What Are the Highest Paying Health Professions?

Are you interested in working in the healthcare field? For the most part, specializing in a field will help you earn the highest salary. Keep reading to learn what health professions will net you the most income. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Health Professions with the Highest Earnings

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018 the top eight highest paying professions were in the healthcare industry (www.bls.gov). These included orthodontists, surgeons, obstetricians and gynecologists, internists and anesthesiologists.

Important Facts About the Highest Paying Health Professions

Orthodontists Surgeons Anesthesiologists
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19% growth 14% growth 15% growth
Required Education Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree
Key Skills Patience; problem-solving; physical endurance; manual dexterity Manual dexterity; patience; physical endurance; leadership Patience; attention to detail; observation; coordination
Similar Occupations Dental hygienists; physicians; surgeons Physicians assistants; dentists; nurse practitioners Nurse anesthetists; physicians assistants; registered nurses

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Orthodontists treat deformities and issues within the mouth, teeth and jaws. In this profession, you may use braces to help align patients' teeth or help patients with misaligned jaws.

In this largest dental specialty group, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $225,760 as of May 2018. Offices of dentists were the top-paying employer with an average annual salary of $232,980.


Surgeons perform procedures on patients to treat deformities, diseases and injuries. In this career, you are the team leader during surgery and must coordinate the efforts of anesthesiologists and nurses. Within this field, there is a range of specialties focusing on specific areas of the body or certain types of medical conditions.

According to the BLS, surgeons are the top earners in the healthcare field. The annual mean salary reported by the BLS in May 2018 for surgeons was $255,110. Among the highest-paying employers were outpatient care centers, paying their surgeons a mean annual salary greater than $277,670.

Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Using advanced medical technology and skill, as an obstetrician or gynecologist, you'll work in women's health. You may administer routine annual tests and examinations to monitor women's health issues in patients or you may examine women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or who have just had a baby. It may be your job to predict and prevent possible complications that may arise during pregnancy. You may also work with women who have cancer of the female reproductive organs.

The BLS reported the mean annual salary for this field was $238,320 as of May 2018. The average hourly wage was $114.58. Medical and diagnostic laboratories were the highest paying employers with an average annual salary of $281,680.


In this field, you focus on treating issues with the internal organs; this is not a surgical field, though. The treatments you provide are non-invasive, and this category includes specialties such as cardiologists.

The BLS reported the annual average salary for internists as $196,490, as of May 2018. The top-paying industry in this field were medical and diagnostic laboratories with an annual mean wage of $251,190.


As an anesthesiologist, you administer the medication that helps patients fall asleep, relax and not feel pain during surgical or other invasive procedures.

The BLS reported as of May 2018 the average annual salary for this field was $267,020. Specialty hospitals were the highest paying employer with an average annual salary of $280,400.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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