The 2010 United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Statistics Survey looks at more than 800 different occupations, but does not include self-employed positions. The study, done as part of the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, lists the highest paid professions in the United States. The top 20 fall into five categories: medical and dental, business and technology management, airline, law and politics, and engineering and science.
Medical and dental professionals top the list of the highest paid professions, as they hold the top three positions, as well as four other rankings on the list. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are number one, other physicians and surgeons are number two, and orthodontists are number three of the top professional earners in the United States. People in these professions made an average of at least $166,400 US Dollars (USD) per year.
Both specialist and general dentists are a little lower on the list, making $161,020 USD and $141,040 USD on average per year, respectively. Ninth and tenth on the list are prosthodontists — dentists who specialize in restoring and replacing teeth — and podiatrists, each of which earn more than $118,000 USD per year on average. Pharmacists come in 16th, making an average of $111,570 USD per year.
Business and technology management professions occupy four spots on the list, with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) at number four, earning an average annual salary of $165,080 USD in 2010. Computer and Information Technology (IT) managers rank as the 12th highest earning professionals, with an average income of $115,780 USD. Marketing managers, with average earnings of $112,800 USD, are ranked 14th. At the bottom of the top 20 are financial managers, earning an average of $103,910 USD per year.
Airline industry jobs claim just one spot on the list in 2010. The average salary of air traffic controllers is about $108,040 USD per year.
Law and political-related professions rank seventh, 15th, and 18th on the survey. In 2010, judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates earned an average of $119,270 USD. The average salary for lawyers is listed as $112,760 USD. Political scientists earned an average of $107,420 USD per year.
Engineering and science professions account for four of the 20 highest paid professions. Architectural and engineering managers, with an average annual salary of $119,260 USD, rank as the eighth highest earning professionals. Natural sciences managers are ranked 11th, with an average income of $116,020 USD. Petroleum engineers are listed at number 13 on the list, and have an average income of $114,080 USD. A physicist, with an average annual salary of $106,370 USD, is the 19th highest earning professional.