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What Are the Best Paying Jobs in 2021?

As we look forward to 2021—for many reasons—it might be the perfect time to consider a change of career. Are you looking to find a new job? Chances are good that you want to earn more money. First, think through the financial prospects and aim for the best paying jobs in 2021 and beyond

Obviously, consider your skills, personality, and interests—and avoid taking on extensive debt to get to your new career. Here’s a great guide to get you started in preparing for a new career

For those who are ready to shake up their lives a bit, below are a few of the best-paying jobs in 2021.The majority of those included here provide at least $100,000 for a median annual wage (as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

Legal Career1) Legal Careers 

You can earn great compensation as a lawyer, which is among the best paying jobs in 2021. However, legal careers are not limited to lawyers. Legal careers also include:

  • paralegals,
  • judges,
  • hearing officers, and
  • law professors.  

The median annual wage for all legal occupations in 2019 was $81,820. (For reference, the median annual wage for all occupations was $39,810, so legal occupations are about double that.) Remember, the $81K median figure includes lower-paying jobs, so look at more specific jobs to get a better salary picture.

Let’s break down what you can expect to earn in different legal careers. 

Judges and lawyers are your best bet for high salaries. Keep in mind that you need a law degree to perform these jobs. It does cost time and money to get to the highest earning potential. 

  • Judges and Hearing Officers can pull in a $120,090 median annual salary. 
  • Lawyers are listed as earning $122,960 for the median annual salary.

Best Paying Jobs in 2021

2) Healthcare Professionals Earn Great Salaries

There’s a reason for the stereotype of doctors and lawyers making a lot of money. Unfortunately, the amount of both time and debt many healthcare professionals must take on to earn their degree is staggering. 

But if you’re dedicated to your chosen field, the medical field offers some of the best paying jobs in 2021. Plus, you get to be a true hero to the people you help. We need fantastic healthcare professionals, there’s no doubt about that!

Medical Careers Making Over $208,000 Per Year

The median annual salary for the following is at or above $208K:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists
  • Surgeons, except opthalmologists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Anesthesiologists

Other High-Paying Healthcare Careers

  • Other physicians and ophthalmologists (non-pediatric)—$206,500 median annual wage
  • Family medicine physicians—$205,590
  • General internal medicine physicians—$201,590
  • Pediatricians—$175,310
  • Nurse anesthetists—$174,790
  • Dentists (general)—$155,600

Engineer3) Engineering Careers

Several engineering-type of careers are included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top 20 best paying jobs. Besides those, a few others didn’t make the top-20 list, but are very close in salary numbers:

  • Petroleum engineers—$137,730
  • Architectural and engineering managers—$144,830
  • Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers—$147,220
  • Aerospace engineers—$116,500
  • Chemical engineers—$108,770
  • Computer hardware engineers—$117,220
  • Nuclear engineers—$113,460

Jobs for engineers and architects are expected to grow about 3% from 2019 to 2029. A lot of this will fall to engineers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Engineers will pave the way in many areas such as renewable energy, infrastructure, oil and gas extraction, and robotics.

technology trends4) Computer and Tech Careers

It’s no surprise that careers in technology have been rapidly growing for many years, and they’re still among the best paying jobs in 2021. With the right kind of mind for computers and technology, there are tons of opportunities for great career potential.

Plenty of computer and information technology jobs mean you can earn six figures and above. 

Here are a few in this arena to consider:

  • Computer and information research scientists—$122,840 annual median wage
  • Software developers—$107,510
  • Computer network architects—$112,690
  • Database administrators—$93,750
  • Information security analysts—$99,730
  • Computer systems analysts—$90,920
  • Computer programmers—$86,550

Also of note: web developers can earn a median salary of $73,760 a year. That’s a great wage, especially since it’s a job you can get with just an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s. 

business motivation5) Management Jobs Pay Well

In the corporate world, a lot of the best paying jobs in 2021 continue to be those in management roles. It makes sense!

People with greater responsibilities generally earn better compensation than those on the lower levels. It takes quite a bit of time to build up enough experience to qualify for these leadership positions.

Being a chief executive or manager of a company can rake in the big bucks for sure. These managerial and executive roles do have the downside that more people can blame you for things that go wrong within the company. Plus, you’ll likely work long and irregular hours.

But if you enjoy taking charge and helping build and facilitate teams that get things done, a role in management could be great for you. The extra responsibility and commitment pay off handsomely.

  • Chief executive positions made an annual median salary of $184,460 as of May 2019.
  • For general and operations managers, the median wage was lower, but still six figures at $100,780.

Check out this post for more ideas of managerial and other jobs that pay $100K or more a year!

Best Paying Jobs in Finance6) Finance Careers

Another place to find some of the best paying jobs in 2021 is within the finance sector!

First of all, executives like a company’s Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Financial Officer can earn a great living, with over $120,000 for a median annual salary. You can also consider actuaries, financial advisors, hedge fund managers, and many more financial jobs that pay very well. 

If you have a gift for analyzing, investing, and managing money, there just might be a great finance career available to you. 

Here are some potential salaries within some of the best financial jobs:

  • An actuary’s median annual salary is about $108,000 a year. 
  • Financial software developers can earn about $106,000 a year. 
  • Private equity associates can earn a median salary of $108,152. 
  • Hedge fund managers can earn a median salary of $98,256. 
  • Financial managers can earn just under $130,000 annually. 

Related: 12 Best Paying Jobs in Finance

Best Paying Jobs in 2021 – Recap

As you can tell, the job market is still looking for talented individuals and is willing to pay them handsomely for their skills.

The best paying jobs in 2021 are:

  • Doctors and surgeons – most earning greater than $200,000/year
  • Chief executive—$184,460
  • Nurse anesthetists—$174,790
  • Dentists (general)—$155,600
  • Lawyers—$122,960
  • Judges and Hearing Officers—$120,090 
  • Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers—$147,220
  • Architectural and engineering managers—$144,830
  • Petroleum engineers—$137,730
  • Computer hardware engineers—$117,220
  • Aerospace engineers—$116,500
  • Nuclear engineers—$113,460
  • Chemical engineers—$108,770
  • Computer and information research scientists—$122,840
  • Computer network architects—$112,690
  • Software developers—$107,510
  • General and operations managers—$100,780
  • Financial managers—$130,000
  • Private equity associates—$108,152. 
  • Actuary—$108,000 a year
  • Financial software developers—$106,000

Is 2021 the year for you to make a career change and earn more money? Do your research to find a great-paying job that could change your life—and finances—for good!

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AUTHOR Kate Underwood

Kate Underwood loves reading, talking, and writing about all things in personal finance. She made the switch from her high-school teaching career a few years ago to become a full-time freelance writer and editor and can be found at

1 Comment

  1. Don’t forget to look at the yearly earnings of a Garbage truck driver. They make really good money. Dirty jobs pay well.

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