Highest Paying Jobs That Earn $400K A Year And How To Get Them

Getting a job that pays $400,000 or more per year is no easy feat. Only a small percentage of the population ever reaches that high income threshold. However, there are certain careers that more commonly pay salaries in the $400k+ range.

If you have the right skills, experience, education and determination, these lucrative jobs could be within your reach.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore some of the highest paying jobs with $400k+ salaries and provide tips on how to pursue these rewarding and competitive careers.

Medical Specialties

When it comes to the highest paying jobs that earn $400k a year, medical specialties are at the top of the list. These highly skilled professionals dedicate years to education and training to reach their level of expertise.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the medical specialties that offer lucrative salaries:


Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in administering anesthesia to patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They play a crucial role in ensuring patients are comfortable and pain-free during operations.

Anesthesiologists earn an average salary of around $400k a year, making it one of the highest paying medical specialties. Their expertise and ability to carefully monitor patients’ vital signs are in high demand.


Surgeons are highly skilled medical professionals who perform surgical procedures to treat various conditions and diseases. With extensive knowledge and precision, surgeons operate on patients to repair injuries, remove tumors, and improve overall health.

Surgeons earn a median salary of over $400k a year, reflecting the complexity and importance of their work. It’s worth mentioning that surgical subspecialties like neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery often have even higher earning potential.


Orthodontists are dental specialists who focus on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. They use braces, aligners, and other orthodontic devices to improve their patients’ oral health and create beautiful smiles.

Orthodontists typically earn well over $400k a year, thanks to the specialized nature of their work and the high demand for orthodontic treatments.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They provide therapy, prescribe medications, and work closely with patients to improve their mental well-being.

With the growing awareness of mental health issues, psychiatrists are in high demand, and their services come with a substantial salary. The average annual salary for psychiatrists is around $400k, making it a financially rewarding medical specialty.

It’s important to note that becoming a medical specialist in any of these fields requires a significant amount of education and training. Candidates must complete medical school, residency programs, and often pursue additional fellowship training in their chosen specialty.

The dedication and commitment required are well worth it for those who aspire to have a rewarding and high-paying career in the medical field.

For more information on medical specialties and their earning potential, you can visit authoritative websites such as Medscape or Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Finance Careers

When it comes to high-paying jobs, the finance industry offers a plethora of opportunities. If you’re looking to earn a substantial income, here are some finance careers that could potentially earn you $400k a year.

Hedge Fund Manager

Becoming a hedge fund manager is one of the most lucrative finance careers. These professionals are responsible for managing large investment portfolios for wealthy clients. With their expertise in analyzing market trends and making informed investment decisions, hedge fund managers have the potential to earn substantial bonuses and performance fees.

According to Investopedia, some top hedge fund managers have earned over $1 billion in a single year.

Investment Banker

Investment banking is another finance career that can lead to significant earnings. Investment bankers help companies raise capital, provide financial advice, and facilitate mergers and acquisitions. These professionals are known for their long working hours and high-pressure environments, but the financial rewards can be substantial.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for investment bankers was $81,590 in 2020, with top earners making well into the six-figure range.

Private Equity Associate

Private equity associates work for private equity firms, which invest in private companies and help them grow. These professionals conduct due diligence, analyze investment opportunities, and work closely with portfolio companies.

While the salaries of private equity associates can vary depending on the firm and location, it is not uncommon for experienced associates to earn well over $400,000 a year. According to a survey by Wall Street Oasis, the average base salary for a private equity associate is around $150,000, with bonuses and carry (a share of the firm’s profits) making up a significant portion of their total compensation.

Venture Capitalist

Venture capitalists invest in early-stage companies with high growth potential. They provide not only capital but also strategic guidance to help these startups succeed. Venture capitalists can earn substantial returns on their investments if the companies they back become successful.

While the earnings of venture capitalists can vary widely depending on their investment track record, successful venture capitalists can earn well over $400,000 a year. According to a report by the National Venture Capital Association, venture capital professionals earned an average base salary of $170,000 in 2020, with bonuses and carried interest accounting for a significant portion of their total compensation.

While these finance careers have the potential for high earnings, it’s important to note that they often require advanced degrees, extensive experience, and a strong track record in the industry. Additionally, the finance industry is known for its competitiveness and demanding work culture.

However, for those willing to put in the effort and excel in their field, these finance careers can lead to a highly rewarding financial future.

Business Executives

Chief Executive Officer

The role of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is one of the highest-paying positions in the business world. CEOs are responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations of a company, and ensuring its long-term success.

They have a significant impact on the organization’s strategy, growth, and profitability. According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a CEO is around $400,000, although it can vary greatly depending on the industry, company size, and location.

Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is another high-paying position in the business sector. COOs are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company and ensuring that business processes are efficient and effective.

They work closely with the CEO and other senior executives to develop and implement strategies that drive growth and profitability. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a COO is approximately $350,000.

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a key executive responsible for managing the financial operations of a company. They oversee financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and analysis, as well as risk management and investor relations.

CFOs play a critical role in strategic decision-making and ensuring the financial health of the organization. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for a CFO is around $380,000.

Chief Technology Officer

The role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) has become increasingly important in today’s technology-driven world. CTOs are responsible for developing and implementing a company’s technology strategy, managing its technological infrastructure, and driving innovation.

They work closely with other executives to ensure that technology aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. According to Forbes, the average annual salary for a CTO is approximately $400,000.

Legal Careers

When it comes to high-paying jobs, legal careers often top the list. These professions require extensive education, experience, and expertise in the field of law. Here are some of the highest paying legal careers that can earn you a staggering $400k a year.

Law Firm Partner

Becoming a law firm partner is a dream for many aspiring lawyers. It is a position of the highest prestige and financial reward. Law firm partners are the owners of the firm and typically have a significant stake in its profits.

They often earn substantial bonuses and have a say in important decisions. To become a law firm partner, one must demonstrate exceptional legal skills, a strong client base, and a track record of success.

According to a survey conducted by American Lawyer, the average annual compensation for law firm partners in top-tier firms can exceed $400k, with some partners earning several million dollars per year.

However, it is important to note that reaching the partner level requires years of hard work, dedication, and building a solid reputation in the legal industry.

Patent Attorney

Another highly lucrative legal career is that of a patent attorney. Patent attorneys specialize in intellectual property law and help clients protect their inventions and innovations by obtaining patents.

Due to the complex nature of patent law, these attorneys are in high demand and command impressive salaries.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for patent attorneys is around $180,000, with top earners making well over $400k per year. To become a patent attorney, one must have a technical background in a specific field, such as engineering or computer science, in addition to completing law school and passing the patent bar exam.

Corporate Counsel

Working as a corporate counsel for a large company can also be a highly lucrative legal career. Corporate counsels provide legal advice and guidance to companies on various matters, such as contracts, regulatory compliance, and intellectual property issues.

They play a crucial role in ensuring that the company operates within the boundaries of the law.

According to a survey by National Association for Law Placement, the median base salary for corporate counsels in the United States is around $185,000 per year, with top earners making well over $400k.

However, it is important to note that these figures can vary depending on factors such as the size and industry of the company.

Sports & Entertainment

Professional Athlete

Becoming a professional athlete is a dream for many sports enthusiasts. Not only do professional athletes get to play the sport they love, but they also have the potential to earn a significant income.

The highest-paid athletes in the world can earn millions of dollars each year through salaries, bonuses, endorsements, and sponsorships. For example, according to Forbes, the top earner in 2021 was Conor McGregor, an Irish mixed martial artist, who earned a whopping $180 million.

However, it’s important to note that becoming a professional athlete requires talent, dedication, and years of training.

A-List Actor

Being an A-list actor is another career path that can lead to earning a substantial income. A-list actors have the opportunity to star in blockbuster movies, television shows, and even theater productions.

They often receive high salaries for their work, with some earning millions of dollars per film. Additionally, successful actors may also receive a percentage of the film’s profits or residuals from syndication and DVD sales.

For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a well-known actor, made $89.4 million in 2019, according to Forbes. However, breaking into the acting industry can be challenging, and it requires talent, persistence, and networking to become successful.

Chart-Topping Musician

Becoming a chart-topping musician is a dream for many aspiring artists. Musicians who achieve success can earn a substantial income through album sales, streaming royalties, concert tours, merchandise sales, and endorsements.

The highest-earning musicians often have a strong fan base and consistently release hit songs. For example, according to Billboard, Taylor Swift was the top-earning musician in 2020, with an estimated income of $23.8 million.

However, breaking into the music industry and achieving chart-topping success is not easy. It requires talent, hard work, and a bit of luck to stand out in the highly competitive music industry.

While these careers offer the potential for high earnings, it’s important to note that not everyone in these industries reaches the same level of success. Many factors contribute to an individual’s earning potential, including talent, experience, market demand, and industry trends.

Additionally, pursuing a career in sports or entertainment requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to continuously improve and adapt. So, if you have a passion for sports or entertainment and are willing to put in the effort, these careers could potentially lead to a lucrative income.


While high-paying jobs over $400k exist in a variety of fields, they all require exceptional talent, skills, experience and dedication. By obtaining advanced education, developing specialized expertise, taking smart career risks and building strong professional networks, it’s possible to climb your way into one of these lucrative roles.

While the path is challenging, the financial and personal rewards of these careers make them well worth pursuing.

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