Job description: They perform eye exams and make just a fraction as much as some medical professionals. For comparison, the average physician earns $191,880 a year, and dentists, who undergo a similar amount of training, earn $168,870.
Educational requirements: A bachelor's degree is required, followed by a four-year stint in optometry school to earn an O.D. A residency sometimes follows that for those who want to pursue a particular specialty.
Job description: These are engineers who work on building solutions for problems in biology and medicine.
Educational requirements: There are some undergraduate programs that offer degrees in biomedical or biomechanical engineering, but others get a more general engineering degree and a master's focusing on biomedical applications.
Job description: Architects plan and design buildings and other types of structures.
Educational requirements: The majority of accredited architecture programs in the United States that grant the license needed to practice are five-year programs that combine a bachelor's and master's. Two-year master's programs are available as well, though some skip the master's degree. A license is required.
Job description: Accountants serve a variety of functions: calculating, reporting, and checking financial information for individuals and companies. Auditors perform systematic evaluations of data, records, statements, or performance for a legal or other purpose.
Educational requirements: Both jobs generally require at least a bachelor's, and those with an accounting degree will often work towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Some employers prefer a master's or an MBA with a focus on accounting.
Average annual earnings: $77,550 (area, ethnic, or cultural studies), $74,210 (mathematical science), $68,360 (English language and literature)
Job description: Professors teach students beyond the high-school level, in addition to conducting research and writing papers and sometimes books. Pay for professors in areas like physics or economics is higher.
Educational requirements: Generally a Ph.D is required. A master's might be enough for some teachers at community colleges.
Job description: These are elected positions, and the salary figure is for full-time staffers, which may not include all state and local elected officials. They debate, draft, and vote on laws at the federal and state levels.
Educational requirements: None explicitly required, but the majority of legislators, particularly on the national level, have at least a bachelor's degree. Many have professional degrees as well, most commonly a J.D.
Job description: This job covers the whole spectrum, from celebrity chef-owners of restaurants to lead chefs at somebody else's restaurant and the most senior chef at a chain restaurant. But despite the long hours, late nights, and lack of holidays off — and their glamorous portrayal in the media — it's only top tier chefs and chef-owners who make the big bucks.
Educational requirements: None required, though it's increasingly common for chefs to attend culinary school.