Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in North Carolina 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Stephen Ramotowski
June 20, 2024 · 14 min read

Discover the top 10 highest paying job opportunities in North Carolina for 2024, including Nurse Practitioner and Chief Information Officer roles. Find your dream job now!

In this article, we’ll explore the detailed list of the highest-paying NC jobs that you need to know. Keep on reading to know their job descriptions, employment opportunities, salary information, and requirements.

Tucked on the southeastern coast of the United States, North Carolina offers the best of both worlds regarding a thriving economy and quality of life.

Not only that, but the state also provides an inviting appeal for people seeking lucrative job opportunities in various industries.

North Carolina boasts of a flourishing job market with top jobs in technology, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, transportation, and research. There were 295,000 job openings in the state in December 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

After studying information gathered by ZipRecruiter in many industries, we determined the highest-paid jobs.

The data science team then supplements that data by continuously scanning through millions of job postings daily to find published salaries.

Then, our team looked at the salary data set, calculated the weighted average of these inputs to produce an estimated salary for each job, and took time to rank the highest-paying jobs this year.

That said, here’s a detailed list of the highest-paying jobs available in North Carolina, along with the full job description, requirements, and the estimated salary for the particular job title.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in North Carolina (Inc Salaries)

1. Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists' job duties include administering the proper dosage of anesthetics and analgesics to patients pre-, during, and post-surgery. These professionals help ensure patients are pain-free and comfortable during surgery or recovery. They work alongside surgeons and physicians to ensure effective and safe doses are given accordingly.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become an anesthesiologist in North Carolina, you will need a bachelor’s degree in any science-related field like biology, chemistry, or pharmacy.

Then, you need to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and attend medical school to obtain a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

After this, you will complete a four-year residency in anesthesiology, pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA), and get board certification. Optionally, you may take fellowship training and gain experience in surgical centers, hospitals, or similar settings.

Job Outlook

Employment of Anesthesiologist jobs in Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC metropolitan area is the third highest among all states, with 190 positions and 0.15 employment per thousand jobs.

BLS categorizes Anesthesiologists under Physicians and Surgeons and projects that the sector will grow by 3% from 2022 to 2032. This means that there will be 24,200 job openings per year until 2032.

Salary Information

Anesthesiologists receive an average yearly salary of $350,500 with up to $85,600 of average annual additional pay.

2. Cardiologist

Cardiologists specialize in diagnosing, treating, managing, and preventing conditions and diseases related to the heart and cardiovascular system. They conduct physical exams and perform procedures like angioplasty, stent placement, and cardiac catheterization. They also interpret diagnostic tests, offer lifestyle counseling, and work with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive cardiac care.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a cardiologist in North Carolina, you must obtain a bachelor's degree in pre-medical science courses.

You must also take the MCAT, earn an MD or DO degree, complete your cardiology or internal medicine residency, and get a cardiology fellowship.

Additionally, you must also pass the USMLE or COMLEX-USA to get a medical license, obtain board certification in cardiology, and render a few years of experience in a hospital, clinic, or private practice.

Job Outlook

North Carolina has about 330 cardiologist positions and 0.071 employment per 1000 jobs. BLS identifies cardiologists as under the physicians and surgeons category, projected to grow by 3% by 2032. Specifically, there are an estimated 18,600 job openings for cardiologists by 2032.

Salary Information

If you read about the top tier commonly found positions with upper quadrant annual salaries, cardiologists are one of them, with a $307,300 average yearly pay.

3. Chief Medical Officer

A Chief Medical Officer oversees operations and medical staff in an organization, center, or hospital. CMOs keep the quality of patient care high by managing healthcare programs, supervising large-scale projects, implementing clinical protocols, and observing a privacy policy.

As one of the service jobs, they also work with patients, collaborate with other departments and public health employees, or cooperate with social workers for strategic planning and decision-making.

Lastly, they uphold the standards of patient safety and medical practice by staying updated with regulatory requirements and the latest technology.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

As much as physicians, becoming a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in North Carolina calls for a bachelor's degree and then an MD or DO degree.

You must also complete a residency in a specialty such as pediatrics, surgery, or internal medicine.

Additionally, fellowship training for medical leadership, hospital management, or healthcare administration is highly recommended.

After licensure and board certification, gain experience as a practicing physician for at least five years and preferably serve in administrative positions for a few more years.

Job Outlook

Chief Medical Officers are among Medical and Health Services management jobs. This sector has 12,230 positions in North Carolina and an employment of about 2.6 per 1000 jobs.

According to BLS, the employment rate for this role is projected to grow by 28% until 2032, much faster than the average rate for all occupations. This also means there will be an average of about 54,700 job openings annually in the coming years.

Salary Information

The median annual salary for Chief Medical Officers is $293,700, plus an additional pay averaging $121,000 per year.

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4. Podiatrist

Podiatrists are medical professionals who also deliver surgical and care services for patients with problems in the feet, ankles, or lower legs. They assess and diagnose patients' conditions to develop the appropriate treatment or management.

While some podiatrists focus on surgery, other specialties include pediatrics, sports medicine, and diabetic foot care.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Becoming a podiatrist in NC requires earning an undergraduate degree in healthcare or related fields, getting passing MCAT scores, and continuing to obtain a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree.

The next step is completing a 3-year podiatric medicine and surgery residency program wherein practical and clinical experiences are gained.

Upon completing the residency, you must take the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE) and fulfill other state requirements to become a licensed podiatrist.

While optional, having Board certifications from esteemed organizations, such as the American Board of Podiatric Medicine or the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, is recommended since it will expand your credibility and career prospects.

Job Outlook

The employment of podiatrists is projected to have little to no change in the next few years until 2032. However, it is still projected to have an average of 300 job openings for the role each year.

With 40 podiatrist positions, the Piedmont, North Carolina area is the top nonmetropolitan area with the highest employment, concentration of jobs, location quotients, and pay for podiatrists in the US.

The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC metropolitan area is also among the top-paying areas for podiatrists.

Salary Information

Podiatrists in North Carolina are paid an average of $287,700 annually. The average estimated additional pay is about $158,400.

5. Neurologist

Neurologists specialize in diagnosing, managing, and treating diseases of the nervous system, including the brain, nerves, spinal cord, and even muscles.

They focus primarily on nonsurgical practices like rehabilitation therapies, medication, and lifestyle modification.

Other duties include performing neurological examinations and diagnostic tests and collaborating with other specialists for a holistic treatment plan.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

The steps to becoming a neurologist in North Carolina include completing a bachelor’s degree in any science course, earning a medical degree with either an MD or DO, and doing neurology-inclined coursework or clinical practice.

Next, you need to complete a four-year residency in neurology and obtain a medical license by passing the USMLE or COMLEX-USA and meeting state requirements for licensure.

Optionally, you could also pursue a neurology fellowship, apply for board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), and continue medical education.

Job Outlook

BLS classifies neurologists under Physicians and Surgeons, a sector predicted to grow 3% by 2032. This means there will be an average of 12,500 job openings for neurologists annually until 2032.

Salary Information

The median annual pay for neurologists is about $229,800, and the additional pay averages about $51,000 yearly.

6. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are doctors who provide health services, counseling, and care to women concerning the reproductive system, pregnancy, and birth. OB/GYNs diagnose and plan management or treatment for various health issues experienced by women which include hormonal imbalance, ovarian cysts, cervical cancer, and menopause-related symptoms.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

Becoming an obstetrician and gynecologist involves an undergraduate pre-med education, such as a bachelor's degree in biology and other sciences. The next step is earning a medical degree focusing on obstetrics and gynecology-related clinical experience and coursework.

After that, you must complete a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology, obtain licensure and board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), and gain training and experience in the field.

Job Outlook

Obstetricians and gynecologists are categorized by BLS under Physicians and Surgeons, the projected employment growth for which is a 3% increase until 2032. Specifically, there is an estimated 2% increase in OB/GYN employment, with a yearly average of 23,400 expected job openings by 2032.

Salary Information

OB/GYNs receive a median annual salary of about $243,200.

7. General Surgeon

General Surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in performing surgical procedures for various reasons and conditions. They provide pre-surgical diagnosis, examination, evaluations, post-surgical care, and monitoring.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a general surgeon in NC, you need to complete a pre-medical undergraduate degree, get the required scores in the MCAT for admission to a medical school, earn a medical degree, complete residency training in general surgery, and obtain licensure to practice medicine.

You could also pursue a fellowship in subspecialties of surgery. Experience in clinical practice and a board certification from the American Board of Surgery (ABS) will also improve your proficiency and competence in the field.

Job Outlook

The employment of Physicians and Surgeons is projected to grow by 3% until 2032. Specifically, the employment of surgeons is expected to increase by 2%, and there will be an average of 60,600 job openings yearly.

Salary Information

General surgeons receive an average annual salary of $242,900, with about $79,300 additional pay each year.

8. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) like nurse midwives and nurse practitioners.

This type of APRN administers anesthesia and care for patients in their homes or hospitals before, during, and after procedures requiring anesthesia.

They also monitor their patient's vital signs and adjust the anesthesia accordingly. Nurse anesthetists typically work alongside surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and physicians.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

A nurse anesthetist is a registered nurse with specialized graduate education. So, to become one, you must first become a registered nurse by completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, gaining clinical experience as a registered nurse, and completing a master's or doctoral degree in a nurse anesthesia program.

Then, you have to pass the National Certification Examination (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) and then become a licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). After this, you should maintain and renew your CRNA certification and license according to North Carolina's regulations.

Job Outlook

Overall employment for APRNs like nurse anesthetists is projected to grow by 38% until 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Specifically, nurse anesthetist employment is expected to increase by 9%, with 53,800 yearly job openings by 2032.

The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia and Raleigh areas in NC are among the metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in Nurse Anesthetists in 2020.

Raleigh was listed among regions with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients, while the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC area was one of the top-paying metropolitan areas for Nurse Anesthetists in the same year.

Salary Information

Nurse anesthetists in NC, on average, are paid $234,200 yearly, with an estimated additional pay of about $53,800 per year.

9. General Counsel

General counsel jobs are similar to senior executives acting as the chief legal officer in an organization, corporation, or government agency.

A general counsel provides legal advice and guidance in risk management, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and contracts.

In government jobs, general counsels help draft regulations, interpret laws, organize enforcement procedures, and represent the government in cases.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become a general counsel, you first need to be a lawyer by obtaining a law or Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and a state license, which requires you to pass a bar exam.

Then, gain some legal experience by working in law firms or legal departments.

Lastly, you might also need certain certifications and registrations depending on the specific position.

Job Outlook

General counsels are classified under lawyers. The BLS projects that employment in this sector will increase by 8% until 2032, with about 39,100 openings yearly.

Salary Information

General counsels earn a median annual salary of $209,800 with an additional pay averaging around $142,500 every year.

10. Airline Pilot

Airline pilots were included in the list of highest paying jobs in USA and work by flying and navigating aircraft like airplanes and helicopters. They also ensure the safety and operability of the aircraft before each flight.

With that said, pilots' responsibilities may include checking fuel supply, monitoring their experience in weight limits, aircraft maintenance, making and submitting flight plans, and coordinating air traffic control, takeoffs, and landings.

They must be knowledgeable in responding and decision-making during emergencies and using flight instruments and systems.

Educational Requirements and Credentials

To become an airline pilot, you must first earn a bachelor's degree in engineering, transportation, or business.

Then, you need to undergo flight training with an independent Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight instructor or aviation school.

Another option is to enroll in universities and colleges that offer aviation degrees with pilot training.

Afterwards, you need to secure FAA certificates and ratings, Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification, and work experience in the aviation industry.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for airline and commercial pilots to grow by 4% until 2032, with an average of 16,800 job openings per year.

Employment of airline pilots in the metropolitan area of North Carolina is listed among regions with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineer, with 1,920 positions, a 1.52 employment per thousand jobs, and a location quotient of 2.5.

Salary Information

The average annual salary for airline pilots is around $194,500, with additional pay averaging $43,000 per year.


After you combed through the data to identify the profession in North Carolina that fits you perfectly, you’re probably pleasantly surprised that these positions can also get you rich while contributing to the communities we serve.

Earning a BBA or MBA degree is advantageous if you want to thrive in these high-paying jobs, and Nexford can help you with that. This online American university offers 100% online education designed to prepare people in their workplace wherever they are.

This strategic move will qualify you better jobs and boost your chances of securing and excelling in high paying jobs in North Carolina, especially for supervisory and managerial positions.


What is the highest-paying job in North Carolina in 2024?

An anesthesiologist will be the highest-paying job in North Carolina in 2024, with an estimated total pay of $436,000 annually. The yearly salary range for this position is $328,000 up to $586,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which North Carolina jobs are projected to have the highest level of growth?

The North Carolina jobs projected to have the highest level of growth are APRNs like Nurse Anesthetists.

The employment for this role is expected to grow by 38% in the next few years until 2032, with an average of 29,200 expected job openings annually.

What is the best career path in North Carolina in 2024?

Based on average salary, current employment, and job outlook, the best career path in North Carolina in 2024 is a Chief Medical Officer.

Since many healthcare-related jobs are among the highest paying jobs in North Carolina, you can gain relevant work experience while earning well.

To improve your competency and increase your chances of getting manager jobs like Chief Medical Officer or Chief Information Officer, consider enrolling in an online BBA or MBA degree.

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What skills or expertise is required for high-paying North Carolina jobs?

To find high-paying jobs in North Carolina on, you need a combination of soft and hard skills.

Soft skills include compassion, attention to detail, resourcefulness, patience, interpersonal skills, leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills.

On the other hand, hard skills are industry-specific technical skills, advanced degrees and specialization, record-keeping and administrative skills, and practical knowledge.

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What qualifications are required for high-paying North Carolina jobs?

Job post details show that the basic qualifications for high-paying North Carolina jobs include a bachelor's degree, an MD or DO degree, licensure, board certifications, and relevant training and work experience.

Why is gaining a BBA/MBA degree beneficial to gain a high-paying job in NC?

An online MBA or BBA program will provide invaluable knowledge and skills in managing resources and staff in a wide range of industries. These will expand your career options and increase your value and pay.

About the author
Stephen Ramotowski
Stephen Ramotowski

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