Highest Paying Jobs in Georgia

A Credit Karma Study

Updated

Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

When it comes to wages, Georgia is a little behind the national average, with the mean annual pay for all occupations in Georgia being $53,940 versus $58,260 for the nation overall. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any high-paying jobs in the Peach State.

To identify these jobs, Credit Karma compiled and analyzed a variety of publicly-available datasets from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The five highest paying jobs in Georgia are all in medicine:

  1. Orthopedic surgeons (non-pediatric): $381,830
  2. Surgeons (all other): $330,860
  3. Neurologists: $325,910
  4. Obstetricians and gynecologists: $319,300
  5. Cardiologists: $308,880

Read on for details about these and other high-paying jobs across various occupations in Georgia.

Highest-paying jobs in Georgia

In Georgia, careers in the “healthcare practitioners and technical” occupations group  — which includes doctors — comprise the five highest-paying jobs in the state. But Georgia offers many high-paying jobs outside of healthcare.

Here are Georgia’s top-paying jobs in each of the BLS’s major occupational groups, starting with the highest-wage job.

Major occupational group Occupation title Annual mean wage
Healthcare practitioners and technical Orthopedic surgeons (non-pediatric) $381,830
Computer and mathematical  Actuaries $235,310
Transportation and material moving Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers $205,610
Management Computer and information systems managers $157,290
Educational instruction and library Law teachers (postsecondary) $152,720
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media  Athletes and sports competitors $152,680
Legal Lawyers $133,020
Production Nuclear power reactor operators $125,240
Life, physical, and social science Physicists $121,010
Sales and related  Sales engineers $120,880
Business and financial operations Personal financial advisors $113,600
Architecture and engineering Electrical engineers $112,570
Installation, maintenance, and repair Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation and relay $98,840
Community and social service Health education specialists $88,740
Construction and extraction Elevator and escalator installers and repairers $79,290
Protective service Detectives and criminal investigators $73,720
Office and administrative support Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants $68,860
Farming, fishing, and forestry Fallers $67,810
Healthcare support Occupational therapy assistants $66,740
Food preparation and serving related occupations Chefs and head cooks $53,980
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers $48,630
Personal care and service Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers $48,480

Georgia is one of the few states in which the highest paying job in “management” occupations isn’t chief executives — instead, it’s computer and information systems managers, who earn an average of $157,290 a year.

Georgia is also one of 14 states in which athletes and sports competitors are among the highest-paying jobs. But even though these careers pay well, they don’t come close to the highest-paying job in Georgia overall — non-pediatric orthopedic surgeons, who command an average salary of $381,830 a year.

Other notable high-paying jobs in Georgia

Georgia has some other particularly noteworthy jobs that are high-paying in specific occupational areas, including …

  • Detectives and criminal investigators: This is the highest paying job among “protective service” occupations in Georgia, a group that’s usually led, salary-wise, by first-line supervisors of police and detectives in terms of pay in most other states.
  • Nuclear power reactor operators: This is the highest-paying job in the “production” occupations category in Georgia, with an average annual wage of $125,240. Georgia is one of eight states in which nuclear power reactor operators command the highest pay in this occupational category.
  • Electrical engineers: Part of the “architecture and engineering” occupations group, electrical engineers in Georgia earn an average annual salary of $112,570. Georgia is the only state in which electrical engineers are the highest paid positions in architecture and engineering.

High-paying jobs and cost of living in Georgia

People with high-paying jobs in Georgia will benefit from the state’s lower cost of living compared to the rest of the country. In a previous Credit Karma study of the cheapest states to live in, Georgia ranked 15th.

This partially explains the fact that Georgia’s average annual wage for all occupations is less than the national average — and that the state’s major occupational groups tend to have a lower average salary than their equivalent national averages. For example, “food preparation and serving” occupations earn a mean annual wage of $25,620 in Georgia versus $29,450 for the country as a whole.

Similarly, “healthcare practitioners and technical” occupations earn an average of $83,100 a year in Georgia, but $91,100 nationally, and “protective service” occupations earn an average of $44,170 a year compared to the national average of $53,420.

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Georgia’s overall cost of living index in the first quarter of 2022 was 88.2 compared to the national baseline of 100. Our cost of living calculator can help you get a sense how far your salary may — or may not — go in another city.

Common questions about the highest-paying jobs in Georgia

Based on BLS data for Georgia, the most popular job in terms of number of employees is retail salespersons, with 132,430 employed as of May 2021. The second-most popular job is laborers and freight, stock and material movers, with 122,880 employed in this occupation. Third is fast food and counter workers, with 112,670 employed.

What job pays the most in Atlanta?

The BLS offers employment and wage data on the metropolitan area level versus city level. The job that pays the most in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area of Georgia is obstetricians and gynecologists, with an average annual wage of $338,680.

What type of jobs pay the most in Georgia?

Looking at occupational groups, the types of jobs that pay the most on average in Georgia are positions that fall into these occupational categories:

  1. Management
  2. Legal
  3. Computer and Mathematical
  4. Architecture and Engineering
  5. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical

Methodology

To identify the highest-paying jobs in Georgia, we analyzed all U.S. states, then scored and ranked them based on the following criteria:                           

  • Annual mean wage for occupations, with occupations chosen based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) that categorizes an occupational level as “detailed”; other SOC occupation levels such as “major”, “minor”, and “broad” were excluded for being too general in their occupational title.                                 
  • Hourly mean wage for occupations, with occupations chosen based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) that categorizes an occupational level as “detailed”; other SOC occupation levels such as “major”, “minor”, and “broad” were excluded for being too general in their occupational title.

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Employment Statistics – May 2021