The healthcare industry dominates the job market in terms of career growth and pay. According to a 2009 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey, health care and technical occupation practitioners earn an average of $69,690, but top paying jobs in the healthcare industry are much higher than the average. Health-related occupations require relatively expensive training and education which justifies the high salaries. The 2004 American Medical Association data shows that a four-year medical school education may cost about $110,000.
Surgeons receive the highest salary among all health practitioners. The 2009 BLS survey shows that surgeons reap an average annual salary of $219,770. Surgeons, however, are required to work long hours--often up to 60 or more hours per week.
Next to surgeons, anesthesiologists receive the highest pay among medical practitioners with an average pay of $211,750 in 2009. Anesthesiologists work side by side with surgeons in the operating room to administer care and pain relief to patients.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Surgeons specializing in the jaw and teeth receive an average annual pay of $210,710. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons administer care for patients’ wisdom tooth problems, facial pain and misaligned jaws and also provide treatment for patients suffering from facial injuries and oral cancer.
Orthodontists get paid an average of $206,190 per year. Their job is to examine, diagnose and treat dental disorders and oral cavities. They also design and fabricate appliances--such as braces--to realign teeth and jaws.
Obstetricians/Gynecologists (OB/GYN) earn an annual salary of $204,470 for administering care and treatment for women and their offspring. An OB/GYN can provide general medical care for women, but they usually focus on pregnancy and the reproductive system.
General internists who diagnose and provide treatment for diseases and injuries related to the internal organs receive an average annual salary of $183,990. They usually provide care for adults who suffer from kidney, stomach, and liver diseases.
Family and General Practitioners
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine often choose a career as family or general practitioners who get paid $168,550 annually for providing primary health care to patients, accordign to the 2009 BLS survey.
Doctors who specialize in infant, child and teenage health care earn an average annual salary of $142,360. Their job includes assessing and treating various ailments that are common among children, such as injuries and infectious diseases.
Psychiatrists assess and provide primary treatment on patients with mental health illnesses through psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, institutionalization and medication. On the average, they receive an annual salary of $135,220.
General dentists who are in private practices earn an average of $133,350. Dentists may seek specialization trainings as orthodontists or oral and maxillofacial surgeons for further career growth and salary increases.