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6 Highest Paying Industries

March 12, 2021

Whether you're joining the workforce for the first time or you're looking for a career change, you can best strategize your next career moves with some perspective on the highest paying industries. Below you will find a list of high-paying industries as well as example job titles.

Related: Top 100 Highest-Paying Jobs

What is a high-paying industry?

A high-paying industry is a job sector with employment opportunities offering lucrative paychecks. Working professionals in a high-paying industry often receive larger than average paychecks because of the nature of their work and their experience level. Here are some high-paying industries and what they entail:

  • Health care: The health care industry is home to companies that provide clinical services and use medical-related equipment. You can find several high-paying jobs in this industry, such as the role of a physician, surgeon or psychologist.
  • Engineering: The engineering industry comprises several types of engineering such as mechanical engineering and civil engineering. People in this industry typically manufacture engines and machinery.
  • Information technology: Working professionals in the information technology sector use computers to store and gather a wide variety of information or data. This industry helps with the safety and security of businesses, governments and academia.
  • Finance: The financial sector comprises firms and institutions that offer their financial services to both retail and commercial clients. Some businesses that operate in the finance industry include banks and credit unions.
  • Mining, resources and energy: This industry includes jobs that focus on the extraction and processing of minerals from the Earth, or those involved in the production and sale of energy. Professionals in this sector help in nearly every aspect of our lives and the economy at large.
  • Legal: The legal industry employs individuals who uphold the law in various legal positions. This industry offers jobs in law offices or in establishments that provide certain legal services such as patent agent services.

Related: Jobs That Pay Well

Highest-paying industries and jobs

The workforce offers many opportunities for you to earn a rewarding salary. Knowing which industries offer the highest pay can help you make a strategic career decision. Here are 30 jobs within six high-paying industries. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below:

Health care

Regardless of location or trends, health care will always be a high-demand industry due to its universal necessity. Here are the highest-paying jobs within the health care industry:

National average salary: $187,802 per year

Primary duties: OB-GYNs specialize in female health. They perform many tests including pap smears and breast exams. OB-GYNs also diagnose disorders and diseases and prescribe treatments to their patients. In addition, they help expectant mothers through pregnancy, the birth of their child and through postpartum.

Related: Learn About Being an OB-GYN

National average salary: $221,402 per year

Primary duties: Psychiatrists consult patients for behavioral and mental health issues by giving psychiatric evaluations, creating treatment plans and prescribing then monitoring the intake of medications.

Related: Learn About Being a Psychiatrist

National average salary: $245,322 per year

Primary duties: Orthodontists assess the oral health of their patients, examining for and treating abnormalities in tooth placement.

Related: Learn About Being an Orthodontist

National average salary: $269,795 per year

Primary duties: Surgeons lead a healthcare facility's surgical team. They perform a variety of surgical procedures using different instruments. Surgeons also inform patients of the risks that come with surgery and help them with postoperative care and treatment.

Related: Learn About Being a Surgeon

National average salary: $376,461 per year

Primary duties: Anesthesiologists create anesthetic plans and administer anesthetics to patients undergoing a medical procedure. They supervise patients before, during and after their surgical procedure to ensure their safety.

Engineering

The engineering industry is full of professions requiring Here are the highest-paying engineering jobs:

National average salary: $76,314 per year

Primary duties: Petroleum engineers have duties related to hydrocarbon production. They design equipment to extract both gas and oil from different reserves. Petroleum engineers also create drilling plans and recover both oil and gas.

Related: Learn About Being a Petroleum Engineer

National average salary: $93,184 per year

Primary duties: A nuclear engineer researches and creates nuclear tools used to retrieve the benefits from nuclear radiation and energy. For example, they may design and develop reactor cores and radiation shielding. Nuclear engineers also monitor the operations of nuclear facilities to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

Related: Learn About Being a Nuclear Engineer

National average salary: $95,235 per year

Primary duties: Electrical engineers design and create different electrical systems. They work with both electrical devices and equipment and oversee the manufacturing process.

Related: Learn About Being an Electrical Engineer

National average salary: $102,581 per year

Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers design aircraft and various propulsion systems. They also create products for these systems and work alongside other teams from the design to the manufacturing process.

Related: Learn About Being an Aeronautical Engineer

National average salary: $148,084 per year

Primary duties: Computer vision engineers use software to manage large data populations. They use their research to solve real-life problems and have duties related to programming, data analysis and user interface design.

Information technology

With information technology being a crucial component of every business, IT is a promising industry for a high-paying career. Here are the highest-paying jobs within the information technology (IT) industry:

National average salary: $98,957 per year

Primary duties: Security analysts install and update network software. They ensure each network they work on has the right security measures and create reports regarding the safety of these networks.

National average salary: $100,295 per year

Primary duties: IT managers determine a company's computing needs. They manage and coach the IT staff, implement technological solutions and monitor the performance of the IT staff. IT managers also oversee daily operations, such as monitoring a company's operating systems.

Related: Learn About Being an IT Manager

National average salary: $110,638 per year

Primary duties: Software engineers develop and build software systems. They identify software issues and create operating procedures. They also look for opportunities to improve software systems, provide recommendations and implement those recommendations into these systems.

Related: Learn About Being a Software Engineer

National average salary: $121,846 per year

Primary duties: Network architects handle various communication networks. They determine a company's requirements to create network solutions and their framework. Network architects also perform network analysis and install hardware such as cables and routers.

National average salary: $126,774 per year

Primary duties: Site reliability engineers develop software to improve a system's reliability. They work with a company's IT, engineering and business teams. Site reliability engineers also take the lead on project planning and task prioritization.

Finance

Here are the highest-paying jobs within the finance industry:

National average salary: $63,105 per year

Primary duties: Insurance advisors use their knowledge of insurance policies to provide related advice to various companies. They meet with their clients, recommend and sell insurance plans, review their client's financial portfolio and assess any risks.

National average salary: $69,855 per year

Primary duties: Financial advisors provide financial services and advice to their clients. They perform market research, determine their client's needs, implement strategies and look for new financial opportunities for their clients.

Related: Learn About Being a Financial Advisor

National average salary: $80,945 per year

Primary duties: Budget analysts help companies plan their finances. They create budget reports, monitor the company's spending and help them with financial planning.

National average salary: $82,425 per year

Primary duties: Compliance officers ensure an organization abides by government regulations. They ensure they're functioning both legally and ethically, all while continuing to meet their business goals. Compliance officers create compliance programs, evaluate a company's policies and inform them of potential risks.

National average salary: $90,058 per year

Primary duties: Investment bankers help their clients raise capital in order to finance activities and grow their business. They also help their clients with acquisitions and mergers and advise them about investment opportunities.

Mining, resources and energy

Here are some of the highest-paying jobs within the mining, resources and energy industry:

National average salary: $60,363 per year

Primary duties: Solar technicians install solar panels on a rooftop or structure. They climb ladders, carry solar panels, take measurements for each solar panel and perform tests. Solar technicians also maintain a solar panel's installation by fixing issues as they arise.

National average salary: $72,139 per year

Primary duties: Geologists study the Earth and its composition. They plan various geology projects, survey sites, review geological data and closely evaluate the composition of specimens.

National average salary: $91,496 per year

Primary duties: Metallurgists study metals and their unique properties. They extract and process metals, determine which they can use and create processes for their recovery.

Related: Learn About Being a Metallurgist

National average salary: $100,506 per year

Primary duties: Mining engineers design and create mines and develop the most efficient methods for metal or mineral extraction. They also evaluate extraction risks, implement extraction systems and use computer applications to help with the planning and production processes.

National average salary: $104,216 per year

Primary duties: Geophysicists study the Earth and its physical aspects. They perform field tests, analyze data and create reports to present to project stakeholders.

Legal

Any career that is the result of years of law school holds a promising future in terms of pay. Here are the highest-paying jobs within the legal industry:

National average salary: $97,515 per year

Primary duties: Judges preside over a legal court proceeding. They listen to allegations of both parties, educate the defendants on their rights and determine the admissibility of evidence. In addition, they question witnesses and rule on counsel motions.

National average salary: $105,424 per year

Primary duties: Intellectual property paralegals work in some aspect of intellectual property law such as patent or copyright. They help intellectual property attorneys with their various duties. Intellectual property paralegals may create and file patent documents, review a docket and handle client communication.

National average salary: $133,099 per year

Primary duties: A corporate lawyer represents a corporate entity to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Corporate lawyers also review contracts, oversee mergers and acquisitions, help corporations find capital to help grow their business and educate their clients on securities law compliance.

National average salary: $140,764 per year

Primary duties: Chief legal officers operate as the head of a legal department. They lead a corporate legal strategy, create corporate compliance programs and review the delivery of legal services to meet corporate goals.

Related: Learn About Being a Chief Legal Officer

National average salary: $154,317 per year

Primary duties: A patent attorney advises clients regarding patents and intellectual property. They process patent applicants and help with patent infringement. Patent attorneys essentially help their clients retain the rights of their invention.

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