Want to earn a lot? Better enroll in medical school. The best paying positions in the country are in medicine; all of the top 10 jobs, except for one, are in medical fields.
Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and was collected in 2009.
No. 1: Surgeon
Surgeons earned an average of $219,770 in 2009. That's the equivalent of $105.66 an hour – but surgeons don't always work a typical 9-to-5 schedule. If a patient needs emergency surgery in the middle of the night, it will be the surgeon's responsibility to perform it.
No. 2: Anesthesiologist
Close behind surgeons were anesthesiologists; they earned an average of $211,750 last year.
No. 3: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Oral surgeons, earning more than $210,000, on average, are few and far between: According to the BLS, there were just 6,700 oral surgeons in the country in 2008.
No. 4: Orthodontist
Many young people have dealt with orthodontists at some point in their lives – but they might not know how much an orthodontist can earn. In 2009, orthodontists' salaries averaged slightly more than $206,000.
No. 5: Obstetrician/Gynecologist
OB/GYNs, like surgeons, can work irregular hours – but their salaries average a substantial $204,470.
No. 6: Internist
No, internists don't deal with interns – they treat internal injuries or diseases. Internists earned $183,990 last year.
No. 7: Physician and Surgeon
The BLS says "Physician and Surgeon" is defined as any doctor – like a cardiologist – that doesn't fit in the other categories. Doctors in this group earn $173,860, on average.
No. 8: General Practitioner
Family doctors fall into this category. They earned $168,500 in 2009, on average.
No. 9: CEO
Thought chief executives would be higher on the list? Some are extremely high earners – but, on average, CEOs earn $167,280 per year.
No. 10: Psychiatrist
Budding Freuds can expect to earn $163,660 each year.
Medicine can be extremely lucrative, as the BLS data shows. Yet what the data doesn't take into account is the amount of schooling required to become a doctor of any stripe. Anesthesiologists must train for more than 10 years to become fully certified, for example; other specialties require just as much formal training.
And all that schooling comes at a price. To be sure, a top-10 earner will be able to pay off her student loan bills before too long – but the thought of taking on that much debt might be off-putting to some people.
While being a doctor can ensure a high salary, it's not the best career for everyone. The education a medical career requires – and the lifestyle challenges it can present – should be taken into account.