Top 8 paying jobs in California in 2022

What’s not to love about California, United States? The state has much to offer with the nice weather, the cultural ambiance, and celebrity sightings. Although all that sounds delightful, there’s no denying that the standard of living in the Golden State is relatively high.

Naturally, people tend to gravitate towards high-paying jobs. If you are planning to move west and looking for new positions, you need to have a rough idea about the highest-paying jobs in California.


With a $3 trillion gross domestic product (GDP), California is one of the wealthiest states in the U.S. and the most populated state in the country. Among the popular tourist sites like in the state are Silicon Valley, Disney and Hollywood. The state is a tech hotspot that hosts numerous big-league companies such as Google, Apple, and Meta so many ambitious individuals dream about making a career in this state.

From information technology (IT) to healthcare, California is booming with high-paying jobs. If you are thinking of making a career change and settling down close to Hollywood, it is time you hunt for a job with a fat paycheck. Here is a list of the best-paying careers in the state that you must consider as you look for your next position:


1. General surgeon

A general surgeon is a medical professional who conducts operations on patients to treat various diseases. Surgeons also conduct emergency surgeries and deal with injury-related medical cases. Usually, they are responsible for managing an operating team at the hospital, they supervise every other professional on the team and they manage the operating room.

Becoming a surgeon specializing in a particular field demands almost 20 years of hard work. Consequently, surgeons are well paid for their expertise because it requires dealing with many complications so they top the list of the highest-paid profession in California. Their annual mean pay is around $248,100.


2. Chief executive

A chief executive officer (CEO) oversees everything about a firm from top to bottom. Whether a top-level company or an early-stage startup, the duties of a CEO vary. However, CEOs all share the fundamental duty of hiring and firing employees or building teams that will do it for them.

A good CEO must have the integrity and the humility to treat everyone equally in the workplace. To become one, you must incentivize good performance and direct employees as needed if they need to meet your standards and you must be capable of coming up with solutions for problems since any company has to face several. With such integral duties, CEOs are highly paid in California. Their annual mean pay is approximately $216,520.


3. Internal medicine physician

Also called internists, internal medicine physicians deal with medical issues related to internal organs. They treat highly complex diseases that may be beyond the scope of single-organ doctors. Medical problems include chest pain, weight loss, fatigue and dyspnoea.

Internists can use surgical and non-surgical procedures to treat a medical issue. Such professionals are highly qualified medical physicians. To become an internal medicine physician, you need a medical degree, a license, residency and specialization. With such qualifications comes a high-paying career in California. The annual mean pay for internists is $212,510.


4. Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist is someone who deals with eye-related medical problems. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists even though both professionals offer eye care services. As compared to optometrists, ophthalmologists are more trained in the field as they perform eye surgeries and they treat many eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Other than eye surgeries, ophthalmologists perform eye exams and vision testing. To become an ophthalmologist, you need a doctor of optometry degree and a license. Considering their eye care responsibilities, ophthalmologists are paid well in California and the annual mean pay for them in the state is $210,140.


5. Dentist

Dentists are medical professionals who look after diagnosing, preventing and treating the oral cavity. They deal with issues regarding diseases, disorders and teeth conditions. While they often have their practice where they treat patients privately, they also offer services at hospitals and prisons and other institutions.

To become a dentist, you need almost eight years of study. You need a dental school bachelor’s degree and a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of medicine in dentistry (DMD) degree. You can also go for residency if you want to do specialization. Dental problems always occur, no matter where you live so naturally, dentists are in high demand in California. The annual mean pay for dentists in the state is $184,560.


6. Judge

A judge is a law professional who presides over court proceedings along with other judges or alone. The powers, functions, appointments and training vary depending on the judge’s jurisdiction. The primary responsibility of a judge is to treat legal cases partially and present them in an open court.

Being a judge comes with many responsibilities such as researching and processing extensive documents, witness testimonies, and other materials. To become a judge, you need a degree from a law school, excellent logical reasoning and decision-making skills to examine complicated cases thoroughly. With such experience and responsibilities, judges in California are paid well as the annual mean pay for them in the state is $184,340.


7. Marketing manager

Marketing managers organize and manage marketing campaigns for a company. They generate demand and raise awareness of the products and services that the company has to offer, lead the marketing team to execute marketing strategies and achieve business goals and look after factors like market research, brand management, budget reviews and goal-setting.

Market management is a perfect job for those who enjoy working with business management and marketing professionals regularly. They offer ideas on how to uplift the company’s brand position in the market. Market management is in high demand in California now, thanks to several established brands and services in the state. The annual mean pay for marketing managers in the state is $169,200.


8. Software development engineer

The tech industry in California is booming and offers plenty of jobs for many tech-related positions. It is no surprise that the tech sector’s job outlook is bright in this state, which is home to many tech companies such as Meta, Apple and Google. Software engineers are now in high demand. Such engineers are responsible for the creation and design of software programs.

Apart from design, software engineers must also look after the maintenance and deployment of software. Their main responsibility is to create computer systems that will address real-world problems. To become a software engineer, you need a degree in computer science or programming. The annual mean pay for software engineers in California is $146,770.

Software engineers are the most in-demand in California, according to a fresh study on the most popular jobs by state by SignalHire, which specializes in recruiting solutions and periodically publishes labor market research based on its data. In the platform, you can find out whether the highest paid professions in California are also in demand other states. 


With a booming economy, California has a limitless career development potential. The working conditions in the state are excellent, making it a desirable place for several job seekers.

California may be an expensive place to stay. However, it offers go-getters and career-driven people equal opportunities to make a good standard of living.

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