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Top 10 Highly Skilled Professions in the World

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Occupations and professions are terms often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. While occupation refers to the work someone does, the profession generally refers to the level of training someone has in their field, as well as their reputation within their community and among other professionals. Some of the most highly skilled professions in the world include doctors, lawyers, and accountants, while others such as truck drivers may be higher-paying but require less education and skill overall to become qualified in that field.


Many professions may seem more appealing than law, but one look at a list of the world's highest-paid celebrities is enough to change that. Lawyers hold about 5% of all occupations but account for around 35% of top earners, according to census data. Between 2009 and 2013, lawyers averaged $94 per hour across all types of firms—not bad when you consider they spent three years in school. And many high-earning lawyers are self-employed entrepreneurs who work on a contingency basis; these lawyers can pull in much higher hourly wages since they don't have an employer taking a chunk out of their income. Here's where it gets interesting: Law requires a huge amount of skill—and it also requires money and experience for training and equipment.


What could be more skilled than saving lives? As challenging as medicine is, it’s also rewarding in many ways: Many doctors can provide a service that not only benefits their patients but also indirectly helps their community. Moreover, many doctors are well-respected in their communities and among family members. Furthermore, almost all MDs receive extensive training that would qualify them for another highly skilled occupation. And lastly, you can make good money being a doctor – especially if you get into one of those high-paying specialties like cardiology or orthopedics.

Lawyers Posing for Photo


The Industrial Revolution was driven by engineers, who were often referred to as mechanics in those days. During that time, being an engineer meant being part mathematician, scientist, and inventor—with a whole lot of creativity thrown in for good measure. While there are still plenty of engineers whose talents lean more toward science and math than design, it’s safe to say most modern engineers have their heads on straight when it comes to creativity.

Information Technology

With a projected growth rate of 11.5% from 2012 to 2022, Information Technology offers promising career opportunities for skilled workers. From computer programmers and developers to IT project managers, experts in IT are in high demand and earn a median annual salary of $82,180*. With so many jobs available, competition can be fierce. However, you can improve your chances by gaining certifications through programs like CompTIA A+ or Microsoft's MCSE. Some colleges and universities also offer degree programs in computer science or information technology, which can help you stand out from other job applicants by providing relevant industry experience and potential contacts at your future employer.

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Business and Management

It should come as no surprise that business managers are among some of the highest-paid professionals in today’s world. Business managers help companies improve productivity and efficiency, while also taking care of things like accounting, hiring, and employee relations. They also put together schedules, organize meetings and make sure goals are met. And since businesses rely so heavily on technology these days, some positions require specific skills in IT management as well. Overall, a bachelor's degree is usually required to become a manager at large companies; however, a four-year degree isn’t always necessary for smaller firms.

Financial Services

Globally, all financial services employees generate about $4.6 trillion in revenue and $1.2 trillion in profits every year. This is more than double that of any other industry and it’s also one of the highest paying industries with a median annual salary of $100,220 in 2016. To make these figures even more impressive, these are not just low-skilled jobs. A bachelor’s degree is enough to get you hired at almost any major bank or brokerage firm, but a graduate degree (or an MBA) will put you at a higher pay level within three years of graduation on average. While there are always new grads entering these fields, they tend to stay because they can make decent money while working only 35 hours per week or less.

Woman While Working in Laboratory


According to data from UNESCO, a global partnership that works to advance literacy and gender equality in education, those with college or graduate degrees have become increasingly more likely to have found employment since 1995. Nearly three-quarters of people with higher education were employed in 2013, compared to less than two-thirds back in 1995. It's clear from these findings that investing time and money into your education can lead to better opportunities for job placement. If you don't already have a college degree or trade certification, consider retraining; many community colleges offer programs leading to a wide range of qualifications at an affordable price.

Scientific Research & Development

Scientific researchers and developers are at work on a vast array of projects in applied research, fundamental research, and industrial development. Although most scientific researchers have backgrounds in science or engineering, there are many kinds of scientists, each specializing in different kinds of laboratory investigation or different areas of application. Jobs for scientific researchers and developers often involve providing essential knowledge to industry professionals and others interested in how things work. Not all science jobs require a bachelor's degree; however, most graduate from a four-year college or university with an undergraduate degree and then earned master's degrees before moving into these jobs. Others begin their careers as interns working alongside established scientists as they earn their master's degrees or Ph.D.'s.

A Worker While Using Machine

Sales & Marketing

Sales and marketing are two highly skilled professions that enable business owners to succeed. Salespeople and marketers work on commission, so it’s in their best interest to find ways to bring in new business. If you want a career with lots of job opportunities, these are two places to start your search. Start by developing your communication skills – they’re more important than you might think. Learn everything you can about marketing and sales; consider attending conferences or seminars where industry leaders gather. Formal education will help as well – there are plenty of degree programs available at most universities that focus on business fundamentals like sales, accounting, strategy, and much more.

Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC)

Much of what we take for granted in modern society, from skyscrapers to bridges to roads and ports, involves construction skills. Architects need to understand spatial relationships and determine how buildings can be constructed safely; engineers are responsible for developing building materials and determining ways to build structures more efficiently, and construction workers use their knowledge of blueprint reading to make sure a building is put together properly. Computer, Mathematical & Architecture Occupations: Jobs that require an advanced understanding of math or science are typically highly skilled careers—and many jobs fall into both categories. Many mathematicians work in fields like chemistry or physics; some computer scientists choose job titles like software engineer, while others hold positions with more specialized names (game programmer); architects must be strong problem solvers with high levels of creativity.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

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