Someone I once knew was getting out of the military and needed a job. Instead of asking himself what his soul calling was or where his passions lay, he made a practical decision. He did a search for top-paying jobs in the U.S. that were also in demand in the current economy.

Then he went to nursing school.

In just under two years, he became an orthopedic surgical nurse, and now earns a very nice six-figure income. Plus, he takes overtime shifts and helps sell medical equipment on the side to boost his income even more.

This past spring, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published its latest list of National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, based on data from 2017.

There's one inescapable conclusion that comes from examining the list: the medical industry absolutely dominates.

Not only is healthcare all over the list of highest-paying jobs in the U.S., but according to the BLS, the sector's future is bright. Employment in the field of healthcare is projected to grow by 2.4M jobs from 2016 to 2020, or nearly 20 percent. According to the agency, "This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services."

There are lots of ways to determine what to do with your professional life, and a lot of factors to consider. Whether you're looking to go in a new direction or just reevaluate what your financial trajectory is, it's good to know the reality of the financial situation when it comes to employment. 

And remember that while you may not want to go back to medical school, a lot of nursing jobs are in high demand all over the country--and demand always means a boost in wages. Something to keep in mind. 

Here's the full list:

1. Anesthesiologists
Mean annual wage: $265,990

2. Surgeons  
Mean annual wage: $251,890

3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Mean annual wage: $242,740

4. Ob/Gyn Physician
Mean annual wage: $235,240

5. Orthodontists
Mean annual wage: $229,380

6. Psychiatrists
Mean annual wage: $216,090

7. Physicians and Surgeons
Mean annual wage: $214,700

8. Family and General Practitioners
Mean annual wage: $208,560

9. Internists, General
Mean annual wage: $198,370

10. Prosthodontists​
Mean annual wage: $196,960

11. Chief Executives (CEOs)
Mean annual wage: $196,960

12. Pediatricians, General
Mean annual wage: $187,540

13. Dentists
Mean annual wage: $187,540

14. Nurse Anesthetists
Mean annual wage: $169,450

15. Airline Pilots, Co-Pilots, and Flight Engineers
Mean annual wage: $161,280

16. Petroleum Engineers
Mean annual wage: $154,780

17. Computer and Information Systems Managers
Mean annual wage: $149,730

18. Podiatrists
Mean annual wage: $148,470

19. Architectural and Engineering Managers
Mean annual wage: $146,290

20. Marketing Managers
Mean annual wage: $145,620

21. Financial Managers
Mean annual wage: $146,290

22. Lawyers
Mean annual wage: $141,890

23. Sales Managers
Mean annual wage: $140,600

24. Natural Sciences Managers
Mean annual wage: $136,150

25. Compensation and Benefits Managers
Mean annual wage: $130,010