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Golden State Gold: Highest Paying Jobs in California

California is the eighth largest economy in the world.

California is the eighth largest economy in the world.

© Copyright 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

(Updated March 27, 2012) As the largest state in the U.S. in terms of population, and with employment at over 14 million, California offers more jobs than any other state. Average salaries here run $24.96 per hour or $51,910 per year, which is higher than the national average of $21.74 per hour or $45,230 per year. All information comes from official statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor as of 2011.

Top Four

The top four highest salaries belong to medical practitioners, which closely reflects rankings throughout the country. These professionals deserve the highest paying jobs because they can affect the life and death of an individual. In addition, they require a long and demanding education. Typical physician training starts with four years of college and continues with four years of medical school. It then ends with three or more years of residency and internship, with additional years for subspecialties.

  1. Obstetricians and gynecologists make $222,960 annually. They specialize in women’s health issues such as pregnancy and breast cancer.
  2. Anesthesiologists make $221,990 per year by helping patients manage pain before, during and after surgical procedures.
  3. Surgeons earn $216,350 annually. They operate on people to manipulate internal medical conditions manually or with instruments.
  4. Oral surgeons correct defects in the teeth and jaw through operations. They earn 204,050 per year.

CEOs

At number four are chief executives, who are ultimately responsible for the profitability of an enterprise. They may affect the lives of tens of thousands of employees, in the case of large companies, and are accountable to the company’s shareholders and owners. They may rise to their positions from lower job levels, or hold advanced degrees such as Masters in Business Administration (MBAs). In either case, the job requires many years of experience with increasing responsibility. Chief executives average a salary of $201,030, but can garner higher compensation when stock options and other perks are included.

Doctors

More physicians occupy the next highest paying jobs in California:

  1. General internists, who diagnose and treat the internal systems of the body such as the liver and lungs, make $192,560 yearly.
  2. Psychiatrists earn $192,290 per year by treating mental conditions through therapy, drugs and hospitalization.
  3. All other physicians and surgeons covers those not broken out into separate classifications by the Labor Department. They make $182,260 annually.
  4. Family and general practitioners receive $174,530 each year by handling general medical conditions. They are often the first doctors that patients see.

Employment

In terms of employment from this list, chief executives show the greatest numbers of positions, since that classification applies to heads of large and small companies. Technically, this means the position holds the greatest employment possibilities among the top ten highest paying. Oral surgeons hold the fewest positions.

Here is the complete list of numbers:

Job TitleEmployment

Chief Executives

30,960

Physicians and Surgeons, All Other

25,850

Family and General Practitioners

10,880

Internists

7,260

Anesthesiologists

5,030

Surgeons

4,830

Psychiatrists

4,070

Obstetricians and Gynecologists

2,840

Orthodontists

760

Oral Surgeons

510

Related Links

  • United States Department of Labor
    Charged with preparing the American workforce for new and better jobs, and ensuring the adequacy of America's workplaces.
  • Home - Jobs.CA.gov by State Personnel Board
    Welcome to the State Personnel Board. The State Personnel Board was constitutionally created in 1934 to administer the civil service system and ensure that state employment is based on merit and free of political patronage. A career in public service
  • California Job Service:: CalJOBS:: Employment Resource
    Employment Development Department's CalJOBS links or matches employer job listings with job or career interests indicated on resumes posted by persons seeking employment in California
  • California Job Seeker Information
    More Job Seeker Information
  • Accountant Salary
    Accountant Salary Info. Discover the average accountant salary by position, industry and location. With a special section on CPA salary and accounting job prospects.

Comments

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 04, 2013:

It's interesting that in California the highest paying jobs are in the medical field. California is so entertainment heavy that it would seem like entertainers would earn more. I'm glad to see that the medical field is well paid.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 25, 2012:

This is an interesting installment in your series about jobs around the U.S. From the news, I know CA was really hit by the economic crisis. Still, medical professionals will always earn well and I agree that they deserve it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2012:

Always interesting to see the earning potential of different jobs in various locations. Thanks! Useful and interesting votes.