According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures from 2012, the most recent statistics available as of September 2014, the majority of the highest-paying jobs are in the medical profession. Anesthesiologists and surgeons are the best paid, with 75% of them earning more than $187,200 per year. Obstetricians and gynecologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, internists, and all other physicians and surgeons are the next highest-paid individuals. More than 50% of them earn wages of at least $187,200 annually.

Psychiatrists, family and general practitioners, dentists, prosthodontists and pediatricians comprise the next best-paid group, in which at least 25% of the members earn $187,200 or more. The median pay for those in this group ranges from $145,240 to $173,330 per year. Chief executives are included in this group too; they are the highest-paid non-medical professionals on the list.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' top-20 highest-paying jobs are rounded out by nurse anesthetists, who earn median wages of $148,160 per year; petroleum engineers, and architectural engineers and managers, who earn median wages of $130,280 and $124,870 respectively; air traffic controllers, earning a median salary of $122,530; computer and information systems managers, who earn a median wage of 120,950 per year; and marketing managers, earning a median salary of $119,480 annually.

For comparison purposes, the BLS lists those employed in food service as receiving the lowest median annual wages. This includes workers who prepare and serve food, dishwashers, waiters and waitresses, hosts and hostesses, fast food workers and bartenders. Others in the lowest-paid segment include farm workers, shampooers, nail technicians, gaming dealers, models, cashiers, locker room attendants, lifeguards, and attendants in the amusement and movie theater industries. These workers have a median hourly wage of $8.78 to $9.28 per hour as of 2012. Expanded to an annual wage based on a 40-hour work week, the median salaries for these workers range from $18,262 to $19,302 per year.

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