11 Highest Paying PhD Jobs & Careers (2022)

What are the Highest Paying PhD Jobs?

PhD salaries by field will vary widely, but these are the top-paying careers for people holding advanced educations…

#1 Political Science

MedianSalary: $122,220
Growth: 5%

A political scientists studies the development and implementation of government systems, analyzing political ideas to see what works best for a city, state, or nation. This is a very numbers-based job, and part of the position includes collecting and analyzing data from surveys and other sources.

As a political scientist, your career will be greatly enhanced by a PhD. Your doctorate may include political science itself, as well as public administration. While you can get by with a master’s degree, a doctorate will bring your career to greater heights and help you command larger salaries. For the top 10% of this field, the PhD salary is over $164,000, making this one of the highest paying PhDs.

Popular Pick: Doctor of Philosophy in Transformative Social Change from Saybrook University

#2 Economist

MedianSalary: $105,020
Growth: 14%

Economists do more than just study money. The also study, analyze, and influence the distribution of goods, services, labor, and resources. All of these, of course, are highly connected to money, but don’t assume that it’s just dollars and cents for economists. They research issues, collect data, interpret findings, and, in some cases, report their findings to the highest levels of our government.

There are economist jobs available for those with only a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s is almost always required for the most desirable positions, especially in the private sector. Completing an online PhD program, on the other hand, will help you land one of these positions, which is one of the highest paying PhD jobs you can find.

Popular Pick: Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy / Economic Policy from Liberty University

#3 Postsecondary Education Administrator

MedianSalary: $95,410
Growth: 4%

With teachers, students, parents, staff, and community leaders, education can be complex and frustrating. It’s the job of postsecondary (college) administrators to help people navigate the complexities of universities and support their important work. The specific responsibilities will vary, but most administrators will meet with potential students, review applications, determine how many students to admit, and analyze data for the best possible results.

This career will require at least a master’s degree, but the PhD salary may be even higher. The top 10% of this career earn over $194,000 annually, so if you can expect to earn a fantastic salary if you complete a PhD in the appropriate field, which can include social work, accounting, and even marketing. To work as a provost of dean at a major institution, you will likely need a PhD.

Sponsored Pick: Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from William Carey University

#4 Atmospheric Scientist

MedianSalary: $95,380
Growth: 6%

The weather has an impact on us every day. We may not be worried about massive storms, but we always want to know if it’s going to rain or what the temperature will be. Thanks to the work of atmospheric scientists, we usually have an answer. These professionals, who often have science-based PhDs, study the weather in many ways. They may measure temperatures, study humidity, or generate computer models for how the weather will behave in the future.

This career is one of the best for anyone who has the right PhD. The salary is excellent, with the top 10% earning over $147,000 a year, making this one of the highest paying PhDs as well as one of the most interesting. If you work in a research-based position, you will usually need a PhD in meteorology or a related science.

#5 Biochemist

MedianSalary: $94,490
Growth: 7%

Biochemistry is among the most lucrative PhD options. By studying the chemical processes of living things, biochemists contribute to our world in a variety of ways. Their work influences drugs, nutrition, healthcare, and numerous other areas. The tasks can include planing research projects, managing laboratories, reporting findings to key decision makers, and preparing technical reports and scientific literature.

For many of the positions we have discussed, a PhD is merely a way to advance your career, bringing new opportunities and higher salaries. For a biochemist, however, it is virtually required. While graduates of bachelor’s and master’s programs are able to secure some positions, the majority of biochemists have a PhD, and with high salaries, this is among the highest paying PhDs.

Popular Pick: Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Science from University of Maine

#6 Medical Scientist

MedianSalary: $88,790
Growth: 6%

Research into human health will never end, and we can thank medical scientists for the vaccines, treatments, and medical processes that bring better health to our daily lives. These highly-educated scientists research ways to improve human health, creating tests, formulating theories, standardizing medications, and performing countless other tasks that constantly move healthcare forward.

These scientists, who have some of the highest paying PhDs, usually have an education in a medical or science field. (They may have MDs, but it’s not required.) With an education that includes biology, chemistry, scientific methods, and mathematics, medical scientists enjoy a career field that can bring a salary of over $159,000 for the top 10%.

Popular Pick: Doctor of Public Health / Leadership from University of Illinois at Chicago

#7 Genetic Counselor

MedianSalary: $81,880
Growth: 21%

Genetics are important to our health and wellbeing, and understanding the importance of genetics can help people make decisions for healthcare. This is why genetic counselors are in high demand, and why it’s among the most lucrative PhD options. It’s the job of genetic counselors to discuss inherited medical risks so patients can make better decisions. For example, a genetic counselor may tell a patient that they should take extra caution to avoid heart problems based on that patient’s family history. Of course, it is usually more complicated than that, and genetic counselors are also involved with testing, interviews, and providing information for available treatments.

Most genetic counselors need only a master’s degree, but a PhD in a related area can help you become employed in many of the top positions. The top 10% earn over $114,000, so this is one of the highest paying PhDs you can complete. Thanks to high growth, this is one of the best PhD degrees for jobs.

#8 Psychologist

MedianSalary: $80,000
Growth: 3%

Psychologists help people understand the human mind, which is helpful not only for individual wellbeing, but for many organizations. Psychologists conduct scientific studies for behavior and brain function, and they often research behavioral patterns that help us understand how and why people behave in a certain manner.

Most psychologists will need a PhD in psychology. However, a Doctor of Psychology will qualify applicants for this type of career. The main difference is that a PhD in psychology is more research-based, while a Doctor of Psychology degree is a clinical degree that is not based on a dissertation. With growth expected to only be 3%, this may not be among the best PhD degrees for jobs, but it’s still one of the most lucrative PhD options.

Sponsored Pick: PhD - Psychology from Capella University

#9 Postsecondary Teacher

MedianSalary: $79,540
Growth: 9%

Working in colleges and universities across the country, postsecondary teachers craft the next generation of thinkers and innovators. Duties may include creating courses, overseeing testing, providing lectures, and offering insight on various topics.

To become a college teacher, you will likely need a doctorate-level education in your chosen field. Whether you teach philosophy, business, or history, a PhD will help you become an expert on the topic and make you one of the most respected (and best-paid) job candidates around. This career does require some experience in the chosen industry. For example, if you want to teach finances at the university level, you’ll need private- or public-sector financial experience in addition to your doctorate.

Sponsored Pick: from Northcentral University

#10 Epidemiologist

MedianSalary: $70,990
Growth: 5%

Epidemiology is, essentially, the study of disease. More specifically, it’s the study of the factors that determine the presence or absence of disease in humans. It seeks to understand how people acquire certain diseases and disorders, and helps reduce risk factors and (hopefully) lower overall cases of illness and disease.

Epidemiologist investigate the patterns and causes of various diseases, and they will need advanced degrees for this complex work. Although most will need at least a master’s degree, it’s possible to enhance your career with a doctorate. In this case, a PhD or a medical degree in that focuses on disease will be a useful option.

Popular Pick: Doctor of Public Health / Global Health Leadership from Indiana University

#11 Anthropologist

MedianSalary: $63,670
Growth: 5%

Anthropologists help us understand human history, cultures, and behavior through research and writing. They plan cultural research, customize data collection for specific regions, collect and observe information, and prepare reports that can be used for a variety of purposes. In the end, they help us learn more about the human race, a topic that is both interesting and important.

A master’s degree is often enough for this career, but with advanced education you can enjoy a PhD salary as well as the benefits of this fulfilling and fascinating career.

Popular Pick: from Union Institute University

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