20 Highest Paying Medical Jobs in 2024
If you are exploring medical field careers, but aren’t sure which route to take, one of the first things you're probably thinking is, how much money can I make in each medical profession?
To help you navigate your healthcare career journey, we've put together a list of the highest-paying medical jobs going into 2024.
The Highest Paying Medical Jobs are:
- Anesthesiologist - $302,970
- Physician and Surgeon - $229,300
- Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) - $203,090
- Pediatrician - $190,350
- Dentist - $159,530
- Podiatrist - $148,720
- Chief Nursing Officer - $140,763
- Pharmacist - $132,750
- Physician Assistant - $126,010
- Optometrist - $125,590
- Nurse Practitioner - $121,610
- Nurse Midwife - $120,880
- Medical or Health Services Manager - $104,830
- Clinical Informatics Manager - $103,706
- Veterinarian - $103,260
- Physical Therapist - $97,720
- Occupational Therapist - $93,180
- Radiation Therapist - $89,530
- Speech Language Pathologist - $84,140
- Dental Hygienist - $81,400
Now let’s take a look at some of the highest-paying healthcare jobs available, along with their job duties and education requirements.
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who administer pain-management anesthesia and analgesics to patients during surgery or other medical procedures.
Anesthesiology is the highest-paid medical job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports annual mean wages for anesthesiologists at $302,970, or $145.66 per hour. The highest-paying states for anesthesiologists include Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii.
Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS predicts slow growth for this career field. Over the next decade, anesthesiologists may only grow by 3% or 1,000 new positions.
If becoming an anesthesiologist is part of your plans, prepare yourself for a comprehensive education. Anesthesiologists must complete a 4-year undergraduate and 4-year medical school education to earn an MD or DO credential. After graduation, anesthesiologists must also complete a minimum of 4 years of postgraduate residency in anesthesia.
Each state in the U.S. requires licensure for anesthesiologists to begin practicing. All states have a slightly different set of requirements. But in general, they all require graduation from an accredited medical university, a residency program, and successful completion of all licensing exams.
Where can you work as an anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists work in hospitals, operating rooms, outpatient surgery centers, private physician offices, and universities.
Physicians and surgeons are medical experts who assess, diagnose, and treat patient illnesses and injuries. They perform many tasks, including prescribing medications, counseling patients, interpreting diagnostic testing, and operating on patients.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for physicians and surgeons in the U.S. is $208,00 annually or $110.24 per hour.
There are currently 816,900 surgeons and physicians working in the U.S. today. The job outlook is steady, with projected growth of 3% between 2022 to 2032.
Physicians and surgeons must first earn a bachelor’s degree and medical degree education, each taking four years to complete. Upon graduation, they must also do an internship and residency program, which, depending on their specialty, can take anywhere from 4 to 9 years to complete.
Physicians and surgeons must have a license to begin practicing. All states set slightly different requirements for physician licensure. However, all require graduation from an accredited medical university and residency program and successful completion of licensing exams.
Where can you work as a physician or surgeon?
You will find physicians and surgeons working in many different medical settings, including hospitals, operating rooms, outpatient surgery centers, private physician offices, or in educational settings as professors.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses who administer anesthesia to patients for surgery or other medical procedures.
Nurse anesthetists are among the highest-paying medical jobs in the country due to the high demand and precision of their duties. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual CRNA salary in 2022 was $203,090 or $97.64 an hour.
The career outlook for CRNAs looks bright, with the BLS projecting 9 percent growth in the profession between 2022 and 2032, during which an additional 4,500 CRNA jobs will become available.
Want to know how to become a CRNA? The first step is earning a nursing degree from an accredited university. Admission into a CRNA program requires at least two years of nursing experience in an intensive care or emergency room setting.
CRNA students must then complete a master’s or doctorate degree (doctorate only starting in 2025) in a nursing anesthesia program, which takes between 2 and 4 years. Upon graduation, students must then pass the CRNA certification exam to earn licensure to practice.
Where can you work as a CRNA?
CRNAs work in various medical settings, including operating rooms, labor and delivery units, outpatient surgery centers, pain management clinics, and critical care units.
Pediatricians are among the highest-paying medical careers. These physicians work primarily with children up to 18-20 years old. They assess, diagnose, and treat illness and disease and give their patients preventative care from infancy until adulthood.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for pediatricians is $190,350, or $91.51 per hour.
The BLS predicts a slow growth of this career field in the next decade. Between 2022 and 2032, pediatrician jobs will only grow by 1% or 300 new positions.
Pediatricians are medical doctors and are required to complete an education similar to other physicians or surgeons. This medical career requires a four-year bachelor's degree, followed by 4-years of medical school and a 3-year residency.
Pediatricians must also have a license to begin practicing. Each US state has a slightly different set of requirements. However, they usually require graduation from an accredited medical university, a residency program, and successful completion of all licensing exams.
Where can you work as a pediatrician?
Pediatricians work in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private doctor’s offices, community health centers, schools, and other health management organizations.
Going into 2024, dentists will still hold some of the highest-paid medical jobs in the U.S. These medical professionals specialize in treating teeth and diagnosing various oral conditions.
You may be most familiar with the most common type of dentist -- the general practitioner dentist. However, there are several other types of dentists, including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, and prosthodontists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for dentists is $159,530 per year or $76.70 per hour.
The BLS predicts dentist career field growth to be as fast as all other professions. There are currently 155,000 dentists working in the U.S., and the projected job growth is 4% from 2022 to 2032.
To become a dentist, you will first need to complete a 4-year bachelor's degree followed by an accredited dental school program, which takes four additional years. In dental school, you can earn one of two degrees: a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD).
Upon graduation, students must also take their state’s written and clinical exams to earn licensure. Licensure requirements vary depending on the state in which you live.
Where can you work as a dentist?
Dentists usually work in private practice or a group office. However, dentists also work in hospitals, research facilities, as educators, and in public health dentistry.
We Found The Following Schools with Online Dental Assistant Programs
A podiatrist is a physician or surgeon who treats health conditions involving the foot, ankle, and sometimes related parts of the lower leg.
In 2022, BLS data revealed that podiatrists earn a median annual salary of $148,720 or $71.50 per hour.
The BLS also projects little or no change in this field between 2022 and 2032. Currently, there are 10,600 podiatrists working in the US. By 2032, the field may only grow by 1%, adding a mere 100 new jobs in the next decade.
Those interested in becoming a podiatrist must first complete an undergraduate degree in a medical-related field. Then you must attend an accredited medical school specializing in podiatric medicine, which takes about four years, to receive a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. From there, you would need to complete a 3-year podiatric residency and pass the required licensure exams per your state.
Where can you work as a podiatrist?
Podiatrists work independently or with other podiatrists in hospitals, operating rooms, outpatient centers, and private practice offices.
A chief nursing officer (CNO) is a hospital or medical institution's highest-level registered nurse management position. This position oversees the nursing staff's processes and procedures, including safety protocols, ensuring patient safety, and managing staff.
Chief Nursing Officer Salary
Chief nursing officers have one of the highest-paying medical jobs, with salaries that vary depending on location and experience. According to Payscale, CNOs in the U.S. earn $140,763 annually or $63.43 hourly.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service management positions such as CNOs will grow by 28% from 2022 to 2032.
Becoming a chief nursing officer requires a robust education alongside nursing experience. Like many nursing roles, you should begin your journey by completing a BSN degree and earning RN licensure. Then, you will need three to six years of additional education and management experience to become a competitive CNO candidate.
The additional education you earn will be either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Keep in mind that many employers prefer DNP candidates for chief nursing officer positions. Earning a DNP will make you a stronger candidate, though you can still achieve this position with an MSN and plenty of relevant experience.
Where can you work as a chief nursing officer?
Most CNOs work for hospitals or medical institutions. However, many also work in nursing homes or in an overseeing position in large healthcare systems.
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who specialize in medication preparation and pharmaceutical management.
This position ensures that patients receive the correct medications in the right dose and understand the safe and appropriate use of their pharmaceuticals to manage their health conditions best.
>> Related: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
The median average salary you can earn as a pharmacist in the U.S. is $132,750 per year or $63.82 per hour.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 3% projected increase in pharmacist jobs in the next decade. This growth is about as fast as all other professions.
To become a pharmacist, you must complete an undergraduate degree in a medical-related field and then attend an accredited Doctor of Pharmacy program, where you will also complete an on-site internship. Upon graduation, you will also need to pass all licensure exams and apply for your license per your state’s requirements.
Where can you work as a pharmacist?
Most pharmacists work in pharmacies at your local drug store or grocery store. However, you can also find pharmacists in hospital pharmacies or physician offices.
We Found The Following Schools with Online Pharmacy Technician Programs
A physician assistant (PA) is a licensed medical professional who works under the supervision of a physician. PAs work with the same medical model as medical doctors and care for patients suffering from a wide range of diseases, injuries, and other medical conditions.
Some of the tasks they perform include assessing patients, writing prescriptions, ordering diagnostic tests, assisting in surgery, and developing and managing treatment plans.
>> Related: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant
Physician Assistant Salary
In 2022 there were 148,000 working physician assistants in the US. The career outlook is bright in the profession, with anticipated growth of 27% between 2022 and 2032.
Becoming a PA requires obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a medical-related field and completing prerequisite courses to be eligible for PA school. Most PA schools require a few years of experience within the healthcare field in some capacity for eligibility.
PA school is about 24 to 28 months of classroom education and clinical rotations. PA students do not choose a specialty (like an NP) but have a general medical education. Instead, PA specialty training comes when you start practicing within a specific medical area.
Upon graduation from PA school, you will need to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) to earn certification to start practicing as a PA in the field.
Where can you work as a physician assistant?
PAs can work in any setting that physicians do, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, surgery centers, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare environments.
An optometrist is a medical professional who specializes in eye health and prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses when appropriate. They also diagnose and treat visual injuries, disorders, diseases, and other issues of the eyes.
The median annual salary for optometrists in 2022 was $125,590 or $60.38 per hour (BLS). The lowest 10% of optometrists earn as little as $62,150, but top earners can make up to $191,430.
43,400 optometrists worked in the U.S., according to 2022 BLS reports. There will be a need for 3,800 more between 2022 to 2032, which represents a 9% career growth during that time.
If you want to be an optometrist, you must complete an undergraduate degree followed by four years of optometry school for a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.
Where can you work as an optometrist?
Optometrists more commonly work in private optometry offices. However, you can also find them in outpatient clinics, retail companies, and doctor’s offices.
We Found The Following Schools with Online Optician Programs
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who treat various patient health conditions and have a larger scope of practice than a general RN.
>> Related: Highest Paid NP Specialties
Nurse Practitioner Salary
NPs have some of the highest-paying medical jobs for nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPs earn a median annual wage of $121,610 or $58.47 per hour. But that varies by several factors, including your area of specialization.
The career outlook is bright for nurse practitioners, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 45% NP career growth between 2022 and 2032.
Nurse practitioners also report incredibly high levels of job satisfaction, and U.S. News and World Report rank the career as the best job in healthcare.
To become a nurse practitioner, you must complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and pass the NCLEX to obtain a registered nursing license.
After at least two years of experience, you can attend a master’s degree program specializing in the type of advanced practice nursing that interests you.
Programs last anywhere from 2-4 years for a master’s program or 4-6 years to achieve a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Upon graduation, you will need to pass the required licensure and certification exams.
Where can you work as a nurse practitioner?
NPs work in all hospital settings, including critical care areas, emergency rooms, in-patient and outpatient surgery, and other specialty floor units. NPs also work in community clinics, nursing homes, health care centers, and physician offices. In states with full practice authority for nurse practitioners, they can even run their own practices.
Nurse-midwives are best known for assisting women through pregnancy and childbirth. However, they can also help women with medical care during other various phases of life and can diagnose and treat medical conditions, perform health assessments, and write prescriptions.
Nurse Midwife Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual income for nurse midwives is $120,880 or $58.12 per hour.
The BLS also projects a 38% growth for all APRN careers, such as nurse midwives, between 2022 and 2032. Midwives specifically have a projected growth of 6%, equating to around 500 new positions.
To become a nurse-midwife, you must complete a BSN program to obtain RN licensure. After becoming an RN, you'll need at least two years of nursing experience before applying to a master's program specializing in nurse-midwifery. Before you can practice as a certified nurse-midwife, you must pass the required licensure and certification exams.
Where can you work as a nurse-midwife?
Nurse-midwives can practice in hospitals, private practices, public health clinics, and birthing centers.
Also known as healthcare managers, medical and health services managers are responsible for overseeing administrative and clinical processes in a medical unit or facility. They manage places like hospital floors, outpatient care centers, and nursing homes.
Some of the daily tasks include managing nursing staff and other personnel, handling financial matters, maintaining patient safety measures, and ensuring that the highest standard of medical care is met.
Medical or Health Services Manager Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2022, medical and health services management positions earned a median income of $104,830 per year or $50.40 per hour.
The career outlook is excellent for those interested in becoming a medical or health services manager. In 2022, 509,500 managers were working in the position. Between 2022 and 2032, there is a projected growth of 28% within the profession.
Becoming a medical or health services manager requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. However, most employers now require a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA degree). They also favor master's educated candidates in business management.
Many managers are medical professionals who worked within a particular specialty area and were able to promote themselves to the role. For example, most management positions within the hospital setting are filled with registered nurses who became experts within a particular specialty and desired to work in the business side of nursing.
Where can you work as a medical or health services manager?
Medical and health services managers work in almost all hospital settings, group physician offices, nursing homes, and other health facilities.
With so many technical responsibilities, it's no wonder clinical informatics management is one of the highest-paying medical careers of the digital age.
These healthcare and tech experts organize, plan, and manage a healthcare organization’s clinical information program, which is a computer-based system that collects, organizes, and stores patients’ healthcare information. Clinical information programs also track other important information to improve healthcare delivery.
These programs are essential to healthcare systems in the modern age because they help providers like doctors and nurses improve efficiency, minimize errors, and improve overall patient care.
Clinical Informatics Manager Salary
According to the Payscale, clinical informatics managers earn an average annual salary of $103,706, or $39.40 per hour.
With technology increasing by the day, the career outlook for clinical informatics managers looks bright, with an expected job growth of 28% between 2022 and 2032.
You'll need at least a bachelor's degree to become a clinical informatics manager. However, employers often favor master's educated candidates. So, a graduate degree will make you more competitive for these positions.
In addition to formal education, many clinical informatics managers have plenty of related experience. They may have previously worked in medical administration or held clinical roles in a healthcare facility.
Where can you work as a clinical informatics manager?
Clinical informatics managers usually work in large medical systems, hospitals, and other medical clinics.
Among the highest-paying medical jobs, veterinarians specialize in animals' medical health and well-being.
The most common type of veterinarian treats animals for illness, disease, and injury in a similar way that human physicians do. However, like MDs, vets can also specialize. Some veterinary specialties include dentistry, surgery, and anesthesiology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2022 median pay for veterinarians in the US was $103,260, or $49.64 per hour.
Veterinarians have a bright career outlook, with a projected growth rate of 20% between 2022 and 2032.
Although many veterinary programs do require a bachelor's degree, some do not. No matter what, you will need a certain amount of prerequisites to apply to a program.
However, most veterinarians complete a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field before attending vet school. By taking that route, students can complete all necessary classes for eligibility and have time to volunteer or intern for an established veterinarian to make sure they love the career before fully committing.
You will likely need to take the GRE and have a few letters of recommendation as part of your application process.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) school education takes four years to complete, including coursework, labs, and hands-on clinical experience. Following graduation, you will also need to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) before you can start practicing.
Where can you work as a veterinarian?
Veterinarians work in veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, zoos, farms, and laboratories.
We Found The Following Schools with Online Veterinary Assistant Programs
Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed medical professionals who treat and help patients manage illnesses and injuries to the musculoskeletal system. They work one-on-one with patients to improve their range of motion, manage pain, and regain the highest level of mobility they can.
Physical Therapist Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for PTs in the US in 2022 was $97,720 per year or $46.98 per hour.
If becoming a PT interests you, you are in luck because there will be many opportunities ahead. The BLS projects 15% growth in the profession between 2022 and 2032.
To become a physical therapist, you must start by getting a bachelor’s degree in a medical-related field. While there, you should complete the required science prerequisites to be eligible for a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program you wish to attend. Otherwise, you'll have to complete these classes individually before applying to PT school.
In general, DPT programs take five years to complete. The first three years cover academic instruction, followed by one year of clinical education and one year of clinical rotations.
Upon graduation, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to be licensed to practice in the US.
Where can you work as a physical therapist?
PTs can work in various medical environments, including many different areas of the hospital, outpatient settings, rehabilitation centers, schools, sports facilities, and geriatric homes.
We Found The Following Schools with Online Physical Therapy Aide Programs
Occupational therapists (OTs) develop customized treatment plans to help ill or injured patients develop fine motor skills, perform tasks that involve hand-eye coordination, and complete activities of daily living. Their goal is to help their patients live as independently as possible or develop skills to help them live better with their disabilities.
Occupational Therapist Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OTs earned $93,180 annually or $44.80 per hour in 2022, making it one of the highest-paying medical jobs in the country.
There will be increased career opportunities for those interested in becoming an OT in the coming years. The BLS states that growth within the profession will increase by 12% from 2022 to 2032, resulting in a need for 16,100 additional OTs.
Wondering how to become an occupational therapist? Working as an OT requires earning a bachelor’s degree in a medically related field and completing all OT school prereqs.
Additionally, most schools have candidates complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and volunteer or observation hours in an occupational therapy setting.
Occupational therapy school culminates in a master's or doctoral degree. Upon graduation from an accredited OT program, you'll need to pass the National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
Where can you work as an occupational therapist?
OTs work in most hospital areas, occupational therapy offices, schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and home health.
A radiation therapist (RT) is an allied health professional who works with an interdisciplinary team of oncologists, nurses, and other health professionals to treat cancer patients or ease disease symptoms with radiation therapy.
Radiation Therapist Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that radiation technologists earned a median income of $89,530 per year or $43.04 per hour in the US in 2022.
Radiation therapy careers will grow steadily in the coming decade, with the BLS predicting a 2% growth between 2022 and 2023.
Most employers prefer candidates with either an associate's or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. You may also attend a radiation therapy certificate program, which can take anywhere from 1-2 years. Although entering a radiation therapy program with a high school degree or GED is possible, higher education offers more career opportunities and advancement.
>> Related: How to Become a Radiation Therapist
Where can you work as a radiation therapist?
Radiation therapists most commonly work in hospitals, medical offices, and other outpatient facilities where patients receive radiation treatments.
A speech-language pathologist is a medical professional who assists patients with speech and swallowing disorders. They assess, diagnose, and treat their patients to improve communication and produce speech sounds effectively.
Speech-Language Pathologist Salary
In 2022, speech-language pathologists earned a median annual income of $84,140 or $40.45 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS predicts that speech-language pathology jobs will grow by 19% between 2022 and 2032, so there will be a need for an additional 33,100 speech-language pathologist jobs.
Becoming a speech pathologist requires that you complete a bachelor’s program in communication sciences and disorders (CSD).
Then you must attend a graduate program and achieve a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Upon graduation, you must also complete a post-graduate fellowship and pass the National Exam in Speech-Pathology before applying for state licensure.
Where can you work as a speech-language pathologist?
Speech pathologists most commonly work in the hospital setting but can also be found working in outpatient centers and rehabilitation facilities.
A dental hygienist works with a dentist to assist with caring for their patient’s oral health. Dental hygienists' services include patient screening, taking x-rays, removing calculus and plaque, applying fluoride treatments, administering topical anesthesia, educating patients on proper dental health, and assisting with office management duties.
Dental Hygienist Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists earned an average of $81,400 per year or $39.14 per hour in 2022.
The BLS predicts dental hygienist jobs will grow by 7% in the coming decade, adding 16,300 new jobs by 2032.
To become a dental hygienist, you must complete a minimum of an associate’s degree. However, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees are also available for those who want to work in more specialized care or achieve higher career advancement opportunities.
Where can you work as a dental hygienist?
Dental hygienists most commonly work in dental offices. However, they also work in public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and or other health organizations.