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The 7 Highest Paying Jobs in LA

Topics: Data & Research

As the second largest metro in the U.S., Los Angeles has a lot to offer in terms of the job market. In 2016, the state of California as a whole has plans to add more than 650,000 jobs, according to the L.A. Times. Based on PayScale’s salary data, we put together this list of the highest paying jobs by median annual salary in the L.A. area.

highest paying jobs in LA
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1. Surgeons$319,000 per year

In L.A. county alone, there are over 100 hospitals, which means if you’re a surgeon looking for a position in L.A., you basically hit the gold mine. Additionally, surgeons in L.A. have the option of working at some of the highest ranked hospitals in the area, like UCLA Medical Center or Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  With so much schooling, responsibility, and expectations, it’s no wonder surgeons get paid as much as they do, especially in L.A.

2. Psychiatrists – $205,000 per year

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Los Angeles was recently ranked as one of the most stressful cities in the U.S., thanks to issues like housing affordability, air quality, and even traffic. So, it makes sense that psychiatrists are both in-demand and compensated highly for their work.

3. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers – $118,000 per year

The airline industry has not only recovered from the economic crisis, it’s now exceeded pre-recession levels of activity. It’s a good time to be in the industry, especially if you live in L.A., since LAX was ranked the 7th busiest airport in the world, serving over 74,937,000 passengers in 2015, according to Business Insider.

4. Aerospace Engineers – $89,000 per year

Just like Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers, Aerospace Engineers have a role to fulfill when it comes to the high demand for more flights. Aerospace Engineers are responsible for designing and constructing aircraft that will eventually carry these passengers to their final destinations.

5. Art Directors – $89,000 per year

Art Directors flock to L.A. because of its creative culture and variety of employment options. Although Art Directors can work in many corporate environments, L.A. is home to multiple ad agencies that are sure to please any creative worker. According to Ad Age, some of the top agencies are located in L.A., including R/GA, Deutsch, and 72andSunny.

6. Tax Examiners, Collectors, and Revenue Agents – $83,000 per year

Perhaps it’s because of the sheer number of people living in L.A. county, or the fact that some of the richest people in the U.S. choose to make L.A. their home. Either way, tax collectors and examiners earn a comfortable salary in the transaction-heavy Los Angeles.

7. Advertising and Promotions Managers – $82,000 per year

Again, if you’re in the business of advertising, L.A. is home to some of the world’s top-rated advertising agencies and PR agencies, including Edelman and Weber Shandwick.


PayScale created this report based on top-paying titles in a specific region. These lists are filtered by relative commonness to focus on jobs that are not only well-paying, but also unique to the region. This was done to remove obviously high-paying jobs that are found everywhere (e.g. general doctors, lawyers, etc.). Median pay is the national median (50th Percentile) annual total cash compensation. 

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