business run more efficiently and profitably. With bonuses included, business executives can earn huge annual salaries.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree for highest-paying jobs, on-the-job training
  • Average annual salary: $104,980
  • Top annual earners: $5 million plus
  • The downside: These are typically high-stress jobs that may require decades or more to reach a lucrative business executive position

3. Computer System and IT Manager

A computer system manager or IT manager will oversee all computer-related systems and processes in a company or organization.

This can include things like planning out hardware purchases, installing computing software, managing a network, and performing troubleshooting.

IT managers need quite a bit of education, including ongoing education, to stay up-to-date on new techniques and tech products.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, ongoing education
  • Average annual salary: $142,530
  • Top annual earners: $500,000 plus
  • The downside: is that it can require long working hours, extensive education, and is is is rare to reach a seven-figure salary

4. Engineer

Engineers can design things like aircraft, cars, boats, spacecraft, satellites, large buildings, bridges, computers, and infrastructure. Chemical engineers will work with fuel and drugs to solve problems with the use of these substances. Other types of engineers may try to solve environmental problems or help people perform jobs more efficiently and safely. Engineers rely on math, physics, biology, and chemistry to perform their work.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree for highest-paying jobs, on-the-job training
  • Average annual salary: $80,170
  • Top annual earners: $500,000 plus
  • The downside: is that it requires a high level of mathematical ability and is rare to reach a seven-figure salary in this profession compared to others on our list

5. Chiropractor

A chiropractor cares for patients with health problems related to the neuromusculoskeletal system, including the spine. Chiropractors provide specialized therapy that does not include medication or surgery, but they still rely on medical-based tests in order to devise and administer the right set of therapies.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, Doctor of Chiropractic degree, must pass both national board and state-level tests to obtain a license
  • Average annual salary: $154,245
  • Top annual earners: $265,000 plus
  • The downside: Unlike treatment from a medical doctor, some chiropractic treatments are not covered by traditional employer-sponsored insurance, requiring the patient to pay out of pocket. This limits the patient base, potentially making it difficult to build a practice

6. Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists provide psychological evaluations and assessments, consultation, therapy, and follow-up. While they cannot prescribe medication, clinical psychologists still provide valuable guidance.

Clinical psychologists can work independently in their own private practice or they can work for medical clinics, hospitals, non-profit organizations, or government entities (such as the VA).

Clinical psychologists can even be employed by corporations as the in-house psychologist helping employees (perhaps with stress management) or as organizational psychologists identifying ways to increase both efficiency and satisfaction in the workplace.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certifications based on industry or specialization
  • Average annual salary: $79,000
  • Top annual earners: $98,000
  • The downside: While you might be helping people and families through stressful times, which can be very rewarding, the job itself carries a lot of stress

7. Construction Manager

A construction manager oversees facility design, scheduling, vendor management, and building construction to ensure that the project will be completed on time and under budget and will meet the needs of the client, corporation, or investor.

The larger and more complex the construction project, the larger the responsibility and therefore, the higher the salary.

Construction has become more complex over the years. Buildings need to incorporate the latest technologies in order to become more intelligent and efficient, oftentimes by industry regulation or municipal ordinance.

This has only added to the knowledge base required of construction managers, as they often need to select and juggle hundreds of vendors at once while retaining the highest standards of compliance.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, plus at least 3 years of experience in the construction industry
  • Average annual salary: $120,900
  • Top annual earners: $154,00 plus
  • The downside is that employment can be iffy at the moment. Large-scale construction projects have stalled under the pandemic, with uncertainty as to when tenants and budgets will return

8. Geophysicist

President Biden recently signed an executive order aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 electric. That’s a lot of electric batteries needed—probably around 7 million if current trends continue.

Electric batteries need cobalt, lithium, nickel, and other rare-earth metals, and who are the professionals who source them so that all of us can enjoy a clean energy future?

Geophysicists, of course. These scientists design, plan, and execute the extraction of these minerals from the earth.

Without geophysicists, we wouldn’t have electric batteries. (We wouldn’t have oil either, as geophysicists have been employed by the oil and gas industry for decades in the exploration and extraction of petroleum and natural gas as well.)

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, usually a master’s degree, in addition to specialized training in the particular natural resource on which the geophysicist is working
  • Average annual salary: $77,132
  • Top annual earners: $106,000
  • The downside: As the work is often project-based, there might be long periods of furlough and uncertainty. Continuing education is required of geophysicists as new processes, systems, and treatments appear, promising even more efficient extraction of natural resources. Further, they may need to move frequently,, depending on where the exploration projects are located

9. Instructional Designer

An instructional designer develops course content and training curriculum for learners within corporations, governments, and universities (and not just brick-and-mortar universities but online programs, too).

An instructional designer often consults with subject matter experts to interpret complex material and create compelling (i.e., not boring) learning experiences from which individuals can acquire knowledge and skills, meeting the budgets, timeframes, and requirements of the organization.

Instructional designers also develop and conduct assessments to analyze and identify new development needs and recommend training methods accordingly.

There is also often an HR component, in which the instructional designer must track employee performance and measure training outcomes.

Instructional designers are an in-demand job because employees need training,, and lots of it.

According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2021 Workplace Learning report, the top area of focus for learning and development cited was upskilling and reskilling.

This means that someone, in this case, the instructional designer,, is going to have to develop those courses and get them out the door to learners.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, additional training depending on specialty, industry, or region
  • Average annual salary: $77,000
  • Top annual earners: $93,000
  • The downside: Instructional designers can be victims of downsizing and,, as such, often have to reinvent themselves as consultants. This usually means feast or famine, depending on the size and complexity of the assignments

10. Entertainment Professional

Jobs like actor, musician, TV or radio show host, producer, and writer can all fit in the entertainment industry.

For the most successful professionals in these areas, this job can be extremely lucrative. However, a job in the entertainment industry rarely has a lot of stability.

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money You’re often on your own, working from contract to contract. You’ll also have to hire an agent to negotiate contracts and help you find work. It can also be extremely difficult to break into the industry.

  • Requirements: Mix of schooling and on-the-job training
  • Average annual salary: $40,000
  • Top annual earners: $10 million plus
  • The downside: Highly competitive industries, jobs don’t have much stability, and agent fees will eat a percentage of your earnings

11. Investment Banker

It may not be the most exciting job, and it may not be all that well understood, but an investment banker can make a lot of money each year.

In general terms, an investment banker is someone who brokers deals, such as company mergers and acquisitions.

Those who broker the largest financial deals receive the largest compensation amounts.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree for highest-paying jobs, FINRA licenses
  • Average annual salary: $64,120, plus performance bonuses
  • Top annual earners: $5 million plus
  • The downside: Regular 80+ hour weeks, a lot of stress because of the heavy reliance on performance bonuses

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money Making a lot of money is just one part of the equation as you work to build wealth and live the lifestyle you want. In episode 106 of my podcast, I spoke with a couple that’s making big money- but with big problems that are impacting their relationship:

The world wants you to be vanilla.
…but you don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. How would it look if you designed a rich life on your own terms? Take our quiz and find out:

12. Lawyer

If your idea of a lawyer is someone who is dramatically arguing cases in a courtroom, as happens on TV, this is only a small part of the work.

Most of it is spent on research, document review, filing motions, and editing contracts.

Lawyers can work in criminal, tax, patent, corporate, or other types of law, so a lot of specialties exist. Lawyers do have an easier time becoming politicians than other professions, if that appeals to you.

  • Requirements: Tons of extra education, including a law degree, must pass a state bar examination
  • Average annual salary: $120,910
  • Top annual earners: $10 million plus
  • The downside: An extremely competitive profession that requires several years of advanced schooling

13. Pharmacist

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money A pharmacist works in a hospital, a medical facility, or a retail store, dispensing prescription medication for customers.

A pharmacist needs quite a bit of training in how different medications work, including understanding side effects and interactions with other medications.

Pharmacists require formal education and licensing to be able to legally dispense prescription medication.

  • Requirements: Doctor of Pharmacy degree, licenses in the state in which they work
  • Average annual salary: $126,120
  • Top annual earners: $250,000 plus
  • The downside: Pharmacists have little chance of earning a seven-figure salary unless they own a business, which requires quite a bit of ongoing education

14. Physician or Surgeon

Doctors in the American medical system have the ability to make huge salaries, but it can take a while to hit that level.

A physician or a surgeon needs tons of education and on-the-job training. The learning never ends for doctors. When starting out, doctors can work some long, strange hours.

But once they reach a certain level of expertise, this job is rewarding financially. Physicians and surgeons have the highest average annual salary of all the jobs that make a lot of money.

  • Requirements: Long years of extra education,, including a medical degree and a residency; licenses required
  • Average annual salary: $208,000
  • Top annual earners: $5 million plus
  • The downside: Making life-and-death decisions on a daily basis is stressful, especially in a highly competitive industry with long hours

15. Professional Athlete

This is one job that kids dream about having that actually makes a lot of money. Unfortunately, it’s probably the job they have the least chance of achieving. People need some natural talent to succeed in almost any job, but pro athletes may rely the most on natural talent.17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money Beyond receiving millions to play the game, the most well-known pro athletes may receive just as much money for endorsements.

  • Requirements: Being selected after a physical tryout, constant on-the-job training and physical workouts
  • Average annual salary: $50,650
  • Top annual earners: $10 million plus
  • The downside: Extreme physical stress and injuries can take their toll on long-term health, Professional sports careers don’t last more than a few years for most people

16. Real Estate Developer

A real estate developer will purchase property and develop it for lucrative commercial and residential projects. These purchases are a bit of a gamble, as a mistake can lead to huge financial losses.

You may start as a real estate agent, learning how the markets work, before making your own investments or investing on behalf of others.

  • Requirements: Knowledge of real estate markets and laws through on-the-job training
  • Average annual salary: $50,300
  • Top annual earners: $10 million plus
  • The downside: High rewards come with high risks, as choosing the wrong project or making a judgment error about a particular project’s viability could lead to bankruptcy

17. Software Developer

A software developer will write software or code that controls computers and other personal electronic devices. App developers can can also be software developers.

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money In fact, someone who develops a highly popular app could make millions off one app. This is another fast-growing profession that will need employees in the future. High demand makes this a great option if you’re looking for jobs that make a lot of money.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree optional
  • Average annual salary: $105,590
  • Top annual earners: $5 million plus
  • The downside: Long hours, especially stressful when trying to complete a project

Of All the Jobs That Make a Lot of Money, Which Is Right for You?

Having a list is one thing, picking the right job is a lot harder.

If I was giving high school me some advice, I’d tell him to find a high-paying job that’s the best fit. Some jobs are extremely stressful, like an investment banker. Others are more routine, like an accountant. There are dozens of different criteria that make up a true dream job. You can also learn how to find your dream job with my complete career research guide.

The best way to figure out which job is the best fit is to develop friendships with people in that field. 17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money If you genuinely enjoy spending time with them, that’s a promising sign.

Also, look for entry-level roles in those fields to try them yourself. Most of these jobs can be started later on if you discover that a particular path won’t work out.

Struggling to choose a career path? Check out my video on how to pick the right job for you:

Why Starting a Business Can Be a Better Way to Make a Lot of Money Than a Job

As someone who has worked with countless people on their personal finance and career goals, I can tell you that sometimes starting a business can be a much better way to make a lot of money than working a traditional job.

Here are three reasons why:

First, when you start a business, you have the potential to create a product or service that can generate significant revenue.

Unlike a job where you are limited by your salary and benefits package, starting a successful business can result in a high-income stream that grows over time.

Plus, as the owner of the business, you have control over the pricing, marketing, and sales strategy, which gives you the ability to increase profits through strategic decisions.

Second, owning a business can provide you with a level of flexibility and autonomy that is hard to come by in a traditional job.

As an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, choose the projects you want to work on, and take time off when you need it.

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money This can be especially appealing if you value work-life balance or have family or personal commitments that require your attention.

Lastly, starting a business can offer you the potential for unlimited growth and expansion. When you work a job, your salary and career trajectory are often limited by your job title and position within the company.

17 Jobs That Make a Lot of Money But as a business owner, you have the ability to scale your operations, expand your customer base, and increase your revenue exponentially. With the right business model and strategy, the sky’s the limit when it comes to earning potential.

If you want to learn more about starting your own business, check out my Earnable Program.

Starting your own business isn’t for everyone though, so if you’re dead set on landing your dream career, check out my Dream Job Program. You can also watch the video below to get started on brainstorming your business idea:

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