The industry we choose can make a huge difference in our quality of life. The top earners in the nation make millions while blue-collar workers strive to earn minimum wage. The top jobs aren’t easy to get, but they make life a lot easier once you have them.

Top 10 Paid jobs America

The best industries in which to work in the U.S., in terms of average salary, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. CEO — $189,660 — It might be a little surprising, but the average CEO earns barely more than the average healthcare professional. The top CEOs at banks and other large organizations earn millions of dollars per year, but the leaders of smaller businesses don’t usually make top dollar.

2. Physician/Surgeon — $187,750 — The average healthcare professional makes nearly $200,000 per year. The top jobs list is dominated by particular jobs within the medical field. anesthesiologists and oral surgeons earn the most among doctors, but even lower-level medical professions such as pediatrician or physician bring in more than $100,000 per year.

3. Lawyer — $136,160 — Going to law school won’t earn you as much money as making it into medical school, but it isn’t a bad career path to choose (if you like money, that is). Lawyers make nearly $100,000 per year, which should be more than enough to offset all those extra student loans.

4. Airline Pilot — $132,690 — Flying a commercial jet can be stressful and hard for someone trying to balance family life and professional life, but it pays well. Airline pilots reel in an average of more than $100,000, despite the struggles of the airline industry.

5. Computer and Research Scientists — $116,120 — The internet age has made computer scientists some of the richest professionals around. Software architects, who are responsible for building computer programs and applications, earn more than lawyers.

6. Finance Officer — $110,000 —Running the financial side of a business is a lucrative job. The top financial officers bring in huge salaries, with the average earning just more than $100K per year.

7. Economist — $108,950 — Economists know a lot about money, which makes sense, because they make an awful lot of it. The average economist makes more than $100,000 per year.

8. Computer Hardware Engineer — $99,330 — Computer hardware engineers don’t make quite as much as computer scientists, but earning nearly $100K per year to do a job that didn’t exist 50 years ago isn’t bad.

9. Electrical Engineer — $98,710 — Electrical engineers are responsible for assembling the wiring and circuitry that powers the world around us. And boy, do they make a fortune for it.

10. Architect — $97,010 — The average non-Naval or non-landscaping architect makes nearly $100,000 per year. Architecture is a tough degree to earn in college and relies heavily on both complex mathematics and creativity.

America’s Richest States

America’s wealth isn’t spread equally across its population or its geography. It’s interesting to look at the U.S. Census’ top 10 richest states, in terms of 2010 average household income.

1. New Hampshire — $66,654

2. Connecticut — $65,213

3. Maryland — $65,183

4. New Jersey — $64,143

5. Alaska — $63,505

6. Virginia — $61,151

7. Hawaii — $61,055

8. Massachusetts — $59,981

9. Colorado — $59,964

10. Washington — $58,964

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