Highest paying jobs in Knoxville that require a graduate degree

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August 1, 2022
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Highest paying jobs in Knoxville 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 Knoxville, TN 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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Tulane Public Relations // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Sociology teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $29,300 (#55 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 140

National
- Annual mean salary: $85,180 (13,420 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($130,150)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($123,960)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($117,690)

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

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Daxiao Productions // Shutterstock

#45. Marriage and family therapists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $36,460 (#112 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 310

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,890 (60,850 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Provo-Orem, UT ($89,560)
--- St. George, UT ($85,290)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($81,890)

Job description: Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.

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DGLimages // Shutterstock

#44. Mental health and substance abuse social workers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $39,570 (#222 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 400

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,540 (116,780 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Madera, CA ($92,870)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($91,480)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($89,730)

Job description: Assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.

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Photographee.eu // Shutterstock

#43. Rehabilitation counselors

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $41,640 (#130 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 120

National
- Annual mean salary: $42,080 (100,260 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- California-Lexington Park, MD ($74,170)
--- Trenton, NJ ($66,330)
--- Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA ($64,940)

Job description: Counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, aging, or the stress of daily life. Coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities. Assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

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Canva

#42. Healthcare social workers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $45,730 (#338 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 820

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,470 (176,110 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($100,410)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($98,980)
--- Salinas, CA ($95,690)

Job description: Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family caregivers. Provide patients with information and counseling, and make referrals for other services. May also provide case and care management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#41. Mathematical science teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $46,450 (#113 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 190

National
- Annual mean salary: $86,760 (49,550 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($147,770)
--- Fresno, CA ($129,330)
--- Ann Arbor, MI ($126,580)

Job description: Teach courses pertaining to mathematical concepts, statistics, and actuarial science and to the application of original and standardized mathematical techniques in solving specific problems and situations. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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VH-studio // Shutterstock

#40. Educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $53,270 (#265 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 650

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,320 (292,230 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($91,420)
--- El Centro, CA ($91,110)
--- Fresno, CA ($90,860)

Job description: Advise and assist students and provide educational and vocational guidance services.

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Simon Fraser Universtiy // flickr

#39. Instructional coordinators

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $58,720 (#248 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $70,160 (174,900 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New Haven, CT ($111,440)
--- Warner Robins, GA ($110,800)
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($104,000)

Job description: Develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate current technology into instruction in order to provide guidelines to educators and instructors for developing curricula and conducting courses. May train and coach teachers. Includes educational consultants and specialists, and instructional material directors.

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Wikimedia Commons

#38. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $59,530 (#265 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,290 (111,320 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($138,550)
--- Jefferson City, MO ($133,640)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($125,020)

Job description: Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

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COD Newsroom // Flickr

#37. English language and literature teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $62,950 (#93 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,340 (64,800 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($141,420)
--- Fresno, CA ($130,580)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($121,510)

Job description: Teach courses in English language and literature, including linguistics and comparative literature. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Shane Global // flickr

#36. Foreign language and literature teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $64,120 (#56 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 90

National
- Annual mean salary: $80,410 (22,790 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($129,500)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($122,220)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($118,390)

Job description: Teach languages and literature courses in languages other than English. Includes teachers of American Sign Language (ASL). Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Canva

#35. Speech-language pathologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $68,560 (#298 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 480

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,240 (148,450 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($128,540)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($120,920)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($115,480)

Job description: Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#34. Computer science teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $69,630 (#79 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 80

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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Simon Fraser Universtiy // flickr

#33. Communications teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $71,290 (#52 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 60

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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Canva

#32. Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $72,250 (#91 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 240

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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Canva

#31. Audiologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $72,580 (#64 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,230 (13,300 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Reno, NV ($151,460)
--- Tulsa, OK ($128,620)
--- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR ($127,210)

Job description: Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.

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Irina.stelea // Wikimedia Commons

#30. History teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $74,420 (#57 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

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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Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#29. Art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $75,330 (#54 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 160

National
- Annual mean salary: $84,780 (91,170 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($122,920)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($115,740)
--- Rochester, NY ($115,080)

Job description: Teach courses in drama, music, and the arts including fine and applied art, such as painting and sculpture, or design and crafts. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Austin Community College // Flickr

#28. Veterinarians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $77,450 (#265 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 300

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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Suzannekweiss // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $78,400 (#53 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $84,060 (61,100 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL ($145,990)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($120,040)
--- Savannah, GA ($117,610)

Job description: Demonstrate and teach patient care in classroom and clinical units to nursing students. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Canva

#26. Statisticians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $81,060 (#61 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

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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Kenny Holston // flickr

#25. Recreation and fitness studies teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $82,470 (#9 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $75,430 (14,730 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($135,560)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($108,140)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($100,260)

Job description: Teach courses pertaining to recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, including exercise physiology and facilities management. 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

#24. Political science teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $82,900 (#35 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 30

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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ABO PHOTOGRAPHY // Shutterstock

#23. Occupational therapists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $83,550 (#181 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 210

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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Lucky Business // Shutterstock

#22. Chemistry teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $84,660 (#48 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

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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Aykut Erdogdu // Shutterstock

#21. Physical therapists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $85,640 (#268 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 590

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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David Bibo // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Education administrators, kindergarten through secondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $88,100 (#218 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 620

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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Sebastian Duda // Shutterstock

#19. Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $93,080 (#70 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

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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luchschenF // Shutterstock

#18. Biochemists and biophysicists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $95,010 (#20 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

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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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#17. Nurse practitioners

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $99,550 (#316 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,220

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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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#16. Biological science teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $106,720 (#22 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 190

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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Ohiodominican // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Physician assistants

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $106,810 (#221 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 430

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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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#14. Education administrators, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $109,830 (#91 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

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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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#13. Computer and information research scientists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $111,470 (#40 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

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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Grace Nichols // U.S. Air Force

#12. Pharmacists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $113,760 (#339 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,050

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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Rappaport Center // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Lawyers

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $115,260 (#159 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,120

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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Kzenon // Shutterstock

#10. Optometrists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $126,800 (#67 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 110

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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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#9. Physics teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $127,500 (#7 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

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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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#8. Economics teachers, postsecondary

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $135,380 (#13 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

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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indukas // Shutterstock

#7. Physicists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $146,660 (#10 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 280

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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#6. Dentists, general

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $171,840 (#160 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 180

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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#5. Nurse anesthetists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $179,330 (#51 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

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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#4. Family medicine physicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $227,530 (#113 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 170

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

#3. General internal medicine physicians

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $232,080 (#50 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

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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Unsplash

#2. Surgeons, except ophthalmologists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $242,540 (#64 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

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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#1. Psychiatrists

Knoxville, TN
- Annual mean salary: $261,820 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

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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