Top 5 Salaried Medical Degrees

5 Highest Salaried Medical Degrees

  • Doctors and Surgeons
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Optometrists

The top five salaried medical degrees offer candidates the opportunities to not only earn good salaries, but also work in a field that can be extremely rewarding. Few things can be as rewarding as knowing you’re able to help others feel better. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of healthcare jobs should grow 18 percent between 2016 and 2026. The top salaried positions typically require the most education as well. Here are the top five salaried degrees.

1. Doctors and Surgeons

To become a doctor or surgeon, an individual most complete several years of education and training. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree, the candidate must also attend medical school for four years. The first two of those years are for classroom and lab classes, and the final four are for supervised internships. When this is finished, the candidate enter a residency, which can last from three to seven years. When all is said and done, the doctor has a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. Doctors earned a median annual wage of $208,000 as of May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

2. Dentists

As is the case with doctors, becoming a dentist requires several years of school. The aspiring dentist must first have a bachelor’s degree to enroll in dental school. The student spends four more years in dental school, which entails coursework and lab studies the first two and supervised work the last two. After dental school, the candidate will choose a specialty area and complete a residency, which can take as long as four more years. Dentists generally have doctoral degrees. The BLS reports that dentists earned average annual wages of $159,770 in 2016.

3. Pharmacists

Pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) and must go to school for several years but not quite as long as doctors or dentists. If they enroll in school immediately after high school, they can complete a six-year pharmacy program followed by a two-year residency. Upon completion of training, the pharmacist must become certified and licensed. A median annual wage of $122,230 was earned by pharmacists as of a May 2016 report by the BLS.

4. Nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), work alongside of doctors and assist them in treating patients. Nurse practitioners are required to complete at least a master’s degree. Typically, the student enrolls in the program with a bachelor’s degree already. Once the master’s degree is completed, the candidate must complete a clinical internship. Many APRNs earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice or a Ph.D. Nurse practitioners earned a median annual wage of $107,460 according to a May 2016 BLS report.

5. Optometrists

Optometrists, like the previous medical professionals, must also complete years of college, obtain certification and obtain licensure. Candidates pursuing this career must have three years of postsecondary education before they can enroll in the four-year optometry school. Students in optometry school complete lab classes and supervised internships. After this is completed, the candidate may choose to complete one-year residency. When all the training requirements are met, the candidate can use the credential Doctor of Optometry. The bureau reported that optometrists earned an average median wage of $106,140 as of May 2016.

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The healthcare industry continues to be a growing field with more positions opening every year. Just as many healthcare positions are available to students who earn associate and bachelor’s degrees as those with master’s degrees. An individual interested in pursuing a career in healthcare has many options from which to choose even if they’re not the top five salaried medical degrees.