Top 45 Highest Paying Jobs in California

This blog post provides information about the highest paying jobs in California, for individuals who would like to go into a highly lucrative field, this blog will help you know the discipline you should study for.

California is a state in the Western United States and has some of the top places in the country such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and other top locations in the US. It is also one of the largest states in the US, ranking third on the list, it is densely populated, the standard of living is high, and has some of the best infrastructures in the world with a lot of high-rise infrastructures.

The economy of California is even bigger than that of most countries and one of the largest economies in the world and has a great number of jobs. Almost, if not all, kinds of “white collar” jobs can be found here and comes with a very high salary, if not the highest in the world.

In this article, I have researched and compiled the list of the highest paying jobs in California, that is, they pay the highest average annual salaries in California but before going into that, take a quick look at the FAQs below:


What jobs are in high demand in California?

The jobs that are in high demand in California are truck drivers, sales jobs, registered nurses, manufacturing jobs, grocery jobs (including delivery), engineers, and technicians. Also, jobs in the medical field are constantly in high demand.

Can foreigners work in California?

If you’re wondering if as a foreigner you can work in California, yes, you can but there are some things that you must do. If you are from another country and want to legally enter and work in California you firstly need to obtain a work visa. Also, an organization or employer who wants to hire a foreigner must first file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, if approved, the foreign resident can then go on to apply for a work visa.

What are the requirements to work in California?

You must have a permit to work and employers too must have a permit to employ.

Without further ado, let’s go on to the highest paying jobs in California…

Highest Paying Jobs in California

The 15 highest paying jobs in California are:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Surgeons
  • Obstetrics and Gynecologists
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Dentist
  • Chief Executives
  • Judges
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Airline Pilots
  • Family Medicine Physicians
  • Natural Science Managers
  • General Internal Medicine Physicians

1.      Psychiatrists

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine involving the diagnoses, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. Individuals with this skill set are known as psychiatrists and it is one of the highest paying jobs in California with an average annual salary of $245,000.

To be involved in this field you need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a science field then go on to med school to study psychiatry and obtain a master’s or doctorate.

2.      Surgeons

The medical field has the highest paying jobs in California and surgeons are also top of this list. Surgery is a field of medicine that practices the treatment of injuries, diseases, and deformities by the physical removal, repair, or readjustment of organs and tissues, often involved cutting the body. A person with medical education in the surgical field and licensed to practice is a surgeon.

To enter this medical field you will also go through the same kind of education as a psychiatrist but this time, you will be applying to study surgery. Once you complete med school and take the exam to get licensed, you can then start practicing. The average annual salary of surgeons is $229,430.

3.      Obstetrics and Gynecologists

These are physicians in the medical field that provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and are also involved in diagnosing, treating, and helping prevent diseases of women especially those affecting the reproductive system. Obstetrics and Gynecologists are one of the highest paying jobs in California, paying an average annual salary of $235,610.

4.      Pediatricians

Pediatricians are one of the highest paying jobs in California and it is another branch of medicine that involves the medical care of adolescents, children, and infants. They treat congenital diseases, infectious diseases, childhood cancer, mental disorders, and other diseases in people aged 0-21 years old.

The average annual salary of pediatricians in California is $212,990.

5.      Nurse Anesthetists

A Nurse Anesthetist is an advanced practice nurse who administers anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures. You need to have an advanced nursing degree to practice this medical branch. A medical or nursing school will provide you with the skill set you need to become a professional in this field.

The average annual salary of nurse anesthetics is $208,000.

6.      Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons is one of the highest paying jobs in California with an average annual salary of $204,920. Individuals in this field perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries, or defects.

The specialty of this field particularly focuses on the reconstructive surgery of the face, facial trauma surgery, the oral cavity, head and neck, mouth, and jaws, as well as facial cosmetic surgery.

7.      Orthodontists

An orthodontist is someone with the medical skillset of addressing the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of mal-positioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. An orthodontist isn’t a dentist and is often confusing, although they both help patients to improve their oral health, but in various ways.

The average annual salary of an orthodontist physician in California is $197,710.

8.      Dentist

Dentists are one of the highest paying jobs in California and they examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malfunction of the teeth and gum. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty and encompasses the treatment of the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw. The average annual salary for dentists in California is $160,300.

9.      Chief Executives

Chief executives are one of the highest paying jobs in California, they determine and formulate policies, oversee the operations of a business, and provide the overall direction of an organization or company. Individuals interested in this role must complete a bachelor’s degree in a business field then go on to complete an MBA degree with a focus on the chief executives.

The master’s program will equip them with the right skills to be able to carry out this role efficiently and also develop individuals’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As a chief executive officer, you can work in any field where business is conducted and that applies to all sectors and fields.

The average annual salary of a chief executive officer in California is $218,700

10. Judges

Being a judge is one of the highest paying jobs in California with an annual average salary of $184,340. A judge is someone who has graduated from law school and is appointed by their country or state to become a judge. Judges are in charge of presiding over court proceedings alone or as a part of a panel of judges.

Attending a law school will equip you with the skillset to become a lawyer or a judge when you are appointed by your country, state, or government, developing your decision-making skills to be near top-notch.

11. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Aside from being one of the highest paying jobs in California, it is one of the highest in-demand jobs in California, the US, and the world. The digital age has made the use of computer and information systems increasingly important and every organization or company out there want to fully dive into the field.

The job of Computer and Information Systems Managers is to plan, direct, or coordinate activities in fields such as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.  The average annual salary is $198,210.

12. Airline Pilots

Pilots are the new taxi drivers but in this case, they fly and you very well understand what they do. I’m sure it didn’t surprise you it is among the highest paying jobs in California, I mean, given what they do – flying humongous vehicles on the air with passengers or products and landing it safely – they sure deserve all the thousands of dollars.

To become an aviator, you must have completed and earned a bachelor’s degree and have 1,500 hours of flight time, which is done during your training time, and get your flying license or certification. Aviators in California are paid $208,070 on average annual salary.

13. Family Medicine Physicians

These physicians are a special type, they are trained with an exclusive attitude, skill, and knowledge that allows them to provide medical care to every member of the family regardless of age, gender, or type of problem. A lot of families have a family physician and feel safer with them as they are the only physicians that take care of them, no matter the health issue.

In California, family medicine physicians are paid an average annual salary of $203,320.

14. Natural Science Managers

Don’t know what these guys do? Well, here goes…

Natural science managers are in charge of directing scientific research and coordinate product development project and production activities. They usually work with top executives to plan strategies and develop goals for developers and researchers.

They work in fields such as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and statistics. The annual average salary of natural science manager in California is $202,570.

15. General Internal Medicine Physicians

Lots of high paying medical jobs, isn’t it?

The general internal medicine physicians, also known as internal medicine specialists or general medicine physicians are special doctors trained to manage particularly complex or multisystem disease conditions that single-organ disease specialists may not be trained to deal with.

It is one of the highest paying medical jobs in California at $212,510.

These are the top highest paying jobs in California and you can study for these programs in almost any university in the world.

Highest Paying Jobs in California without a Degree

The highest paying jobs in California listed above all require you to have a degree if you are ever going to have a chance at getting employed. You will have to refer to this section of this blog post if you want to know about the highest paying jobs in California that do not require you a have a degree.

Thus, to get employed in any of these jobs, which are listed below, you may need to get a certificate or diploma showing proof that you have undergone training and can efficiently handle that job position. With your certification you can easily get employed, you can get the certificate from a vocational training institution or a community college that will train and equip you with the skills and knowledge required for you to perform in that field you have chosen.

Some employers can still employ you even without a certificate of any kind nor knowledge of the role you are applying for but only because you must receive on-the-job training for a specified amount of time. The training will be done by the company and at the end of the training, you get employed on the spot.

Without further ado, let’s list the highest paying jobs in California without a degree:

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Radiation Therapists
  • Elevator Installers and Repairers
  • Audio and Video Technicians
  • Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants
  • Electricians
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Brickmasons and Blockmasons
  • Power Plant Operator
  • Commercial Pilot

1.      Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are in charge of monitoring and directing aircraft, it is a really stressful job as you have to be alert and working constantly. You don’t need a degree, certificate, or experience to get this job but you will have to go through rigorous on-the-job training. You will actually be earning high, up to $122,530 per year, it is one of the highest paying jobs in California without a degree.

2.      Radiation Therapists

A radiation therapist is responsible for checking equipment, observing patients after their treatments, and documenting sessions. The job does not entirely come without a degree, you’d need an associate degree – which takes just two years – to be considered for employment.

If you’re interested in a career in the healthcare industry, you may want to consider going into this field also, the median salary is $77,560.

3.      Elevator Installers and Repairers

Well, elevators don’t install themselves and need to be repaired when faulty, so, people are needed to install them and also repair them when issues arise. It is one of the highest paying jobs in California without a degree, and if you are interested in starting a career in the field you simply need a high school diploma and repair techs to start with an apprenticeship.

You can earn up to $76,650 per year.

4.      Audio and Video Technicians

Audio and video technician is one of the highest paying jobs in California without a degree, if you are interested in the career you can receive on-the-job training or enroll for an apprenticeship to learn how it is done but if you already know how to do it, then you can go on ahead and apply for the job.

Basically, what you’d be doing is to set up, maintain, and dismantle audio and video equipment, such as microphones, sound speakers, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, video cameras, video monitors and servers, and related electronic equipment for live or recorded events, such as concerts, meetings, conventions, presentations, podcasts, news conferences, and sporting events.

The annual mean salary is $73,960.

5.      Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants

This is another high paying job in California that doesn’t require employees to have a degree, a high school diploma or its equivalent can get you this job. You’ll be providing high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, and handling information requests, as well as performing routine administrative functions which include preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings.

The annual mean salary of this job position in California is $72,690

6.      Electricians

Being an electrician is one of the highest paying jobs in California without a degree with an annual mean salary of $77,470. Although it doesn’t require a degree you need to have the skill so you can be employed, you can gain the skill by enrolling in an apprenticeship.

7.      Real Estate Brokers

As a real estate broker, you will be operating a real estate office, or work for a commercial real estate firm, overseeing real estate transactions. You will also be selling renting properties and arranging loans. The annual mean salary is $78,470.

8.      Brickmasons and Blockmasons

In other words, bricklayers, are people who lay bricks and other building materials to construct or repair houses and other buildings. The annual mean salary for blockmasons in California is $79,960.

9.      Power Plant Operator

The power plant operator is one of the highest paying jobs in California without degrees, you will only need a high school diploma and on-site training to get experienced and get working. You will be in charge of planning and directing the operations of a power plant and ensure the plant gets the power to the right places and other things that have to do with efficiently operating a power plant.

The average annual salary of a power plant operator in California is $83,020.

10. Commercial Pilot

To actually work as a pilot for an airline, you’ll need a college degree but you don’t need one if you want to be a commercial pilot. With a high school certificate and a commercial pilot’s license, which usually takes about six to eight weeks to complete, the median income is up to $82,240.

These are the highest paying jobs in California without a degree and there are open positions in California, find out more on job openings and apply for the job.

Highest Paying Jobs in California with High School Diploma

Just finished high school and want to save up money for college, for a car, or something else? A job is most probably what will help you raise money. Here, I have discussed the highest paying jobs in California that you can do with just your high school diploma.

  • Landscaper
  • Personal Fitness Trainers
  • Waiter or Waitress
  • Home Health Aide
  • Flight attendant

1.      Landscaper

Landscapers are individuals who trim trees and plant flowers, build garden structures and install irrigation systems at home or office grounds. It is one of the highest paying jobs in California with a high school diploma and pays up to $30,000 annually.

2.      Personal Fitness Trainers

If you love working out or a health and fitness nut then this career can work out for you. You don’t need any degree to kick start a career in the field, with your high school certificate, you can enter the field. A personal trainer in California is one of the highest paying jobs in California with a high school diploma and pays between $40,000 and $60,000 per year.

3.      Waiter or Waitress

No formal education is required to become a waiter or waitress, you only need good communication skills, which I’m sure your previous high school education has equipped you with, and you can enter start working in a restaurant and serve meals to customers.

4.      Home Health Aide

As a home health aide, you get to work in health care facilities, private residents, or group homes caring for the elderly, disabled, or sick people. With a high school diploma and good communication skills, you will get employed immediately.

5.      Flight attendant

Never taught you can get employment as a flight attendant with just a high school diploma, right? Well, here you have it. You can become a flight attendant with just a high school diploma and training courses before hitting the skies. You have the opportunity to earn between $50,000 and $77,000 per year.

These job positions will train you so that you can be capable of carrying out your duties respectively.

Highest Paying LVN Jobs in California

Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) are invested in patient care, they care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled. LVNs work in medical settings next to doctors and registered nurses, performing simple tasks. To start a career in this field you’ll need, at least, an associate degree.

The highest paying LVN jobs in California are:

Job Title Annual Salary
Vice President LVN $83,366
VP LVN $83,366
Vice President LVN Travel Nurse $80,882
Telecommute LVN Travel Nurse $72,170
LVN Travel Nurse $72,066

Highest Paying Union Jobs in California

A union job is one where you are part of a labor union with other workers. Unions provide employees with support for their work conditions, wages, benefits, and more. The following are the highest paying union jobs in California:

  • Packaging laborer – $22,000 to $31,000 per year
  • Union civil laborer – $29,000 to $38,000 per year
  • Automotive mechanic – $41,320 per year
  • Marine service technician – $41,920 per year
  • Firefighter – $44,313 per year
  • Truck driver trainer – $51,409 per year
  • Electric project manager – $83,890 per year
  • School Principal – $97,695 per year
  • Nurse practitioner – $73,300 per year
  • Film or television director – $96,050 per year