Top 18 Highest-Paying Non-Medical Jobs

FT Contributor  | 

It’s no secret that medical professionals, more specifically doctors, typically make an above-average income. However, behind the income is many years of schooling, student loan debt, and even stress. While you’re left wondering if being a doctor is worth the cons, keep in mind that there are plenty of other non-medical careers that offer six-figure salaries.

Although these non-medical careers are all high-paying, some require more education and/or more specialized experience than others. When you’re choosing one of these careers, remember to calculate the time and money you will need to spend on education.

1. Chief Executives

The role of a chief executive officer will vary depending on the industry or organization, but in general, it requires implementing the company’s vision, formulating strategies to guide the business, overseeing the organization’s complete operation, and evaluating its success. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, such as business management or public administration, and a minimum of five years’ experience in the field.

The best-paying fields for this position include corporate management, local government, elementary and secondary schools, and state government.

2. Securities Compliance Examiner

Securities compliance examiners have many responsibilities, including reviewing fund portfolios and financial information for multi-million dollar companies, as well as performing background research and on-site examinations of operations to check compliance controls.

You will need analytical and decision-making skills to become a securities compliance examiner, so a bachelor’s degree in economics, engineering, or physical science is helpful. However, a master’s degree in one of these fields will improve your chance of advancement.  

The highest-paying jobs in this field include those involved with federal organizations.

3. Airline Pilot

Airline pilots need a bachelor’s degree and an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. To be considered for a position, you will need to pass the airline’s aptitude and psychological tests to show your ability when it comes to critical thinking and making decisions under pressure.

Typically, an airline pilot will begin their career as a commercial pilot. You will need a high school diploma or equivalent to become a commercial pilot.

4. Computer and Information Systems Managers

The duties of a computer and information systems manager is to organize, plan, and direct any computer-related activities within a company/organization. Experience in computers and technology is highly sought after, alongside individuals who have an associates degree or higher in computers, science, or technology.

Computer and information systems managers are employed by companies in need of an individual(s) to oversee their entire IT department.

5. Architecture/Engineering Manager

An architectural and engineering manager is responsible for developing new products and designs, providing staff training and equipment, developing project budgets, and hiring and supervising staff. Most architectural and engineering managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in architecture or another related specialty.

Some of the highest-paid positions for an architectural and engineering manager are senior project specialist, manufacturing engineering manager, and quality control systems manager.

6. Financial Manager

Financial managers are required to have strong mathematical and technical skills and must be detail-oriented and analytical. You will need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a finance-related subject. Five years’ experience in a financial position such as accounting, financial analysis, or auditing is also required.

Some of the highest-paid financial managers work in industries such as banking, insurance, and investment.

7. Natural Sciences Manager

The role of a natural sciences manager includes developing goals and strategy for research, evaluating science staff members, monitoring projects, and providing assistance to laboratory staff. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science and sometimes a master’s degree in a related field such as engineering. Many natural sciences managers previously worked in entry- to mid-level science positions for several years.

Some of the highest-paying occupations in this field include laboratory manager, federal government research manager, and research coordination manager.

8. Sales Managers

It is a sales manager’s job to oversee and guide a sales team within a company or organization. No degree is required, however, having a bachelor’s degree in management can be helpful. Aside from this, work experience in sales can be helpful as well.

Sales managers can be employed by retail stores, and any other business that handles sales of any goods and services.

9. Air Traffic Controllers

The role of an air traffic controller is to direct and coordinate aircrafts, allowing them to maintain a safe distance from each other, preventing them from colliding both in air and on the runway. Any prospecting candidates must be a U.S. citizen, obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, pass the FAA pre-employment test, pass the air traffic controller specialists skills assessment battery, and complete training in the FAA academy.  

Air traffic controllers are federal employees who work in control towers at airports throughout the United States.

10. Lawyers

The role of a lawyer will vary depending on the field and specialization. The role involves working in a private or corporate legal office. It also includes advising clients on business transactions and liability, as well as defending clients against lawsuits and interpreting laws and regulations for them. You must have a three-year law degree and must pass the state bar examination.

Some of the highest-paying legal jobs include members of Congress, trial lawyers, and intellectual property lawyers.

11. Compensation and Benefits Manager

The role of a compensation and benefits manager is to create plans and programs to pay and provide benefits to employees. While education is not required, a bachelor’s degree in business management is extremely helpful for this field.

Similar to HR managers, compensation and benefits managers are found in nearly every industry.

12. Purchasing Managers

Purchasing managers are in charge of selecting items and overseeing the work of buyers and purchasing agents within a company. Some purchasing managers have a bachelor’s degree in business management, however, it is not required. For most, all they need is work experience in the field. Skills needed include organization, time management, communication, and leadership skills.

Typically, purchasing managers work in an office setting and may be required to travel from time to time.

13. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising and marketing managers take on the role of promoting different goods and services for a given company/client. An associates degree or higher in marketing and advertising is required by most employers. But some may accept applicants based on field experience alone.

Advertising and marketing managers frequently work for advertising and marketing companies. However, some may be hired on a freelance basis.

14. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

The role of public relations is to properly respond to any allegations and accusations, as well as perform crisis management for a client or company. Fundraising managers are in charge of coordinating ways to bring in funds and donations for a particular organization. A bachelor’s degree in public relations or communications is needed for those who want to obtain a position in this field.

Public relations and fundraising managers can work for PR companies, or are hired by individual clients/organizations.

15. Postsecondary Law Teachers

Postsecondary law teachers teach courses on law. Most of those who have obtained this position have a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. in law. Extensive knowledge of law, as well as skills in leading, teaching, and communicating are needed to succeed in this field.

Postsecondary law teachers are employed through colleges, universities, professional schools, and junior colleges.

16. Human Resources Managers

The role of a human resource manager is to plan, direct, hire, and reinforce rules within an organization. This position requires a combination of schooling and work experience. Prospecting HR managers should have at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree may be most sought after for some positions.

Human resource managers work in nearly every industry in an office setting. Some may be required to travel to further their education or train/recruit employees.

17. Software Developer

The role of a software developer includes designing and implementing software engineering applications. If you’re seeking to move into management, a software development manager’s duties include providing support for development and technical staff, training software engineering staff, and managing their performance.

You will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering, and some employers also require a master’s degree in computer science or business for senior-level positions.

Some of the highest-paid jobs in this area of employment are open to people with several years’ worth of experience in software development.

18. Computer Network Architect

The role of an enterprise architect comprises many different skills including the ability to analyze and resolve business, technology, and data-related issues. You will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, manufacturing, or technology. A minimum of seven years’ experience in analysis is also required.

Companies that offer the highest potential earnings include Dell Technologies, Intel Corporation, and Electronic Data Systems.


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