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What are the characteristics of the highest paying jobs?

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The highest-paying jobs in the United States are white-collar occupations that require advanced college degrees and earn six-figure salaries, as of 2014. Seven of 10 top jobs in America are in the health care industry that need secondary degrees. As of 2014, surgeons make more than $233,000 and general practice physicians earn more than $187,000 per year.

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Another characteristic of the highest-paying jobs in the United States is the massive amount of debt most students incur to earn their advanced degrees. Doctors and attorneys often attend highly competitive educational institutions. Entrance exam scores, grade point averages and high scrutiny from employers mark the medical and legal professions. Candidates for all of these jobs should be proficient in technological aspects of each occupation.

As of 2014, petroleum engineers make roughly $130,000. These occupations expect wages to go higher if the petroleum industry grows in the United States. Engineers interpret data, take measurements and design oil drilling projects for large corporations.

Air traffic controllers earn approximately $122,530 annually, as of 2014. These workers must attend courses offered by the FAA Academy and need to earn accreditation before working at an airport tower. Attorneys make about $113,000 per year across all specialties, as of 2014. Lawyers must be accredited by each state's bar association, and attorneys usually earn a graduate degree from an accredited law school.

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