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5. Lawyer

Average annual salary: $130,490
Current employment: 570,950

The legal profession isn’t the easiest industry to break into, with minimum formal requirements in most states requiring seven years of school (four undergraduate, three law school) and a passing grade on the bar examination.

Lawyers represent clients in both criminal and civil proceedings, draw up documents and advise clients on legal matters. Lawyers working for the private sector are compensated more generously than those in the public one: legal-services professionals make $137,170 on average in the private sector, while government lawyers make between $81,960 and $129,430.

The top three highest paying industries for lawyers are petroleum and coal products manufacturing at around $215,760 per year, motor vehicle manufacturing at $187,360, and specialty hospitals (excluding psychiatric and substance abuse) at $184,610.

If you are a lawyer practicing in the District of Columbia, then you are in good company. Around 29,010 lawyers are located there, or 45 lawyers per 1000 jobs. They are also the most highly paid with an average annual salary of $161,050.

Photo: Rubberball | Getty Images