Rewarding Careers that Pay Well

Jan 18, 2020

There exist a number of jobs that offer both a high salary and a high level of meaning, which could ultimately lead to very high job satisfaction. We will look at a number of these rewarding and high-paying careers below.

Career Options for Rewarding Jobs That Pay Well

Finding a job or career path that leads to high pay may be a goal of many individuals. However, others may be more interested in finding a rewarding career, one that allows them to have some sort of positive impact on their community, both local and global. Luckily, there are a number of career paths that are both rewarding and offer salaries above the national median of $38,640. Many of these jobs exist in the medical field, education, or involve providing services to other people. We will discuss five different careers below that are meaningful and high-paying.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Neurosurgeon $403,263 (2019)** 1% (for all surgeons)
Anesthesiologist $273,000 4%
Chief Executive $189,600 -5%
Education Administrator $95,310 7%
Medical and Health Services Manager $96,540 18%
Kindergarten Teacher $55,470 4%
Clergy $48,990 4-6%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

Career Information for Jobs that Are Rewarding and Pay Well


Neurosurgeons are highly specialized surgeons who perform surgeries and procedures on the brain, spine, and other parts of the neural system. This may involve removing tumors that are located on the brain or spine, which requires an extremely high level of knowledge and training. According to PayScale, 96% of all surgeons believe that their career is meaningful, as the procedures they perform are usually life-saving. These professionals also made a median salary of $403,263 in 2019. To become a neurosurgeon, you will need to attend 4 years of medical school after getting a bachelor's degree. You will then need to complete a 7-year residency program in neurosurgery.


Anesthesiologists are physicians who work with surgeons and other doctors before a patient goes into surgery. They provide patients with drugs, based on the patient's height and weight and the type and length of surgery, in order to eliminate pain for the patient during the procedure. They also monitor the patient's vital signs during surgery. PayScale found that 91% of anesthesiologists considered their job to be meaningful, and they made a median salary of $273,000 in 2019. To become an anesthesiologist, you will need to attend a 4-year medical school following your bachelor's degree and then complete a 4-year anesthesiology residency program.

Chief Executive

Chief executives are the top executives of a company or organization. They have a number of different responsibilities, including overseeing the overall management of the company, creating company-wide policies, and setting short- and long-term goals. Generally, these professionals report to the company's board of directors. 74% percent of chief executives thought their job was meaningful, according to PayScale. This may be because many of these companies provide important services to people. Chief executives made a median salary of $189,600 in 2018. To become a chief executive, you will generally need at least a bachelor's degree, though many have a master's degree, along with many years of work experience.

Education Administrator

An education administrator at the elementary or secondary school level is responsible for managing and coordinating all the administrative aspects of a school. This includes managing staff, creating yearly calendars, staying on budget, and setting goals for your school. PayScale found that 95% of these professionals thought their job was meaningful, possibly because the job involves the welfare of children and adolescents. These professionals also made a median salary of $94,340 in 2018. To become an education administrator, you will generally need a master's degree in the education field.

Medical and Health Service Manager

Medical and health services managers are the administrators in charge of managing hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Some of their duties may include supervising and training staff, managing finances and creating budgets, working with other administrators in the hospital, and setting goals. PayScale found that 84% of these professionals thought their job was meaningful, as the people in these jobs play a direct role in making sure hospitals run smoothly and are able to provide the highest care for patients. These managers made a median salary of $99,730 in 2018. To become a medical and health service manager, you will need a bachelor's or master's degree in a field like health administration.

Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers work with young students and are responsible for introducing them to basic academic topics to create a strong foundation for their education. Beyond that, they also instruct students in how to behave during school and help them learn how to interact with their classmates. Many of these students may have never spent time away from their parents before, so kindergarten teachers may often develop especially nurturing relationships with their students. PayScale found that 91% of kindergarten teachers thought their job was highly meaningful and they earn almost $20,000 annually than the average job. To become a kindergarten teacher, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree in elementary education and obtain a teaching license in the state where you want to work.


A clergy person is an individual who leads worship services as well as other meetings in accordance with a particular faith group. This includes pastors, priests, and ministers, among others. Clergy people often work closely and develop relationships with the people with the people who attend their worship services and may provide them with additional help or guidance as needed. PayScale found that 98% of individuals working in this profession thought this job was highly meaningful. Salaries can vary, but the median salary for a clergy member in 2018 was $48,990, still above the national median.

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