20 Jobs With the Most Financial Security

·9 min read
FangXiaNuo / Getty Images
FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

Even though many Americans are spending less during the pandemic, plenty are still struggling financially, according to an October 2020 survey by Highland Solutions. Out of the 2,002 respondents, 63% report living paycheck to paycheck since the pandemic, and millennials appear to be the demographic suffering the most.

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If you’re someone who is always anxiously awaiting your next paycheck, it may be time to consider a job change — or least get some insight.

To determine the jobs where you’re least likely to live paycheck to paycheck, GOBankingRates analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2019 national occupational employment and wage estimates for all occupations and found the highest-paying jobs by median hourly income.

Read: 45 Jobs That Can Make You a Millionaire Before Retirement

GOBankingRates also used BLS data detailing the total estimated annual cost for necessities per person and then subtracted that cost from the median annual salary of each job to determine the amount of money left over.

The final list of jobs in this study represents the best careers for your bank account.

Last updated: May 6, 2021

22 Industries That Pay Less (and More) Than They Did 10 Years Ag, airport worker signaling, traffic control
22 Industries That Pay Less (and More) Than They Did 10 Years Ag, airport worker signaling, traffic control

20. Air Traffic Controllers

  • Median hourly wage: $59.13

  • Median annual income: $122,990

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $98,523

The ability to devote maximum concentration to your job is one of the vital keys to success as an air traffic controller. An associate’s degree plus long-term, on-the-job training are required. Because you won’t have to invest thousands of dollars into a four-year degree, the payoff in this job looks even better.

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sales manager
sales manager

19. Advertising and Promotions Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $60.34

  • Median annual income: $125,507

  • Income leftFi over after paying for expenses: $101,040

A bachelor’s degree and experience in advertising, marketing, promotions or sales can qualify you for a job as an advertising and promotions manager. Although deadlines can be stressful and you may end up working more than 40 hours per week, having over $100,000 left after expenses is a pretty sweet deal.

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View of odiatrist using special grinding equipment and making procedure polish for feet.
View of odiatrist using special grinding equipment and making procedure polish for feet.

18. Podiatrists

  • Median hourly wage: $60.69

  • Median annual income: $126,235

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $101,768

To become a podiatrist, you’ll typically have to earn a doctorate in podiatric medicine, which will take four years to complete. Then, you’ll need to complete a three-year residency program. The paycheck is certainly worth it, though, with over $100,000 in income left over after paying expenses.

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17. Sales Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $60.89

  • Median annual income: $126,651

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $102,184

A bachelor’s degree and less than five years of experience as a sales representative can qualify you as a sales manager. Although travel is often involved — and you may end up working additional evening and weekend hours — the money you reap can allow you to live a nice lifestyle.

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Shot of a focused young female pharmacist walking around and doing stock inside of a pharmacy.
Shot of a focused young female pharmacist walking around and doing stock inside of a pharmacy.

16. Pharmacists

  • Median hourly wage: $61.58

  • Median annual income: $128,086

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $103,619

To become a pharmacist, you’ll need to invest five to eight years into your education for an advanced degree. With this job often comes night and weekend hours, but you might be able to get a part-time job in this field while still making great money.

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African agriculture researcher observing the development of plant crops in a vertical farming facility.
African agriculture researcher observing the development of plant crops in a vertical farming facility.

15. Natural Sciences Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $62.07

  • Median annual income: $129,106

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $104,639

If you have a bachelor’s degree and five years of related work experience as a scientist, you might be able to land a job as a natural sciences manager. Although you will have to invest time and money into a four-year degree and gain some work experience, the amount of income you’ll have left over after paying expenses should be worth it.

Shot of an attractive young businesswoman going over paperwork inside her office at work.
Shot of an attractive young businesswoman going over paperwork inside her office at work.

14. Financial Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $62.45

  • Median annual income: $129,896

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $105,429

After investing in a bachelor’s degree and working for about five years in the financial industry, a financial manager position might be within your reach. You’ll have plenty of income left over to live an enjoyable lifestyle — but you might have to put in some extra long hours to get there.

Woman in her 20s drawing a creative business plan at the office.
Woman in her 20s drawing a creative business plan at the office.

13. Marketing Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $65.79

  • Median annual income: $136,843

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $112,376

With a bachelor’s degree and related work experience in marketing, advertising or sales, marketing managers can pull down almost $137,000 annually, on average. After paying expenses, that leaves a nice chunk of change to enjoy life.

Close-up Of Male Judge  Writing On Paper In Courtroom.
Close-up Of Male Judge Writing On Paper In Courtroom.

12. Judges, Magistrate Judges and Magistrates

  • Median hourly wage: $65.82

  • Median annual income: $136,906

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $112,439

Plan to earn a bachelor’s degree first, then move on and complete a law degree to meet the educational requirements to become a judge. After jumping through those hoops, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

A royalty free image from the oil and gas industry of an engineer in front of a pumpjack drilling for natural gas and other resources.
A royalty free image from the oil and gas industry of an engineer in front of a pumpjack drilling for natural gas and other resources.

11. Petroleum Engineers

  • Median hourly wage: $66.21

  • Median annual income: $137,717

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $113,250

Petroleum engineers figure out how to get to gas and oil deposits below the Earth’s surface. To qualify, a bachelor’s degree is required. The outlook for job growth in this field is much faster than average, and the income potential is considerable.

Professional drawing.
Professional drawing.

10. Architectural and Engineering Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $69.63

  • Median annual income: $144,830

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $120,363

A bachelor’s degree is required to become an architectural or engineering manager. But don’t expect to start earning big bucks right away. About five years of experience in a related occupation is required.

9. Computer and Information Systems Managers

  • Median hourly wage: $70.37

  • Median annual income: $146,370

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $121,903

The job potential in this field is projected to grow much faster than average by the BLS. Although the annual salary in this job means you’ll average a little more than $70 per hour, you won’t be able to step into this type of position without a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience.

A senior dentist performing a dental procedure on young woman.
A senior dentist performing a dental procedure on young woman.

8. Dentists (All Other Specialists)

  • Median hourly wage: $70.78

  • Median annual income: $147,222

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $122,755

All dentist specialists, such as endodontists and pediatric dentists — but excluding general dentists — must complete a bachelor’s degree, dental school and a two- to four-year residency. It might all be worth it, though, with well over $100,000 left after expenses.

Dentist and female patient in the dentist's office.
Dentist and female patient in the dentist's office.

7. Dentists (General)

  • Median hourly wage: $74.81

  • Median annual income: $155,605

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $131,138

General dentists have the potential to make more money than specialists, and they have fewer educational requirements, which seems like a win-win. A general dentist is required to complete a bachelor’s degree and dental school, and become licensed. As an added perk, a job as a dentist is considered a high-paying occupation with less stress, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.

nurse practicioner
nurse practicioner

6. Nurse Anesthetists

  • Median hourly wage: $84.03

  • Median annual income: $174,782

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $150,315

Nurse anesthetists must earn a master’s degree in one of the advanced practice registered nurse roles. In addition, they must be licensed in their state and pass a national certification exam, according to the BLS. As a reward, these medical professionals take home an average of over $150,000 after expenses.

Pediatrician doctor examining sick child in face mask.
Pediatrician doctor examining sick child in face mask.

5. Pediatricians (General)

  • Median hourly wage: $84.28

  • Median annual income: $175,302

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $150,835

People who choose to be pediatricians have a bright outlook in the job market, according to O-NET OnLine, with plenty of jobs expected to be available in the future. But that hefty earnings potential doesn’t come without some groundwork. At the very least, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and a residency. Residencies typically last three to seven years.

Shot of a young businessman presenting data on a screen during a meeting in an office.
Shot of a young businessman presenting data on a screen during a meeting in an office.

4. Chief Executives

  • Median hourly wage: $88.68

  • Median annual income: $184,454

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $159,987

A chief executive can wield a lot of power — and the attached salary reflects that. Chief executives develop policies and direct companies and organizations within the guidelines of a board of directors. Required education includes at least a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of related work experience.

Internist discussing results with a patient
Internist discussing results with a patient

3. Internists (General)

  • Median hourly wage: $96.92

  • Median annual income: $201,594

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $177,127

Internists are physicians who mainly diagnose and provide care for adults who have internal issues. To command a salary close to $200,000 a year, you’ll typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree, a medical school degree and an internship/residency that will last at least three years.

Portrait Of Mature Male Doctor Wearing White Coat Standing In Hospital Corridor.
Portrait Of Mature Male Doctor Wearing White Coat Standing In Hospital Corridor.

2. Family Medicine Physicians

  • Median hourly wage: $98.84

  • Median annual income: $205,587

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $181,120

Family medicine physicians make more than enough money to live comfortably. In fact, these careers are among the highest-paying jobs in healthcare [2]. Educational requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a medical school degree and an internship that will last three to seven years.

Nurse wearing protective mask and gloves.
Nurse wearing protective mask and gloves.

1. Physicians and Surgeons

  • Median hourly wage: $99.28

  • Median annual income: $206,502

  • Income left over after paying for expenses: $182,035

As one of the highest-paying jobs, even after expenses, physicians and surgeons, such as cardiologists, radiologists, dermatologists, neurologists and emergency medicine physicians, have enough left over to live a very comfortable lifestyle. To make this type of annual salary, you’ll typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree, a medical school degree and an internship that will last three to seven years.

More From GOBankingRates

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates began by analyzing the May 2019 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates data on detailed occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the highest and lowest paying jobs in terms of median hourly wage. Then, GOBankingRates used the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey data table 1502 to estimate the total annual cost of necessities for a single person, calculated as the combined annual cost of groceries, housing, utilities, healthcare, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. The detailed breakdown of definitions used for each expense category can be found in the All Data tab. GOBankingRates then subtracted the total annual cost of necessities from each featured job’s median annual income to determine how much of a shortfall or surplus there would be for a worker employed in each occupation. All data was collected on and up to date as of January 28, 2021.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 20 Jobs With the Most Financial Security

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