Anybody who has taken a course in marketing, psychology or sociology is likely familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. First detailed by psychologist Andrew Maslow in his 1943 work “A Theory of Human Motivation,” the hierarchy breaks down the complex network of human thoughts into a categorical triage, placing self-development at the top and security and physical health at the bottom. In setting up this pyramid, Maslow framed self-recognition and creative development as ultimate goals, while also prioritizing personal safety and strong physical health.
As such, it has never been more important to recognize the health care professionals who work tirelessly to keep the population healthy. A recent estimate from the Wall Street Journal suggests that the United States will soon spend close to 20% of its GDP on health care-related costs. While it’s encouraging to know that the country is investing in those responsible for maintaining the nation’s well-being, not all healthcare professionals receive equal compensation.
Using May 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Stacker listed the highest-paying jobs in the American healthcare system. The positions are ranked according to mean annual wage and are only included at the level of greatest granularity, meaning that broader occupations with more specific breakdowns are excluded from the ranking.
Read on for a more detailed understanding of the compensation spectrum in the health care industry.
Mean annual wage: $24,280
Mean hourly wage: $11.67
Description: Provide routine individualized health care such as changing bandages, dressing wounds and applying topical medications to the elderly, convalescents or persons with disabilities at the patient's home or in a care facility. Monitor or report changes in health status. May also provide personal care such as bathing, dressing and grooming of patient.
Mean annual wage: $27,570
Mean hourly wage: $13.26
Description: Feed, water and examine pets and other non-farm animals for signs of illness, disease or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians or scientists.
Mean annual wage: $27,910
Mean hourly wage: $13.42
Description: Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.
Mean annual wage: $28,540
Mean hourly wage: $13.72
Description: Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom or move patients, or change linens. May transfer or transport patients. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides and nursing attendants.
Mean annual wage: $28,990
Mean hourly wage: $13.94
Description: Transport patients to areas such as operating rooms or x-ray rooms using wheelchairs, stretchers or moveable beds. May maintain stocks of supplies or clean and transport equipment.
Mean annual wage: $29,030
Mean hourly wage: $13.96
Description: Record drugs delivered to the pharmacy, store incoming merchandise and inform the supervisor of stock needs. May operate cash register and accept prescriptions for filling.
Mean annual wage: $29,330
Mean hourly wage: $14.10
Description: Assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff. May assist with daily living activities, lead patients in educational and recreational activities or accompany patients to and from examinations and treatments. May restrain violent patients. Includes psychiatric orderlies.
Mean annual wage: $29,610
Mean hourly wage: $14.24
Description: Assist in the provision of food service and nutritional programs, under the supervision of a dietitian. May plan and produce meals based on established guidelines, teach principles of food and nutrition or counsel individuals.
Mean annual wage: $33,060
Mean hourly wage: $15.90
Description: Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.
Mean annual wage: $33,580
Mean hourly wage: $16.15
Description: Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood and administering medications as directed by physician.
Mean annual wage: $33,780
Mean hourly wage: $16.24
Description: Under close supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing patient and treatment room.
Mean annual wage: $34,710
Mean hourly wage: $16.69
Description: Draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations or research. May explain the procedure to patients and assist in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions.
Mean annual wage: $34,710
Mean hourly wage: $16.69
Description: Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.
Mean annual wage: $36,070
Mean hourly wage: $17.34
Description: Care for individuals with mental or emotional conditions or disabilities, following the instructions of physicians or other health practitioners. Monitor patients' physical and emotional well-being and report to medical staff. May participate in rehabilitation and treatment programs, help with personal hygiene and administer oral or injectable medications.
Mean annual wage: $36,400
Mean hourly wage: $17.50
Description: Transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other health care practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews and final summaries. Transcribe dictated reports and translate abbreviations into fully understandable form. Edit as necessary and return reports in either printed or electronic form for review and signature, or correction.
Mean annual wage: $36,700
Mean hourly wage: $17.64
Description: Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.
Mean annual wage: $37,060
Mean hourly wage: $17.82
Description: Prepare, sterilize, install or clean laboratory or health care equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.
Mean annual wage: $37,500
Mean hourly wage: $18.03
Description: Assist ophthalmologists by performing ophthalmic clinical functions. May administer eye exams, administer eye medications and instruct the patient in care and use of corrective lenses.
Mean annual wage: $38,600
Mean hourly wage: $18.56
Description: All health care support workers not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $38,690
Mean hourly wage: $18.60
Description: Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment and keep records.
Mean annual wage: $39,070
Mean hourly wage: $18.79
Description: Design, measure, fit and adapt lenses and frames for client according to written optical prescription or specification. Assist client with inserting, removing and caring for contact lenses. Assist client with selecting frames. Measure customer for size of eyeglasses and coordinate frames with facial and eye measurements and optical prescription. Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting lenses in frames. Verify exactness of finished lens spectacles. Adjust frame and lens position to fit client. May shape or reshape frames. Includes contact lens opticians.
Mean annual wage: $42,820
Mean hourly wage: $20.59
Description: Compile, process and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, legal and regulatory requirements of the heath care system. Process, maintain, compile and report patient information for health requirements and standards in a manner consistent with the health care industry's numerical coding system.
Mean annual wage: $44,950
Mean hourly wage: $21.61
Description: Perform therapeutic massages of soft tissues and joints. May assist in the assessment of range of motion and muscle strength, or propose client therapy plans.
Mean annual wage: $45,710
Mean hourly wage: $21.98
Description: Care for ill, injured or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
Mean annual wage: $46,690
Mean hourly wage: $22.45
Description: All health technologists and technicians not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $48,060
Mean hourly wage: $23.11
Description: Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures and help count sponges, needles, supplies and instruments.
Mean annual wage: $48,630
Mean hourly wage: N/A
Description: Evaluate and advise individuals to assist recovery from or avoid athletic-related injuries or illnesses, or maintain peak physical fitness. May provide first aid or emergency care.
Mean annual wage: $49,670
Mean hourly wage: $23.88
Description: Assess, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records and select, assemble, check and operate equipment.
Mean annual wage: $50,900
Mean hourly wage: $24.47
Description: Provide respiratory care under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.
Mean annual wage: $53,930
Mean hourly wage: $25.93
Description: Collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Implement and conduct evaluation of programs designed to limit chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic risks to workers.
Mean annual wage: $54,730
Mean hourly wage: $26.31
Description: All therapists not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $57,030
Mean hourly wage: $27.42
Description: Select and fit hearing aids for customers. Administer and interpret tests of hearing. Assess hearing instrument efficacy. Take ear impressions and prepare, design and modify ear molds.
Mean annual wage: $57,250
Mean hourly wage: $27.52
Description: Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity and similar tests. Includes vascular technologists.
Mean annual wage: $57,620
Mean hourly wage: $27.70
Description: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.
Mean annual wage: $58,290
Mean hourly wage: $28.02
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.
Mean annual wage: $59,470
Mean hourly wage: $28.59
Description: Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.
Mean annual wage: $60,150
Mean hourly wage: $28.92
Description: Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals or conduct nutritional research.
Mean annual wage: $60,320
Mean hourly wage: $29.00
Description: Take x-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other scanning modalities.
Mean annual wage: $60,600
Mean hourly wage: $29.13
Description: All health care practitioners and technical workers not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $61,810
Mean hourly wage: $29.72
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.
Mean annual wage: $70,490
Mean hourly wage: $33.89
Description: Operate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. Monitor patient safety and comfort and view images of area being scanned to ensure quality of pictures. May administer gadolinium contrast dosage intravenously. May interview patient, explain MRI procedures and position patient on examining table. May enter into the computer data such as patient history, anatomical area to be scanned, orientation specified and position of entry.
Mean annual wage: $70,970
Mean hourly wage: $34.12
Description: Design, measure, fit and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances or prostheses such as limbs or facial parts for patients with disabling conditions.
Mean annual wage: $73,200
Mean hourly wage: $35.19
Description: Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.
Mean annual wage: $73,550
Mean hourly wage: $35.36
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.
Mean annual wage: $73,600
Mean hourly wage: $35.38
Description: Review, evaluate and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. May be employed in the public or private sector. Includes environmental protection officers.
Mean annual wage: $74,680
Mean hourly wage: $35.91
Description: Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x-rays or apply fluoride or sealants.
Mean annual wage: $77,660
Mean hourly wage: $37.33
Description: Prepare, administer and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
Mean annual wage: $78,130
Mean hourly wage: $37.56
Description: Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other health care providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling.
Mean annual wage: $79,770
Mean hourly wage: $38.35
Description: Assess, plan or implement fitness programs that include exercise or physical activities such as those designed to improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance or flexibility.
Mean annual wage: $80,040
Mean hourly wage: $38.48
Description: All health diagnosing and treating practitioners not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $83,350
Mean hourly wage: $40.07
Description: Assess, treat and care for patients by manipulation of spine and musculoskeletal system. May provide spinal adjustment or address sacral or pelvic misalignment.
Mean annual wage: $84,210
Mean hourly wage: $40.49
Description: Perform routine or complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.
Mean annual wage: $84,640
Mean hourly wage: $40.69
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.
Mean annual wage: $85,190
Mean hourly wage: $40.96
Description: Plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, dramatics, social activities and arts and crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.
Mean annual wage: $88,080
Mean hourly wage: $42.34
Description: Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment and protection devices and maintaining records, reports and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
Mean annual wage: $101,530
Mean hourly wage: $48.81
Description: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.
Mean annual wage: $103,640
Mean hourly wage: $49.83
Description: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic or chronic illness, independently or as part of a health care 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.
Mean annual wage: $104,760
Mean hourly wage: $50.37
Description: Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.
Mean annual wage: $107,480
Mean hourly wage: $51.68
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.
Mean annual wage: $119,100
Mean hourly wage: $57.26
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.
Mean annual wage: $121,710
Mean hourly wage: $58.52
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.
Mean annual wage: $148,470
Mean hourly wage: $71.38
Description: Assess, plan, organize and participate in 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.
Mean annual wage: $169,450
Mean hourly wage: $81.47
Description: Diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a health care team. May provide preventative gynecological care. Must have specialized, graduate nursing education.
Mean annual wage: $174,110
Mean hourly wage: $83.71
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.
Mean annual wage: $187,540
Mean hourly wage: $90.16
Description: Physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent disorders of the mind.
Mean annual wage: $196,960
Mean hourly wage: $94.69
Description: Construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures to correct natural and acquired deformation of mouth and jaws, to restore and maintain oral function, such as chewing and speaking, and to improve appearance.
Mean annual wage: $198,370
Mean hourly wage: $95.37
Description: Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. May also provide general medical care to women.
Mean annual wage: $199,980
Mean hourly wage: $96.15
Description: All dentists not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $208,560
Mean hourly wage: $100.27
Description: Physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.
Mean annual wage: $211,390
Mean hourly wage: $101.63
Description: Provide health care 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.
Mean annual wage: $216,090
Mean hourly wage: $103.89
Description: Physicians who treat diseases, injuries and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances or by manual manipulation.
Mean annual wage: $229,380
Mean hourly wage: $110.28
Description: Examine, diagnose and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
Mean annual wage: $235,240
Mean hourly wage: $113.10
Description: Physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent children's diseases and injuries.
Mean annual wage: $242,740
Mean hourly wage: $116.70
Description: Perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries or defects. May diagnose problems of the oral and maxillofacial regions. May perform surgery to improve function or appearance.
Mean annual wage: $251,890
Mean hourly wage: $121.10
Description: All physicians and surgeons not listed separately.
Mean annual wage: $265,990
Mean hourly wage: $127.88
Description: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during or after surgery, or other medical procedures.