8 Jobs That Pay Well

A look at eight of the high-paying occupations and industries gaining traction.

If you’re planning to change jobs — and perhaps boost your salary — you might first consider some lucrative industries, and then pry into those industries for specific occupations. According to an analysis of Department of Labor figures by Dr. Laurence Shatkin, a career information expert, the four industries below are worth examining. Shatkin, who is a senior product developer at JIST Publishing, also provides examples of high-paid jobs within those industries filled by at least 1,000 or more workers across the country.

The following industry and occupation descriptions are based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and “250 Best-Paying Jobs,” Second Edition, by Michael Farr and Dr. Laurence Shatkin (Jist Works).


The utilities industry includes companies that generate, transmit and distribute electrical power; distribute natural gas; treat and distribute fresh water; and treat wastewater.

1. Occupation: Nuclear engineers conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Median annual salary: $96,000
Number of workers nationwide: 8,000

2. Occupation: Computer software engineers, systems software research, design, develop and test operating systems-level software, compilers and network distribution software for medical, industrial, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific and general computing applications.

Median annual salary: $91,000
Number of workers: 1,400

Technology Services

Careers in the professional, scientific and technical services industry include legal advice and representation; accounting, bookkeeping and payroll; architecture, engineering and specialized design; computer services; consulting; research; advertising; photography; translation and interpretation; and veterinary services.

3. Occupation: Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military or scientific use.

Median annual salary: $99,000
Number of workers: 2,200

4. Occupation: Aerospace engineers perform a variety of engineering work in designing; constructing; and testing aircraft, missiles and spacecraft.
Median annual salary: $98,000
Number of workers: 22,000

Media and Content Publishing

The information industry consists of occupations in publishing, including software publishing, and both traditional publishing and publishing exclusively online; motion picture and sound recording; broadcasting, including traditional broadcasting and those broadcasting exclusively online; telecommunications; Web-search portals; data processing; and information services.

5. Occupation: Sales engineers sell business goods or services — the selling of which requires a technical background equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Median annual salary: $92,000
Number of workers: 8,000

6. Occupation: Industrial production managers plan, direct or coordinate the work activities and resources necessary for manufacturing products in accordance with cost, quality and quantity specifications.

Median annual salary: $88,000
Number of workers: 2,000

Government and Education

Those working for federal, state or local government agencies as well as school districts and universities perform jobs that serve the public.

7. Occupation: Computer and information scientists, researchersconduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers or inventors. They solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

Median annual salary: $99,000
Number of workers: 6,000

8. Occupation: Natural science managers plan; direct; or coordinate activities in life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics and research and development in these fields.

Median annual salary: $98,000
Number of workers: 14,000