October 29, 2003
Women working full time in professional specialty occupations earned an average of $773 per week in 2002—more than women earned in any other major occupational category.
Among professional specialty occupations, women working as engineers, computer scientists, physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, and lawyers had the highest median weekly earnings.
Women’s share of full-time employment in professional specialty occupations rose from 46.8 percent in 1983 to 53.1 percent in 2002.
Women and men traditionally have worked in different specific occupations within the professional occupational category, a pattern that continued in 2002. For example, women were less likely than men to be employed in some of the highest-paying occupations, such as engineers and mathematical and computer scientists. Instead, women were more likely to work in lower paying professional occupations, such as teachers.
The Current Population Survey is the source of these data. To learn more, see "Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2002," BLS Report 972 (PDF 188K). Earnings data in this article are annual averages of median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers. The median wage estimate is the boundary between the highest paid 50 percent and the lowest paid 50 percent of workers in that occupation—half of the workers earn more than the median wage, and half of the workers earn less.