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These are America's Top 15 Highest-Paying Jobs in 2012

Some of them require no advanced degree whatsoever.

That's right, it's time for another "top whatever" list (because we know you like these as much as we do).

Last time we looked at a "top whatever,” we brought you 10 ideas that ended up being worth over 100 million dollars. This time, however, we're going to change it up slightly but keep it in the same vein.

So let’s take a look at 2012's highest paying jobs in America.

By using recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data that breaks down average salaries geographically and by industry, writers at CNBC were able to rank the highest-paying jobs in the U.S.

Now, we’ve already discussed the pros and cons of going to college and the fact that there are plenty of good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.

But did you know that with just a Bachelor’s degree and no advanced degree whatsoever there are some extremely lucrative jobs available? It’s true, and you'll find some of them right here among "the Top 15 Highest Paying Jobs in America" [all photos via Associated Press, all block quotes via CNBC]:

15. Pharmacist

Average Salary: $112,160

Current Employment: 272,320

Pharmacists are not only responsible for dispensing prescription drugs, but they also provide patients with information like potential side effects and correct dosage amounts.

Pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), a 4-year professional degree. They also must be licensed, which requires passing two exams.

The highest paid pharmacists in the country are found in the sparsely populated states of Alaska ($125,330) and Maine ($125,310), according to the BLS. The third highest paying state, however, is California ($122,800) with 22,960 currently employed in the profession.

14. Air Traffic Controller

Average annual salary: $114,460

Current employment: 23,580

Air traffic controllers regulate air traffic, managing the movement of aircraft between various altitudes and areas while following strict safety regulations.

Qualifications to be an air traffic controller include completing an air traffic management degree from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified school, achieving a qualifying score on the FAA pre-employment test, and completing a training course at the FAA Academy, according to the BLS.

Those without previous air traffic control experience (military) must be younger than 31 to become an air traffic controller.

13. Sales Managers

Average annual salary: $116,860

Current employment: 328,230

Sales managers are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the distribution of products and services to corporate clients or customers. The position also involves understanding the marketplace, analyzing sales statistics and monitoring customer preferences.

In order to become an entry level sales manager it highly beneficial to have a bachelor’s degree. However, it is not required by all firms.

California employs the most sales managers with 53,190 employees or 3.79 sales managers per 1000 jobs, while New York has the highest annual average wage at $169,710 for its 15,730 employees.

This number is greatly influenced by the New York Metropolitan area which has the highest annual average wage for cities at $179,210.

12. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Average annual salary: $118,070

Current employment: 68,350

The BLS combines the cockpit crew -- pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer -- into one category.

Tasked with transporting both passengers and cargo, these jobs, more often than not, take place 30,000 feet.

Although they are high paying jobs, they are also among the country’s most stressful -- with long hours and the responsibility for the passengers' safety.

11. Financial Manager

Average annual salary: $120,450

Current employment: 477,690

Financial managers can be involved in a range of activities, including planning directing or coordinating the accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities and other financial concerns of a branch, office or department, according to the BLS.

Financial managers must usually have a bachelor’s degree and more than five years of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as loan officer, accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

10. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Average annual salary: $124,160

Current employment: 1,230

This job concentrates on applying principles of psychology to the workplace, for human resources, administration, management, sales and marketing.

This type of psychologist helps to shape policy, trains employees and undertakes organizational analysis, working with management to improve worker productivity.

This is an uncommon profession: the BLS only collects data on industrial-organizational psychologists in Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.

Industrial-organizational psychologists need a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in psychology. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification.

9. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Average annual salary: $125,660

Current employment: 300,830

For computer and information systems managers, their primary job is to coordinate activities in data processing, information systems, systems analysis and computer programming.

Generally, this type of position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field. Then they need an additional five years of experience before rising to this position.

The top paying industry for computer and information systems managers is motion pictures and video. Individuals in those areas receive an annual mean wage of $162,520 according to the BLS.

The city with the highest concentration of this job is Washington, D.C where 5.73 out of every 1000 jobs are computer and information systems managers.

8. Marketing Managers

Average annual salary: $126,190

Current employment: 168,410

Tasked with organizing marketing policies and programs, marketing managers determine demand for products and services offered by their firm.

They also identify new customers, develop pricing strategies and strive to maximize company profits and market share. This position does not require a degree, but a bachelor’s degree is highly recommended.

The top paying metropolitan area for marketing managers is Framingham, Massachusetts with an average annual salary of $170,610. However, New York ($163,480) and New Jersey ($146,970) are the highest paying states for marketing managers’ services.

7. Natural Science Managers

Average annual salary: $128,230

Current employment: 47,510

Natural Sciences managers plan, direct or coordinate activities in life sciences, physical sciences, math and other science-related fields, according to the BLS.

A relatively broad career path, natural science managers work in various areas of the economy, including research and development, pharmaceuticals, agricultural engineering and even government.

Natural sciences managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or a related field. Most natural sciences managers work as scientists before becoming managers.

Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina has the highest concentration of jobs in a metropolitan area with 5.13 natural science managers per thousand jobs. Olympia, Washington comes in second with 3.03 per thousand.

6. Architectural and Engineering Managers

Average annual salary: $129,350

Current employment: 184,530

Architectural and engineering managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in architecture and engineering, including research and development in these fields. Most of their work is done in an office.

Before becoming an architectural and engineering manager, one must complete a bachelor’s degree and have at least five years of related experience in their field.

Employment of architectural and engineering managers is expected to grow by nine percent in the decade from 2010 to 2020 -- slower than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

In 2011, Alaska was the highest paying state for this occupation with an average mean wage of $160,640.

The industries that pay the most for this occupation are pipeline transportation of crude oil ($186,800) and oil and gas extraction ($167,060).

Click here to see America’s top 5 highest paying job in 2012

Front page photo source: shutterstock.

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