Summary List Placement
Doctors make a lot of money across the United States.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program (previously called the Occupational Employment Statistics program), we found the job in each state with the highest average annual salary as of May 2020, the latest available data. For our calculations, we considered jobs employing at least 1,000 people in the state for which the BLS reported annual mean salaries. That is, there could be higher-paying jobs in the state but with fewer people employed.
Medical jobs are extremely common among well-compensated occupations. For instance, the job category “physicians, all other; and ophthalmologists, except pediatric” was the highest-paying job in 25 states. This includes Georgia, with an average annual salary of $251,300, and West Virginia, with an average annual salary of $222,760.
Doctors and other medical professionals are currently on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic where they have been treating infected patients and providing other medical assistance for over a year.
Because so many of these jobs were the highest paying in multiple states, we’ve arranged the list in alphabetical order of the 12 jobs that appear on the above map. We’ve also included a list of the states for which that job is the highest paying, along with the job’s average annual salary in those states:
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Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers
What they do, according to O*NET: Pilot and navigate aircrafts.
What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery or other medical procedures.
New York: $237,380
What they do, according to O*NET: Develop policies and provide overall direction of companies or other organizations.
District of Columbia: $253,820
What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums.
Family medicine physicians
What they do, according to O*NET: Diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to individuals and families across the lifespan.
North Carolina: $223,190
What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate financial activities.
General and operations managers
What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of public or private organizations.
South Dakota: $131,890
General internal medicine physicians
What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems.
South Carolina: $282,620
Obstetricians and gynecologists
What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system.
Physicians, all other, and ophthalmologists (except pediatric)
This occupational category is a catchall for various medical specializations that are not classified under any other group. According to the Labor Department’s O*NET occupational database, some of the specializations in this category include radiologists, hospitalists, and pathologists, among others.
New Hampshire: $241,930
New Mexico: $212,160
North Dakota: $212,990
Rhode Island: $206,670
West Virginia: $222,760
What they do, according to O*NET: Diagnose and help patients with their mental health.
Surgeons (except ophthalmologists)
What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose and perform surgery.
New Jersey: $275,710
This map shows the highest-paying job in every state