How do you define "greatness" when it comes to career choices? For many, a high rate of pay puts a job right up there with the greats. Others seek out opportunities to enrich their lives through sheer love of what they do or feel-good benefits.
However, the jobs that bring people the most self-fulfillment and joy--clergy, marriage therapist, teaching or community service workers, for example--are often among the lowest paid.
Is it possible to have a career with feel-good benefits and make great money doing it?
It doesn't happen very often, but some are fortunate enough to find great pay and feel-good benefits in the same position. This is the career version of the holy grail--where you love what you do, feel good about it when you get home and make a decent living (we're talking the high range of five figures to mid-six figures).
Compensation tracking site PayScale recently evaluated over 450 different positions and compared both their average level of compensation and the perceived value as far as the extent to which doing the job makes the world a better place.
Here are the 10 jobs they identified as the best paying, feel-good careers:
- Surgeon: The vast majority of surgeons feel that their work is valuable (94%) and with a median pay of $299,600, they're enjoying a good quality of life outside the workplace, too.
- Anesthesiologist: Making only slightly less than surgeons with an average salary of $291,300, 91% of anesthesiologists believe theirs is a meaningful profession.
- Obstetrician & Gynecologist: 81% of OB-GYNs find their work meaningful and with an average salary of $203,100, are still among the highest paid professionals in the survey.
- Internist: Specialists in internal medicine often focus on disease prevention and treatment, a job 79% of them feel is meaningful and furthers greater good. They make an average salary of $192,900.
- Psychiatrist: 89% of psychiatrists find their work diagnosing and treating mental illness meaningful. They make $192,800 on average.
- Family & General Practitioner: GPs are a satisfied lot--86% of them find their work meaningful. With a median pay of $164,300, their compensation is greater than in most other professions--certainly more than many other feel-good jobs!
- Pediatrician: It's not surprising that 85% of pediatricians find their work meaningful--they spend their days helping and treating children. At a salary of $147,700, the average pediatrician must be feeling pretty great about their take-home pay, as well.
- Dentist: Like them or not, 86% of dentists believe they're doing meaningful work. The average dentist is earning $130,000 a year, making this career choice one of the more personally and financially rewarding!
- Chief Executive: You've probably heard of CEOs banking millions or even tens of millions per year. It might surprise you then to know that the average Chief Executive makes $124,600 per year. Almost three-quarters (74%) find their work meaningful.
- Pharmacist: 76% of pharmacists find their work meaningful, rounding out the top ten jobs with great pay and feel-good benefits as identified by PayScale. Pharmacists make an average salary of $113,200.
There's a definite trend there, in case you missed it: all but one of the top 10 most rewarding and lucrative professions are in healthcare!
That's not actually all that surprising, considering the social importance of the work they do--preventing illness, curing disease and saving lives.
Move beyond the top ten and you'll find some interesting and surprising professions on the list. Physicists make an average of $101,500 and 81% find their work meaningful. Seventy-nine percent of nuclear engineers find their work meaningful and the average salary is $85,000. Education administrators place great importance on their work--93% believe their job is meaningful. They make $75,900, on average.
Other personally and financially rewarding careers included Oil & Gas Operators, Veterinarians, Detectives and Physical Therapists.
Money isn't everything, it's true--but if you can feel great about what you do and bring home some serious bacon, why not?