Only four jobs paid average wages in excess of $200,000 a year as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and none of them were boardroom-based. Working as a chief executive would have earned you a mean annual salary of $176,840. But if you wanted to break the $200K mark, medicine was the place to be.
Putting patients to sleep before surgery pays handsomely. The BLS reports that anesthesiologists earned a mean annual wage of $232,830 as of May 2012. The best-paid anesthesiologists worked in physician's offices and averaged $241,910 a year, making them the highest-paid professionals in the country. Anesthesiologists at outpatient care centers averaged $225,360 a year, while those at general medical and surgical hospitals averaged $196,700 a year.
Surgeons were the second-highest-paid workers in the U.S. as of May 2012, earning a mean annual salary of $230,540. Surgeons at specialty hospitals were the top-earning subgroup in the profession, taking home an average of $238,120 a year, according to BLS figures. Surgeons working in the offices of physicians and for state governments, the next best-paid in the field, averaged $237,770 and $233,920 a year, respectively.
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Medics specializing in pregnancy, childbirth and the female reproductive system also took home robust salaries in 2012. The BLS reports that obstetricians and gynecologists were paid a mean annual wage of $216,760, making them the third-highest-paid professionals in the country. OBGYNs who worked in the offices of physicians averaged $223,070 a year to lead the group. Those in outpatient care centers ranked second at an average of $214,830 a year.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
The BLS reports that oral and maxillofacial surgeons averaged $216,440 a year in May 2012, putting then fourth on the list of highest average salaries and the last to average in excess of $200K. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons working in the offices of physicians were the highest-paid subgroup in the profession at an average of $230,350 a year. They were followed by those in the offices of dentists, who averaged $226,280.