15 Best Jobs in San Diego in 2023 | Full Requirements

When it comes to choosing a career, location can make all the difference in the world. Take San Diego, for example.

With sunny weather year-round and beautiful beaches along the coast, this top tourist destination can be an ideal home base for those who work in hospitality and tourism-related industries. 

On top of that, San Diego boasts the 15th highest pay rate out of all metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to Glassdoor’s report on job satisfaction and median salary by city.

This reason and more make San Diego one of the best places to work. So, if you are considering building a career in San Diego and you are wondering where to start, this article will help you.

This article contains a list of 15 best paying jobs in San Diego that are worth building a career in.

Why Choose a Job in San Diego?

San Diego is known for its beautiful weather, great beaches, and thriving economy. The city has a wide variety of jobs, making it the perfect place to start your career. 

One interesting thing about San Diego is that it has an expanding job market. The job market in San Diego is growing rapidly, so there are plenty of opportunities for new graduates and professionals looking to enter the workforce.

The city has a diverse economy with many opportunities for growth and advancement.

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15 Best Paying Jobs in San Diego

Here are the best jobs in San Diego:

  1. Cardiologists 
  2. Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  3. Psychiatrists
  4. Physicians
  5. Pediatricians
  6. Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric
  7. Podiatrists
  8. Family Medicine Physicians
  9. Chief Executives
  10. Natural Sciences Managers
  11. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
  12. Lawyers
  13. Computer Hardware Engineers
  14. Financial Directors
  15. Pharmacists

1. Cardiologists 

Average Salary: $356,270

First, on our list of best jobs in San Diego in terms of job role, relevancy and salary is a Cardiologist. This is one of the highest paying jobs in the medical field.

The cardiologist is a medical professional specializing in diagnosing and treating heart diseases. 

The cardiologist typically works in a hospital setting, where they conduct examinations, order tests, and prescribe medications. Besides treating patients, the cardiologist oversees cardiac surgery and provides patient care after surgery. 

There are many roles that a cardiologist can take on within a hospital setting. Some typical functions include physician assistant, clinical research coordinator, medical director, and chief medical officer. 

Regardless of the role, all cardiologists must have a medical doctorate or an equivalent field. Most hospitals require doctors who work as cardiologists to be certified by the American Board of Cardiology (ABC). 

Despite the demanding requirements for becoming a cardiologist, many rewarding career opportunities are available.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a cardiologist makes an average salary of $356,270 annually. Entry-level employees make about $165,610 a year.

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2. Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Average salary: $322,640

Next on our list of best-paying San Diego jobs are obstetricians and gynecologists (OGs). Obstetricians and gynecologists’ primary specialization is helping women throughout their reproductive lives, from prenatal care to post-childbirth support.

The job requires a high level of medical expertise and a lot of skill in dealing with patients. Also, it requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills for effective communication with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals. 

Aside from communication and interpersonal skills, these professionals must work well as part of a team and build relationships with clients.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, obstetricians and gynecologist makes an average salary of $322,640 annually. Entry-level employees make about $171,260. 

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3. Psychiatrists

Average salary: $305,450

Psychiatrists are another profession in San Diego that made our list of the highest paying jobs in the state. 

Psychiatrists are medical professionals with a focus on the identification and treatment of mental illnesses.

Although some also work in hospitals or clinics, psychiatrists typically have private practices. They frequently collaborate with other mental health specialists, like psychologists and social workers, for complete patient care.

A four-year residency in psychiatry, a Board of Psychiatry certification, and a state license are requirements for becoming a licensed psychiatrist.

In addition, you need to be emotionally intelligent and have excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Typically, psychiatrists meet with patients for 30- to 1-hour sessions. During these sessions, they may discuss the patient’s symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns.

They might also request laboratory tests or give prescription drugs to treat their patient’s conditions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatrists make an average salary of $305,450 annually. Entry-level employees make about $143,430. 

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4. Physicians

Average salary: $272,610

In San Diego, physicians are another set of professions that earn high. Due to how vital their roles are and their pay, it has been ranked by BLS as one of the best paying jobs in San Diego.

Regarding their roles, San Diego physicians have a variety of job roles in the health and well-being of San Diegans. 

They provide primary care services to patients and often diagnose and treat illnesses. Physicians typically work long hours but enjoy excellent pay and benefits packages. 

As a result, many consider becoming a physician their first career choice. 

To build on this career, you must have an M.D. or D.O. degree. Aside from that, you must have certification in specialty areas, such as neurology or psychiatry. 

With these qualifications, you can work in hospitals, clinics, or private practices as general practitioners (GPs), family doctors, or specialist doctors. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians make an average salary of $272,610 annually. Entry-level employees make about $63,620. 

5. Pediatricians

Average salary: $242,720 in average yearly pay

Pediatricians come next on our list of the highest paying jobs in San Diego. The healthcare team cannot function without these specialists.

In actuality, they are essential. In essence, they offer complete care for infants, kids, and teenagers.

Most Pediatricians offer preventive care, the diagnosis and treatment of common childhood illnesses, and the coordination of care with specialists when necessary. However, the job role and requirements vary depending on the specific setting.

Additionally, they act as a resource for parents, offering advice on everything from diet to developmental milestones.

To become a pediatrician, you must complete four years of medical school and three years of pediatric residency training. Board certification is necessary. Even though it requires a lot of work, the benefits could be significant.

Pediatricians make an average salary of $242,720 annually. Entry-level employees make about $133,390. 

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6. Ophthalmologists

Average Salary: $239,710

Consider becoming an ophthalmologist if you’re interested in building a lucrative medical career in San Diego.

Ophthalmologists are doctors who treat patients with eye disorders medically and surgically. However, they examine patients’ eyes, identify and treat ailments, and recommend eyewear or contact lenses. They typically perform surgery to treat vision issues.

As an ophthalmologist, You may work extended hours on weekends in hospitals or clinics.

And to be exceptional in this career, you must have a four-year bachelor’s degree and a four-year doctor of medicine (M.D.) Program.

Aside from the degree, you must complete an internship and residency and then get a license to practice medicine. 

According to the U.S. BLS, Ophthalmologists make an average salary of $239,710 annually. Entry-level employees make about $100,960. 

7. Podiatrists

Salary on average: $231,930

Podiatrists are among the best paying jobs in San Diego, with an average salary of $231,930 and an entry-level salary of $136,000. Podiatrists are medical professionals who identify and treat issues with the feet and ankles.

They are frequently the first point of contact for patients with foot and ankle issues in most organizations.

As a podiatrist, you will also treat common conditions like bunions, heel pain, and ingrown toenails. 

Nevertheless, a four-year doctoral program in podiatric medicine is required to become a podiatrist. 

Podiatrists also need to complete a two-year residency program in addition to their medical education. To practice, podiatrists must be licensed by their state after completing their education.

Compassion, critical-thinking abilities, and interpersonal skills are additional prerequisites that anyone can use to excel in this line of work.

According to the U.S. BLS, Podiatrists make an average salary of $231,930 annually. Entry-level employees make about $136,000. 

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8. Family Medicine Doctor

All patients, from newborns to the elderly, must receive comprehensive medical care from family medicine doctors.

One of the primary roles of family medicine doctors is to ensure that everyone in the community has access to high-quality medical care.

They also diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses, offering preventive services like vaccinations and screenings.

To practice this career, a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree from an accredited medical school is required.

Additionally, you must succeed in a challenging board certification test given by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).

According to the U.S. BLS, Family Medicine Doctors make an average salary of $217,910 annually. Entry-level employees make about $29,690.

9. Chief Executive

Among the professions in San Diego, the job of Chief Executive is among the best paying jobs you can opt for if you reside in San Diego.

Basically, the chief executive is in charge of a business or organization’s overall performance and operation. This entails formulating plans, making decisions, and ensuring every procedure goes smoothly.

To qualify for this job, you must have good communication skills. With this skill, you can easily interact with shareholders, clients, customers, and other organization members.

Also, you must be an exceptional excellent leader who can inspire and motivate others to succeed in this position. 

According to BLS, chief executives in San Diego make an average salary of $210,830 annually. At the entry-level, they make up to $82,170 annually.  

10.  Manager of Natural Sciences

Average salary: $197,720

Natural sciences managers direct and coordinate the work of scientists in industries like research and development, forestry, agriculture, and food production. They also create financial plans, timetables, and goals for scientific initiatives.

Most natural sciences managers hold Bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, or physics. Some managers may have A master’s degree or higher.

Many managers have a prior work history in the industry they will be managing. For instance, a forestry program manager might have started out as a forest Ranger.

Managers in the natural sciences typically make $197,720 annually. The starting salary is greater than $111,130 annually. 

11.  Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Average salary: $176,220

The next job on our list of Best paying jobs in San Diego is Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary. 

Health specialties teachers are in high demand in the San Diego area, with many jobs available for those with a degree in the subject matter. 

Most employers prefer applicants with Bachelor’s degree in health care or a related field and experience working with children or adults with disabilities. Some hospitals also require relevant certification or licensure. 

According to BLS, Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary in San Diego, make an average salary of $176,220 annually. At the entry level, they make up to $82,260 annually. 

Besides excellent pay and benefits, many health specialties teachers enjoy awesome job satisfaction thanks to their unique perspectives on medicine and healthcare.

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12. Lawyers

Average salary: $165,480

In San Diego, one of the most important career choices a person can make is choosing a legal professional. Aside from the high pay, the legal profession has a broader range of job opportunities.

Lawyers play an essential role in our society, and with good reason: they are some of the best at what they do. 

The lawyer’s job is to provide legal services to their clients. This means that they will have conversations with their clients and try to devise a solution that works best for both parties involved. 

To become a lawyer in San Diego, you must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university, pass the Bar exam, and have two years of experience as an attorney. 

According to BLS, lawyers in San Diego make an average salary of $165,480 annually. At the entry level, they make up to $78,060 annually. 

13. Computer Hardware Engineers

Average salary: $161,580

Another interesting job that pays well in San Diego is computer hardware engineering. In San Diego, computer hardware engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and manufacturing computer systems, peripherals, and components. 

They must have a strong background in both electrical and mechanical engineering. Required skills include CAD/CAM design, Manufacturing Engineering, programming languages, troubleshooting techniques, and experience with electronic component manufacturing processes. 

To succeed in this career, computer hardware engineers need to work independently and collaborate with other team members. They also must have excellent communication and problem-solving skills.

According to BLS, computer hardware engineers in San Diego make an average salary of $161,580 annually. At the entry-level, they make up to $100,880 annually. 

14. Financial Directors

Average salary: $159,210

Financial director is one of the lucrative positions worth applying for in San Diego. Financial managers are essential to any organization. They are in charge of the business’s financial stability and must keep thorough records of all financial dealings.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance is required for this position, and many people also hold a master’s degree in these fields.

In addition, you must be able to decipher complex financial data and come to wise decisions that will be helpful to the business. You must also communicate clearly with the board of directors and other management personnel.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Directors make an average salary of $159,210 annually. Entry-level employees make about $79,480.

15. Pharmacists

Average salary: $145,790

Finally, on our list of best-paid jobs in San Diego is a pharmacist. Pharmacists are vital healthcare team members and have many essential job roles. 

Most pharmacists work in pharmacies that provide essential medications and services to patients. They work with doctors to prescribe drugs and ensure those medications are delivered to patients safely and effectively.

Pharmacists also help patients understand the benefits, and risks associated with medications. In addition, they educate patients on how to use medication safely and effectively. 

To get this job, you must have an undergraduate degree in pharmacy or a related field, such as health sciences or biology. Then pursue a doctor of pharmacy (DPharm) degree from an accredited school.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists make an average salary of $145,790 annually. Entry-level employees make about $109,790.


What is the job market like in San Diego?

The unemployment rate in San Diego is currently 7%, which is lower than its recent high of 16%. Businesses are currently recruiting and training new employees. According to ZipRecruiter, there are 85,562 open positions. This means that plenty of opportunities are available and just need the right candidate.

What are the highest paying jobs in San Diego?

Here are the high paying jobs in San Diego:

Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric
Family Medicine Physicians
Chief Executives
Natural Sciences Managers
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
Computer Hardware Engineers
Financial Directors

What is the highest paying job in San Diego?

According to BLS, Cardiologist is the highest-paid job in San Diego. 


The best jobs in San Diego are many and varied, and can be found in a variety of industries. Whether you are looking for a career change or just want to find a rewarding job, the options in San Diego are abundant.

Be sure to research each position carefully before applying, as some require more qualifications than others.

However, with hard work and dedication, any job can be enjoyed. So whatever your interests and skills, don’t hesitate to search for the best job in San Diego!



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