20 highest-paying jobs

Anesthesiologists take home a median $290,000 salary annually. What other great careers from Money and PayScale.com's list of Best Jobs in America offer big paychecks?

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17. Research & Development Manager
Research & Development Manager
Keith Swenson, 51, is the VP of R&D at Fujitsu America and chief software architect for the Interstage family of BPM products.
Best Jobs rank: 39
Median pay: $116,000
Top pay: $156,000
Companies spend millions creating new products, from software to potato chips. Research and development managers are in charge of taking new ideas and making them a reality.

"I always describe programming as: solving puzzles as a job. Programming is like having a job where you solve Soduku or crossword puzzles full time," says Keith Swenson, VP of R&D at Fujitsu America, where his work involves overseeing programming. "It is not easy to find the right solution that has the proper balance between power and usability."

"Software development is more like the fine arts than it is manufacturing," he adds. "A great programmer is better compared to Michelangelo than to Henry Ford."

NEXT: Computer and Information Scientist

Last updated October 11 2010: 8:13 AM ET
Source: All pay data from PayScale.com
Note: We looked at jobs from the top 100 with the highest top pay. Median salary is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile.
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