15 Most Satisfying Jobs That Also Pay Well

Jobs With the Highest Satisfaction

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Jobs With the Highest Satisfaction

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 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.

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
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1. Software Developer

Median Salary: $120,730

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

2. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $120,680

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.

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

3. Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $101,340

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

4. Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $121,530

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.”

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

5. Information Security Analyst

Median Salary: $102,600

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.

Senior woman receives physical therapy for arm injury
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6. Physical Therapist

Median Salary: $95,620

Education Required: Doctorate in physical therapy degree, plus a residency

Why It's Satisfying: Not only do physical therapists make good money, but they also get satisfaction from helping their patients recover. However, the training is tough, requiring a bachelor's degree and a doctorate.

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: $131,710

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.

Shot of two technicians working together in a server room

8. IT Manager

Median Salary: $159,010

Education Required: Bachelor's degree

Why It's Satisfying: Information technology managers supervise a company's short- and long-term technology goals, combining leadership skills with technical knowledge. Upward mobility for the position is high and the unemployment rate is low, so tech-savvy workers who also enjoy management will likely find the role stable and satisfying.

Developing programmer Team Development Website design and coding technologies working in software company office

9. Web Developer

Median Salary: $77,030

Education Required: A bachelor's degree helps, though it's not required

Why It's Satisfying: Since web development requires a high degree of creativity — these professionals are designing websites and and web applications — it will be appealing to workers who want to build something themselves. That said, the position varies depending on the specialty, which ranges from front-end to back-end development. Another plus to web dev jobs is that they care more about your portfolio than your education, meaning that computer whiz's can make it in the industry with just a high school diploma.

Shot of a young dentist getting ready to conduct a procedure on his patient

10. Dentist

Median Salary: $160,370

Education Required: Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree

Why It's Satisfying: Like many jobs on this list, dentists better their patients' lives by offering their expertise. What you might not realize, however, is that becoming a dentist requires a lot more than just excellent grades and a high Dental Admission Test score. Empathy and communication skills are also critical, as this is a highly social job that requires good bedside manner. But if you've got those skills, you'll be rewarded with a high-paying job with an above average work-life balance.

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

11. 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. You will probably have to work long, stressful hours, as it's common to bill 66 hours per week at larger firms.

Vet and Labrador retriever

12. Veterinarian

Median Salary: $100,370

Education Required: Doctor of veterinary medicine degree

Why It's Satisfying: It's easy to see why being a vet is satisfying. Whether it's a routine visit for someone's pup or something more serious, vets help keep people's pets healthy — and they make good money at the same time. But aspiring vets should be prepared for a lot of school, as a graduate veterinary degree takes four years to complete.

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

13. 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.”

Dentist at work

14. Orthodontist

Median Salary: $208,000

Education Required: Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree, plus orthodontic residency

Why It's Satisfying: Orthodontics offers a unique blend of technical skill and creativity, allowing practitioners to transform patients' smiles and improve oral health. The field is constantly evolving with new technologies and techniques, providing continuous learning opportunities. Additionally, the personal interaction with patients and the visible, positive impact on their lives bring a high level of job satisfaction and fulfillment. And then there's the impressive median salary, which makes this tied for the highest-paying job on our list

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

15. Market Research Analyst

Median Salary: $63,920

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.