13 Best Jobs for Smart People (High Paying)

Looking for jobs for smart people that pay well?

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best jobs smart people enjoy. If you’re known as the Einstein of your social circle or simply have a high IQ, these roles will squeeze the most out of your impressive brainpower.

What Makes a Good Job for Smart People?

Note: Our scores below are based on how many of the following job characteristics apply to each job.

We looked for jobs that:

  1. Let you use your imagination
  2. Stretch your problem solving skills
  3. Let you express your creativity 
  4. Allows you to enjoy meaningful work 
  5. Challenge you to perform at the highest level
  6. Ask you to brainstorm, problem solve, and suggest solutions

Best Jobs for Smart People

1. Plastic Surgeon

  • Average salary: $320,000
  • Our score: 6/7

Plastic surgeons perform medical surgery to restore form and function after trauma or perform cosmetic surgery that changes someone’s appearance. 

Many plastic surgeons decide to practice cosmetic surgery, but not all plastic surgeons do cosmetic surgery. Duties can vary but may include: consulting patients, evaluating medical conditions like birth disorders, injuries, or burns, and performing surgery to improve the patient’s quality of life. 

After completing medical school, plastic surgeons are asked to complete a residency program and plan a plastic surgery exam. Some graduate students may be chosen for a fellowship program as well. 

2. College Professor

  • Average salary: $80,000
  • Our score: 7/7

Professors are the highest-level educators who teach at a college or university. 

In addition to teaching classes, professors are responsible for writing a curriculum for their courses, collaborating with their work department, performing academic research, writing papers and books, and managing student tests, assignments, and activities. 

To become a university professor, you’ll need a Ph.D. (although some colleges will hire you as an adjunct professor with only a master’s degree.

3. Electrical Engineer

  • Average salary: $100,000
  • Our score: 6/7

Electrical engineers design, develop and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment. 

They perform a variety of tasks, including, but of course not limited to, designing new ways to use electrical power to improve products, developing construction and manufacturing regulations, overseeing the installation and testing of electrical equipment, and managing the production of electrical projects. 

To become a professional in this industry, employers will ask that you have an electronic engineering degree and obtain a professional engineering license. 

4. Lawyer

  • Average salary: $120,000
  • Our score: 6/7

A lawyer is a licensed professional who helps people with legal matters and protects their clients’ rights in the court of law. 

Lawyers provide legal advice, research and analyze information, evaluate evidence, draft documents, mediate disputes, and provide counsel. They may also draw up legal documents related to divorce, contracts, wills, real estate, and prosecution or defense of a crime. 

To become a lawyer usually takes about seven years (4 years of undergraduate study and three years of law school). You must also take and pass the bar exam before beginning your practice. 

5. Criminal Investigator

  • Average salary: $83,000
  • Our score: 6/7

Criminal investigators serve the public by investigating criminals and the victims’ methods, motives, and identities. 

They’re responsible for interviewing witnesses and victims, processing crime scenes and gathering evidence, compiling and organizing information, and collaborating with other law enforcement agencies. Sometimes criminal investigators are also called on to testify in court and speak about criminal cases and proceedings. 

To start in this profession, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or law enforcement in addition to attending the police training academy.

6. Water Engineer

  • Average salary: $89,000
  • Our score: 7/7

Water engineers are responsible for ensuring water is safe for drinking, living, and recreational purposes. 

As a water engineer, you’ll design water management systems and supervise the construction and maintenance of the buildings. This includes improving sewers, pipeworks, and pumping stations, as well as collaborating with government agencies and community organizations to keep track of projects and deadlines.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, environmental science, or a related field. Many pursue a master’s degree as well. 

7. I.T. Professional

  • Average salary: $63,000
  • Our score: 6/7

I.T. (information technology) professionals are wizards with computers. They build, install, repair, and maintain software for P.C.s and laptops. 

They often serve as the helpdesk for organizations, supporting their technology infrastructure and ensuring that company computer programs run smoothly. Depending on your specialty, you may work on various tasks: technical support, website design, programming, software development, and more. 

I.T. professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree in technology, computer science, computer engineering, or a related field.

8. Doctor

  • Average salary: $190,440
  • Our score: 7/7

A doctor is someone who has the education and experience to practice medicine and helps maintain the physical and mental health of their patients. 

Duties include interacting with patients, diagnosing medical concerns, and treating illness or injury. They may also prescribe medications and prescriptions, read and interpret lab results, and provide follow-up services.

After you get your bachelor’s degree, you’ll have to take a standardized test called the MCAT (medical college admissions test). You’ll also need to apply to a medical school where you’ll gain hands-on experience, and complete a residency program and pass medical licensing exams to graduate. 

9. Realtor

  • Average salary: $75,000
  • Our score: 6/7

Realtors are licensed professionals who help people buy and sell their homes and real estate. 

They help walk their clients through paperwork, act as a liaison between the people buying and selling, and provide information during the home inspection. They are there through the entire process, from looking for a property to closing the deal. 

Realtors need to pass a state-issued real estate exam and select a broker to mentor them as they begin their new careers. Each state’s requirements and fees may vary.

10. ESL Teacher

  • Average salary: $50,000
  • Our score: 6/7

ESL (English as a second language) teachers help non-English speakers learn the language.

ESL teachers can teach lessons from the basics to more advanced English courses to help students become fluent in the language. They help with everything from writing, reading, and communication skills. They’re there to support people from all over the world where English isn’t the first language.

You don’t need any prior teaching experience to become an ESL teacher, but if you already are a teacher, that’s okay too. You will need a bachelor’s degree and state approval to teach  (referred to as TESOL certification). 

11. Orthodontist

  • Average salary: $200,000
  • Our score: 7/7

An orthodontist is a special kind of dentist that helps patients get and keep their best smile. 

They’re best known for their work helping people straighten their teeth through the use of braces, but also offer treatment options to help fix bad bites, align the jaw, treat gum disease and prevent painful tooth movement. In some cases, they can even help treat sleep apnea. 

In addition to showing proof of a bachelor’s degree, orthodontists are required to pass a dental admissions test. You’ll also be required to finish dental school and pass a clinical exam administered by the state to get your dental license. 

12. Astronomer

  • Average salary: $115,000
  • Our score: 7/7

Astronomers study stars, planets, and celestial bodies in outer space. It’s all about understanding the universe. 

They spend most of their time developing scientific theories that help explain how the world works (for instance, the force of gravity). They plan and conduct science experiments, apply for funding to continue research, and complete complex mathematical calculations. 

To become an astronomer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in astrophysics or astronomy. 

13. Pharmacist

  • Average salary: $128,000
  • Our score: 7/7

Pharmacists dispense medication for patients and advise them about properly using prescriptions. 

Duties include maintaining the quality of medicine, ensuring the medicine meets legal standards, talking with patients about how to use the medication, describing possible side effects, and answering questions. 

Their role is to ensure safety and prevent harmful drug interactions. 

To become a pharmacist, you need a master of pharmacy degree and a passing grade in the GPhC assessment exam

There Are Careers for Smart People!

From college professor to water engineer, you are sure to find plenty of meaningful work where you can put your impressive intelligence to work.

Which one stands out to you?

Leave a Reply