What jobs have the best and worst pay?

Staff

4 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

It's pretty clear that a doctor makes more money than a fast-food worker. But does a surgeon bring home more bucks than an anesthesiologist? It can't hurt to find out -- and it might even boost your salary savvy.

What's the best-paying professional field in the United States?

Nine of the best-paying jobs are in the medical field, according to the 2009 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report.

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What's the worst-paying professional field in the United States?

The country's 2.7 million food service workers make an average of $17,400 a year.

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What's the best-paying job in the country?

In 2008, surgeons brought home an average of $206,770 a year, just a bit more than anesthesiologists.

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What's the average annual wage in the United States?

The average American worker brings home about $42,000 a year.

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Surgeons in this city make almost $15,000 more than the national average.

For some reason, surgeons in Gary, Ind., are by far the best-paid in the country.

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Food service workers in this locale make the farthest below the national average.

Counter attendants at cafeterias and concession stands in Owensboro, Ky., bring home just $13,810 a year.

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What U.S. state/district has the highest average annual salary?

People in the nation's capital make about $25,000 more than the national average.

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Which two states have the lowest average annual salary?

South Dakota and Mississippi -- with an average annual salary of $33,000.

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The salaries of these workers decreased more than any other sector in 2008.

Locomotive engineers saw their salaries dip 15.4 percent in 2008 -- but they still make more than the national average.

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If you're thinking about going into the dental field, what profession should you choose to make the most bucks?

Orthodontists bring home about $197,000 a year, $7,000 more than the runner-up, oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

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What's the only job in the top 10 that isn't in the medical or dental field?

Coming in at No. 10 are the country's 300,000 CEOs, who pull down an average of $160,440. Move to New Jersey for the highest salaries.

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Who are the worst-paid workers in the country?

Fast food preparers/servers come in at rock bottom.

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What's the highest-paying nonprofit job?

The nonprofit world encompasses a huge variety of jobs -- from hospital workers to college professors to charity CEOs -- but hospital internists take the cake. They earn an average of $141,939, a few hundred more than a nonprofit CEO.

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If you're a woman, you're lucky if you live here -- it's the best-paying state/district for women.

Washington, D.C., tops the list again, and high-paying, regulated government jobs are to thank here.

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This is the worst-paying state for women.

Women in Mississippi, largely because of their low education levels, are at the bottom of the totem pole as far as pay.

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Women in the nation's capital make about how much more per year than women living in Mississippi?

Mississippian women could, in theory, make $19,000 more per year if they moved to D.C.

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On average, women make what percentage of men's salaries?

Women make about 80 percent of what men make. But in high-paying places like Washington, D.C., that percentage goes up to 92.

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As far as pay goes, would you be better off as a ticket taker at a movie theater or as a parking lot attendant?

You'll make about $1,000 more a year -- roughly $20,120 -- as a parking lot attendant.

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Where do the highest-paid parking lot attendants live?

We don't know why, but you might want to move to Vermont if you're looking for a career as a parking lot attendant.

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Most of the best-paying jobs involve hospitals -- but what's the worst-paying job you could have in a hospital?

About a third of all hospital jobs are nonmedical, the worst-paying of which is child-care worker. They take home around $21,800 a year.

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