Presenting America's 20 Best And Worst Paying Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture

While we fail to see any occupations listed for "insider trading hedge fund managers" or "high frequency market manipulators" in the just released list by the BLS listing the number of workers and wages earned for all official US occupations, we supposed it will have to do, incomplete as it may be.

Below, sorted by average annual wage, are the Top 20 best paying jobs in the US including the average hourly wage and also showing the number of people the BLS believes are employed in each,  seasonally adjusted of course.


And here are the bottom 20, or worst-paying, US jobs. It is here the the minimum-wage debate is most acute... As is the debate just how motivated the workers in these 20 occupations really are.


Curious how many total workers are employed in the Top and Bottom 20 jobs? Here is the answer:


What may be more surprising is that while there are 8 times as many workers in the worst paid bucket as best-paid, the total compensation paid to these two extreme groups is virtually identical.


Moral of the story: Don't become a line cook, kids, unless of course when one adds up all the welfare and insolvent state benefits provided to line cooks, the after tax cash flow matches or beats that of anesthesiologists.

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Cattender's picture

Walmart is Hiring cart fetchers..

McMolotov's picture

What about fart catchers?

zaphod's picture

The top list is filled with professions that require exceling in school for decades and participating in residency programs through ones early thirties before making money.

The bottom list is filled with positions anyone off the street can do and are filled by people who mostly dropped out of school early of their own free will.  

Stuck on Zero's picture

The top list includes mostly people protected by government supported monopolies; AMA, ADA, etc. Get government out of the picture and those salaries would fall in line with the required skills. 

davinci7_gis's picture

The bottom 20 will be filled by robots in 5 years!

kito's picture

the top 20 will be filled by robotics and AI in 20 years....assuming the world isnt in a permanent state of decline which will lead to the second coming of the dark ages. hooray!......

maskone909's picture

terminator was a prophecy


god help us sarah connor

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~"What about fart catchers?"~

Think brown nets and... sticky.

kaiserhoff's picture

Don't see any federal "managers" or gubbermint rent a cops, school principles, or prison guards, on that list.

Grossed up to total compensation, they would dominate.

Also, how about college football coaches?

How about school superintendants, who do nothing but kiss the asses of the school board?

insanelysane's picture

This BLS list must be all occupations ex-public servants and ex-academia.  A list including those would result in revolution.

Anusocracy's picture

How do these lists compare with similar lists in other countries?

Richard Chesler's picture

Don!t forget congress muppets.

SamAdams's picture

"when one adds up all the welfare and insolvent state benefits provided to line cooks, the after tax cash flow matches or beats that of anesthesiologists"

Uh, no... this is not based on a 1:1 ratio of persons.  It says that the total compensation of a relatively small group is about equal to the total compensation of a large group.   Holy Telepathic Zombie Jesus, get your act together!

August's picture

Australian medical specialists make more than the figures cited above.

I've seen medical jobs advertised publicly for 1M AUD per year.  The downside is that income tax on high earners is 46%

CheapBastard's picture

I'd like to be a doctor...or petrol engineer...but thinking makes my brain hurt.....

boogerbently's picture

"Moral of the story: Don't become a line cook, kids, unless of course when one adds up all the welfare and insolvent state benefits provided to line cooks, the after tax cash flow matches or beats that of anesthesiologists."


The GLOBAL problem, encapsulated.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Where is that thieving cunt, Suckerburg?

Looked for him but couldn't spot him...

Keyser's picture

The top list includes mostly people protected by government supported monopolies; AMA, ADA, etc. Get government out of the picture and those salaries would fall in line with the required skills. 

The medical profession is under attack by the very agencies which you claim are supporting them. The current state of tort laws in the US and the fact that medical malpractice insurance costs have gone parabolic is driving practitioners out of the industry. Couple this with reduced reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid only exacerbates the situation. Then comes the law of supply and demand. Do you want a surgeon that graduated from La Universidad de Guatemala or Johns Hopkins? 



Kickaha's picture

The "curent state of the tort laws" is that 98% of the malpractice (i.e. - anything that doesn't result in permanent disability or death) goes unpunished in any way.  The perps get away with it because the medical profession and its insurance carriers haves bought off their state legislators, who in return for massive campaign contributions have "reformed" tort liability out of existence for the overwhelming majority of injured patients.

MachoMan's picture

While mostly true, I would say the answer is even more fundamental than that...  at the end of the day, malpractice is still a really, really difficult standard (as it has always been).  No marginal case ever gets brought due to the burden of proof.  Further, most people don't really care about suing anyone, contrary to popular belief.  Most malpractice suits are really moreso about bedside manner than proper technique or procedure.  [this is why all the tit doctors tell the patient how well surgery went... you look great!  you did so well!].

What's hilarious is that doctors refuse to look at the industry taking their money (insurance) for answers...  At the end of the day, no one gets punitives on medmal unless it's obscenely outrageous conduct (like, I just did an 8 ball, fucked 3 hookers, and have been up for 2 weeks straight and am using an aids ridden 2 man bandsaw to hack off the wrong leg from a patient type egregious behavior).  So...  doctors are complaining about having to compensate people for injuring them...  As stated in my post below, "tort reform" advocates are no longer asking for reform because that's happened over the last century and every square inch of possible reform has been ceded to the medical industry.  What they're advocating for is tort immunity.  Again, ask your insurers why your premiums aren't decreasing despite less and less liability for your acts...  (if you want to confuse a doctor, just ask him that...)

PS, I agree that it's hilarious someone would use the phrase "current state of affairs" when professionals of all sorts had unlimited liability at common law.

Rafferty's picture

A list including those would result in revolution.


Especially if you factor in index linked pensions, long holidays, tax free retirement bonuses and life long security of tenure.  If it's any consolation it's the same racket in most European countries.  Thank public sector unions and spineless pols.

studfinder's picture

My bro is about to retire from government (ripe age of 53)...  They obviously didn't factor in pensions...

mumbo_jumbo's picture



agreed, this list is just like everthing else in the US, cherry pick the numbers so your own point can be "proven"

cnsteph's picture

None of those "worst paying jobs" were meant to be "you can support a family on this job".  They are meant for 15 - 20 yr olds who haven't decided what they want to be/do and get trained for the career they choose.  They are ment to be entry level jobs for NONSKILLED workers.  If you want a job to support a family then go learn how to do a skill.



mumbo_jumbo's picture

sounds like you haven't been paying attention.

those "skills" have been exported and those "skills" that can't be exported our masters have a solution for that as well so a horde of peasants has been imported to do those.


mc225's picture

maybe the 'dark ages' weren't really that 'dark' after all. what we have here in the usa seems like a sort of dystopia.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

re "The bottom 20 will be filled by robots in 5 years!"

> iRobot + Agenda21 = Soylent Green

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I beg to differ.  The bottom 20 exist only because we have people who do them for us.  The pleasure is derived from being served, not simply from the thing served.  This is the nature of aristocracy.  One who seeks power over his brother requires subservience to reap his terrible reward.

EggSlayer's picture

Your a joke. So your saying anyone can be a doctor, an orthodontist, or any kind of practioner... supply and demand my friend. Get a grip.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Come on, man.  They have been discouraging WASP males from even applying for med. school for some time...

EggSlayer's picture

I don't know much about the application process for med school. But what I'm saying is that a specialized skill like being a practioner is not somthing that EVERYONE can be. Low supply, high salary.

Anusocracy's picture

Did you miss this?

"Get government out of the picture and those salaries would fall in line with the required skills."

Keyser's picture

Let me get this straight, you would be fine to have some elbow-deep in your guts that got his medical degree in the Dominican Republic?

Anusocracy's picture

And your comment has what to do about this?

Rafferty's picture

 discouraging WASP males ?????


They've been rejecting them hand over fist for years.  But if you're a black trans-gendered Jewish woman you walk into Harvard Med even with a lousy SAT.  Cleverly Jews are classed as White so the figures don't look too gross.  But if you exclide them then White men are under-represented by a staggering factor of 14.

cynicalskeptic's picture

But it takes a real lack of morals and ethics to be a sociopath.  

Which brings up the question:

Where are the Hedge fund guys, Wall Street types, Bankers and Corporate Execs on the 'Best Paid' list?

Those guys are making MILLIONS - the doctors on this list are making what these guys spend on coke and hookers in a week. 

adr's picture

Million dollar bonuses and stock gains don't count as salary. That's why you don't see those jobs on the list.

Remember Warren Buffet earns less money per year than anyone on the bottom list. Unearned income is another story.

detached.amusement's picture

I was gonna say, the CEO of where averages only 250ish?  give me a fkn break!

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Unfunded liabilities,

gain as opposed to income,

wealth vs income (we currently talk about 'rich' or wealthy people based on their income, as opposed to their wealth)

unrealized gains, capital gains...  All words that are currently gibberish to your avg American, but I get the feeling they will be better acquainted with the terms 20 years on.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Adr, many of the high paid healthcare professionals I know are mortgaged to the hilt, live very costly lives and pay a fortune in malpractice insurance. This list is very misleading. I have a financial advisor friend who hates working with Drs who for the most part can't stick to a budget or live within their means. He told me as a microbiologist I have a better grasp of my finances than the average specialized dr. Now that's scary. High income does not mean one is wealthy.


RabbitChow's picture

Exactly!  Where are the HFT jobs?  Maybe they only make pennies.  At least that's what they all say, right?

Kickaha's picture

Wow.  You really do think you are much, much smarter than everybody else.  News flash! You are not.

ncdirtdigger's picture

Now that, my friends, is FUNNY! 'Your' a joke? Really? As they say on NFL Today, COME ON MAN!

Oh regional Indian's picture

The best paying list is heavily doctored...

Citxmech's picture

Where are the garbage men, plumbers, and electricians?  Our garbage men went out on strike a while back becasue their salary was "too low" at over $100k!  I was about ready to quit my job and offer to pick up the trash for only $90k.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

This list doesn't account for "earnings" of "all earners".  These are "wages" of "wage-earners".  Thus you don't see, for example, compensation packages for executives, earnings for the self-employed, and so forth. 

Keyser's picture

Agreed. My "profession" is on the top ten list, but the salary levels are not realistic. They are too low. 

Pool Shark's picture




Anesthesiologists average only $235k a year???!!!

That's what primary care physicians make. I've never met an anesthesiologist making less than $500k.

On the other hand, there's no way in hell the average petroleum engineer makes $150k; more like $95k:


babylon15's picture

Anesthesiologist salaries have come down significantly since the 2007 financial crisis began.  Median is about $300,000 now.  Median malpractice insurance is about $25k a year.  Being replaced by Nurse Anesthetists anyway, so if you start training to become an anesthesiologist today, chances are salary will be significantly lower by the time you finish your residency in 12 years (4 college + 4 med school + 4 residency).