The Highest-Paying Jobs With The Most Time Off

highest-paying jobs most time-offThe vast majority of high-paying jobs require a significant initial commitment in the form of education, training and tuition, and then hard work while on the job. Most high-paying jobs require significantly more hours on the job than the average American puts in. 24/7 Wall St. has identified nine jobs that pay well above the national median income, while requiring less working hours than average.

Of course, doctors are examples of the opposite. They must spend eight years in school and an average of five years in residency before they begin to earn their maximum salary. And even though doctors are paid better than most, the salary comes with one of the heaviest schedules. Surgeons, for instance, work an average of 2,835 hours per year -- the equivalent of five more months over the 2,006 hours the average American works.

After reviewing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified jobs that pay the most for the least amount of work. Most of these positions still require a great deal of training, but once completed, the amount of work drops significantly.

Psychologists, for example, must obtain a specialist degree or doctorate in their field, which requires three to six years of schooling. However, because they usually set their own schedules after that, they work nearly 600 hours a year less than, for example, the average real estate broker. Psychologists, however, make more than the average broker, and have the equivalent of several additional months of leisure time. Psychologists, airline pilots, and a few other lucky occupations, are among the rare jobs that pay the most for the least amount of time.

9. Judges and Magistrates
  • Hours worked/year: 1,935
  • Median hourly earnings: $62.08
  • No. employed: 25,900
  • Hours worked/week: 37.2
  • Median annual income: $119,270
  • Top annual income: $142,670

Most judges were once lawyers, meaning they already have a bachelor's degree, a law degree, a bar certificate, and frequently a successful career as an attorney before they gained the position. This explains the judges' extremely high salary. The median annual income for the position is $119,270, well above the national average, with some high-ranking judges earning more than $140,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many judges and magistrates work 40-hour weeks. But those with limited jurisdictions in small courts work substantially less than full-time, and many even take second jobs. Yet, even they make a very respectable $59,000 annually.

-- Find judge jobs

8. Occupational Therapists
  • Hours worked/year: 1,902
  • Median hourly earnings: $35.18
  • No. employed: 100,300
  • Hours worked/week: 38.6
  • Median annual income: $72,320
  • Top annual income: $102,520

Becoming an occupational therapist is not easy. According to the BLS, therapists need a master's degree or higher. In addition, they must attend an academic program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) before taking the national certifying exam. Occupational therapists devote themselves to helping individuals cope with physical and learning disabilities. Because therapists usually work by appointment, many work less than the standard 40-hour week. Yet, their median salary is impressive, standing at $70,000 per year. U.S. News and World Report ranked the position as one of the 50 best careers of 2011.

-- Find occupational therapist jobs

7. Principals (Education Administrators, elementary and secondary school)
  • Hours worked/year: 1,846
  • Median hourly earnings: $46.49
  • No. employed: 222,270
  • Hours worked/week: 39.5
  • Median annual income: $86,970
  • Top annual income: $129,480

In order to be eligible to be a principal, applicants must have a teaching certificate and also possess sufficient experience in school administration. Principals are responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of faculty and students. According to the BLS, the workload can be stressful and demanding at times. However, while some principals work year-round, the vast majority at the elementary and middle-school level work full days during the school year, but do not work summers. This means that principals have nearly three months to themselves. That, combined with a median salary in excess of $85,000, and the high end making nearly $130,000, the job of principal is a great deal for all who are fortunate enough to earn the position.

-- Find principal jobs

6. Librarians
  • Hours worked/year: 1,819
  • Median hourly earnings: $27.35
  • No. employed: 148,240
  • Hours worked/week: 38.3
  • Median annual income: $54,500
  • Top annual income: $83,510

There are several different types of librarians, and depending on the position, workloads can either be demanding or much lighter than the national average. According to the BLS, those working at colleges can work full-time, and even weekends and some holidays. However, nearly half of librarians (63,000 out of the 148,000 positions) work in elementary, middle and high schools. This means that their schedule is limited to the morning to mid-afternoon on school days, and rarely in the summers. U.S. News and World Report listed the job in its "Best Careers of 2009" report.

-- Find librarian jobs

5. Dental Hygienists
  • Hours worked/year: 1,802
  • Median hourly earnings: $32.38
  • No. employed: 177,520
  • Hours worked/week: 34.6
  • Median annual income: $68,250
  • Top annual income: $93,820

Dental hygienists work alongside dentists, cleaning teeth and assisting in surgeries. The position pays well, nearly $35 per hour. This salary is quite substantial for the low stress, light hours and relatively easy certification. The most appealing part of the position is the fact that dental hygienists earn full-time wages while working more than five hours less per week than the national average. According to the BLS, "Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend schedules are common." It was listed by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best careers of 2011, and it is also one of the fastest-growing positions in the country.

-- Find dental hygienist jobs

4. Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
  • Hours worked/year: 1,736
  • Median hourly earnings: $32.40
  • No. employed: 100,000
  • Hours worked/week: 37.4
  • Median annual income: $66,810
  • Top annual income: $108,670

Psychologists are responsible for assessing the emotional well-being of their patients. Most psychologists have doctorates, which, according to the BLS, "generally requires about 5 years of full-time graduate study, culminating in a dissertation based on original research." However, unlike medical doctors, the vast majority of psychologists set their own hours and appointments, and while many work 9 to 5, this is not a requirement. Also, more than 40 percent of people in this position work in schools, meaning they are afforded the same summer vacation to boot.

-- Find psychologist jobs

3. Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Hours worked/year: 1,638
  • Median hourly earnings: $32.74
  • No. employed: 112,530
  • Hours worked/week: 37.6
  • Median annual income: $66,920
  • Top annual income: $103,630

Speech-language pathologists work on correcting stutters, lisps, and other speech impediments. According to the BLS ,"Typical licensing requirements are a master's degree from an accredited college or university; a passing score on the national examination on speech-language pathology ... 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience; and 9 months of postgraduate professional clinical experience." Like psychologists, the lion's share of speech-language pathologists work in schools, with young students. Roughly 56,000 of the 112,000 work in elementary or secondary schools. Also, like psychologists, speech pathologists are able to set their own appointments and schedules. The average speech-language pathologist works 37 hours per week, and because of the summer vacation that many enjoy, the average number of hours worked each year is 1,638, nearly 300 hours less than the average U.S. worker.

-- Find speech pathologist jobs

2. Law Teachers, post-secondary
  • Hours worked/year: 1,608
  • Median hourly earnings: $82.85
  • No. employed: 14,620
  • Hours worked/week: 40.3
  • Median annual income: $94,260
  • Top annual income: $145,990

While the entire list could have just been comprised of different types of college professors, we listed only the highest-paying position. Law professors have a median income approaching $100,000, and have a top range of nearly $150,000. Becoming a law professor only requires a law degree, although many today also have a Master of Laws and even a Ph.D. The time spent seems well worth it. Besides the generous salary, they enjoy unique benefits "including access to campus facilities, tuition waivers for dependents, housing and travel allowances, and paid leave for sabbaticals," according to the BLS. Between these sabbaticals and the summer vacation, most professors work nearly 400 hours less than the average U.S. employee. Money magazine and rated college professors at No.2 in their 2006 "Best Jobs in America" annual report.

-- Find law professor jobs

1. Aircraft Pilots, Copilots and Flight Engineers
  • Hours worked/year: 1,090
  • Median hourly earnings: $119.12
  • No. employed: 68,580
  • Hours worked/week: 21
  • Median annual income: $103,210
  • Top annual income: $139,330

According to the BLS, "FAA regulations limit flying time of airline pilots of large aircraft to a maximum of 100 hours a month and 1,000 hours a year. Most airline pilots fly an average of 75 hours a month and work an additional 140 hours a month, performing nonflying duties, which include waiting for delays to clear and their aircraft to arrive." According to the BLS' national compensation survey, only two jobs have shorter annual hours worked -- flight instructors and lifeguards. Pilots work almost 50 percent fewer hours than the average America, but make the 21st highest median annual salary among the 819 positions listed on the BLS list of occupations.

-- Find pilot jobs

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Stutters, lisps, and speech impediments? The author did no research on speech language pathology jobs and just wrote about stereotypes. Slps working in hospitals, snfs, and home health (about half of us) barely do any of that, and work on things like swallowing function and cognitive rehab.

Also, school slps may have 37 contract hours, but they work more like 45. With schools you get months off ( hence the lower annual salary for school slps). In healthcare you don't work off the clock and make more money--It's a tradeoff.

March 18 2013 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You are all a bunch of whiners, and that is why you are unhappy and unsuccessful. Change your attitude and you will change your life.

March 05 2012 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Between these sabbaticals and the summer vacation, most professors work nearly 400 hours less than the average U.S. employee."

So people on sabbaticals (I've never had one so I'm basing my reaction on what I know my colleagues have done) are on vacation? Hardly. Faculty on sabbaticals are expected to return with a completed project equivalent to what would have taken multiple semesters had the person been teaching. As for summer, it is filled with writing, class preparation, and for some, even more teaching.

This comment is not unlike the ones aimed at K-12 faculty, who are seen as working a "cushy" 8 to 3 with summers free, but who put in all sorts of additional hours, usually at home, preparing lesson plans, writing outcomes reports, and doing administrative tasks (I speak here based on what I observe of family and friends who teach in K-12 positions).

Perhaps the hard work by the 10 people watching one highway worker dig out a pothole should be mentioned? Again, seeing only part of the picture distorts the reality, because over the course of the day, those 11 highway workers are burning far more calories than the people dreaming up these fantasy perceptions of other people's lives.

January 04 2012 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think there numbers are WAY off I know a lot of people on that kind of list they make no where near that kind of money minus a judge or 3 A computer engineer is the highest paying job with the best of every thing most any engineer applys always has been always will be

September 12 2011 at 6:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wish they'd also listed the lowest paid for law professors. I'm not anywhere near the median. Where are those jobs? Flawed for sure!

September 11 2011 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Bridges

AOL Forgot one POLITICIAN they take as much time off as they want and they don't work to beging with

September 11 2011 at 9:43 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

What horrible timing for an article like this. Most of us are unemployed or desperately holding on to our jobs. Why do we want to hear these glorified descriptions of "wonderful" jobs with loads of time off. We are all working overtime, or working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.

Besides, even if these jobs listed here are so cushy, most of them require anywhere from two to ten years of higher education, which no one has time for (because they are busy working) or money for (because they are trying to support themselves and their families). Why can't you tell us who is hiring NOW?

September 11 2011 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A pilots job is only as secure as the next heartbeat or flight physical. The career can come to an end in an instant. Pilots also have their skills evaluated on a regular basis. I don't know of any other profession that is so closely scrutinized, even on a daily basis.
Having been a pilot for an excess of forty years ( and fortunate to still ply my trade), I can attest to the fact the what is often written about pilots and flying is much different than reality. The amount of time required for duties outside the cockpit, especially in corporate aviation, can easily rival actual flight hours. What also isn't taken into account is the fact that the job takes the crewmembers away from home for several days a month. I have missed every holiday, birthday, celebrations, etc., during my career. I am not complaining because it comes with the territory.
Another factor not mentioned is the instability of aviation carreers. There is a saying in the industry that says " it's a great job but a lousy career"
In reference to the time off that pilots have, remember, things aren't always as they appear.

September 11 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Also, school administrators at the high school level have to cover after school activities. Athletic events, plays, chorus, etc. And they don't get paid overtime for it. A typical high school administrators day is 9 hours with lunch on the run. There is no free lunch time. Typically, an administrator is out 1 or 2 nights average a week. Sometimes only 1, but remember, there is no overtime.

September 11 2011 at 5:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Principals work 12 months in Tampa. They get 10 days vacation a year. They do have Christmas and Spring Break off, but don't get paid for it. I donb't know where they get that principals and school administrators get 3 months off. They did no research on this whatsoever.

September 11 2011 at 5:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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