The 30 highest-paying jobs in California

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  • California has an economy bigger than that of most countries.
  • Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found the 30 occupations with the highest average salaries in the Golden State.

California is one of the largest economies in the world, with a gross domestic product bigger than that of most countries. The home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood has a booming job market to match.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics program, we found the 30 jobs with the highest average annual salaries in California as of May 2017, the most recently available data, among the 762 detailed occupational categories that BLS tracks for the state.

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Similarly to our recently published list of the highest-paying jobs in the US, medical occupations loom large. Eight of the top 10 highest-paying jobs in the state are various medical and dental specializations.

Here's the full list, along with the jobs' average annual salaries and the number of people employed in each one. Where available, we also include a brief description of what workers in the occupation do, from the Department of Labor's O*NET Online occupational database.

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30. Postsecondary economics teachers

30. Postsecondary economics teachers

Average annual salary: $133,850

Number of people employed in California: 710

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in economics.

29. Computer hardware engineers

29. Computer hardware engineers

Average annual salary: $136,040

Number of people employed in California: 22,120

What they do, according to O*NET: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

28. General and operations managers

28. General and operations managers

Average annual salary: $136,080

Number of people employed in California: 225,210

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of public or private sector organizations.

27. Pharmacists

27. Pharmacists

Average annual salary: $136,730

Number of people employed in California: 29,860

What they do, according to O*NET: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use.

26. Managers, all other

26. Managers, all other

Average annual salary: $138,240

Number of people employed in California: 53,390

What they do, according to O*NET: This is a catchall for various types of managers not covered in another occupational group. Some examples include investment fund managers, supply chain managers, and security managers.

25. Human resources managers

25. Human resources managers

Average annual salary: $139,860

Number of people employed in California: 17,160

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate human resources activities and staff of an organization.

24. Public relations and fundraising managers

24. Public relations and fundraising managers

Average annual salary: $140,100

Number of people employed in California: 7,620

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities designed to create or maintain a favorable public image, raise issue awareness, or raise funds for their organization or client.

23. Personal financial advisors

23. Personal financial advisors

Average annual salary: $141,100

Number of people employed in California: 24,790

What they do, according to O*NET: Advise clients on financial plans using knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate.

22. Natural sciences managers

22. Natural sciences managers

Average annual salary: $153,330

Number of people employed in California: 7,450

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and statistics, and carry out research and development in these fields.

21. Postsecondary health specialties teachers

21. Postsecondary health specialties teachers

Average annual salary: $153,410

Number of people employed in California: 13,690

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in health specialties, in fields such as dentistry, laboratory technology, medicine, pharmacy, public health, therapy, and veterinary medicine.

20. Financial managers

20. Financial managers

Average annual salary: $154,310

Number of people employed in California: 72,100

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office, or department of an establishment.

19. Dentists

19. Dentists

Average annual salary: $157,890

Number of people employed in California: 17,130

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums.

18. Marketing managers

18. Marketing managers

Average annual salary: $164,410

Number of people employed in California: 33,380

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors, and identify potential customers.

17. Lawyers

17. Lawyers

Average annual salary: $168,200

Number of people employed in California: 79,980

What they do, according to O*NET: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions.

16. Architectural and engineering managers

16. Architectural and engineering managers

Average annual salary: $169,100

Number of people employed in California: 28,040

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering, or carry out research and development in these fields.

15. Computer and information systems managers

15. Computer and information systems managers

Average annual salary: $174,790

Number of people employed in California: 53,270

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.

14. Pediatricians

14. Pediatricians

Average annual salary: $182,790

Number of people employed in California: 3,460

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent children's diseases and injuries.

13. Family and general practitioners

13. Family and general practitioners

Average annual salary: $196,180

Number of people employed in California: 13,950

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population.

12. Internists

12. Internists

Average annual salary: $199,120

Number of people employed in California: 3,400

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems.

11. Dentists, all other specialists

11. Dentists, all other specialists

Average annual salary: $205,630

Number of people employed in California: 420

What they do, according to O*NET: This is a catchall category for dentists not listed in some other occupational group.

10. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

10. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

Average annual salary: $207,080

Number of people employed in California: 9,000

What they do, according to O*NET: Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo.

9. Physicians and surgeons, all other

9. Physicians and surgeons, all other

Average annual salary: $214,730

Number of people employed in California: 29,890

What they do, according to O*NET: This is a catchall category for specialized doctors not listed in some other occupational group. Some specialties include dermatologists, hospitalists, ophthalmologists, and urologists.

8. Orthodontists

8. Orthodontists

Average annual salary: $216,590

Number of people employed in California: 500

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies.

7. Nurse anesthetists

7. Nurse anesthetists

Average annual salary: $217,230

Number of people employed in California: 1,460

What they do, according to O*NET: Administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia.

6. Obstetricians and gynecologists

6. Obstetricians and gynecologists

Average annual salary: $221,120

Number of people employed in California: 2,030

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system.

5. Chief executives

5. Chief executives

Average annual salary: $222,950

Number of people employed in California: 30,430

What they do, according to O*NET: Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body.

4. Surgeons

4. Surgeons

Average annual salary: $229,340

Number of people employed in California: 4,240

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods.

3. Psychiatrists

3. Psychiatrists

Average annual salary: $259,570

Number of people employed in California: 3,040

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent disorders of the mind.

2. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

2. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons

Average annual salary: $262,050

Number of people employed in California: 610

What they do, according to O*NET: Perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries, or defects.

1. Anesthesiologists

1. Anesthesiologists

Average annual salary: $283,860

Number of people employed in California: 3,080

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery or other medical procedures.

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