• Doctors are among the most in-demand professionals in India.
  • Earning an MBA opens up high-paying job opportunities.
  • STEM fields can also be lucrative.

That old question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” can be tricky to answer. Money isn’t everything, but it’s nice to find something you enjoy that pays enough to let you spend time on your hobbies too. Some jobs are much more lucrative than others, and smart decision-making early in your career can make a big difference to the salaries you get later in life.

Read on to learn some of the highest-paying jobs available to Indians, as well as what it takes to get a job in the field and what your long-term career progression options might be.

1. Doctors

Average Salary: INR ₹750,0001

Qualifications: MBBS

Qualifying as a doctor is not easy, as would-be medical school applicants need marks of 10 + 2 with a science stream. Plus, the process of going through medical school is intense and challenging. However, doctors are always in demand, and general practitioners can command good salaries. There are options to further specialize and enjoy even higher incomes while focusing on areas of medicine that appeal to you the most, too.

2. Surgeons

Average Salary: INR ₹975,0002

Qualifications: MS (Surgery)

Becoming a surgeon requires many years of intense study, but it’s worthwhile for those who have the aptitude and can handle the pressure of the job. Surgeons earn more than double what general practitioners do, and it’s a job that’s always in demand too. Entry for surgeon programmes is incredibly competitive, but it is possible to train as a mature student after qualifying as a doctor or in an allied health profession, as well as doing direct entry as a younger student.

3. Cabin Crew

Average Salary: INR ₹300,0003

Qualifications: 10 + 2 or Graduation in Any Stream

There’s no need to earn a degree to become an air hostess or a member of a cabin crew, nor is there any need to complete an “Air Hostess” or “Cabin Crew” course. Most airlines will hire people who have completed their secondary education with 12 passing grades, or they’ll take graduates from any stream. Cabin crew need to have a good command of the English language, excellent customer service skills and keen attention to detail.

4. Computer Scientists

Average Salary: INR ₹2,600,0004

Qualifications: Portfolio Matters More Than Degree

Computer science is one of the few professions where having a good portfolio matters more than having a degree. Many computer scientists complete online courses and then contribute to open-source projects to gain experience. Computer scientists benefit from a lot of job flexibility and freedom. They can work on anything from web development or mobile apps to desktop apps for whatever industry interests them. The field is constantly evolving, so a commitment to learning the latest technologies is important for continued success.

5. Business Analysts

Average Salary: INR ₹800,0005

Qualifications: MBA

The highest-earning business analysts have an MBA and have completed courses with the IIMA6 or the IITD7. MBA graduates are in the fortunate position of commanding relatively high salaries straight out of university. They’re also able to move to a variety of different roles within a business, giving them the chance to try out management, analytics, strategic planning, and other roles until they find the areas that interest them the most. This is a good option for people who want flexibility within their careers.

6. Civil Servants

Average Salary: INR ₹624,0008

Qualifications: Depends on Role

The civil service is a large sector that includes everything from uniformed police to administrative positions. Civil servants benefit from good job security and above-average pay, although the entry requirements for professions in this sector are usually higher than with private companies. In addition, there are strict age limits for applicants, so someone looking to enter the IAS should start planning their career around that as early as possible.

7. Chartered Accountants

Average Salary: INR ₹385,5009

Qualifications: ICAI Exam10

While would-be accountants don’t need a degree or formal academic training, they do need to pass some stringent examinations from the ICAI. Only two percent of those who apply to take the exam each year actually go through with the test and pass. Accountants must be organized and have good literacy and numeracy skills. Those who can pass the exams, however, will find their skills are always in high demand.

8. Data Analysts

Average Salary: INR ₹700,00211

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree

Data analysts are highly desirable in a variety of fields, including business and academia. Most data scientists enter the profession through earning a degree in math, computer science or business and then start in a junior admin or reporting role. Data analysts process large amounts of data, generate reports, and help business leaders solve complicated problems. It can be a fascinating and rewarding profession, especially if you find an interesting company to work for.

9. Pilots

Average Salary: INR ₹360,00012

Qualifications: 10+2 With PCM Subjects, Aviation Experience

Earning a commercial pilot license requires a significant investment of time and practice in the air. It can be expensive to get the airtime required for the license, although there are some airlines that offer training to qualified applicants. You have to be aged at least 18 to get your commercial pilot’s license, but it’s possible to have a student license from 16.13 Commercial pilots must meet certain height, weight and eyesight requirements and be in good health. The job is very well paid, but also demanding, and it requires time away from home.

10. Investment Bankers

Average Salary: INR ₹2,200,00014

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or an MBA

Investment banking is a potentially lucrative job that involves dealing with money both for individual clients and large organizations. People who work in finance at this level will need to be highly qualified and also pass background checks that may involve a credit check. The job pays well, even at the entry level, but it can be stressful and require people to put in long hours at the office.

11. Merchant Navy

Average Salary: INR ₹450,000 (for a Deck Cadet)15

Qualifications: 10 + 2 With PCM, Additional Training Required

Joining the merchant navy can be a good way to earn while you learn engineering skills, and there are some naval training courses for other jobs too. Naval officers can command high salaries, and the skills recruits will learn can stand them in good stead when they’re ready to move into the corporate world. It’s not for everyone, but the Navy can kickstart your career.

12. Aeronautical Engineers

Average Salary: INR ₹312,50016

Qualifications: 10 + 2 With Science Stream

Most people enter aeronautical engineering jobs by studying for a bachelor’s degree in a science field, but there are some apprenticeships available. There are many companies in the world of aerospace that are always looking for engineers, and there are opportunities to travel and work for major international companies once you’re qualified. Aerospace engineering is a rapidly growing field in India17, one that is full of opportunities for graduates.

13. Actors

Average Salary: INR ₹500,00018

Qualifications: Basic Secondary Education

Becoming an actor can be harder than it looks. The acting profession is one of the most competitive in the world, especially among the younger age groups. To get the best opportunities, you’ll need to have an impressive portfolio. This means paying your dues with small parts as an extra or in advertisements. Successful actors frequently attend drama schools where they make important networking connections and learn skills to help them in auditions.

14. Lawyers

Average Salary: INR ₹520,00019

Qualifications: LLB

Getting a place on an LLB course at university can be a challenge. Usually, you’ll be competing against numerous high-quality applicants, and you’ll have to take an entrance exam. Should you pass and make it through the rigorous training, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in different kinds of law, depending on what interests you the most. Lawyers work long hours, but once they have experience under their belts, they can command high salaries.

15. Head Chefs

Average Salary: INR ₹480,00020

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree or Training

Experienced chefs, especially those that have training in hospitality management, can earn high salaries. Many chefs go on to lead kitchens in major hotels or restaurants. The salary differences between a line cook and a head chef or executive chef are huge, and it takes a long time to get to the upper levels of the profession. Those with a passion for food, however, will find that being a chef can be rewarding in terms of both job satisfaction and earnings.

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