Average Wage: $142,740
Dentist is our No. 1 job of 2013. Partly due to a low unemployment rate. Partly due to projected growth this decade. And definitely due to astronomical salary. As in other medical jobs, a dentist's pay can fluctuate based on experience, location, specialty, and hours worked. Still, the BLS reports that those who diagnose and treat oral problems earned an average $142,740 in 2011. Towns in North Carolina and Texas particularly compensate dentists well.
Average Wage: $183,170
It's a gross overestimation that all physicians are rolling in dough, since the pay scale in this field is affected by experience, reputation, geography, specialty, and even personality. Still, most medical doctors earn good salaries. The BLS reports that internists made an average salary of $183,170 in 2011. Anesthesiologists, general surgeons, and obstetricians often earn salaries greater than $250,000 a year.
17. IT Manager
Average Wage: $125,660
We're a society dependent on technology. It influences how we work and what we work on, and if it fails, so does our productivity. It's understandable that the person who triages our technical problems and maintains our computer systems, an IT manager, would be well-paid. In 2011, IT managers earned an average salary that was not only above $80,000, but above $120,000.
Average Wage: $83,550
This type of engineering elevates a mechanical device from conceptual to functional, and has duties that sometimes overlap with other engineering fields like aerospace, civil, electrical, and chemical. In 2011, the average mechanical engineer made $83,550, but those in this field have the potential to earn considerably more. Top-paying metro areas like Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Bloomington, Ill., pay their mechanical engineers $128,890 and $117,420, respectively.
[See: The 100 Best Jobs.]
Average Wage: $82,900
Do you have more of an affinity for animals than people? Perhaps you're more of a D.V.M. than an M.D. or D.D.S. Veterinarians (Doctors of Veterinary Medicine) don't usually earn as much as physicians or dentists, but they do command handsome paychecks. In 2011, the average salary for a veterinarian was $82,900. And whereas human doctors could spend nearly a decade training to receive a stethoscope, animal doctors could begin practicing once they complete a four-year program, pass their licensing exam, and possibly—though not necessarily—finish a one-year internship.