If Americans are looking for high-paying careers, healthcare appears to be the way to go.
Six of the highest-paying careers in the United States are in healthcare, according to a survey by CareerCast.com. Physicians top the list: surgeons ranked first place, followed by psychiatrists and then general practice physicians. However, their compensation varies widely. The annual median wage of a surgeon is more than $352,000. But psychiatrists and general practice doctors are slightly more than half of that.
"What's fascinating is how different the salaries can be in that category," CareerCast.com Editor Kyle Kensing told MSNBC. "Depending on the specialty, the salary can jump to almost a half-million (dollars) for some surgeons." Specialists such as orthopedic and cardiac surgeons outearn even general surgeons, although they were not on the CareerCast.com list, MSNBC reported.
Dentists are also in the top 10, but with median wages of $146,340, earn about 20 percent less than most physicians. The top 10 list is rounded out by orthodontists and pharmacists.
Although the top 10 jobs included senior level executives, it did not include hospital executives. However, many hospital CEOs earn high six figures. Some earn well into the seven figures, and a handful earn eight figures in annual compensation. On average, a hospital CEO is paid base compensation of $386,000, which beats the median for surgeons and more than doubles that of general practice physicians.
Indeed, at the very top of the heap, healthcare industry CEOs had the highest median pay level of any other industry last year, at $13.6 million.
Nevertheless, healthcare careers also have been behind much of the job growth in the United States in recent years. Many positions pay solid middle-class wages without the intensive education and training required of physicians or the intense competition required to occupy the C-suite of a hospital or insurance company.
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