Jobs That Pay $80K or More

These careers have great earning potential.

A family of four needed $68,808 to cover basic necessities in 2019, according to a living wage calculator maintained by Amy Glasmeier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, earning more means extra cash for discretionary spending and a more comfortable lifestyle.

The following is a list of 15 top jobs that earn at least $80,000 a year. These are selected from our Best Jobs list, which ranks occupations based on factors such as job growth, work-life balance, stress level and income. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Keep reading to see which career might be best for you.

Software Developer

Median salary: $103,620
Industry: Technology

Software developers have the top job in the nation, according to U.S. News analysis. Workers in this field enjoy high incomes, strong job growth and diverse employment opportunities. Software developers may work in an office, be employed remotely or be self-employed. Depending on their specialization, they may create software for computer systems or applications.

Learn more about software developers.


Median salary: $151,850
Industry: Health care

You’ll need an advanced education to become a dentist, but the career ranks No. 1 among health care jobs on the Best Jobs list. This occupation offers excellent income potential, low unemployment and above-average flexibility. Dentists are responsible for caring for teeth and may fill cavities, fit dentures and provide other oral care. According to the BLS, 16% of these professionals are self-employed, and many dentists work fewer than 40 hours a week.

Learn more about dentists.

Physician Assistant

Median salary: $108,610
Industry: Health care

Physician assistants aren’t doctors, but they can perform many of the tasks associated with physicians. Depending on their state’s laws, physician assistants can examine patients, diagnose illnesses and write prescriptions. However, they must work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon. Physician assistants don’t need a medical degree, but they do need to have a graduate-level education.

Learn more about physician assistants.


Median salary: $208,000
Industry: Health care

As professionals who help patients smile more confidently, orthodontists are paid well for their work. They typically spend their days applying and adjusting braces, retainers and other devices to straighten teeth and correct bite issues. It’s a career choice that comes with very low unemployment, low stress and prospects for a good work-life balance.

Learn more about orthodontists.

Nurse Practitioner

Median salary: $107,030
Industry: Health care

In many parts of the country, a nurse practitioner can provide much of the same care you’d expect to receive from a doctor. They may serve as patients’ primary care providers and offer routine and even emergency care. As U.S. health care needs grow, nurse practitioners are expected to be in significant demand in the years to come.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.


Median salary: $87,780
Industry: Business and education

Big data is increasing demand for statisticians who can crunch numbers for businesses. These professionals may be called upon to analyze information for marketing, research or other purposes. Statisticians have a job that is valuable across industries. In addition to business, they may be hired to work in academia, health care or the government.

Learn more about statisticians.


Median salary: $194,500
Industry: Health care

Physicians have a job that needs little introduction. Going by the title of doctor, these professionals have a medical degree and can treat a variety of ailments, injuries and illnesses. Some physicians are general practitioners while others specialize in one type of medicine such as pediatrics or obstetrics. This isn’t a low-stress occupation, but it is one that comes with a good paycheck and plenty of job opportunities.

Learn more about physicians.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Median Salary: $208,000
Industry: Health care

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons often start as dentists and then pursue additional training so they can perform surgeries on the face, jaw and mouth. This is a career option that requires extensive education, so it may not be right for everyone. However, those who commit to the field are likely to find their services are in demand and highly compensated.

Learn more about oral and maxillofacial surgeons.


Median salary: $93,830
Industry: Health care

For anyone who loves animals, being a veterinarian can seem like the perfect job. These professionals provide care for creatures ranging from pets to livestock to exotic animals. Although their pay isn’t the highest on this list, veterinarians are expected to be in demand in the coming years, and the profession’s unemployment rate is nearly zero.

Learn more about veterinarians.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Median salary: $99,730
Industry: Health care

You’ll only need a bachelor’s degree to land this high-paying job in health care. Medical and health services managers work behind the scenes to ensure medical facilities are operating smoothly. They may schedule staff, manage finances and ensure compliance with government regulations. Some may specialize in a particular type of management, such as overseeing health information databases or serving as a nursing home administrator.

Learn more about medical and health services managers.

IT Manager

Median salary: $142,530
Industry: Technology

Also known as computer and information systems managers, IT managers are responsible for the technology used by a business or organization. They may analyze system needs, plan upgrades and purchase equipment. At some firms, IT managers may specialize in a certain type of technology or oversee a tech department. It’s a career with good job prospects and great income potential.

Learn more about IT managers.


Median salary: $101,900
Industry: Business and education

Mathematicians have skills that make them valuable in diverse industries. While educational institutions are common places to find mathematicians as teachers or researchers, they can also be hired by businesses, the government and health care organizations. Mathematicians may be called upon to analyze data for use in decision-making, or their work may be used to measure the effectiveness of an organization’s policies and procedures.

Learn more about mathematicians.

Physical Therapist

Median Salary: $87,930
Industry: Health care

As the U.S. population ages and more people contend with chronic conditions, physical therapists have found themselves in high demand. These health care workers help people regain mobility after an injury, illness or surgery. Physical therapists have an active job that keeps them moving throughout the day. They may make home visits to patients or provide services in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities.

Learn more about physical therapists.


Median Salary: $111,790
Industry: Health care

Between their six-digit salaries and low unemployment rate, it’s clear that optometrists have one of the best jobs in the nation. These doctors specialize in evaluating eyesight, prescribing corrective lenses and otherwise promoting good eye health. In our analysis, this occupation also gets high marks for being conducive to a good work-life balance.

Learn more about optometrists.


Median salary: $208,000
Industry: Health care

Anesthesiologists are highly compensated doctors who provide a critical service in operating rooms across the country. These professionals are responsible for administering local or general anesthesia to patients so they don’t feel pain or discomfort during surgery or other medical events. This is a high-stress job, but it comes with excellent income and job growth potential.

Learn more about anesthesiologists.

Here are 15 jobs that pay $80K or more:

— Software developer.

— Dentist.

— Physician assistant.

— Orthodontist.

— Nurse practitioner.

— Statistician.

— Physician.

— Oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

— Veterinarian.

— Medical and health services manager.

— IT manager.

— Mathematician.

— Physical therapist.

— Optometrist.

— Anesthesiologist.

More from U.S. News

Bachelor’s Degree Jobs That Can Pay More Than $100K

19 Careers With the Most Job Security

15 Best Remote Working Jobs

Jobs That Pay $80K or More originally appeared on

Update 08/10/20: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up