The Most Satisfying Jobs That Also Pay Well

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Love Your Job

Feeling burned out, underpaid, and underappreciated at a current job? It’s time to look for one that provides more satisfaction. Pay can be a big part of that, so after looking at U.S. News & World Report’s “100 Best Jobs,” Cheapism eliminated all lower earners and focused on the top 15 occupations in this list of satisfying jobs that also pay well. The professionals we spoke with across various professions also often express love for jobs that allow them to form relationships with people and provide a sense they are helping, leaving patients, customers, or clients in a better position than when they arrived. Is there a job we missed? Tell us in the comments.

Related: Jobs With Flexible Hours and Great Hourly Rates

Female Information Security Analyst Working at a Desktop Computer with Code on Screen at a White Desk

1. Information Security Analyst

Median Salary: $103,590

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree 

Why It's Satisfying: As the world becomes increasingly digital, the role of information security analysts becomes more important. These professionals know each day they go to work that they are helping companies run smoothly while protecting sensitive and important data. 

Related: Scary Cyberattacks that Hacked Millions of Users

Female Nurse Practitioner Smiling While on Tablet with Female Patient During a Medical Appointment While at a Desk

2. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $111,680

Education Required: At least a master’s degree 

Why It's Satisfying: Nurse practitioners are able to provide direct care to help patients stay healthy physically and mentally, but with less educational requirements than a physician — which can mean independence and financial stability with less school and debt.

Related: We Asked Nurses About Their Favorite Walking Shoes

Smiling Female Physician Assistant Holding Tablet While Listening to Cheerful Male Doctor

3. Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $115,390

Education Required: Master’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: “I am able to see my own patients and formulate my own plan,” says Glencoe physician assistant Abby Bennett. She also enjoys the sense of teamwork that can come with helping patients, and that the career “provides a comfortable income with fewer years of schooling than a medical doctor.” 

Related: Jobs That'll Soon Be Lost to Automation

Male Hospital Medical and Health Services Manager Holding Papers and Talking While Walking with Both a Female and a Male Doctor

4. Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $104,280

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: Shann Hastings, a public health adviser for the federal government, enjoys being able to support communities working to end opioid overdoses and underage drinking. “The individuals who work for the organizations that receive grant funds are extremely dedicated to positively changing their communities, and it’s rewarding to be part of their efforts,” Hastings says.

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Focus on Hands of Two Male Software Developers Working at a Desk with a Desktop Computer and a Laptop with Sheets of Code and Code on the Screens
Pichsakul Promrungsee/istockphoto

5. Software Developer

Median Salary: $110,140

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree for most jobs; some are available with as little as nine to 12 months of training

Why It's Satisfying: Any software developer gets to face and overcome daily challenges and puzzles, often with flexible hours and the ability to work remotely. For software engineer Sherri Byrne-Haber in Cupertino, California, there are even more puzzles to solve, since she works in the field of accessibility, making software to help people with disabilities. “There are not many people who can wake up in the morning looking forward to their tech job and say to themselves, ‘Time to improve someone's life again today.’ Accessibility engineers can,” she says.

Female Data Scientist Working at a White Desk with a Desktop Computer, a Laptop, and a Tablet in a Home Office

6. Data Scientist

Median Salary: $98,230

Education Required: At least a bachelor’s degree; some jobs may require a master’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: William Cannon, a data scientist and the CEO of Signaturely, a digital signature business in Walnut, California, loves his profession for its challenges — and the feeling when a challenge is met. “Data presents real logical problems, as well as revolutionary solutions, once a problem is cracked,” Cannon says.

Focus on Male and Female Financial Managers' Arms and Hands at a Desk with a Laptop, Female Using Calculator and Male Has a Clipboard

7. Financial Manager

Median Salary: $134,180

Education Required: At least a bachelor’s degree in the field

Why It's Satisfying: Flexible working hours are the best thing about being a financial manager, says David Adler of Net Influencer. “I don't have to work fixed schedules and can see clients whenever I want,” he says, though he also enjoys establishing relationships with his clients and helping them meet their goals.

Top View Focus on Hands of Female Statistician Wooden Desk with Laptop and Papers with Graphs

8. Statistician

Median Salary: $92,270

Education Required: Master’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: Statisticians have the freedom to work in many fields, meaning they can find a job that gives them personal satisfaction while analyzing data to solve real-world problems. There’s also plenty of upward mobility, according to people in the field.

Smiling Middle-Aged Couple with a Male Lawyer at a Desk with a Laptop and Papers in a Private Meeting Room

9. Lawyer

Median Salary: $126,930

Education Required: Juris Doctor degree, or J.D.

Why It's Satisfying: Most lawyers are in private practice or work in corporate legal offices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, but some of that is in practice of defending people who truly need help. Plenty more work for nonprofits or for government, where they might prosecute criminals, maintain the rule of law, or keep the gears of society working.

Female Speech-Language Pathologist Working with a Male Preschooler While Holding Letter 'S' and Pointing to Her Mouth While Making 'S' Sound

10. Speech-Language Pathologist

Median Salary: $80,480

Education Required: Master’s degree followed by a nine-month, supervised clinical fellowship for certification

Why It's Satisfying: Speech-language pathologists get to spend every day helping kids learn to communicate, read, and write, and can work in a variety of settings. Professionals in the field delight in the meaningful work of helping people learn to communicate or eat and drink safely after a stroke or injury.

Male Physician Sitting and Talking with a Senior Female Patient in a Modern Exam Room with a Trendy Desk and Decor

11. Physician

Median Salary: $208,000

Education Required: Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree demanding four years of medical school followed by a three- to eight-year residency, depending on specialization

Why It's Satisfying: “Getting to be there for people through the best and worst times of their lives is one of the most amazing things about being a family practice doctor,” says Dr. Kristen Budahn, of Glencoe Regional Health in Minnesota. “It is such a privilege that people let you into the most intimate moments, from delivering a baby to sitting with a family as their loved one passes away and everything in between.”

Female Registered Nurse Taking Blood Pressure with Male Patient While Both Sitting on a Couch

12. Registered Nurse

Median Salary: $75,330

Education Required: An associate degree is enough to start nursing; advanced positions require a master’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: Though the Covid pandemic strained the nation's health providers to a breaking point, complicated by patients who tried to turn doctors and nurses into bad guys for diagnosing coronavirus illness or suggesting masks and vaccines, most registered nurses take pleasure from the ability to make differences in people’s lives. “It’s a profession that never stops giving,” one professional told Daily Nurse in 2016. “I feel so good inside when I see improvement in my patients and also when giving emotional support by holding hands of family members who have just experienced tragedy. Actually, it gives me inner peace that I was able to help somebody.”

Smiling Male Information Technology Manager Typing on Laptop While at a Desk in a Conference Room

13. Information Technology Manager

Median Salary: $151,150

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: Even jobs that aren’t considered “tech” jobs rely on technology every day to function; IT managers work behind the scenes to keep it all running smoothly by troubleshooting, determining needs, and providing upgrades. They get the satisfaction of being the backbone to a successful and smooth-running organization.

Female Market Research Analyst Giving a Presentation While Standing with a Whiteboard to Her Team While in a Conference Room

14. Market Research Analyst

Median Salary: $65,810

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree at the minimum; some very technical roles may demand a master's degree

Why It's Satisfying: The job calls for understanding data and statistics and satisfies the itch of people who are curious and enjoy digging into details while dealing with people. There's also a need for presenting that data clearly, making for a profession that combines different elements that help keep it from becoming boring.

Male Operations Research Analyst Working at a Desk with Numerous Papers and a Laptop, All with Graphs

15. Operations Research Analyst

Median Salary: $86,200

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Why It's Satisfying: These professionals help companies run smoothly and more efficiently. Especially in hard times, the money saved through their analysis could mean the difference between pay cuts or job losses for other employees — or even a company bankruptcy. Analysts can work within many industries, from health care to commercial shipping.