Highest-paid jobs in health care

Written by:
September 29, 2021
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Highest-paid jobs in health care

When people think of medical professions, they likely think first of doctors, wearing a white lab coat and carrying a chart with a stethoscope around their neck. But when it comes to working in the sprawling and diverse field of health care, there's a wide range of jobs, from nutritionists to physical therapists to specialists.

And with that range comes a wide range of pay. Although health care is a hot field, salaries vary widely. The employment of health-care occupations is projected to grow by 16% from 2020 to 2030, adding about 2.6 million new jobs, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Health care occupations are estimated to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups.

This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to higher demand for health-care services. Stacker used BLS employment data to calculate which occupations in health care fields pay the most. The jobs are ranked by the mean annual salary and include jobs that the BLS categorizes as major, minor, or broad. Occupations with "all other" in the name were omitted from the list, as these are aggregates of several jobs, and the wage data is not accurate to one specific occupation. The BLS notes that hourly wages are not included for some positions that do not generally work year-round or have hourly wages of over $100. The data, from May 2020, was last updated March 2021.

Click through for a look at the best-paid jobs in health care.

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#49. Dietetic technicians

- Average annual salary: $32,920
- Average hourly wage: $15.83
- Employment: 26,430 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#48. Pharmacy technicians

- Average annual salary: $36,450
- Average hourly wage: $17.52
- Employment: 415,310 (3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#47. Veterinary technologists and technicians

- Average annual salary: $37,860
- Average hourly wage: $18.20
- Employment: 109,490 (0.8 per 1,000 jobs)

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#46. Psychiatric technicians

- Average annual salary: $38,080
- Average hourly wage: $18.31
- Employment: 85,330 (0.7 per 1,000 jobs)

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#45. Ophthalmic medical technicians

- Average annual salary: $40,010
- Average hourly wage: $19.24
- Employment: 59,960 (0.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#44. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

- Average annual salary: $40,370
- Average hourly wage: $19.41
- Employment: 257,700 (1.9 per 1,000 jobs)

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#43. Opticians, dispensing

- Average annual salary: $41,380
- Average hourly wage: $19.89
- Employment: 68,180 (0.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#42. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

- Average annual salary: $50,090
- Average hourly wage: $24.08
- Employment: 676,440 (4.9 per 1,000 jobs)

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#41. Recreational therapists

- Average annual salary: $51,260
- Average hourly wage: $24.64
- Employment: 20,080 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#40. Surgical technologists

- Average annual salary: $51,510
- Average hourly wage: $24.77
- Employment: 107,400 (0.8 per 1,000 jobs)

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#39. Athletic trainers

- Average annual salary: $52,230
- Average hourly wage: data not available
- Employment: 27,430 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#38. Exercise physiologists

- Average annual salary: $54,020
- Average hourly wage: $25.97
- Employment: 7,330 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#37. Hearing aid specialists

- Average annual salary: $54,630
- Average hourly wage: $26.26
- Employment: 7,770 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#36. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

- Average annual salary: $60,940
- Average hourly wage: $29.30
- Employment: 55,980 (0.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#35. Dietitians and nutritionists

- Average annual salary: $64,150
- Average hourly wage: $30.84
- Employment: 66,330 (0.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#34. Radiologic technologists and technicians

- Average annual salary: $64,840
- Average hourly wage: $31.17
- Employment: 206,720 (1.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#33. Respiratory therapists

- Average annual salary: $65,640
- Average hourly wage: $31.56
- Employment: 131,890 (1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#32. Orthotists and prosthetists

- Average annual salary: $74,120
- Average hourly wage: $35.63
- Employment: 9,550 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#31. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

- Average annual salary: $75,960
- Average hourly wage: $36.52
- Employment: 39,270 (0.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#30. Diagnostic medical sonographers

- Average annual salary: $77,790
- Average hourly wage: $37.40
- Employment: 73,920 (0.6 per 1,000 jobs)

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#29. Dental hygienists

- Average annual salary: $78,050
- Average hourly wage: $37.53
- Employment: 194,830 (1.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#28. Registered nurses

- Average annual salary: $80,010
- Average hourly wage: $38.47
- Employment: 2,986,500 (21.5 per 1,000 jobs)

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#27. Nuclear medicine technologists

- Average annual salary: $82,080
- Average hourly wage: $39.46
- Employment: 17,510 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#26. Speech-language pathologists

- Average annual salary: $83,240
- Average hourly wage: $40.02
- Employment: 148,450 (1.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#25. Chiropractors

- Average annual salary: $83,830
- Average hourly wage: $40.30
- Employment: 34,760 (0.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#24. Occupational therapists

- Average annual salary: $87,480
- Average hourly wage: $42.06
- Employment: 126,610 (1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#23. Audiologists

- Average annual salary: $89,230
- Average hourly wage: $42.90
- Employment: 13,300 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#22. Genetic counselors

- Average annual salary: $89,710
- Average hourly wage: $43.13
- Employment: 2,280 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#21. Physical therapists

- Average annual salary: $91,680
- Average hourly wage: $44.08
- Employment: 220,870 (1.6 per 1,000 jobs)

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#20. Radiation therapists

- Average annual salary: $94,300
- Average hourly wage: $45.34
- Employment: 17,390 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#19. Veterinarians

- Average annual salary: $108,350
- Average hourly wage: $52.09
- Employment: 73,710 (0.6 per 1,000 jobs)

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#18. Nurse practitioners

- Average annual salary: $114,510
- Average hourly wage: $55.05
- Employment: 211,280 (1.6 per 1,000 jobs)

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#17. Nurse midwives

- Average annual salary: $115,540
- Average hourly wage: $55.55
- Employment: 7,120 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#16. Physician assistants

- Average annual salary: $116,080
- Average hourly wage: $55.81
- Employment: 125,280 (1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#15. Optometrists

- Average annual salary: $125,440
- Average hourly wage: $60.31
- Employment: 36,690 (0.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#14. Pharmacists

- Average annual salary: $125,460
- Average hourly wage: $60.32
- Employment: 315,470 (2.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#13. Podiatrists

- Average annual salary: $151,110
- Average hourly wage: $72.65
- Employment: 9,710 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#12. Pediatricians

- Average annual salary: $184,570
- Average hourly wage: $88.74
- Employment: 27,550 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#11. Dentists

- Average annual salary: $186,300
- Average hourly wage: $89.57
- Employment: 111,210 (0.8 per 1,000 jobs)

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#10. Nurse anesthetists

- Average annual salary: $189,190
- Average hourly wage: $90.96
- Employment: 41,960 (0.4 per 1,000 jobs)

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#9. General internal medicine physicians

- Average annual salary: $210,960
- Average hourly wage: $101.42
- Employment: 50,600 (0.4 per 1,000 jobs)

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#8. Family medicine physicians

- Average annual salary: $214,370
- Average hourly wage: $103.06
- Employment: 98,590 (0.8 per 1,000 jobs)

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#7. Prosthodontists

- Average annual salary: $214,870
- Average hourly wage: $103.30
- Employment: 530 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#6. Psychiatrists

- Average annual salary: $217,100
- Average hourly wage: $104.38
- Employment: 25,540 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#5. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

- Average annual salary: $234,990
- Average hourly wage: $112.98
- Employment: 4,120 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#4. Orthodontists

- Average annual salary: $237,990
- Average hourly wage: $114.42
- Employment: 5,040 (0.1 per 1,000 jobs)

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#3. Obstetricians and gynecologists

- Average annual salary: $239,120
- Average hourly wage: $114.96
- Employment: 18,900 (0.2 per 1,000 jobs)

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#2. Surgeons

- Average annual salary: $251,650
- Average hourly wage: $120.99
- Employment: 37,900 (0.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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#1. Anesthesiologists

- Average annual salary: $271,440
- Average hourly wage: $130.50
- Employment: 28,590 (0.3 per 1,000 jobs)

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