Getting a job in medicine is a serious undertaking. Becoming a doctor requires four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school and at least one year of residency — not to mention years of research.
But this hard work is often rewarded with sky-high salaries. In fact, the highest-paying job in medicine pays $265,990 a year, on average.
CNBC Make It combed through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program in order to determine which of these medical professions offer the highest salaries. Here are the 10 highest-paying jobs in medicine:
BLS description: "Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions and side effects of medications."
Mean annual wage: $121,710
BLS description: "Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot."
Mean annual wage: $148,470
BLS description: "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 specialized graduate education."
Mean annual wage: $169,450
BLS description: "Physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent children's diseases and injuries."
Mean annual wage: $187,540
BLS description: "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."
Mean annual wage: $198,370
BLS description: "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."
Mean annual wage: $208,560
BLS description: "Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. May also provide general medical care to women."
Mean annual wage: $235,240
BLS description: "Perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries or defects. May diagnose problems of the oral and maxillofacial regions. May perform surgery to improve function or appearance."
Mean annual wage: $242,740
BLS description: "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."
Mean annual wage: $251,890
BLS description: "Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery, or other medical procedures."
Mean annual wage: $265,990
Based on data from the BLS, anesthesiologists make the most in the medical profession, with reported average annual wages of $265,990. According to U.S. News & World Report, Harvard University is home to the best anesthesiology program in the country.
General surgeons and oral surgeons came in second and third, with average annual wages of $251,890 and $242,740, respectively. All of the top 10 jobs offered salaries well over $100,000 on average.
Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics and lead economist at PayScale explains that a quick look at the current labor market explains why healthcare salaries are so high.
"Two main things work together to drive wages: the demand for a set of skills and specialties a job has to offer and the supply of people with those skills and specialties," she tells CNBC Make It. This demand for specialized medical professionals is one reason why medical professionals earn as much as they do.
"In the case of healthcare, we have experienced increased demand for healthcare services, due in part to an aging population, as well as greater access to insurance. At the same time, the medical field continues to advance and become more specialized, causing wages to rise."
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