The Highest-Paid Jobs in the US Right Now & Jobs You Don’t Need a Degree For
As the cost of living increases across the globe, many people may be wondering whether a college degree is really worth it. In some cases, studying for a career can be very costly and lengthy. In addition to the tuition fees themselves, students may also be required to pay for living costs, such as room and board.
Of course, the cost of study can vary depending on many factors. For example, if you are an in-state student, your total fees per year will generally be less than those who are out-of-state. They can also vary depending on whether you attend a public or private school.
We at Lensa have researched the highest-paying jobs in the US right now, the qualifications required for these jobs, how long you need to study and how much it could potentially cost you to study for the required qualifications, at a public school. We will also reveal the highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
Be sure to check out our job search, so that we can help you to kickstart your journey to your dream job!
The Highest-Paying Jobs in 2022
1. Cardiologist – $353,970 average salary
Cardiologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating disorders relating to the heart and cardiovascular system. On average, they earn around $353,970 per year.
In order to become a cardiologist, you are required to study for 14 years. This includes a 4-year long bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and six years of residency. Studying for a bachelor’s degree can cost anywhere between $15,000-$60,000 per year and four years at medical school will cost between $30,000-$60,000 per year, meaning that it could cost up to $480,000 to study to become a cardiologist.
2. Anesthesiologist – $331,190 average salary
Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering both local and general anesthesia, and monitoring the after-effects of these drugs on a patient. They earn a salary of $331,190 on average.
Studying to become an anesthesiologist will take you around 12 years to complete, including gaining a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and another four years of residency. In order to gain a sub-specialization, you can also choose to take a fellowship of one to three years. Just like cardiology training, studying to become an anesthesiologist can also set you back up to $480,000.
3. Emergency medicine physician – $310,640 average salary
Emergency medicine physicians – also known as ER doctors – are responsible for providing immediate medical attention to patients with unexpected or life-threatening illnesses and injuries. They earn an average salary of $310,640 a year.
Becoming an emergency medicine physician requires you to complete a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and three years of residency, meaning that it will take you 11 years to fully complete the required training. A bachelor’s degree will cost you around $40,000 per year, while medical school will cost you anywhere between $150,000-$250,000 in total, meaning that it could cost up to $410,000 to study to become an emergency medicine physician.
The Highest-Paid Jobs You Don’t Need a Degree For
1. Nuclear power reactor operator – $104,260 average salary
Nuclear power reactor operators are responsible for adjusting the control rods which affect how much electricity is generated by a reactor. Due to electricity being highly important and sensitive, an operator’s full attention is required at all times and they often work long shifts. They earn an average of $104,260 per year.
In order to become a nuclear power reactor operator, you are required to have received a high school diploma (or equivalent) at a minimum. However, certain employers may potentially ask for a college degree as a requirement. It is important for operators to have strong mathematical skills and scientific knowledge.
2. First-line supervisor of police and detective – $99,330 average salary
First-line supervisors are responsible for coordinating and supervising the activities of members of the police force. This involves offering guidance and expertise to detectives and ensuring that all of the required procedures are being followed in accordance with the law. They earn an average salary of $99,330 per year.
Becoming a first-line supervisor also only requires a high school diploma. It is important for supervisors to have strong communication and leadership skills, and be good at paying attention to detail and problem-solving.
3. Power distributor and dispatcher – $98,530 average salary
Power distributors and dispatchers – also known as systems operators – are responsible for controlling the flow of electricity as it makes its way from the generating stations, to the substations, before it finally reaches the users. This involves detecting and responding to emergencies that can cause power outages across networks. On average, they earn $98,530 per year.
The educational requirements for this profession are very similar to that of a nuclear power reactor operator (a high school diploma or equivalent). They also need to be quick thinkers and have strong problem-solving skills.
We started by using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather a list of the current highest-paid jobs in the US.
Next, we used Becomeopedia to analyze each job and find out what qualifications you need, as well as the cost and length of study. In order to find out the highest possible cost of studying for these professions at a public school, we took the cost of study per year and multiplied it by the number of years that would be spent studying. We then added these costs together to find out the total highest cost of study. (For example, $50,000 per year studying for a bachelor’s degree multiplied by four = $200,000. $60,000 per year studying at medical school multiplied by four = $240,000. $200,000 + $240,000 = $440,00 in total).
The highest educational cost for the following professions only includes the cost of medical school: pediatric surgeon, general internal medicine physician and family medicine physician. This is due to being unable to obtain data for the cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree for these professions.
Finally, we used the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics again to gather a list of the highest-paid jobs in the US that don’t require a college degree.