America's best- and worst-paying jobs

The size of your paycheck will depend largely on the line of work you choose -- or qualify to do. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a look at where you can expect to earn the most and the least.

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Jul 3, 2012 3:13PM
The best job is being one of the Kardasssssians,where you get paid millions of dollars for being stupid with no talent.You made it possible Dummies.
Jul 16, 2012 9:44AM

My father is a surgeon and I have seen him work harder than anyone else I personally know. He was a janitor growing up and he has told me that he only got where he is today through hard work and perserverance. He had to pay his way through college and med school (which requires an insane amount of discipline to pass) since his dad was only a farmer. I am sick of people claiming that doctors don't deserve the money they make. He was in school until he was 31! I work at a fast food restaraunt since I'm only in college and I can see why he gets payed more- I can't save anyones life but he can and does everyday!

People really need to quit complaining about why they don't get payed six figures and go make it happen... this is America- land of oportunity!! In no other country could my father have become a surgeon

Jul 3, 2012 8:04AM

WOW, I am shocked that doctors make the best money and that fast food/cafeteria workers make the least.  So glad that Forbes magazine figured this out for us. 

Jul 3, 2012 10:17AM
I can see doctors, surgeons and anaestheologists making good money. Both take a lot of education and skill, and are very dangerous professions, dealing with peoples lives. What I can not see are ballplayers making 25 million a year. Well, they don't make any money off of me. I watch very little sports and when I do, it's on TV. I don't pay extra for any sports channels and events. I go to a pro garme about once every  5 years. It's a night out. When they charge extra to watch a game, I'll stop watching all of them.
Jul 16, 2012 9:48AM
Man, a lot of you guys are retards. How does this turn into a political bashing event? Guess what. That surgeon has done YEARS of massively expensive schooling and has to continue to have a certain number of hours each year to keep his license. What does that fry cook have to study? Nothing! This is a perfect example of what people COULD be capable of, but so many choose not to be. Amanda below this did the McDonalds thing and works a second job to pay for school, probably so that she can do better than McDonalds, but so many people think anything in college is useless and uppety for them. Get a life, and sstop complaining. If you are stuck in some **** job making 18k a year, change it! Go learn a trade or go to school. Any degree can help your career path. Stop being so damn lazy and blaming everything on the government, it's not their fault people are stupid.
Jul 16, 2012 3:43AM
You forgot to add the best paying job in the country--- US Congressperson. Everyone that gets elected ends up being a multi-millionaire after a few very short years.
Jul 16, 2012 10:58AM
Do you know why doctors and surgeons are the most wealthy in America?  Because they spend the most amount of time in school, the most amount of money on school, and work more hours a week than most people do.  Guess what? The reason people with average joe jobs are paid less is because anyone can do them, they're less valuable.  I think it is totally appropriate that the jobs that require the most education, specialization, and money for education itself should be getting back the most money for their work.  Its the same as an investment, the more you put in, the more you get out.  Why does the CEO get the most money?  Because he's worked his way through the company over years, educated himself the most, and has the most specialized job.  If you want that kind of money, quit whining, educate yourself and do it.  Its so pathetic when people sit around bitching about the opportunities they don't have, when in fact, they do have them, they're just unwilling or unable to do what it takes to take advantage of the opportunities all around them.
I've worked in fast food since I was 16, am now 27, and I do just fine. Well, that's not entirely correct, I also work another job as a secretary/clerk at the city police department and have been doing so for almost 6 years. POINT IS, I started as a crew member at good ol Mickey D's and was promoted to manager by the time I was 18. I worked hard and I worked a lot and I did whatever needed done without hesitation or complaint because that was my job. I built a reputation for myself for being a hard worker and because of that, I gained employment at the city on a trial basis. I continue to work part time as a manager at McDonald's because my pay is good, it's stressful but fun and I'm good at my job there. If you work hard, you can improve your pay in fast food; there are promotions available if you want to succeed. I believe there is an unfair stigma attached to service work, but the truth is I provide for my two children with what I do, and I have never been on welfare of any kind. McDonald's offers medical/dental/vision insurance (it's expensive, but it's there), and this year I am looking forward to FINALLY finishing my college education. I'm not rich obviously, but I'm not struggling too bad either. This line of work, just like almost anything else in life, is what you make of it :)
Jul 16, 2012 12:54PM
Top surgeons do get paid well. What this article doesn't mention is the years spent in school. These ppl give up a good portion of their lives to go to school for this. You have hours of class time then hours of rounds, with very little sleep . You also have to  move to where ever you get accepted to complete your rounds. Not to mention you're on call and really don't have a holidays off. And the responsibility is HUGE. I personally would not want the responsibility of holding someones life in your hands. This article doesn't mention the student loan debt they're in nor the amt of malpractice they have to take out. It may seem they make a lot of money but most of that money goes towards student loans and malpractice insurance. Why do you think there's a shortage in some medical professions? I know of one medical profession who's malpractice insurance is 200k/yr. 
Jul 16, 2012 11:15AM
This is truly earth-shattering.  People who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education (or wind up with a massive student loan debt), who spend 24+ years on their education, who don't begin to draw a decent salary until they are at least 32, and who work upwards of 60+ hours a week in life or death situations-these are the people who make the most money...   They deserve every dime and more.
Jul 16, 2012 4:13AM

Badly done, politically motivated article.  It makes our healthcare people look like they are all getting rich when they are not.  In fact, the economic incentive for doctors in particular is so negative these days that medical schools are begging for applicants and in 10 years, we are headed for a doctor shortage.  Why?  Malpractice premiums. OBs are Class 8 risks as are GasDocs, BoneDocs and Cardiac Surgeons.  Average premium in California: $14,000 a month.  Most of these $250K gross people are netting $80k. Thats after 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, an internship where they made less than miniumum wage given the hours worked, 4 - 6 years residency where the pay was also less than your average handyman and a 2 year fellowship.  They are $250K in debt when they hang their shingle and if they code some medicare DRG the wrong way for a $500 fee, they get fined $10,000 or could go to jail.  Yeah.  I'll sign up for that.  Now Obamacare is going to cut their pay more.  DeTocquville was right:  The flaw in democracy is that eventually you end up with the government you deserve.

Jul 3, 2012 8:28AM
Dah! The jobs that make the most money require the most education and the least amount of dependency on the government! Go figure!
Jul 16, 2012 11:38AM

In reference to the highest and lowest of jobs in America: each and every living soul that does an honest days work is to be commended and respected.  

Without the builder, electrician, nurse, custodian, maintenance worker, cook, etc...., it would be very difficult for the "Surgeon" to have the hospital or clinic to work in.

A person should not be judged for not choosing or not having the ability to pursue an education.

In all reality, no one has the right to judge.

Just treat all with respect because you never know, there may come a point in time where the "Surgeon" ends up being taken care of by the 'lowest paid" employee in an assisted living facility.

It's not about how much money you have, it's about how much respect you have earned, because respect my friends can never be taken from you.


Jul 16, 2012 10:58AM

I know it is off subject, but, this is in reply to indangered's comment.

You ask who would get the work done if all the illegals, not just the mexicans, but, the russians, the asians, the hatians and cubans, even the european and canadian illegals were gone? The answer is simple. Tax paying Americans. And because of that, employers would be forced to pay a decent wage once again. Have you ever considered where good schools, nice roads, and safe neighborhoods come from? The answer is taxes. Do you know who doesn't pay taxes in this country? Illegal immigrants. Do you know who pays their share .Us, Honest, hard working, tax paying, Americans. Imagine if tomorrow all the illegals were gone. Millions of jobs would come available to those who were born here, raised here, and pay taxes to the country they love. Money would be injected into the economy in the form of spending and not sent away to another countries economy to support their families. And once again this nation would be strong.


Jul 16, 2012 6:36AM

Better add fireman, policeman & garbage collector in Pittsburgh, PA to that list! The mayor is trying to lower their wage to minimum wage $7.25 an hour! Here in AZ our fast food workers get paid more than that!!!!!

If it wasn't for our fast food workers, etc., noone would be feeding their faces or drinking their coffee's etc! If they would all band together & walk out someone in that "corner office" just might pay attention!


And no I am not a fast food worker I am just someone who gets sick of watching people treat these worker's like they are scum!


Jul 16, 2012 8:20AM

Are you kidding? If you think minimum wage is $18,760, your sadly mistaken.

I have never earned that much! A single, divorced, working mother, raising 2 children w/out child support, I never made more then $16,000 a year and that was working an 8/5 and a 4/5. The most I ever made was $7 an hour and that was temp. Most low income jobs will only pay around $6. an hour or less. Employers know the tricks to pay as little as possible. About 5 years ago I worked for a retirement home and was paid only $5. an hour. The only way to reduce the countries debt and tax's is to stop paying people to have babies. I myself was the youngest of 9 in a welfare family. My mother, like so many others, had babies to increase there welfare checks. I seen what goes on inside. All anyone has to do is get pregnant and there in for a free ride, then they just keep having babies to increase there income from welfare. It is a way of life for generations of families. I know welfare was taken over by SSI, but things are still the same." In my opinion" if a woman continues having children while on assistance, they should be removed from the program! Stop paying people to have babies! The nations debt is largely based on this problem. Fight to stop this injustice on our tax's! Stop welfare families!

Jul 16, 2012 10:53AM

thanks for the groundbreaking research, msn.  who would've ever guessed doctors make a ton of money and fast food workers don't?

Jul 16, 2012 12:03PM
Many people think that illegal's work on farms or other migrant  low paying jobs. This is not always so, many illegal's work in the construction industry building high rise hotels and other good paying jobs that keep American's out of work. These people came here illegally and are rewarded with jobs that American's will do, but can't because our government won't enforce the laws. The illegal's are only part of the problem, our government is the source of the real problem, they pick and choose what laws they will enforce. All laws should be enforced equally or there is no sense in having laws to begin with. All political parties must agree to enforce the laws of the land.
Jul 16, 2012 9:20AM

I am alive today because of a heart surgeon who put in a pig valve and did a bypass. He is

worth every penny he earns. If somebody wants more money than what they make flipping

burgers then go to school and qualify for a bigger pay check.

Jul 2, 2012 11:09PM
Pay based upon education and skill sets makes sense - make the investment in time, energy and expense for a better future.  It's not rocket science
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