The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published its list of National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates in March 2018, based on data from May 2017. While hedge fund managers get all the attention, when you look at mean salaries, jobs in the healthcare field dominate this list. For comparison, we also provide data from the 2017 list, which is based on data from May 2016.

Healthcare jobs topped the list, and the sector's future is very bright. According to the BLS, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026 — adding about 2.4 million new jobs. This growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services, according to the agency.

Methodology: Rankings are based on salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additional information comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which was developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). For clarity and convenience, some overlapping job categories were omitted. 

1. Anesthesiologists

  • 2018 report mean annual wage: $265,990
  • 2017 report mean annual wage: $232,280

The BLS defines anesthesiologists as, "Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery, or other medical procedures." Anesthesiologists were ranked first the previous year as well. There are approximately 30,590 anesthesiologists in the U.S., per the most recent data.

Following four years of medical school, would-be anesthesiologists in the U.S. typically complete a four-year residency in that specialization, and possibly, even more, depending on the sub-specialty.

(Image: BLS)

2. Surgeons 

  • 2018 report mean annual wage: $251,890
  • 2017 report mean annual wage: $252,910

The BLS defines this category as "Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation." There are approximately 38,600 surgeons in the U.S., according to the most recent BLS data.

(Image: Thinkstock)

3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

  • 2018 report mean annual wage: $242,740
  • 2017 report mean annual wage: $232,870

Somewhat different from dentists, oral surgeons perform procedures such as wisdom tooth extraction, and maxillofacial surgeons perform procedures around the jaw and the face around the jaw. The latter can include aesthetic procedures. According to the Labor Department-affiliated job database O*NET, this is what a maxillofacial surgeon is responsible for:

  • Administer general and local anesthetics,
  • Collaborate with other professionals, such as restorative dentists and orthodontists, to plan treatment.
  • Evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth to determine whether problems exist currently or might occur in the future.
  • Perform surgery to prepare the mouth for dental implants, and to aid in the regeneration of deficient bone and gum tissues.
  • Remove tumors and other abnormal growths of the oral and facial regions, using surgical instruments.
  • Treat infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws, and neck.
  • Remove impacted, damaged, and non-restorable teeth.
  • Provide emergency treatment of facial injuries including facial lacerations, intra-oral lacerations, and fractured facial bones.
  • Treat problems affecting the oral mucosa, such as mouth ulcers and infections.
  • Restore form and function by moving skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face.
  • Perform surgery on the mouth and jaws to treat conditions, such as cleft lip and palate and jaw growth problems.

    4. Ob/Gyn

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $235,240
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $234,310

    Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the doctors specializing in female reproductive health and childbirth, swapped places with Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons from previous years data.

    5. Orthodontists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $229,380
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $228,780

    Orthodontists specialize in braces and other corrective measures for the teeth. There are about 5,080 orthodontists in the U.S. 

    6. Psychiatrists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $216,090
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $200,220

    Psychiatrists, a specialty falling under the M.D. category (as opposed to psychologists), got a significant salary bump; inflation rose 6.6% between the years from which the data is taken, whereas the salary went up 33%. Despite the stereotype, the state with the highest concentration of psychiatrists isn't New York— it's Vermont, followed by Rhode Island. New York is in third place.

    7. Physicians and Surgeons

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $214,700
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $210,170

    This includes the broad category comprising physicians and surgeons. Per the BLS, employment in this field is projected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026, "due to increased demand for healthcare services by the growing and aging population."

    8. Family and General Practitioners

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $208,560
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $200,810

    The BLS defines this category as, "Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment."

    (Image: Thinkstock)

    9. Internists, General

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $198,370
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $201,840

    The BLS defines an internist as, "Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults who have a wide range of problems associated with the internal organs."

    (Image: Shutterstock)

    10. Prosthodontists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $196,050
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $168,140

    According to the BLS, prosthodontists "construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures to correct natural and acquired deformation of mouth and jaws, to restore and maintain oral function, such as chewing and speaking, and to improve appearance." There are only about 430 prosthodontists in the U.S.

    11. Chief Executives

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $196,960
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $194,350

    Chief executives are the highest-paid professions not related to the medical or dental fields. The five states with the highest CEO salaries might surprise you: South Dakota ranks first, and New York isn't on the list. Neither is California. (Related: The Highest Paid CEOs)

    12. Pediatricians, General

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $180,010
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $168,120

    13. Dentists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $187,540
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $178,760

    The growth outlook for dentists is tremendous. According to the BLS, overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 19% from 2016 to 2026.

    14. Nurse Anesthetists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $169,450
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $164,030

    Nurse Anesthetists are the highest-paid category of nurses. Per the BLS, nurse anesthetists "administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have a specialized graduate education." Growth potential in this field is staggering: The job growth outlook for the collective category of Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners from 2016-2026 is 31%.

    15. Airline Pilots, Co-Pilots, and Flight Engineers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $161,280
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $152,770

    You may know that airline pilots and co-pilots are the ones in the cockpit, navigating and flying the plane. What you may not know is that there is also a flight engineer, who uses the plane's instruments to provide navigation guidance. Per the O*NET entry for these jobs, a bachelor's degree is required in many instances, but not always.

    (Image: iStock)

    16. Petroleum Engineers 

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $154,780
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $147,030

    According to the BLS, "Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells." The growth outlook for petroleum engineers looks very bright; the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase a healthy 15% between 2016-2026. 

    Growth and salaries in this field partly hinge upon the price and demand for gas and oil. 

    According to the job description database O*NET, these are the top tools a petroleum engineer needs to master:

    • Analytical or scientific software, e.g., IHS PETRA; Schlumberger Petrel; TRC Consultants PHDWin; Well Flow Dynamics Wellflow
    • Data base user interface and query software, e.g.,Landmark Graphics TOW/cs; Microsoft Access 
    • Financial analysis software, e.g., DFA Capital Management GEMS; GeoGraphix ARIES Portfolio; IHS QUE$TOR
    • Graphics or photo imaging software, e.g., Microsoft Visio 
    • Project management software, e.g., Microsoft Project ; Oracle Primavera Systems

    (Image: Shutterstock)

    17. Computer and Information Systems Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $149,730
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $147,030

    In the IT field, rich software developers get all the attention, but many of the high-paying jobs in this field are those like MIS (Management Information Systems) director. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers "plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming. Excludes 'Computer Occupations.'" Typical job titles for this occupation include, per O*NET: Application Development Director, Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Director (IS Director), Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Systems Supervisor (IS Supervisor), Information Technology Director (IT Director), Information Technology Manager (IT Manager), MIS Director (Management Information Systems Director), Technical Services Manager.

    18. Podiatrists

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $148,470
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $144,110

    Podiatrists are foot doctors, but rather than a traditional M.D., many podiatrists opt instead to get a DPM degree (Doctor Podiatric Medicine). O*NET claims that this field has a "bright outlook" in terms of future job growth.

    19. Architectural and Engineering Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $143,530
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $143,870

    Per O*NET online, architectural and engineering managers "Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields." 

    • Supervise employees performing financial reporting, accounting, billing, collections, payroll, and budgeting duties.
    • Coordinate and direct the financial planning, budgeting, procurement, or investment activities of all or part of an organization.
    • Develop internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures for activities such as budget administration, cash and credit management, and accounting.
    • Maintain current knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, federal and state policies and directives, and current accounting standards.
    • Prepare or direct preparation of financial statements, business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, or reports required by regulatory agencies.
    • Provide direction and assistance to other organizational units regarding accounting and budgeting policies and procedures and efficient control and utilization of financial resources.
    • Analyze the financial details of past, present, and expected operations to identify development opportunities and areas where improvement is needed.
    • Advise management on short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies, and actions.
    • Monitor financial activities and details, such as cash flow and reserve levels, to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.
    • Evaluate needs for procurement of funds and investment of surpluses and make appropriate recommendations.

    (Image: BLS)

    20. Marketing Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $145,620
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $144,140

    Spin, they say, is everything, so it may not be a surprise that marketing managers are among the highest-paid professions in the U.S. Since every industry has marketing managers, though, asking how much people in this profession make is kind of like asking how long a piece of string is. The salaries for marketing managers vary wildly by industry. Here are the top five industries for marketing manager salaries: 

    21. Financial Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $146,290
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $143,870

    This job description comprises treasurers and controllers as well as financial managers. Despite the increased availability of online brokers, self-guided financial technology and robo-advisers, the field of financial management is expected to grow a very healthy 19% between 2016-2026. (Related: Pros & Cons of Using a Robo-Advisor).

    Treasurers and controllers are responsible for the following tasks, per O*NET:

    • Supervise employees performing financial reporting, accounting, billing, collections, payroll, and budgeting duties (Related: Career advice: Accountant versus controller)
    • Coordinate and direct the financial planning, budgeting, procurement, or investment activities of all or part of an organization
    • Develop internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures for activities such as budget administration, cash and credit management, and accounting
    • Maintain current knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, federal and state policies and directives, and current accounting standards.
    • Prepare or direct preparation of financial statements, business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, or reports required by regulatory agencies.
    • Provide direction and assistance to other organizational units regarding accounting and budgeting policies and procedures and efficient control and utilization of financial resources.
    • Analyze the financial details of past, present, and expected operations to identify development opportunities and areas where improvement is needed.
    • Advise management on short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies, and actions. (Related: What Do Financial Advisors Do?)
    • Monitor financial activities and details, such as cash flow and reserve levels, to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.
    • Evaluate needs for procurement of funds and investment of surpluses and make appropriate recommendations.

    22. Lawyers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $141,890
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $139,880

    The growth outlook for lawyers between the years 2016-2026 is 8%, about the average for all occupations in general. 

    23. Sales Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $140,600
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $135.090

    Per the BLS, sales managers "plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer. Coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers."

    24. Natural Sciences Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $133,670
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $135,090

    Per O*NET, natural sciences managers "Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields." This can include the following titles: Environmental Program Manager, Fisheries Director, Health Sciences Manager, Laboratory Manager, Natural Science Manager, Research and Development Director, Research Manager, Senior Investigator, Senior Scientist, Water Team Leader.

    25. Compensation and Benefits Managers

    • 2018 report mean annual wage: $130,010
    • 2017 report mean annual wage: $126,900

    Within the field of human resources, compensation and benefits managers are the highest-paying positions. Per O*NET, this job category can comprise titles such as: Benefits Coordinator, Benefits Manager, Compensation and Benefits Manager, Compensation Director, Compensation Manager, Compensation Vice President, Employee Benefits Coordinator, Employee Benefits Director, Employee Benefits Manager, Payroll Manager.