Whether you’re fresh out of school or looking for a career change, it’s always interesting to know about jobs that make a lot of money. Simply said, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it helps alleviate a lot of money-related stress. Making more money also provides more freedom in my professional opinion.
It would be easy for me to throw jobs at you like an astronaut or a Hollywood actor, but I’m going to highlight some of the more conventional & attainable careers. The list goes from the lowest paying to the highest paying, amongst jobs that make a lot of money.
1. Dietitian and Nutritionist
I know that those are two different jobs, but they work in parallel. Registered Dietitians are licensed to give you detailed dietary advice and make meal plans for customers. Nutritionists can only give you general nutritional guidelines and dietary recommendations. Basically they can’t tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t eat. In a nutshell, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.
Average salary: $52 514
Downside: There are more diets than ever on the internet, and they seem to work (of course). Many people prefer to download the daily diet plan from a YouTube influencer than pay a larger sum of money to be followed by a licensed or registered nutritionist/dietician.
2. Dental Hygienist
While dental hygienists don’t have the expertise, or make the salary of dentists, they do most of the work along with the social interaction with patients. It’s a very good job for people who love socializing and working directly with people.
Average salary: $54 385
Downside: There isn’t much room for advancement opportunities to grow your annual income. Putting more hours into your work seems to be the only path to a higher pay, after raises and adjustment for inflation of course.
3. Sales Manager
A sales manager should be a top salesperson on their own, but with the interpersonal and managerial skills to lead a team of salespeople. The salary of salespeople and their managers is highly industry-specific and can range from $50 000 to $250 000 annually. It is safe to say, from my personal sales experience, that in a team of 6-8 salespeople, the top 2 reps will earn more money than their manager.
Average salary: $57 823
Downside: You’re constantly sitting in an ejectable seat when you’re in sales. Your job security depends on what your team can accomplish every single year. Miss your projected sales numbers 2-years in a row and you could end up in the stratosphere!
4. Web Developer
Web Developers design and build websites from scratch and optimize them to perform and compete in the crazy “internet of things” ecosystem. Typically it’s a web designer that will craft the look and feel of a website while web developers are more often than not responsible for the technical functioning and operational accuracy of the website. Web developers need to know and stay up to date with the different coding languages for the most seamless data and web integrations.
Average salary: $59 214
Downside: If you’re a more social person, this job might not be for you. You’ll need to crunch crazy hours for projects and you often work alone. Introverted people people may be more fit for this line of work.
5. Financial Advisor
Financial advisors help make important investment decisions for clients, manage their retirement funds, successions, and much more. I have many friends who work in this field. They are often segmented by client portfolio size. When they begin their career, they’re only allowed to manage clients who have a net worth or portfolio size under $50k for example. The next stepping stone in their career is managing clients who have between $100k to $1M in portfolio size or net worth, and so on.
Average salary: $59 869
Downside: Clients keep hearing ridiculous success stories about how this person invested $1 and made $1 000 000 in return. They’ll benchmark you against stupid stories like that. A lot of them have unrealistic expectations with their portfolio. They expect you to give them constant higher returns than their friends. Moreover, on a bad year in the market, many of them will flock over to other banks with all their money
6. Registered Nurse
RNs are the pillars and angels of our healthcare system. They’re the ones who perform the heavy lifting with patients in hospitals. There is no shortage of jobs for registered nurses, and they can clock-in high on the pay scale, especially in specialized areas like the Emergency Room, Operating Room, or Intensive Care Units.
Average salary: $63 272
Downside: Aside from a worn-out back, shoulders and feet, a nurse is confronted with some pretty gross stuff on the daily in the hospital setting. Patients poop on themselves, vomit, scream, smell… you see surgeries and even worse things. I worked aside nurses and doctors for 6 years in medical device sales and have seen it all. If blood scares you, rethink your career choice as an RN.
7. Physical Therapist (PT)
The Physical Therapist helps your body move like it should, without pain. Physical therapy is one of the fastest-growing specializations in our healthcare system. More active adults and a huge number of aging people are partly the reason for that, but also simply because we seem to understand the medical benefits of physical therapy better.
Average salary: $70 581
Downside: Physical Therapists must obtain a license in each state they want to practice, and renew that license every 2 years. This can become slightly tedious for traveling professionals.
A psychologist is not a medical doctor (MD), but an academic doctor (PhD). Psychologists can work in all kinds of environments, from hospitals, mental institutes, private clinics, and labs to business and marketing firms.
Average salary: $75 430
Downside: If working in mental institutes or hospitals, patients may be more difficult to deal with. Also, some psychologists I’ve spoken to have felt a great deal of depression by not having been able to help patients with high psychological distress who have ultimately attempted or commited suicide.
9. Construction Manager
Construction is one of those industries that keeps on going, forever. It may go through phases, depending on the economy or seasonality, but people are always building.
Average salary: $75 906
Downside: A construction manager is responsible for a ton of different contractors and sub-contractors with various expertises. They take on a lot of responsibility for the people who work under them and many things do go wrong on construction sites.
A vet is one of those jobs you roleplay as a child, but it isn’t all fun and games. Vets care for a multitude of animails such as pets, zoo animals, livestock, and endangered species in living in captivity.
Average salary: $76 901
Downside: One of my friends is a vet and the biggest downside for him is that he needs to know the anatomy of every single animal he treats vs. a doctor, who is better paid in the first place, who only knows the anatomy of a human. Moreover, he says that animals can’t speak to him like patients do with a doctor to describe medical symptoms such as pain location or illnesses for example. A dog won’t have a conversation with you about why it’s wheezing and where it’s feeling pain.
Lawyers are critical for just about every aspect for a business, the government, healthcare, divorces, and more. Lawyers protect and prevent against injustices. There’s pretty much a lawyer for everything these days. Saul Goodman…does that ring a bell?
Average salary: $83 314
Downside: Long hours, high stress, and huge responsibilities. One of my friends is a civil rights lawyer and when we looked at the number of hours she put in her work vs. her annual income, her hourly wage was very low compared to less educated workforces who earned more by the hour.
An actuary specializes in a niche area of accounting that combines accounting, stats, and business. Simply said, actuaries use all their expertise to analyze risk.
Average salary: $85 326
Downside: Very few people want to do this job, could be perceived as mathematical and boring. This means more room for opportunity if you’re into this type of numbers crunching.
13. Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Most of the time nowadays, a nurse practitioner can do anything a doctor can do. They have most of the specialized knowledge that doctors do. In 50% of the United States, nurse practitioners don’t even require the supervision of a doctor.
Average salary: $93 568
Downside: Same downsides as a registered nurse from #6 along with even more responsibility to the patients and doctors.
14. Oil Engineer
When your title contains the word “engineer”, it usually means you have a nice pay. From fuel to plastics, our daily lives run on petroleum. These engineers optimize oil production, manage drilling sites, design equipment, and put forth growth strategies.
Average salary: $102 636
Downside: Working conditions may be harsh: cold weather, distant oil rigs, and being away from home and family for weeks at a time.
Doctors prescribe medicine and pills, but it’s the pharmacist who ensures the patient gets the right dosage, in the right form, and when they actually need it. They actually help prevent a lot of medical disasters that arise from incompatibility between medication.
Average salary: $112 658
Downside: Many stressful hours of schooling, internships, studying, and practice before getting to work as a professional. While the work itself is relatively low-stress, it also comes with a lot of responsibility.
16. IT Manager
The IT Manager is normally in charge of a company’s IT department. They work in a position of authority and responsibility over the techs and data analysts who hold everything together and computers and networks running smoothly.
Average salary: $116 942
Downside: Have you ever had your computer shut down on you and you lost an important document? Well imagine that scenario multiplied by 100 and you’re the person responsible for it happening and you’re responsible for fixing it while millions of dollars are lost. IT jobs are great when things are running smoothly but they could cause you to have a heart attack when shit instantly hits the fan.
Oral and dental health is very important. Poor oral hygiene may lead to several other medical conditions and diseases. While a lot of Americans neglect their oral health, the professionals who are responsible for it make a well-deserved high salary. Dentists make around $125 000, while orthodontists can earn as much as $170 000 per year.
Average salary: $128 024
Downside: Requires many years of schooling. Very niche which could become boring; you’re staring into peoples’ mouths all day long.
18. Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists do pretty well for themselves alongside anesthesiologists. They do pretty much what anesthesiologists do like administering anesthesia and monitoring vitals, but they’re obliged to perform under the close eye and supervision of a medical doctor.
Average salary: $142 683
Downside: High stress environment in the operating room and a doctor is always looking over your shoulder while you’re working.
A physician is described as a medical doctor who has been trained in general care for patients. As with other jobs that make a lot of money on our list, physicians invested a lot of time before getting their job. In exchange for the sacrifice of their time in school, working in residencies, and long professional hours practicing, physicians make a lot of money. GPs earn close to $200 000, and specialists earn even more money.
Average salary: $177 503
Downside: Expensive and long education, long working hours with many patients.
Any medical doctor (MD) that’s involved with saving patients’ lives will benefit from one of the highest pays available on the job market. MDs also require about 12 years of higher education to get qualified to do their job, going from college to med school to a 4-year residency.
Average salary: $259 519
Downside: Constant high-stress working environment, on-call 24/7, high stakes. Some surgeries will result in patient deaths and can leave you with psychological scars.
My Thoughts On Jobs That Make A Lot Of Money
We couldn’t include everything on our list and left out jobs that make a lot of money which are too variable. For example, a sales rep can earn as little as $30 000 as a delivery specialist for Tesla, or up to $1 000 000 on a good year in medical device sales or software sales. For that reason, we left “Sales Person” out of the list. Real Estate Agents also have high variability in their income and for that reason, they are out.
Please remember that jobs that pay a lot of money aren’t synonymous with happiness. When choosing your career path, yes the salary is important but keep in mind the hours, workload, travel requirements, flexibility, freedom, and opportunities for advancement. Happiness is much higher correlated to the variables which I just described than money by itself.
Check out our post on what is a good salary, and average salary by age in the U.S.
Here are other jobs that make a lot of money:
21. President of the United States (POTUS)
Salary $400 000
22. MLB Baseball Player
Minimum Salary $563 000
23. NFL Football Player
Minimum Salary $610 000
24. NHL Hockey Player
Minimum Salary $700 000
25. Formula 1 Pilot
Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) $350 000 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) $60 000 000
Please let me know in the comments section below which other jobs that make a lot of money you can think of.
The numbers we used are based on PayScale median salary, and other reputable sources.
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