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Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia – part 1

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Who has the highest paying job in Australia? Miners? Actors? Chief Executive Officers? Well according to the Australian Tax Office, it’s surgeons!

Surgeons, on average, bring home a whopping $350,383 of taxable income. To put that in perspective, that’s more than 8 waiters ($41,073), 9 hairdressers ($38,363) or 9 bartenders or baristas ($37,928).

Medical professionals dominate the top 10 highest paying jobs in Australia, with six of the highest paid positions.

So what do these people do? And how can you get one of the Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia?

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia:

1. Surgeons

Average taxable income: $350,383
What does a surgeon do?

A surgeon is a doctor who has specialised in performing operations on patients to correct deformities, repair injuries, prevent and treat diseases and improve the function and appearance of human bodies.

Their job, however, isn’t just performing operations. They’re involved with the patient before and after surgery. They decide if an operation is necessary, work out how to best treat the patient, and consult with other medical professionals such as anaesthetists and nurses about performing the surgery.

Surgeons also follow their patients’ progress after surgery and provide post-operation care.

How can you become a surgeon?

First you’ll need to become a qualified medical professional, which takes 7-10 years of training and work experience. Then you’ll need to specialise in surgery, which is another 3-8 years of vocational training.

You might also spend a couple of years working in hospitals, doing medical research and earning other qualifications, before starting your surgical training.

Total – around 10-18 years of study and experience.

2. Anaesthetists

Average Taxable Income: $302,653
What does an anaesthetist do?

An anaesthetist is a doctor specialising in applying anaesthetic drugs. Anaesthetic drugs temporarily reduce or take away sensation so that painful procedures or surgery can be performed.

These specialist doctors will look at a patient’s general health and medical history to decide how to best offer car. They will stay with their patient through an operation and make sure they are comfortable at all times. This includes controlling pain, replacing body fluids and measuring and controlling all vital functions of the body.

How can you become an anaesthetist?

Like surgeons, anaesthetists need to become qualified medical practitioners. The training and experience you’ll need take about 7-10 years.

You’ll then need at least a couple of years work experience. Finally, you can start the five years of specialised vocational training to become an anaesthetist.

Total – about 13 – 15 years of study and experience.

3. Financial Dealers

Financial Dealers have the 3rd most highly paid job in AustraliaAverage Taxable Income: $269,622
What does a financial dealer do?

Financial dealers are involved in the finance industry. They’re specialists in dealing in the marketplace on behalf of clients.

They find information about securities, market conditions, government regulations and financial circumstances. They then use that information to create lists of investments for clients, plan buying and selling activities.

Finally, they then perform trades and deals in the marketplace on behalf of clients.

How can you become a financial dealer?

To become a financial dealer, you’ll need to start with a degree in a business related field such as commerce, accounting, finance, economics or actuarial studies (applying maths and statistics to insurance and finance). It usually helps to do a combined degree with law.

All up it’ll take you about 5 years of study as an undergraduate. Financial dealers usually need to be licensed or registered, which can require you to complete a couple more years of study.

Finally, you’ll probably have to spend some time developing the experience to go further in the industry.

Total – about 7 years of study, plus years of experience.

What are some related careers?

Registered BAS agents and Contract Bookkeepers are needed by many Australian businesses and industries to record their financial statements. In exchange for setting their own hours, rates and wages, bookkeepers and BAS agents undergo training like the Certificate IV in Accounting or the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. These courses can be the starting point for further study such as a bachelor’s degree or entry into a CPA program.

4. Internal Medicine Specialists

Average Taxable Income: $254,597
Internal Medicine Specialist Doctors have the 4th most highly paid job in AustraliaWhat does an internal medicine specialist do?

Doctors specialising in internal medicine apply scientific knowledge, and medical expertise, to the diagnosis, treatment and care of adults with a range of health problems.

Several years of their training is dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases that affect adults.

Internal medical specialists are often called in to consult by other doctors, to help solve puzzling health problems.

How can you become an internal medical specialist?

The path to you becoming an internal medicine specialist is similar to surgeons and anaesthetists.

First you need to need to be a qualified medical professional which takes about 9-10 years of training, including an internship and residency. Specialising in internal medicine requires you to do a few more years in an internal medicine residency.

Then if you’re interesting in specialising further into a particular area of the body, you’ll need another 1-4 years in specialised fellowships.

Total – around 13 years of study and experience.

5. Judicial and other legal professionals

Average Taxable Income: $177,702
What do ‘judicial and other legal professionals’ do?

In reality, judicial and other legal professionals includes occupations such as judges, magistrates and tribunal members. Judges proceed over civil and criminal proceedings in a court of law.

Magistrates hear criminal matters and decide whether the person(s) accused of a crime will go to a higher court to be tried by a jury. Magistrates also decide smaller criminal cases where a jury is not needed.

Tribunal members hear and decide judgement on industrial, administrative and other disputes.

How can you become a judge or magistrate?

Setting a timeline for becoming a judge or magistrate is difficult. You need to be invited to become one by the government or crown, which means you may never become one, even if you develop the skills and experience necessary.

Appointment is based on a number of factors. First you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in law, which takes four years. You’ll also likely need to work as a solicitor for several years, and then a barrister for at least five-to-seven years, but likely much longer.

You’ll also have to complete training to become a barrister, magistrate and judge.

Total – 15 years or more of training and experience.


Check out Part 2 of our guide to Australia’s Top 10 Highest Paying jobs HERE!



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William Cowie

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There’s 14 comments (add a comment)

  • Fraidon says:

    Want to be lawyer

  • TRS says:

    what about Radiology speciality? Is not ranked in first 2 or 3?

  • Ashley says:

    Hi, i just wanted to know what physiotherapists would be classified under ? what number , thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Ashley, physiotherapists would most likely fall under the “Other Medical Professionals” category in Part 2!

      Thanks! 🙂

    • Ally says:

      Lol They don’t … Anything slightly alternative falls under 80k depending I how good your “services ” are and your business and marketing skills. As physiotherapy – or science of movement – isn’t as thoroughly regulated, a degree without honours for masters in physio or nutrition and dietetics would only be. 4 years. It doesn’t have a pathway like law or med schools.

      • William Cowie William Cowie says:

        Hi Ally,

        Which career are you discussing? The figures are based off the Australian Tax Office’s data for 2010-2011, you’d have to consult with them about which jobs fall into each category. If there is only a small number of people in a career category, the average may be skewed by some extremely highly paid individuals.

  • Hyes says:

    Can you have an educated guess as to what high paid occupations in the science field will be in demand in 10-15-20 years time?

  • Senali Silva says:

    What about the nurse?
    What is the highest salary they can get in queensland?
    Are there plenty of jobs for the nurses?

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Senali! According to, Registered Nurses are expected to have a high number of job openings until November 2019. Aged Care Workers are also in high demand because of the country’s rapidly ageing population and they earn a median weekly salary of $900. You can check out that website if you want to learn more about those careers 🙂

  • Dick says:

    Can you answer this question for me,
    What is the difference between an accountant and a financial dealer? And which one gets paid more?

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Dick! An accountant is typically someone who manages the finances and tax obligations of an organisation. Financial Dealers are those who perform market transactions, like buying or selling stocks or futures, for a client. Both of these positions require analytical and detail-oriented skills since they rely heavily on numbers and spotting irregularities and patterns so qualifications or degrees in Accounting are common. Based on Job Outlook data, Financial Dealers have more weekly earnings than Accountants.

  • Dick says:

    What is the highest and lowest a financial advisor gets paid

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