This year, the unemployment rate hit the lowest it's been since 2001, but plenty of young people are still strapped for cash: Millennials make far less than Baby Boomers did at the same age, according to a recent analysis of Federal Reserve data, plus many are also saddled with staggering student debt.
If salary is the main motivating factor for you when considering a job or career path, Thrillist reports that LinkedIn recently released its annual State of Salary Report. It lists the 20 best-paying positions in America for 2017, based on salary data from over 2 million LinkedIn users, along with the most promising entry-level and career-track professions.
The six most lucrative jobs, respectively, are orthopaedic surgeon ($450,000), cardiologist ($382,000), radiologist ($374,000), plastic surgeon ($350,000), anesthesiologist ($350,000), and emergency physician ($314,000). Ophthalmologists and medical directors also earn six figures, both pulling in yearly salaries of $250,000. Since students who graduated from M.D.-granting schools in 2014 owed an average of nearly $180,000 in debt, this is good news for future doctors.
If medicine isn't for you, consider business or finance instead: “Once you reach the top ranks in business, you're paid generously too,” LinkedIn's report points out. “Leadership roles in finance, sales, tax, human resources, strategy, supply chain, research and development, marketing, and legal are all alternate routes to a high salary.”
Senior vice presidents who work in finance and sales both earn $300,000, and those in top to mid-level business leadership roles receive salaries in the high-to-mid $200,000s. Meanwhile, both investment banking analysts and associate brand managers have promising early-career salaries of more than $100,000.
The job market still isn't great for lawyers, but corporate law can still yield big bucks. Associate general counsels—who typically work in corporate legal departments—earn $242,000, just slightly more than investment banking associates ($240,000) and senior directors of engineering ($239,000). And for those who prefer computers to courtrooms, tech is another good career option: Computer science graduates have the highest-paying field of study, with an average salary of $92,000.
That said, humanities scholars or artists shouldn't necessarily reconsider their career paths out of fear they'll subsist on ramen noodles for the rest of their lives: Visual art and sociology grads performed well in LinkedIn's rankings, earning median salaries of $90,390 and $87,900, respectively.
You can check out LinkedIn's full State of Salary report here.