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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9. Software Engineering / Development Director
Software Engineering / Development Director
Scott W.D. Rankin, 34, is the VP of technology at Corporate Reimbursement Services in Cambridge, Mass.
Best Jobs rank: 18
Median pay: $144,000
Top pay: $202,000

Software engineering directors are in charge of creating new products and helping expand what's possible with software products.

"I like that I have very tangible, direct impact on the success or failure of my projects. I feel much less like a cog in a wheel than at other jobs," says Scott W.D. Rankin, VP of technology at Corporate Reimbursement Services in Cambridge, Mass.

"The ability to explain complex technology to non-technical people has been and continues to be the most valuable skill that I learned," he continues. "Most of the people that make the decisions in a corporate environment are non-technical. If you want to stand a chance of determining your own fate, you need to know how to be able to talk to them in their language."

NEXT: Sales Director

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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