Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs in Seattle
By the end of 2022, experts estimate that Seattle, Washington will have a GDP per capita of $85,956.
Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and its GDP has steadily been rising for the last several years. Fortunately, the same is true of the city’s job market. There are plenty of jobs available in the Seattle area, including many that come with high salaries.
Are you interested in finding a job in Seattle? Whether you’re a student who wants to live here after graduation or a seasoned professional who wants to make a career change, our convenient guide provides some very valuable information.
Read on to learn about the highest-paying jobs in Seattle and the highest-paying industries in Seattle. You’ll find out the highest-paying jobs in Seattle for fresh graduates, too, as well as what kinds of degrees you need to qualify for them.
What Salary Is Considered Rich in Seattle?
To give more context to what constitutes the best-paid jobs in Seattle, let’s talk first about the average salary in this city and the cost of living.
The average salary in Seattle is quite a bit lower than the city’s GDP at $66,835 per year. This is just slightly higher than the average salary in the United States, which is $66,665 per year.
If you live in Seattle, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money per month to keep yourself and your loved ones comfortable.
For a family of 4, the estimated monthly costs are a little over $4,300 per month (without rent). For a single person, the estimated monthly costs are a little over $1,200 per month (without rent). When rent is factored in, you’re looking at an additional $1,500 to $3,500 per month on average, depending on the size of your apartment and whether it’s located in or out of the city center.
With all this in mind, it’s safe to say that you’ll need to earn well over $100,000 to be considered “rich” in Seattle. A single person with minimal debt may be able to get by on less and still have a good deal of disposable income, but even they may find it hard to make ends meet in this pricey place.
What Is the #1 Highest-Paid Position in Seattle?
Now that you know how expensive it is to live well in Seattle, let’s talk about the kinds of jobs that can help you earn a $100,000+ salary. Of all the best-paid jobs in Seattle, the number one highest-paid position is a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors and mental health professionals who diagnose and prescribe treatments for a variety of mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder).
The average salary for a psychiatrist in Seattle is $278,900 per year. That’s more than 4 times the average salary for a Seattle resident, so we can confidently assume that most psychiatrists live very comfortably.
If a career as a psychiatrist doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other high-paying jobs available in the Seattle area. Listed below are the top 20 highest-paying jobs in this city, ranked from lowest to highest salary.
Top 5 Highest-Paying Industries in Seattle
Perhaps you know that you want a high-paying job in Seattle, but you aren’t 100 percent sure what you want to do. If this is the case, knowing about the highest-paying industries in Seattle can also be helpful.
Listed below are the top 5 highest-paying industries in the city, complete with a list of the top 3 careers and a breakdown of the job prospects for each field.
After reading through the list above of the top 20 highest-paying jobs in Seattle, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the healthcare industry is one of the highest-paying industries in the city.
There’s a high demand for healthcare workers throughout the United States, and Seattle is no exception. Their salaries align with the demand for these people’s skills, not to mention the amount of time and energy they’ve had to put into developing them.
Top 3 Careers
- Psychiatrists: Average Salary $278,900 per year
- Other Physicians and Ophthalmologists: Average Salary $252,820 per year
- Family Medicine Physicians: Average Salary $245,970 per year
Job Prospects: Because there’s such a great need for healthcare workers in this area, the job prospects for those with medical backgrounds who want to work here look quite promising. If you want to work here as a psychiatrist, physician, nurse, etc., you’ll likely be able to get hired very quickly.
The Seattle area is home to a lot of Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, and Starbucks. Furthermore, there are also plenty of startups and small and medium-sized businesses that have their home bases here. As a result, the business management/admin sector is another one of the highest-paying industries in this city.
Top 3 Careers
- Chief Executive Officers: Average Salary $259,480 per year
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: Average Salary $167,680 per year
- Training and Development Managers: Average Salary $154,890 per year
Job Prospects: The job prospects for those who want to be part of Seattle’s thriving business sector are very promising. From small businesses to major corporations, there are lots of positions available for people of all backgrounds and skill levels, so you’ll likely be able to find a good fit soon after you start your job search.
As the birthplace of Microsoft, it makes sense that Seattle is a tech hub with a booming information technology industry. For those who have a background in computer science, computer engineering, software development, and related fields, there are plenty of high-paying jobs to be found here.
Top 3 Careers
- Computer Hardware Engineers: Average Salary $171,540 per year
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: Average Salary $147,020 per year
- Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers: Average Salary $140,930 per year
Job Prospects: Because there are so many tech companies operating out of Seattle, job prospects look great for those who want to work in this industry. Not only can you earn a high salary being part of this field, but you’ll also find it’s quite easy to find job openings that line up with your experience level and other career preferences.
The finance industry is also a high-paying industry in Seattle. With so many businesses here, it’s understandable that there would be a need for financial experts who can help them manage their money and make smart investments. Plenty of individuals in this area also needs a lot of help from financial planners and advisors.
Top 3 Careers
- Financial Managers: Average Salary $158,670 per year
- Financial Examiners: Average Salary $119,070 per year
- Personal Financial Advisors: Average Salary $116,230 per year
Job Prospects: The job prospects look very good for those with a finance background who want to find work in Seattle. Because there are so many businesses and individuals seeking financial advice and assistance here, you’ll likely be able to get hired soon after you begin looking for jobs.
Postsecondary educators (those who teach at the college or university level) can earn a very high salary in the Seattle area. Because these educators spend so much time in school earning their degrees, it makes sense that they would be paid well for their time and talents.
Top 3 Careers
- Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers: Average Salary $162,410 per year
- Postsecondary Engineering Teachers: Average Salary $125,990 per year
- Postsecondary Environmental Science Teachers: Average Salary $124,540 per year
Job Prospects: There’s plenty of money to be made working in higher education as a postsecondary teacher. However, it’s also important to note that this is a very competitive industry. It may take a while for you to find a job opening in your desired field. Furthermore, after you’ve found an opening, there will be several other people applying for it, all with similar credentials to you, so you will have to be patient during your search.
Top 5 Highest-Paying Jobs in Seattle for Fresh Graduates
Are you a student who wants to earn a great salary right out of the gate? If so, it’s important to know about the highest-paying jobs in Seattle for fresh graduates.
This list isn’t the same as the top 20 list. The average graduate doesn’t come straight out of college and land in a management position, after all.
If you want to find a job that provides a high salary as soon as you graduate, here are the top 5 positions to consider working toward:
Because psychiatrists are the highest-earning professionals in Seattle, it’s not too surprising that they’re also some of the highest-earning recent graduates. For an entry-level psychiatrist, someone who’s fresh from their residency, the average salary is $162,230 (more than double the average Seattle residents income).
Of course, it takes quite a while to become a psychiatrist. In addition to 4 years of undergraduate education and 4 years of medical school, you’ll also need to complete a 4-year residency.
This isn’t a short journey, by any means, but it is a rewarding one. Not only will you be helping people to improve their mental health, but you’ll also be earning a higher-than-average salary as a fresh graduate.
Specialty dentists, such as oral maxillofacial surgeons and pediatric dentists, can enjoy very high salaries even as fresh graduates in Seattle.
The average entry-level salary for a specialty dentist here is $145,280 per year, which is more than 2 times the average Seattle resident’s salary. When you consider how important these professionals’ skills are and how in-demand they are throughout Seattle (and the rest of the country), it’s understandable why they get paid as well as they do.
To become a specialty dentist, you’ll need to complete 4 years of undergrad and 4 years of dental school. You’ll also need to complete at least one additional year of training in your chosen specialty.
A nurse practitioner is an advanced nursing professional who is able to carry out many of the same duties as a physician, including diagnosing patients and writing prescriptions.
The average entry-level salary for a nurse practitioner is $94,440 per year. Over time, they can earn quite a bit more than this, too, with an average salary of $128,960 per year.
Another important point for those who are thinking about becoming nurse practitioners to consider is that they can start their careers sooner than many other medical professionals.
Nurse practitioners need a master’s degree in nursing or a related field, which typically takes about 6 years to complete. This is a lot shorter than the average training period for a physician or surgeon.
For those who want to earn a high salary right after graduation but don’t want to work in the medical field, a career as a software developer might be a good choice.
Software developers are responsible for writing and editing code to create a variety of software programs for businesses and individual clients.
Since Seattle is such a well-known tech hub, it’s not surprising that software developers are in high demand and paid well here. The average entry-level salary for a software developer is $88,230 per year. Over time, they can earn well over $140,000 per year, too.
To become a software developer, you need just a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some programs also expedite the training process and help you learn the skills you need sooner as well.
Computer network architects are responsible for designing and building data networks. This is another high-paying tech career for those who want to earn a high salary right out of school.
The average entry-level salary for a computer network architect is $86,140 per year. Over time, you can earn well over $136,000 per year on average, too.
Another good thing about this job is that you can do it with just a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. If you don’t want to spend close to (or more than) a decade in school, this might be a good career for you.
What Degree Pays Most in Seattle?
To qualify for the best-paid jobs in Seattle, you will need — at a minimum — a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The table below outlines some of the best degree types to consider, along with the potential salary you can earn working in that field.
Medical – Psychiatry
$278,900 per year
Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry
$207,260 per year
$147,020 per year
$140,930 per year
$128,960 per year
There’s no guarantee that you’ll earn a specific salary just because you have a particular degree. However, your chances of earning something close to that amount — and living comfortably in a high-priced city like Seattle — go up quite a bit when you have a degree in one of these subjects.
Apply for the Highest-Paying Jobs in Seattle Today
Now that you know more about the highest-paying jobs in Seattle, do you have a better idea of what kind of career you want to pursue? Whether you’re planning a complete career change or are a student who wants to take classes that will set you up for a lucrative future, you can use the information in this guide to help you make the best decisions.
When you’re ready to start applying for jobs, be sure to check out GrabJobs. GrabJobs is a free job search tool that allows you to find openings based on a variety of criteria, including job type, salary, education requirements, and more. It provides plenty of career resources to help you on your upskilling journey, too.