17 Jobs That Can Pay Up to $500K a Year

17 Jobs That Can Pay Up to $500K a Year

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You might think that it’s impossible to make more than $500,000 a year except in very few professions, but that’s not true. In this blog post, we’ll explore 20 different jobs that pay at least $500,000 annually.

Keep in mind that some of these positions come with a certain amount of risk, while others offer more stability. Not all people in these professions earn this much money, but they make quite a bit on average. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these careers, read the accompanying requirement section.

Let’s jump right in!

1. Chief Executive Officer

Salary: $788,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

CEOs have the highest-ranking position in a company. Not only are they the figurehead, but they’re the person in charge of making the important decisions. They also get to withdraw the biggest wage slip, with massive bonuses.

To become a CEO, you’ll need extensive experience in the field you wish to lead. You’ll also need to have a proven track record of success and be able to take on a high level of responsibility. The average salary for a CEO is $788,000 (source), but with bonuses and stock options, they can make much more.

There’s a shorter route to becoming a CEO, but it’d require starting your own company. It can be a great way to explode your income. However, most companies take several years to start turning a profit, let alone paying their CEOs exuberant salaries.

Job Information

  • Salary: $788,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no hard requirements to become a CEO. In fact, people take many different routes to land this position. The most common way is to spend years working up the corporate ladder. Impress the right people, have a solid track record of successes and position yourself to be invaluable.

You could start your own company and install yourself as CEO, as we mentioned before. This is a great way to get experience, but it may take some time to earn a paycheck of $500,000 or more.

Finally, some people inherit the CEO status from their family. It’ll still be a hard journey to get to that point, and it’ll require learning the business and taking on more responsibilities while you work.

2. Surgeons: Neurosurgeons And Plastic Surgeons

Salary: $291,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Surgeons are one of the most important members of the medical profession. They save lives every day by performing operations on patients, and these can only be incredibly complicated. Because of the importance of their work, surgeons are very well-compensated for their skills.

The average salary for a surgeon is $291,000, but some surgeons make much more depending on their specialty and where they work. For example, neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons are much better compensated than general surgeons.

Surgery is a very demanding profession, both mentally and physically. Surgeons must be able to concentrate for long periods and have the stamina to stand for hours at a time. They also need to have excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.

Job Information

  • Salary: $291,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

In order to become a surgeon, you must first complete medical school. After medical school, you must complete a residency program in surgery, which takes about five years. Once you have completed your residency, you’ll be able to take the exams to become a board-certified surgeon.

3. Famous Content Creator

Salary: depends on reputation.

Training time: a few days.

Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

A content creator creates and posts online content such as videos, blog posts, or social media posts. The average salary for a content creator is $49,000, but those with the biggest following and influence can earn millions (source).

Content creators need to be able to constantly come up with ideas for new content and produce high-quality content regularly. They must also be familiar with different social media platforms and how to use them to promote their content.

Job Information

  • Salary: depends on reputation.
  • Training time: a few days.
  • Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no formal requirements to become a content creator, but it’s important to have strong writing and communication skills. The best content creators can naturally engage with their audience. It’s also crucial to be up to date with how social media platforms work and what is favored by their algorithms.

4. Experienced Lawyers

Salary: $144,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

A lawyer is a professional who provides legal advice and represents clients in court. Lawyers can work in a variety of settings, including private practices, law firms, and government agencies. The average salary for a lawyer is $144,000, but after a few years of experience, lawyers can earn exponentially more (source).

Lawyers need to be able to research and analyze legal problems. They must also communicate effectively with their clients and present their arguments persuasively in court.

Job Information

  • Salary: $144,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

Becoming a lawyer requires completing undergraduate studies, followed by three years of law school. After law school, you’ll need to pass the bar exam in order to practice law.

Once you have passed the bar exam, you’ll be able to work as a lawyer. However, it’s important to note that lawyers must complete continuing legal education (CLE) courses to keep their license.

5. Entrepreneur

Salary: you pay yourself.

Training time: a few days.

Workload: at least 10 hours per week.

An entrepreneur is someone who starts and runs their own business. The average salary for an entrepreneur varies greatly depending on the company’s success, but many make millions of dollars per year.

One of the most significant risks involved with being an entrepreneur is starting a business that fails. This can happen for various reasons, such as not having a good business plan or not understanding the market.

Entrepreneurs also risk losing their personal savings if their business fails. They may also have to take on debt to finance their projects.

Job Information

  • Salary: you pay yourself.
  • Training time: a few days.
  • Workload: at least 10 hours per week.

Requirements

Entrepreneurs need to come up with new ideas and be willing to take risks. They must also be good at managing money, people, and time.

There are no requirements to being an entrepreneur aside from will and determination. Many entrepreneurs may opt to study business at university or online to give them a solid foundation.

6. Investment Banker

Salary: $150,000 a year (without bonuses).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

An investment banker is a professional who helps companies raise money by issuing and selling securities. Investment bankers typically work for banks, but some also work for brokerages. The average salary for an investment banker is $150,000, but the top earners make much more than that (source).

Investment bankers need to have excellent math skills and understand complex financial concepts. They must also be able to clearly communicate their ideas to clients and potential investors.

Job Information

  • Salary: $150,000 a year (without bonuses).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

In order to become an investment banker, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in business or economics. However, many investment bankers have advanced degrees, such as an MBA.

You’ll also need to have several years of experience working in the financial industry before becoming an investment banker.

7. Famous Actor

Salary: depends on reputation.

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

An actor or actress is someone who performs in plays, movies, television shows, or other productions. They may also work as voice actors for cartoons or video games. The average salary for an actor is $43,000 (source), but the top earners make much more than that. For example, A-list celebrities can earn millions of dollars per movie.

Being an actor requires a lot of talent and training. You need to be able to memorize lines, connect with your audience, and stay in character for long periods of time. You also need to be able to work well with other actors and the crew.

Although it’s possible to become a successful actor without formal training, it’s very difficult. Most actors have attended some form of acting school or have had professional acting experience before making it big.

If you know an actor or actress, it’s likely they’re far from the $500K mark. As in most artistic professions, it’s key to know the right people and be in the right place. If your priority is winning $500K a year, other careers will give you much better chances of achieving that. Nonetheless, the fact is that successful actors can get to $500K and beyond.

Job Information

  • Salary: depends on reputation.
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no formal requirements to become an actor, but most successful actors have had some training. Many actors attend acting school, but you can also get training from workshops or work in community theatre productions.

It’s essential to get as much experience as possible so that you can build up your resume and demonstrate your talent to potential employers.

8. Software Engineer For A Large Tech Company

Salary: $120,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

A software engineer designs, develops, and maintains software applications. The average salary for a software engineer is $120,000, but those at the top of their field can earn over $500,000.

Software engineers need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They must also be skilled in programming languages and software development tools.

The biggest risk in software engineering is letting bugs make their way into the final version of a product.

Job Information

  • Salary: $120,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

In order to become a software engineer, you must first complete an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field. Here you’ll learn programming languages, your main tool for creating software.

You may need to have some experience working in the software development industry before starting work as a software engineer.

9. Some Physicians: Orthopedics, Radiologists, Cardiologists

Salary: $242,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

A physician is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats patients for various illnesses and injuries. Physicians can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. The average salary for a physician is $242,000. Certain specialties can earn much more, such as Orthopedics, which can bring over $500,000.

Physicians need to understand and retain a lot of crucial medical information. They must be able to handle large amounts of stress and make quick decisions that could mean life or death for their patients.

They also need to have excellent communication skills to effectively communicate with their patients and staff. It takes years of schooling and training before someone can become a physician.

Job Information

  • Salary: $242,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

The road to becoming a physician is straightforward: university and medical school. After medical school, you’ll need to complete a residency program, which can take four to seven years, depending on your specialty.

Once you have completed your residency, you’ll be able to take the exams to become board-certified in your chosen specialty.

10. Real-Estate Developer

Salary: $78,000 a year (average).

Training time: a few weeks.

Workload: at least 30 hours per week.

A real estate developer is someone who buys property, develops it, and then sells it for a profit. The average salary for a real estate developer is $78,000, but those with an extensive portfolio can earn millions.

Real estate developers need to be able to find properties that have the potential for development. They must also be good at negotiating with sellers and obtaining financing.

Being a real estate developer can be risky, especially if the market takes a downturn. If this happens, you may not be able to sell the property for a profit. This can occur if the market changes or development costs are higher than expected.

Job Information

  • Salary: $78,000 a year (average).
  • Training time: a few weeks.
  • Workload: at least 30 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no formal requirements for becoming a real estate developer, but most companies will require you to have at least a high school diploma.

You’ll also need to have some experience in the real estate industry before you can start developing your own properties.

11. Notorious Author

Salary: depends on notoriety.

Training time: a few days.

Workload: at least 10 hours per week.

An author is someone who writes books, articles, or other texts. The average salary for an author is $67,000, but authors at the top of their field can earn over $500,000.

Authors need to have excellent writing skills and be able to tell a story that will captivate their audience. They must also be able to market their work to publishers or directly to readers.

Writers may not be what comes to your mind when thinking of a profitable job. Being a writer comes with the risk of your book not selling well or not finding a publisher for it. However, if you manage to find your audience and your book becomes a bestseller, you could earn over $500K in royalties.

Job Information

  • Salary: depends on notoriety.
  • Training time: a few days.
  • Workload: at least 10 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no formal requirements for becoming an author, but you’ll need excellent writing skills and imagination.

Many writers have a background in the humanities. Some degrees, like English and Creative Writing, give you skills specifically tailored for being an author.

12. Engineer

Salary: $91,000 a year (on average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

An engineer is someone who designs and builds things. The average salary for an engineer is $91,000, but those at the top of their field can earn up to $500,000.

Engineers need to have a strong understanding of physics and mathematics. They must also be able to design products that meet the needs of their customers.

The biggest risk involved with being an engineer is that your work may not work as intended, or it may not be safe.

Job Information

  • Salary: $91,000 a year (on average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

Most engineers will need to attend college and get a degree in engineering or a related field. There are many different types of engineers, so you’ll need to choose which type you want to be before you can start working as one.

Depending on your specialty, your study path may look very different.

13. Film Director

Salary: $183,000 a year (one average).

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

A director oversees the production of movies, TV shows, or other forms of entertainment. The average salary for a director is $183,000. However, an in-demand director can negotiate wages and backend bonuses worth millions of dollars.

Directors need to be creative and have a strong vision for their projects. They must also be able to work with a team of people to bring their vision to life.

The biggest risk involved with being a director is that your project may not be well-received by the audience or critics.

Job Information

  • Salary: $183,000 a year (one average).
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 40 hours per week.

Requirements

Most directors need to attend college or film school to learn their craft. However, there are many examples of people who bypass this and learn by creating their own homemade movies.

Having experience in the industry and meeting people with influence goes a long way toward landing jobs as a director.

14. Professional Athlete

Salary: from $51,000 a year to millions per month.

Training time: many years.

Workload: at least 30 hours per week.

A professional athlete is someone who competes in a sport for money. The average salary for a professional athlete is $51,000. However, top athletes in popular sports can earn millions of dollars a year.

Professional athletes need to be exceptionally physically fit and have a lot of experience with their chosen sport. They must also be able to perform under pressure.

The biggest risk involved with being a professional athlete is that you may get injured and not be able to compete anymore. There’s also the fact that not all athletes make it far enough to make a lot of money—you need the right combination of genetics, training, and luck.

Job Information

  • Salary: from $51,000 a year to millions per month.
  • Training time: many years.
  • Workload: at least 30 hours per week.

Requirements

Most professional athletes will need to start playing their sport at a young age. They’ll then need to compete in amateur competitions until they’re good enough to go pro.

The road to becoming an athlete is different for each discipline, and each one has institutions that regulate its competitions and rules.

15. Consultant

Salary: $40 per hour (on average).

Training time: a few days.

Workload: at least 15 hours per week.

A consultant is someone who provides advice to businesses or individuals. The average salary for a consultant is $70,000, but those who have top-tier clients or run their own firm can earn well over $500,000 (source).

Consultants need to have a lot of knowledge about their chosen area of expertise. They must also be able to give clear and concise advice.

The biggest risk involved with being a consultant is that you may not be able to provide clients with experienced advice, which can lead to you losing your reputation.

Job Information

  • Salary: $40 per hour (on average).
  • Training time: a few days.
  • Workload: at least 15 hours per week.

Requirements

To become a consultant, you’ll first need to choose an area of expertise. You’ll need to build up your knowledge in this area by reading books, taking courses, or working with other consultants. It would be ideal to have a professional career in this area.

Next, you’ll need to find a way to market yourself as a consultant or join a consultancy firm.

16. Insurance Agent

Salary: $48,000 per year (on average).

Training time: a few months.

Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

An insurance agent is someone who sells insurance policies to individuals and businesses. The typical wage for an insurance salesperson is $48,000, although those at the top of their profession can make over $500,000.

Insurance agents need to be good at sales and have a lot of knowledge about the different types of insurance available. They must also be able to explain the benefits of each type of policy to potential customers.

The biggest risk involved with being an insurance agent is that you may not be able to sell enough policies to make a good living.

Job Information

  • Salary: $48,000 per year (on average).
  • Training time: a few months.
  • Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

Requirements

In order to become an insurance agent, you must first obtain a license from your state’s department of insurance. You’ll then need to find an insurance company.

You don’t need higher education to become an insurance agent. At most, you may be required to have a high school diploma.

17. Salesperson

Salary: $53,000 per year.

Training time: a few months.

Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

A salesperson is someone who sells products or services to customers. The average salary for a salesperson is $53,000. If you’re selling high ticket items, the commissions attached can make your earnings soar to 500k per year and beyond (source).

Salespeople need to be able to find potential customers and convince them to buy the product or service that they’re selling. They must also be good at handling rejection and staying motivated.

One of the biggest risks of being a salesperson is not making enough sales to meet your quota. This can lead to getting fired or not receiving a commission.

Job Information

  • Salary: $53,000 per year.
  • Training time: a few months.
  • Workload: at least 20 hours per week.

Requirements

There are no formal requirements for becoming a salesperson, but most companies will require you to have at least a high school diploma.

Many salespeople also have some experience working in customer service or retail before starting their career in sales.