Highest paying jobs in Chicago that require a graduate degree

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August 1, 2022
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Highest paying jobs in Chicago that require a graduate degree

Those with graduate degrees earn more on average than those without them—but not all jobs are equal. And while rising tuition costs are enough to turn people away from the prospect of a master’s or doctoral degree, many high-paying professions still require such degrees to get in the door. Stacker compiled a list of the highest- paying jobs that require a graduate degree in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage.

The best way to guarantee a high return on investment in a graduate degree is to be aware of professions that pay top-dollar for that added educational investment. Keep reading to see where a graduate degree is required—and can earn you the most.

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Simon Fraser Universtiy // flickr

#50. Communications teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $85,100 (#16 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,400

National
- Annual mean salary: $80,940 (28,430 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($143,510)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($127,650)
--- Fresno, CA ($122,590)

Job description: Teach courses in communications, such as organizational communications, public relations, radio/television broadcasting, and journalism. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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I. Noyan Yilmaz // // Shutterstock

#49. Environmental science teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $85,500 (#14 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $94,520 (5,860 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($150,620)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($125,850)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($124,540)

Job description: Teach courses in environmental science. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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ABO PHOTOGRAPHY // Shutterstock

#48. Occupational therapists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $85,540 (#155 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,670

National
- Annual mean salary: $87,480 (126,610 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- The Villages, FL ($115,920)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($115,060)
--- Modesto, CA ($112,870)

Job description: Assess, plan, and organize rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.

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Chatham House // Flickr

#47. Political scientists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $85,910 (#9 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $124,100 (6,010 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD ($156,110)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($131,110)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($130,790)

Job description: Study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. May study topics, such as public opinion, political decisionmaking, and ideology. May analyze the structure and operation of governments, as well as various political entities. May conduct public opinion surveys, analyze election results, or analyze public documents.

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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#46. Biological science teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $86,430 (#62 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,500

National
- Annual mean salary: $101,320 (51,500 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR ($195,730)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($161,980)
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($147,290)

Job description: Teach courses in biological sciences. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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KSai23 // Shutterstock

#45. Chiropractors

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $86,890 (#49 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,380

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,830 (34,760 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA ($273,530)
--- Raleigh, NC ($149,430)
--- New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($139,970)

Job description: Assess, treat, and care for patients by manipulation of spine and musculoskeletal system. May provide spinal adjustment or address sacral or pelvic misalignment.

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U.S. Air Force

#44. Epidemiologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $88,510 (#12 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,620 (7,500 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($134,580)
--- Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN ($122,520)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($121,560)

Job description: Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. May develop the means for prevention and control.

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University of the Fraser Valley // flickr

#43. Philosophy and religion teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $90,040 (#24 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 780

National
- Annual mean salary: $90,160 (22,900 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($140,300)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($119,520)
--- Charlottesville, VA ($112,640)

Job description: Teach courses in philosophy, religion, and theology. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Fae // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Psychology teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $90,810 (#36 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,000

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,960 (36,520 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($199,070)
--- Bakersfield, CA ($131,290)
--- Fresno, CA ($129,550)

Job description: Teach courses in psychology, such as child, clinical, and developmental psychology, and psychological counseling. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#41. Computer science teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $91,100 (#44 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 700

National
- Annual mean salary: $98,680 (32,230 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($153,430)
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($150,480)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($143,650)

Job description: Teach courses in computer science. May specialize in a field of computer science, such as the design and function of computers or operations and research analysis. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Canva

#40. Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $92,490 (#58 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 8,510

National
- Annual mean salary: $124,890 (200,040 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT ($211,500)
--- Jackson, MS ($195,830)
--- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($176,930)

Job description: Teach courses in health specialties, in fields such as dentistry, laboratory technology, medicine, pharmacy, public health, therapy, and veterinary medicine.

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Lucky Business // Shutterstock

#39. Chemistry teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $94,400 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 630

National
- Annual mean salary: $94,630 (21,530 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($140,380)
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($136,630)
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($136,080)

Job description: Teach courses pertaining to the chemical and physical properties and compositional changes of substances. Work may include providing instruction in the methods of qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching, and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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United States Department of Agriculture // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Agricultural sciences teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $95,200 (#6 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $96,200 (8,520 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($137,580)
--- Springfield, MA-CT ($118,630)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($106,380)

Job description: Teach courses in the agricultural sciences. Includes teachers of agronomy, dairy sciences, fisheries management, horticultural sciences, poultry sciences, range management, and agricultural soil conservation. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Maj. Jimmy Do // U.S. Air Force

#37. Sociologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $95,790 (#6 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $93,420 (2,470 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($143,030)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($115,740)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($100,090)

Job description: Study human society and social behavior by examining the groups and social institutions that people form, as well as various social, religious, political, and business organizations. May study the behavior and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth, and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.

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National Eye Institute // Flickr

#36. Medical scientists, except epidemiologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $96,510 (#54 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,430

National
- Annual mean salary: $101,800 (126,110 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($143,800)
--- New Haven, CT ($142,330)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($136,230)

Job description: Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation, research and development, or other related activities.

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luchschenF // Shutterstock

#35. Biochemists and biophysicists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $96,710 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 430

National
- Annual mean salary: $104,810 (32,010 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($145,020)
--- Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN ($132,280)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($131,720)

Job description: Study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#34. Physics teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $97,780 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 410

National
- Annual mean salary: $101,290 (13,670 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Rochester, NY ($160,370)
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($148,480)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($141,180)

Job description: Teach courses pertaining to the laws of matter and energy. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#33. Political science teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $97,800 (#21 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 330

National
- Annual mean salary: $100,970 (15,130 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($163,420)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($144,260)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($129,530)

Job description: Teach courses in political science, international affairs, and international relations. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Irina.stelea // Wikimedia Commons

#32. History teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $98,250 (#14 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 520

National
- Annual mean salary: $85,630 (20,450 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fresno, CA ($146,320)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($141,390)
--- Rochester, NY ($128,550)

Job description: Teach courses in human history and historiography. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Aykut Erdogdu // Shutterstock

#31. Physical therapists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $99,370 (#45 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 7,500

National
- Annual mean salary: $91,680 (220,870 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- El Centro, CA ($143,500)
--- Modesto, CA ($123,370)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($119,510)

Job description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

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Canva

#30. Statisticians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $99,590 (#18 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,430

National
- Annual mean salary: $97,170 (38,860 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,080)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($120,850)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($118,900)

Job description: Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information. May specialize in fields such as biostatistics, agricultural statistics, business statistics, or economic statistics. Includes mathematical and survey statisticians.

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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#29. Anthropology and archeology teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $100,520 (#11 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 140

National
- Annual mean salary: $98,740 (5,590 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($133,450)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($127,900)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($109,560)

Job description: Teach courses in anthropology or archeology. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#28. Education administrators, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $101,440 (#129 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 5,660

National
- Annual mean salary: $115,200 (140,880 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Ithaca, NY ($205,810)
--- Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC ($178,210)
--- Charlottesville, VA ($176,040)

Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate student instruction, administration, and services, as well as other research and educational activities, at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges, and junior and community colleges.

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Austin Community College // Flickr

#27. Veterinarians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $102,270 (#134 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,540

National
- Annual mean salary: $108,350 (73,710 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($169,220)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($150,370)
--- Akron, OH ($150,330)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.

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Suzanne M. Day // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Nurse midwives

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $104,680 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $115,540 (7,120 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($191,440)
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($171,000)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($167,870)

Job description: Diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a healthcare team. May provide well-woman gynecological care. Must have specialized, graduate nursing education.

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Worawee Meepian // Shutterstock

#25. Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $106,790 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 380

National
- Annual mean salary: $102,050 (14,570 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($145,340)
--- Kansas City, MO-KS ($139,930)
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($139,150)

Job description: Conduct hearings to recommend or make decisions on claims concerning government programs or other government-related matters. Determine liability, sanctions, or penalties, or recommend the acceptance or rejection of claims or settlements.

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Ohiodominican // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Physician assistants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $110,550 (#183 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,370

National
- Annual mean salary: $116,080 (125,280 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salinas, CA ($168,220)
--- Waterbury, CT ($165,230)
--- Portsmouth, NH-ME ($158,020)

Job description: Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.

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David Bibo // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Education administrators, kindergarten through secondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $111,410 (#71 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 9,500

National
- Annual mean salary: $103,010 (262,480 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($154,970)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($146,070)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($145,590)

Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#22. Nurse practitioners

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $112,010 (#151 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,760

National
- Annual mean salary: $114,510 (211,280 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($188,070)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($177,800)
--- Salinas, CA ($155,310)

Job description: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

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indukas // Shutterstock

#21. Physicists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $115,420 (#37 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 510

National
- Annual mean salary: $137,700 (16,160 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT ($170,690)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($164,420)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($159,290)

Job description: Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

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Petekub // Shutterstock

#20. Economists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $116,730 (#12 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 370

National
- Annual mean salary: $120,880 (17,520 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($153,610)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($148,980)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($142,580)

Job description: Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy. May collect and process economic and statistical data using sampling techniques and econometric methods.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#19. Computer and information research scientists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $119,530 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 290

National
- Annual mean salary: $130,890 (30,220 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($170,890)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($163,330)
--- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($150,090)

Job description: Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

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GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#18. Engineering teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $119,550 (#13 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 990

National
- Annual mean salary: $114,130 (38,520 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($162,430)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($142,380)
--- Austin-Round Rock, TX ($141,860)

Job description: Teach courses pertaining to the application of physical laws and principles of engineering for the development of machines, materials, instruments, processes, and services. Includes teachers of subjects such as chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, mineral, and petroleum engineering. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Matej Kastelic // Shutterstock

#17. Business teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $120,090 (#29 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,470

National
- Annual mean salary: $107,270 (79,810 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Ann Arbor, MI ($174,050)
--- College Station-Bryan, TX ($172,650)
--- Durham-Chapel Hill, NC ($149,740)

Job description: Teach courses in business administration and management, such as accounting, finance, human resources, labor and industrial relations, marketing, and operations research. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Canva

#16. Podiatrists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $123,820 (#43 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 450

National
- Annual mean salary: $151,110 (9,710 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA ($229,330)
--- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC ($226,260)
--- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC ($221,380)

Job description: Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.

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Grace Nichols // U.S. Air Force

#15. Pharmacists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $125,180 (#193 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 8,690

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,460 (315,470 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Madera, CA ($165,350)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($162,540)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($161,120)

Job 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.

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#14. Economics teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $132,260 (#15 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 290

National
- Annual mean salary: $123,720 (13,080 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($180,450)
--- Rochester, NY ($175,010)
--- Pittsburgh, PA ($171,450)

Job description: Teach courses in economics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Kzenon // Shutterstock

#13. Optometrists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $152,860 (#15 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,000

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,440 (36,690 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Columbia, SC ($228,340)
--- New Haven, CT ($186,950)
--- Evansville, IN-KY ($182,980)

Job description: Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.

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NNSA // Flickr

#12. Law teachers, postsecondary

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $157,400 (#4 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 580

National
- Annual mean salary: $134,760 (14,930 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN ($190,320)
--- Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA ($180,020)
--- Tallahassee, FL ($164,590)

Job description: Teach courses in law. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Rappaport Center // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Lawyers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $159,010 (#15 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 27,320

National
- Annual mean salary: $148,910 (658,120 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($231,610)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($201,920)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($186,070)

Job description: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

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Canva

#10. Nurse anesthetists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $175,560 (#59 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,060

National
- Annual mean salary: $189,190 (41,960 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Duluth, MN-WI ($271,940)
--- Ann Arbor, MI ($262,890)
--- Green Bay, WI ($239,140)

Job 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.

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Sebastian Duda // Shutterstock

#9. Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $182,320 (#5 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 780

National
- Annual mean salary: $131,850 (28,550 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($211,940)
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($210,160)
--- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL ($185,950)

Job description: Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases. May perform wedding ceremonies.

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Canva

#8. Dentists, general

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $192,000 (#116 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,960

National
- Annual mean salary: $180,830 (95,920 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Dover-Durham, NH-ME ($286,540)
--- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL ($278,790)
--- Portland-South Portland, ME ($278,390)

Job description: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.

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Canva

#7. General internal medicine physicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $201,880 (#80 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,770

National
- Annual mean salary: $210,960 (50,600 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Rochester, MN ($315,830)
--- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC ($314,080)
--- Wichita Falls, TX ($311,260)

Job description: Diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatment for a wide range of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults and adolescents, and are based primarily in an outpatient care setting.

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Canva

#6. Family medicine physicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $205,760 (#168 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 3,770

National
- Annual mean salary: $214,370 (98,590 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA ($309,800)
--- Napa, CA ($302,040)
--- Gadsden, AL ($292,110)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to individuals and families across the lifespan. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.

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Canva

#5. Pediatricians, general

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $217,250 (#19 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 680

National
- Annual mean salary: $184,570 (27,550 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($280,860)
--- State College, PA ($275,730)
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($275,610)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries in children. May refer patients to specialists for further diagnosis or treatment, as needed.

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LightField Studios // Shutterstock

#4. Psychiatrists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $234,170 (#41 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 670

National
- Annual mean salary: $217,100 (25,540 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($297,710)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($289,580)
--- Kansas City, MO-KS ($287,220)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders.

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Canva

#3. Anesthesiologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $244,360 (#21 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 620

National
- Annual mean salary: $271,440 (28,590 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Pittsburgh, PA ($307,390)
--- Duluth, MN-WI ($306,350)
--- Tallahassee, FL ($303,600)

Job description: Administer anesthetics and analgesics for pain management prior to, during, or after surgery.

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Canva

#2. Obstetricians and gynecologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $250,650 (#21 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 500

National
- Annual mean salary: $239,120 (18,900 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI ($294,450)
--- Tulsa, OK ($294,400)
--- Albuquerque, NM ($292,740)

Job description: Provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth. Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. May also provide general care to women. May perform both medical and gynecological surgery functions.

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Unsplash

#1. Surgeons, except ophthalmologists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $263,070 (#44 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 860

National
- Annual mean salary: $251,650 (37,900 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sioux City, IA-NE-SD ($305,480)
--- Akron, OH ($297,710)
--- Lincoln, NE ($296,150)

Job description: Diagnose and perform surgery to treat and prevent rheumatic and other diseases in the musculoskeletal system.

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