Here are the Top 5 Best Paying Jobs that Require a College Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), here are the top ten best paying jobs that require college degrees.

1. Physicians and Surgeons

The top-paying physician jobs can include anesthesiologist, psychiatrist, obstetrician, gynecologist, and surgeon. These physician positions can earn a median salary of $208,000 per year. The education required to become a physician or surgeon will require quite a bit of education at an accredited medical school. To become a physician or surgeon, a Doctor of Medicine Degree (MD) will be required along with several years of residency, internship work, and a state license. The need for physicians and surgeons is rising at a 4% increase over the next few years.

2. Dentists

There are several fields a dentist can pursue. General dentistry or a more specialized career in dentistry include prosthodontics, orthodontics, or oral surgery. Specialists will require more education and training than general dentists. According to the BLS, general dentists can earn a median of $160,000 per year, while specialists earn a median salary of $208,000. To become a general dentist, you will need to hold a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree. Specialists will need to pursue further degree requirements. The need for dentists is expected to have a 3% increase over the next few years.

3. Chief Executive Officers (CEO)


Many companies and corporations require a CEO to run the company. A CEO is not necessarily the company owner but the top executive of the company. These positions can hold the ultimate responsibility and often answer to the company board of directors and shareholders. Fortune 500 CEOs can exceed a salary of over $10 Million per year as a top executive. If you’d like to pursue a CEO position, you will most likely be required to hold a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). The BLS predicts that these top executive positions will increase by 4% over the next few years.

4. Nurse Practitioners (NP)

Nurse practitioners are a higher level of nursing and generally serve as a doctor type of career without the MD status. Often you will see a nurse practitioner before the leading doctor. A nurse practitioner is an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN). An NP, according to the BLS, will earn a median salary of $175,000 per year. To pursue this career, you will need a master’s degree along with a state license.  The BLS predicts that the need for nurse practitioners will rise astronomically to 45% in the next few years.

5. Commercial Airline Pilot

Airline Pilots hold a great responsibility in their hands, flying hundreds of people at a time to their desired destinations.  In order to become an airline pilot, you need to be willing to always adhere to safety guidelines: submitting flight plans, performing pre-flight aircraft checks, navigating in the air, and responding to emergencies and other changes in flight. According to the BLS, airline pilots earn a median income of $121,000 per year. In order to become an airline pilot, you will need to earn a Bachelor of Aviation Degree along with a certain number of flight hours and a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the BLS, the need for airline pilots is expected to increase by 5% over the next few years. 

Additional Best Paying Job:

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers:  Median Salary = $146,000 per year
  • Architectural and Engineering Managers: Median Salary = $145,000 per year
  • Petroleum Engineers: Median Salary = $137,000 per year
  • Judges: Median Salary = $137,000 per year
  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers: Median Salary = $136,000 per year