Radiation therapists

The Highest Paying 10 Healthcare Jobs

A job in healthcare can come with a healthy living.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for healthcare workers, from dental hygienist to surgeon, is about $64,770 (the median annual wage for all occupations in the U.S. is $37,690.)

That means workers can earn almost twice the national average by entering the healthcare industry. CNBC Make It analyzed data from the BLS to highlight the most lucrative healthcare occupations in the U.S. today.

Here are the 10 highest paying jobs in healthcare:

1. Physicians and surgeons

Physicians and surgeons-min

BLS description: “Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications and order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: greater than or equal to $208,000

Though the BLS includes veterinarians — who earn an estimated $90,420 — in this group, CNBC Make It chose to focus on occupations related to human healthcare.

According to the BLS, physicians and surgeons earn the most of all healthcare workers, with estimated annual earnings of at least $208,000. The BLS collected their data through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, which records wage data in ranges in order to calculate median annual wages. The top range is $208,000 a year and over. Since physicians and surgeons earn above this range, an exact median was not reported.

But these commonly-known high-paying jobs are not the only ones to offer six-figure salaries. A total of seven jobs can offer workers median annual salaries of over $100,000 including a dentist, podiatrist, and pharmacist. Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics and lead economist at PayScale explains that a quick look at the current labor market explains why healthcare salaries are so high.

“Two main things work together to drive wages: the demand for a set of skills and specialties a job has to offer and the supply of people with those skills and specialties,” she tells CNBC Make It. “In the case of healthcare, we have experienced increased demand for health care services, due in part to an aging population, as well as greater access to insurance. At the same time, the medical field continues to advance and become more specialized causing wages to rise.”

Indeed, healthcare jobs are among the jobs with the lowest levels of competition because of this high demand and limited supply.

“If you’re a health care worker, you’re in high demand in today’s job market,” Glassdoor career trends expert Alison Sullivan tells CNBC Make It. “As a generation of workers retires and seek out health services, health care providers need more workers to assist with those who need care. That demand and the worker shortages that already exist in the industry today are pushing up wages for a number of healthcare jobs to better attract skilled workers.”

If sky-high salaries and low competition isn’t enough, workers in the healthcare industry are also increasingly offered unprecedented flexibility — many healthcare professionals are even able to work from home.

“It often surprises people to learn that remote jobs exist for professions like medicine,” Brie Reynolds, Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs tells CNBC Make It. “The notion that jobs that let you work from home either some or all of the time must be low-paying or low-level is simply a myth. As the number of people working remotely grows year over year, it’s clear that a wide range of jobs at all career levels and salaries can be done from home.”


2. Dentists

BLS description: “Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: $158,120


3. Podiatrists

BLS description: “Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: $127,740


4. Pharmacists

BLS description: “Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: $124,170


5. Nurse anesthetists, midwives, And practitioners

BLS description: “Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. The scope of practice varies from state to state.”

Required education: Master’s degree

Median annual wage: $110,930


6. Optometrists

BLS description: “Optometrists examine the eyes and other parts of the visual system. They also diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes. They prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses as needed.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: $110,300


7. Physician assistants

BLS description: “Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose and treat patients.”

Required education: Master’s degree

Median annual wage: $104,860


8. Physical therapists

BLS description: “Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses or injuries.”

Required education: Doctoral or professional degree

Median annual wage: $86,850


9. Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists

BLS description: “Occupational therapists treat injured, ill or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.”

Required education: Master’s degree

Median annual wage: $83,200


10. Radiation therapists

Radiation therapists

BLS description: “Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation treatments.”

Required Education:  Associate’s degree

Median annual wage: $80,570


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