Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Average IQ by occupation (estimated from median income)

++Addition++After reading multiple comments critiquing the post for the same thing, it's clear that I did a poor job of explaining what the table purports to show. It's not supposed to be an exact measure of IQ by profession by any means, as it is based entirely on average annual income figures. In other words, it's an income table with the values converted to IQ scores (and thus, as silly girl points out, it's a bit of a mislabeling on my part, although that is the point--to get an instinctive feel for how related IQ and income are at the career level).

As Saint Louis notes, physicists and astronomers are surely understated, while physicians and surgeons are overstated. Some of that, again, is a result of the prerequisite training required to enter those medical fields, and some is a result of the full workload and working conditions doctors and surgeons face relative to that of astronomers or chemical engineers.


Career Cast recently published a list ranking 200 major occupations from best to worst, as measured by five criteria. One of those is income, displayed as the median earnings in a field plus a small premium based on income growth potential.

While income is positively correlated with IQ, it's obviously not perfectly so. Nonetheless, the following table estimates average IQ scores by occupation solely on the basis of the Career Cast mid-level income figures. The median salary (of a paralegal assistant) is taken to correspond to an IQ of 100. One standard deviation is assumed to be 15 IQ points:

1. Surgeon234.1
2. Physician161.1
3. Corporate executive148.0
4. Psychiatrist147.7
5. Dentist140.0
6. Orthodontist131.2
7. Podiatrist129.1
8. Judge127.9
9. Attorney127.8
10. Petroleum engineer126.1
11. Pharmacist126.1
12. Physicist124.9
13. Commercial airline pilot124.9
14. Astronomer124.5
15. Financial planner122.8
16. Nuclear engineer121.1
17. Optometrist120.7
18. Aerospace engineer120.2
19. Mathematician119.8
20. Public relations executive118.1
21. Economist116.9
22. Actuary116.9
23. Software engineer116.9
24. Meteorologist116.0
25. School principal116.0
26. Physician assistant115.6
27. Electrical engineer115.2
28. Web developer115.2
29. Construction foreman114.8
30. Geologist114.4
31. Veterinarian114.4
32. Computer systems analyst112.7
33. Mechanical engineer112.6
34. Civil engineer112.2
35. Industrial engineer111.8
36. Biologist111.4
37. Physical therapist111.4
38. Statistician111.0
39. Architect111.0
40. Computer programmer110.1
41. Occupational therapist109.7
42. Sociologist109.7
43. Chiropractor108.9
44. Chemist108.9
45. Stockbroker108.6
46. Dental hygienist108.4
47. Psychologist108.0
48. Speech pathologist107.6
49. Registered nurse107.2
50. Historian106.8
51. Technical writer106.8
52. Occupational safety/health inspector106.7
53. Audiologist106.7
54. Market research analyst106.4
55. Advertising account executive106.3
56. Fashion designer106.0
57. Philosopher105.9
58. Accountant105.5
59. Farmer105.1
60. Industrial designer104.7
61. Insurance underwriter104.7
62. Telephone installer and repairer104.6
63. Zoologist104.2
64. Communications equipment mechanic103.8
65. Loan officer103.4
66. Purchasing agent103.4
67. Engineering technician103.4
68. Medical technologist103.4
69. Author103.0
70. Undertaker103.0
71. Librarian103.0
72. Surveyor103.0
73. Railroad conductor103.0
74. Conservationist102.9
75. Anthropologist102.5
76. Vocational counselor102.5
77. Highway patrol officer102.5
78. Aircraft mechanic102.5
79. Respiratory therapist102.5
80. Dietitian102.1
81. Mail carrier102.1
82. Motion picture editor101.8
83. Sales representative101.8
84. Publication editor101.7
85. Archeologist101.7
86. Physiologist101.7
87. Stationary engineer101.7
88. Teacher101.7
89. Electrical equipment repairer101.7
90. Newscaster101.4
91. Tax examiner100.9
92. Buyer100.9
93. Police officer100.9
94. Actor100.8
95. Stenographer100.5
96. Museum curator100.5
97. Electrician100.0
98. Bricklayer100.0
99. Parole officer100.0
100. Paralegal assistant100.0
101. Tool-and-die maker100.0
102. Insurance agent99.7
103. Personnel recruiter99.6
104. Hotel manager99.6
105. Plumber99.6
106. Architectural drafter99.6
107. Firefighter99.2
108. Set designer99.2
109. Artist (fine art)98.8
110. Industrial machine repairer98.7
111. Advertising salesperson98.4
112. Clergy98.4
113. Sheet metal worker97.5
114. Heating and refrigeration mechanic97.5
115. Real estate agent97.1
116. Photojournalist97.1
117. Flight attendant97.1
118. Construction machinery operator97.1
119. Social worker97.1
120. Sewage plant operator97.1
121. Licensed practical nurse97.0
122. Stevedore96.6
123. Carpenter96.6
124. Corrections officer96.6
125. Choreographer96.3
126. Automobile body repairer96.2
127. Plasterer96.2
128. Office machine repairer96.2
129. Machinist96.2
130. Truck driver96.2
131. Carpet and tile installer95.8
132. Drywall applicator and finisher95.8
133. Computer service technician95.8
134. Nuclear decontamination technician95.8
135. Glazier95.4
136. Sailor95.4
137. Medical laboratory technician95.4
138. Automobile mechanic95.0
139. Dental laboratory technician95.0
140. Welder94.9
141. Newspaper reporter94.6
142. Jeweler94.5
143. Meter reader94.5
144. Roofer94.5
145. Bus driver94.5
146. Appliance repairer94.5
147. Painter94.5
148. Agricultural scientist94.5
149. Ironworker94.5
150. Machine tool operator94.5
151. Broadcast technician94.2
152. Piano tuner94.1
153. Musical instrument repairer94.1
154. Compositor/typesetter94.1
155. Optician94.1
156. Bookkeeper94.1
157. Typist94.1
158. Electrical technician94.0
159. Garbage collector93.7
160. Roustabout93.7
161. Dairy farmer93.7
162. Lumberjack93.7
163. Bookbinder93.3
164. Telephone operator93.3
165. Medical records technician93.3
166. Travel agent93.3
167. Drill-press operator93.3
168. Photographer92.9
169. Emergency medical technician92.8
170. Vending machine repairer92.8
171. Furniture upholsterer92.8
172. Forklift operator92.8
173. Medical secretary92.8
174. Construction worker92.4
175. Butcher92.4
176. Disc jockey92.1
177. Precision assembler92.0
178. Shipping and receiving clerk92.0
179. Automobile assembler91.6
180. Dressmaker91.6
181. Photographic process worker91.2
182. Receptionist90.7
183. Barber90.3
184. Guard90.3
185. Nurse's aid90.3
186. Bank teller90.3
187. Cosmetologist89.9
188. Teacher's aide89.9
189. Shoe maker and repairer89.9
190. Recreation worker89.5
191. Janitor89.5
192. Chauffeur89.5
193. Taxi driver89.0
194. Retail salesman88.6
195. Child care worker88.2
196. Maid88.2
197. Bartender87.8
198. Waiter87.8
199. Cashier87.7
200. Dishwasher87.7

With the exception of an astronomical score for surgeons and one in the stratosphere for physicians, it's pretty predictable. And when I say that, I mean the scores are about what you'd predict to see if someone showed you a list of IQ by occupation without informing you of how the scores were determined. Pay is generally commensurate with an occupation's cognitive demands, which is why the list has a great deal of face validity.

The apparent misrepresentations are the ones that irritate me the most, perhaps exposing me for an IQ meritocrat (or maybe its a visceral disdain for high IQ vampires who use their intelligence to parasitically suck the blood of their productive neighbors). I'm skeptical that nuclear engineers are, on average, 'less intelligent' than attorneys or that software engineers tend to have lower IQs than physicians.

Some of this is a result of credentialism, with medical school requirements being more difficult to fulfill than various certification requirements for software developers, even though being a successful software developer requires a higher IQ than being a doctor does. Some of it the result of the personal interaction premium, where, relative to the objective value people create, those who do so largely through direct communication with other people enjoy greater remuneration for their efforts (this trend is generally beneficial for women at the expense of men).

Of course, some of this 'dissonance' is due to crucial factors other than intelligence. Corporate executives need high executive function and strong leadership capabilities, while aerospace engineers, despite presumably having higher average IQs, do not have nearly as demanding non-IQ requirements for success.

Parenthetically, follow AE on twitter @AudaciousEpigon.


Jokah Macpherson said...

I don't see "Epigone" on the list anywhere but I guess that's what your day job is for.

This sounds kind of similar to some of the stuff Half Sigma has written, and I believe that it is mostly true, but money is only one small piece of the puzzle. A higher IQ person who doesn't earn his or her potential still hopefully is able to do something they like and lead an interesting life. This topic is on my mind since a friend of mine expressed concern he's in a dead end clerical job at age 29.

Off topic, but my captcha for this comment was "phapre," which is funny if you say it out loud.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a doctor, I think the estimates of physician's (161) and surgeon's IQ's(234) are terribly flawed. In my experience most doctors probably fall in the range of 115 to 140. 115 is probably adequate for the job, and given that minimum, their success is correlated with work ethic and drive, not IQ. Additionally, the list underestimates numerous occupations. For example, mathematician: 119. ?! I would think 140 or so, based on the graduate school math types I've been acquainted with. I believe many of the engineering professions are also underestimated, with 115 probably the minimum necessary IQ in engineering, the average should be higher. And many of the blue collar jobs listed at 100 and below require significant analytical and quantitative aptitude, probably at least 110 IQ. Corporate executive: 147? Most CEO types are persuasive communicators and leaders with IQ's around 115-125 give or take. An IQ above 140 is probably a barrier to success in most fields.
Finally, technical writer, 106? Woah. Obviously income does not correlate perfectly with IQ. The outliers do stick out.

Saint Louis said...

Overrated by this measurment:

Surgeon (234.1): obviously, since by definition the number of people in the world with an IQ 10 standard deviations above the mean is between zero and one

Physician (161.1): again, obvious; there are certainly some at that level, but it's not the median

Corporate exec (148.0): probably more like 125-130 with great people skills

Financial planner (122.8): similar to corporate execs, but minus about 10-12 IQ points


Judge (127.9): Either judges are underrated or attorneys are overrated. The average judge is quite a bit smarter than the average attorney (certainly more then 0.1 IQ points). I'd drop about 3 points off from attorneys and add about 3 to judges. Then again, if this is including all sorts of local magistrates, etc., then maybe it is accurate.

Physicist (124.9): I would think this is about the minimum to enter the field, not the median. Then again, there could be a lot of them out there with lower verbal IQs dragging down their scores.

Astonomer (124.5), Nuclear Engineer (121.1), Aerospace Engineer (120.2): see Physicist

What might be going on with the three previous ones is that many of them are likely government workers. They probably enjoy amazing benefits and pension packages. If benefits were included in the calculation, you'd probably see higher numbers for them.

Philosopher (105.9): this is probably about 30 points too low; this is a job our society clearly doesn't value

One that caught my attention:

Clergy (98.4): this must include evangelical ministers, mega-church pastors, and black preachers; if you only measured Catholic priests and those from the mainline protestant groups, I bet it would be more like 110; Catholic and Episcopal bishops are probably more like 125

Anonymous said...

If you remove medical and business oriented professions and readjust accordingly the results would probably be closer to what they really are.

Saint Louis said...

Regarding what I wrote about clergy: the median IQs I posited are what I suspect they actually are, not what their median salaries would suggest.

Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to see a slight inverse relationship between remuneration and IQ among clergy. After all, a lot very bright Catholic priests take vows of poverty. Meanwhile, a lot of intellectually middling (but with high charisma) evangelicals and mega-church pastors probably rake in the dough.

silly girl said...

dishwasher 87? that seems high

As for clergy, they have pretty high verbal GRE scores on average, so they can't be too stupid. Now, of course that only applies to those denominations that require GRE scores for applicants to the M.Div. programs, and those GRE numbers also include students who don't have M.Div as their degree objective. Do Rabbis have to take the GRE to go to seminary?

This ranking method is interesting a la IQ and the Wealth of Nations and yeah, there are other factors in play, which is, why it really is somewhat mislabeled. It is more like an IQ/ambition vs. income index. If IQ and drive were somehow combined into a single score, then it would make more sense.

pconroy said...

Computer Programmer is way too low - this should be in the 120-160 range, with a median IQ of about 130.

I agree with Anonymous's (#2) estimates for physician, 114-140, as I'm married to one and know many socially, and none are intellectuals, but all hard working, with a median IQ of about 120.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Income is frequenty a poor proxy for IQ. Wages are determined for economic reasons only some of which are related to ability. Clergy and ag scientists are example.

New York City is awash with high IQ taxi drivers (many with PhDs) who do to various reasons can't practice their chosen fields, and few of the best performers on Broadway have escaped stints as waiters.

There is some relationship between the two, but this is really nothing more than an income chart with misleading units.

Florida resident said...

Charles Murray on Turkheimer's paper about heritability of IQ


Steve Sailer said...


How well do these career labels match up to the ones used in the GSS? If they match well enough, then you could correlate pay to scores on the GSS vocabulary test. It would be fun to look at outliers, such as "author."

Audacious Epigone said...


I'm going to give it a shot this weekend. There are not nearly 200 job categories with sample sizes large enough for a comparison in the GSS, though--we're probably looking at 30 or so.

dearieme said...

"Surgeon (234.1)": good God, someone's dug up Isaac Newton and taught him to be a sawbones.

Pablo Gibson said...

I was browsing through your blog anepigone.blogspot.com and found very interesting contents on money and finance which are pretty informative. I was hoping I could write a guest post on your blog with an article related to your blog, I believe this will be of interest to your readers.
The article will be entirely unique, written just for your blog and will not be posted elsewhere. I hope I can produce informative and viscid content for you. If you’re interested in this idea, please get back to me.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Pablo Gibson

Anonymous said...

This is a plainly ridiculous post.

radar said...

So I suppose that professional athletes routinely have 300+ IQ? Hehe...

Interesting list, though.

Anthony said...

It would be interesting to recalculate assuming a log-normal distribution of income. I suspect that medical folks will still be over-represented, but not nearly so badly. A while back I looked at U.S. income statistics, and it appeared that the standard deviation for a log-normal distribution was about 0.375.

Stopped Clock said...

Door-to-door salesman: 72.9

I was almost sucked into working a job like that, but I did some research on the Internet first and saved myself the trouble (they do business with different names, and actually charge you money to sign up, knowing that 90% of people are gonna quit when they find out what it is).

Audacious Epigone said...


I haven't played around much with the LONGNORMDIST function in excel, but that would reduce the absurdly high values for things like surgeon (and professional athlete, too, if that was a broad job category actually reported on!)

Lover of Wisdom said...


Could you post a second chart next to this one with the actual IQs of those professions? I think it could help the readers see the difference between the actual IQ of the profession and what society value's in terms of IQ.

Malcolm Y said...

Never knew basketball players were geniuses.

Mike Courtman said...

So now we know, doctors and dentists are overpaid relative to their intelligence.

I guess in their defence, medical workers would say they are paid more than other workers because they work harder and tend to be under higher stress levels than most educated workers.

Relative to intelligence, journalism would have to be one of the worst paying jobs.

Writing quickly and accurately to tight deadlines about topics which you may not know much about requires a far amount of intelligence and hard work, yet wages are often worse than in the semi-skilled trades.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! Now surgeons aren't only gods, but they have a higher IQ than God himself???? You've GOT to be kidding me. Physicians, Surgeons, and Psychiatrists are all physicians. And IQ varies within the group, but from personal and professional experience with all types of physicians, the average is much lower. Personality determines specialty more than anything...

Anonymous said...

What BS, especially for the physicians and surgeons. This may represent what they think about themselves, but it surely can have no basis in fact. My hunch is, average physician 125, average surgeon, perhaps 130. They are not the geniuses everyone thinks they are.

Anonymous said...

I've been a computer programmer for 15 years now. I think I've worked with programmers with IQs easily over 130 as well as those with IQs easily under 100. How do I explain this wide range? I honestly think that the IQs of those that hire programmers seem to always be lower than the programmers they hire. My conclusion is that there are a lot of managers dumber than the people they hire. The "EQ", general aggressiveness, and a propensity for bullshit seem to be a requirement for climbing the ladder, at least in I.T. I'm sure this sounds like a broken record, but it's true. What's my point? Well, I'd like to submit to the readers that the computer engineer job title might hold the largest range of IQ scores.

Unknown said...

Where did you get this information from? It is total BS. The highest IQ of any living person today is of Marilyn vos Savant, who has an IQ of 228. Also, I highly doubt the the average waiter or dishwasher has an IQ just slightly above legally retarded.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't even pass the laugh test. There are far too many career paths that result in low earnings and salaries. There are also plenty of smart people with low IQs, as it isn't a measure of how bright someone is, but their ability to reason and problem solving. What you are left with is something that is more correlated to education level, than IQ.

In my particular field and aiming to hire people with above average problem solving skills, and slightly below median income levels, IQ is an important measure. It trumps education levels and knowledge. We find great success in hiring people as a result of pre-employment testing and above average IQ scores. Life chances brought them to our door, and perhaps they didn't have a secondary education or pursued a career path without much opportunity. By the measure here, we would need to pay prospective employees nearly twice the salaries we offer and it's long been dismissed that there is any meaningful correlation between IQ and income.

Ruth said...

An actual quantifiable study was done on IQ level of M.Ds. The IQs and demographics were available for an eastern city. All school children had to take IQ tests. Many of those children ended up as M.Ds. The Intelligence Quotients averaged out about 105. Decades later, a few years ago, another study was accomplished. The researcher discovered that many doctors had family members that had already been through the process and had drilled the aspiring medical students and walked them through everything before they were tested or observed. They squeaked by. That seems to explain all the dumb doctors so many of us have run into.

Ruth said...

Decades ago the IQs of an eastern city's students were collected, the IQs of students that went on to be doctors averaged out to 105. Recently research was carried out and it was discovered that many medical students had relatives that were already doctors and had been drilled and walked through everything before being tested or observed, thereby squeaking by and are now "practicing" on the rest of us.

Deperately Searching said...

Considering that the highest IQ ever recorded is a 212 and the most intelligent man in America scored a 200 - both of which are >= 50 points higher than Einstein, I'm going to confidently state that this is wrong. Also, someone with an IQ of 160 is statistically 1 in a million, which means they have 7000 peers on the planet - and 30,000 students graduate from medical school in America each year - so yeah, this is more than a little off.

Anonymous said...

There is no profession that would be accurately represented by a median IQ of 234. Few in the history of mankind could legitimately have an estimated IQ of 200, such as Goethe, Newton, da Vinci, or Einstein. I've known plenty of neurosurgeons (I'm a neuropsychologist myself), and none of them are even remotely close to the intellect of someone like Goethe.

Anonymous said...

#201. article author at 0.00.

what a load of cr@p.

Anonymous said...

I gave IQ tests for a year about 25 tests a day.

All MD's I tested average is 124 regardless of specialty.

Highest IQ occupation? Military General and Admirals at 135.


Anonymous said...

An actuary has an average IQ of 116.9? Really? I used to work as an actuary and I doubt anybody who has an IQ that is lower than this could even pass the exams to become an actuary in the first place.

Anonymous said...

computer programmers/engineers are underestimated. most people who advance in that branche usually stop being programmers later on, moving up the ladder. second thing is that most people work for western countries while living in poorer countries (outsourcing workforce and freelance programmers) and they generally have very high salaries for conditions in countries where they live.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what septic tank they got this load from but according to this BS every doctor is a genius. Frankly, I've met to many doctors that can't even understand simple Physics. Yet alone, begin to understand the human condition. Income is vastly more dependent on oportunity than I.Q.

Anonymous said...

I think you've labeled a column IQ that isn't IQ. It's like a village idiot wrote this for other village idiots.

Anonymous said...


I can't believe anybody buys into this crap. Someone literally just made these numbers up.

When it comes to standardized testing, people who pursue general surgery residencies do approximately equal to those who pursue general medicine residencies (e.g . surgeon vs physician). This is a fact per the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Association of Medical Colleges. Then, to put them at an off-the-charts IQ range just makes this so far beyond laughable it's shocking that some people are taking this seriously. o_0

braindamagedblogger said...

Your definition of IQ means the Jersey Shore cast is a bunch of secret geniuses who could be rethinking all of science.

You should think about committing suicide for being such a village idiot....

Orthopod said...

Speaking as an Orthopedic Surgeon, I was greatly surprised that on your list I have a higher IQ than the best chest player currently alive and higher than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. If my welath was proportionate to this difference of IQ between Bill Gates and I, I wouldn't need to be a surgeon anymore.

A little bit overrated IMO, where did you get these average numbers?

Anonymous said...

These are complete fallacy. I've seen legitimate IQ compilations, and physicians and surgeons typically top the list, but we're talking 90% of t hem being between 120-140. And, there is no huge difference between a physician and a surgeon. An average internal medicine candidate scores equivalently on all examinations to an average general surgeon candidate. And, I hate to tell you all, but surgery does involve thinking, but it's less intellectually challenging than a large host of occupations.

Anonymous said...

This is a joke for sure. Albert Einstein's IQ was estimated at 160. My mother's side of the family all had genius IQs and one uncle's was 176 (they had idiot savant characteristics in some cases), and I have a genius IQ, too, and I have to tell you I have never run into a surgeon or a CEO of that caliber. This is just BS.

I haven't run into too many doctors that would even say qualify as genius level, most have college-level IQs and even less. Nothing is wrong with that, but this is absolute baloney. This is just spreading a lot of disinfo. Obviously this person doesn't qualify high on the scale either.

Anonymous said...

it's completly wrong.

Anonymous said...

A sardonic comment perhaps, but you'd think that all the apparent actuaries, computer programmers and doctors who commented on this article would be able to understand that it does NOT represent actual IQ scores, but a representation of what intelligence would look like if earnings/effort etc. were converted to intelligence points? The point is made more than once, just read and think instead of getting angry...Anger and the desire to be right hinder rational thinking...

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon 7:49am,

Yes, it's bemusing (but also frustrating) to see that charge repeated over and over again, as though I'm arguing that this legitimately and rigorously measures IQ, when, if there is a point--and it's more an FYI/thought-provoking post than anything else--it's that income is determined by a lot more than just IQ.

Anonymous said...

A waiter or bartender at 87-88 can jump to 120 after he or she finishes school. Or do the smart waiters skew the average as to where if you take them out the avg is considerably less?

Anonymous said...

160 or so (if im not mistaken) is approaching genius status. Physicians are around 130 which is very high. When you hear people talk they exaggerate numbers and don't understand what a true IQ is. Bobby Fischer was like 200 or 212 or something. Surgeons are smart...they aren't that smart. Many of these IQ's are due to dedicated learning. Mankind as a whole doesn't wake up one morning with an IQ of 150. It doesn't work like that. BTW, I know some people with legitimate high IQ's and they are dumber than a box of rocks. IQ's are only relavent....if they are relavent. What test decides how smart someone is? A doctor with an IQ of 135 who claims carbohydrates are the cause for obesity is obviously not intelligent enough to help a pt. lose body fat. But his IQ is 135...so what?

Anonymous said...

This is about as scientific as estimating IQ by starsign.

Anonymous said...

Under the assumption of the normal distribution of mean 100 and S.D. 15 there are less than 10 people in the world with an IQ > 190 (roughly speaking).

Hmmm, I think we have a bit of a problem with a lack of surgeons!!!

Actually one would expect physicists and pure mathematicians to top the list.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who calculates this rubbish clearly does not have a high iq

Anonymous said...

Surgeons are probably high on the IQ chart, but they must not have IQs around 234.

An IQ of 234 means a higher IQ than the highest one found in typical groups formed by quintillions of people.

Supposing that there are enough people in this galaxy among others for one person to have an IQ of 234, the likelihood of that person being on Earth and not somewhere else is very tiny indeed.

Anonymous said...

High intelligence scarcity table:

If the standard deviation is 15:

An IQ of 131 is top-two-percent.
An IQ of 146 is one-in-a-thousand.
An IQ of 156 is one-in-10,000.
An IQ of 171 is one-in-a-million.
An IQ of 190 is one-in-a-billion.

If the standard deviation is 16:

An IQ of 133 is top-two-percent.
An IQ of 149 is one-in-a-thousand.
An IQ of 160 is one-in-10,000.
An IQ of 176 is one-in-a-million.
An IQ of 196 is one-in-a-billion.

If you use the second list and say that Sir Isaac Newton was one-in-a-billion plus 4 extra points, he tops all charts at 200, much like Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Anonymous said...

Last time IQ was tested in college professors they scored an average of 116, doctors 121.

Internal polls of Mensa indicate that members of Mensa have a median income of 10% higher than the general population.

I suspect that "IQ" plays a smaller role in income than the average person assumes.

While I wish this chart was accurate even for my 'mere' 140-150 range, in my experience I know to many Mensans that work at Home Depot to believe it. ---good day

Anonymous said...

Intelligence is multifaceted, often unbalanced, and it is the specific cognitive talent that plays a role in professional success.

My IQ consistently scores between 130 and 135 on standardized intelligence tests. However, while my GRE verbal and analytical scores are both somewhere above the 90th percentile, my math scores fall just a little better than average at around the 52nd percentile. Suffice it to say, quantitative reasoning has always been my Achilles heel.

You can derive from this that I might exceed in a variety of professions within, say, the medical field (my field) but I would make a lousy engineer or mathematician despite what the result of an IQ test might indicate to some. It is also my experience that I have a verbal reasoning ability that seems to exceed what might be expected from my official IQ number (which is derived from a non-verbal reasoning heavy test).

Anonymous said...

Does anyone understand why some very brilliant people cannot master exam taking skills?

Anonymous said...

No offense but this is the biggest joke list i have seen in a long time. A person with high IQ necesarily has to earn high income? what about oppurtunities and the money to study and get that job?

Do you know in a recent study footballers have been affirmed of having one of the highest IQs of all professions.
frank lampard- 155(einstein had 160). lionel messi-185, ashley cole-150+, andres iniesta 180+

honestly i can't belive the amount of naivety in this article and amount of disregard for the "poorer" section of the society.
As for 234 as average? Leonardo Da Vinci had an IQ of 220 which is considered the highest ever so a surgeon having average 234 is nothing but a big joke and lie.

most surgeons wouldnt be above 120-125. you dont need to be exceptionally brilliant to be a surgeon.

Anonymous said...

pretty good table. Must consider computer programmers should come in at about 85 points in light of how their equipment works. With you on aircraft mechanics hitting @78 th place, lotsa stupid ones out there. Oh, relax... their not working on YOUR noble, dignified, efficient, economical, customer satisfaction oriented airline. Yes they are, and contracting in third -party maintenance companies where all the work gets done and where never is heard commitment from employee or management.
It's a beautiful world! Happy flying everybody!

smith bhagvan said...

These industry might be of several sorts just like Resorts, and so forth .
medical assistant salary in alaska

Anonymous said...

There are other factors influencing income besides intelligence, to the point of making something like this worth little more than a party trick. People in the military or government service, for example, tend to be paid less than their private sector counterparts for well educated positions but better for more menial positions. My father had a very high IQ but never made a lot of money as a career Army officer.

In medicine, specialists make significantly more than primary care physicians even though they aren't significantly more intelligent. I talked once with a surgeon who was a chief of surgery at a hospital. He said his IQ was 115 and he made $600K a year.

Whites earn more than blacks, men earn more than women, tall men earn more than short men. People get paid more to work in dangerous or unpleasant conditions.

Based on the underlying premise here movie stars and professional athletes have much higher IQs than astronauts and brain surgeons.

Anonymous said...

The people that wrote this article have a B.S. degree, bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote this list needs to be beaten over the head with a tack hammer because he/she is a retard!

Anonymous said...

To say that the average surgeon's IQ is 234 is completely ridiculous when 140+ is considered genius and the only people in the world to have a 230+ are the 3 highest IQ's ever recorded. You have obviously done little to no research since it took me about a whole of 10 seconds to find this out.

vanizorc said...

Equating income with IQ is ridiculous beyond belief. I certainly had a good laugh. Seriously, I expected better out of Audacious Epigone than a desperate attempt to garner attention.

I do hope that this post was intended as a joke. It is plainly common sense that income cannot be used to predict IQ. (Not that I need to point out the obvious, but if that were the case, movie stars, actors, and big-name athletes would all have IQs in the 200+ range.)

Seriously, Epigone, WTF is up with this post?!

Humaun Kabir said...

Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. It really gives me an insight on this topic. You can find more information about construction here.

Tekoda Kemper said...

This post is so far off base, it's ridiculous. First off, this post does not even begin to explain what and IQ is a measurement of (I know you already "know the answer and are thinking, "Intelligence, duh! Stupid." But there's more to it.).

An IQ test is a STANDARDIZED test. What this means is that an IQ doesn't measure one's intelligence, per say. Rather it measures how one performs intellectually compared to one's peers. One thing, and maybe the only thing, this post got right was the standard deviation (SD), which is 15 points (usually, though it depends on the test you are taking). Anyone that scores 2 SDs (meaning an IQ score of 130, at least with regard to the WAIS-IV IQ test) above the mean (IQ = 100) is considered slightly gifted, or a genius (or at least what MENSA will accept and acknowledge as genius).

There are three main IQ tests out there: the Stanford-Binet (mean IQ = 100, SD = 16), the WAIS-IV (mean IQ = 100, SD = 15), and the one offered by MENSA (not sure what the mean is, I would guess 100, and I have no idea what the SD is). To be clear MENSA will accept an IQ of 132 (measured by the Stanford-Binet) or an IQ of 130 (as measured by the WAIS-IV) as genius. Again, I'm not sure what score they require on their tests to qualify as a member.

Here's the other key point to be made when speaking of IQ tests and measurements: the actual test has no units. It DOES NOT ACTUALLY MEASURE ANYTHING. HENCE, the reason the tests are standardized. What the test does measure is, as said before, your intellectual performance compared that of your peers (i.e. men and women of the same age as you). This tells you how you compare the rest of the population.

The reason that a test score that is 2 or more SDs from the mean is accepted as genius is because this means that the individual out performed 98% of the population. In other words, only 2% of their peers could outperform them intellectually. Meaning that if you are a genius, there is a 98% chance you are the smartest person in whatever room you occupy. Conversely, there is only a 2% that any random Joe Shmo will be smarter than someone with an IQ of 130. How's this relate to the post you ask? Good question, I'm glad you asked! ;)

Physicists, Software Engineers, Chemists, Biologists, Philosophers, Doctors, Designers, Inventors, and so on, are certainly very intelligent people. But just because they are intelligent does not mean that they are a true intellectual genius (i.e. that they have an IQ of 130 or greater). Even if they do happen do be a genius, or expert, in their respective field. Only 2%, read that again, yes 2%, of the ENTIRE POPULATION, of the world, has an IQ of 130 or greater. With 7 billion people on this planet, that leaves only 140 million (2% of 7 billion) people on the planet that have an IQ of 130 or higher.

With all the occupations listed on here with an IQ of 130 or higher, I'd say that the total number (I'm talking world wide here) of people that occupy those occupations (does that sound as weird to you as it does to me?) is over 140 million. Based on just that you can throw this silly chart out.

There's a lot more to this sorely flawed an fallacious article than I have pointed out, but I think this horse has been beaten to death more than enough times already. Though I did enjoy the post for the laughs. I know Epigone said this post was more about correlating IQ with occupational income, but I felt the need to point out some of the parameters surrounding IQ scores and measurements. Perhaps a follow up edit or post correcting and elaborating (more) on this chart would be helpful to readers.

Jack Summers said...

That anonymous poster who insulted the blogger's intelligence is a goddamn idiot. What's funnier is how he tries to add credulity to what he says by noting his "genius IQ" and his family's long line of genius. So drenched in IQ--idiotic qualification!

Anonymous said...

I knew this article was full of nonsense as soon as I saw 231 as the average iq of a surgeon. First off, "surgeon" is a general term and surgeons have various pay ranges based on their area of specialization that can differ by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Second, 231 IQ?! That is OFF THE CHARTS, we'd be lucky to have one person alive who has an IQ that high. Just goes to show you that any idiot can setup a website and write any ol' BS. The person who wrote this obviously has no idea about IQ ranges...or surgeons for that matter.
Stay in school, or you'll end up like the foolish author of this article.

Anonymous said...

Computer programmers at 110? LOL. First of all, seeing it is below Web Developer at 115 should be a huge signal that something is wrong with this estimate.

I guess it depends on how you define a programmer (or any of these occupations), but given the current dearth of talent combined with the high pay of these jobs, I can't imagine that 110 is correct.

I'd guess 130 for computer programmer.

I'd also push up statistician to 130.

There's a reason why these high-in-demand jobs pay high wages ($100,000+), yet there doesn't seem to be the supply of skilled workers in these areas. The vast majority of the population simply lacks the talent.

Denis Neporent said...

The current average annual cardiovascular technician pay
inside U.S.A can be $53,000.this salary is actually
calculated through some other parts of an STATES and
the whole of most of these paydays is actually subdivided
by the overall number of regions considered. So,You will
discover regions during which cardiovascular technicians
earns in excess of the particular average although You will
find others coming from different.
you have need more information
click here

Anonymous said...


This is clearly absurd, but simultaneously brilliant.

A reducto ad absurdum: "Let's assume income is perfectly commensurate with intelligence, whoops, bad assumption."

What would be more amusing? "Let's assume income is perfectly commensurate with hard work..."

Yes yes the people that clean our toilets just don't work hard enough.

Actuary would be much further up the list if they only counted credentialed actuaries and not data minions in actuarial roles. It's similar to including the average resident income in Physician category.

Anonymous said...

Marilyn Vos Savant is generally thought to have one of the highest IQs on record with 228. Your claim of an average IQ of 234.1 for the surgical profession is ridiculous lol

incognito said...

I gave IQ tests for one year in the Navy. when a group of MD's would rotate through the Psychiatry dept. they all got an IQ test just to see what a patient would experience. the average of all was 124 on the Stanford-Binet. They were interns, and none scored over 130. Nuclear techs were responsible for the reactors on ships, they were normally 115. As for high income equals high IQ...yes there is a relationship in the sense that MOST high earners do not have an IQ in the double digits. Looking over this list I notice that in the upper range, it takes 120-135 to accomplish most professional educations, no more and no less. I can't comment on the other IQ ranges. Thanks, Lawrence

Anonymous said...

I've always read that teachers are above average IQ around the 120's. It makes sense. How can a teacher be about 101 (average) as this says. This is ridiculous. Also, there is no way that cashiers are around 87. 87 is a low IQ close to retarded. Cashiers not only have to be good at math, but have to learn complicated register systems, store policies, be problem solvers, and have the intelligence to know how to deal with all types of customers. A store is not going to risk losing money or customers by placing an almost retarded cashier.
This entire list is way off.

Soundscaper said...

If the average IQ of any occupation was 234 there might be about 5 people in the world who could do it, if that. Professor Stephen Hawking has an IQ of 160 and that's considered phenomenal. My IQ is only 103, but I at least have the good sense to be able to tell presumptious shite when I see it. Anybody taking this list seriously is not as smart as they think they are.

Anonymous said...

Did not Bill Gates call himself a Software Architect (i.e. Programmer). What about Zuckerberg didn't he also start as Computer Programmer. I guess this list shows only employed programmers whereas the self employed business owning Physicians are very likely included in this list.
The main difference is that a Computer Programmer, who owns his own business is in the CEO category whereas the Physician still is counted as a Physician.

Anonymous said...

Biggest load of shite I've ever read

Anonymous said...

This is the biggest load of rubbish I've ever read and shows that the Author's IQ is sub-normal.

Ive an IQ 140+ tested as a child. I earn an above average salary through choices and also through bad to average advice from my parents in what degrees to go for.

Success in life is mostly due to being steered in the right direction, being born into an affluent family helps, connections (read - nepotism) luck most importantly and also working hard. You can have some of these and make it as a success, if you have them all you're set.

The rest anyone says is bullshit.

Anonymous said...

This list is terribly nonsense. It's not serious work.

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that people are even paying credence to this idiotic list, all you have to read is the title "(estimated from median income)".

It may as well be "estimated from what I had for breakfast this morning".

A list of "Average dinner composition estimated on weight of turds dropped)" has more scientific value than this.

Stanley Workman said...

Check out the Cleveland artist being hailed as the daVinci of this, the digital age, Marc Breed. Creator of the psychedelic peace symbol, male exotic dance pioneer, filmmaker to two of the highest grossing adult films of all-time, civil and first amendment rights advocate, and if that weren't enough, he readily admits to having escaped from one of America's most secure prisons (his golem remains in the prisons archive).And to boot, he has a testedI.Q. Of 152

Tyson Huffman said...

This table takes income and then equates it to IQ. So basically it is putting the cart before the horse and assuming that if the occupation makes more money then the people in that field must be more intelligent. This assumption is so arbitrary and flawed that it is kind of insulting to a persons intelligence.

By this same logic entertainers such as Lil' Wayne and Mel Gibson are some of the smartest people in the world.

There is no science here. In fact it is kind of silly. A super genius is above 170 IQ. A surgeon is nearly 250? Really? There is no study EVER that found anything close to this.

Somebody get Lil' Wayne on the phone so we can get the real scoop on Einsteins Theory of Relativity!!! Maybe E doesn't equal mc squared. Maybe E actually equals arrests and tatoos.

Anonymous said...

This is a load of rubbish! Programmers certainly require some of the highest IQs, yet they rank quite low down on your scale. Much lower than e.g. a vet ... who doesn't need any logical reasoning.

Anonymous said...

can you people not read, it says at the start, these are based on INCOME, of course they aren't perfect, it says so to begin with, clearly people getting angry are the ones with IQ's <100

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon 7/25,

Haha, indeed. I'm amazed at how many comments are from people whose concerns are addressed in the body of the post.

Anonymous said...

IQ and how much money one makes have no correlation to each other.

As a matter of fact most geniuses (IQ over 160) are either unemployed, destitute or own their own successful businesses. Hiring managers of large corporations usually do not hire over-qualified geniuses.

How much money one makes is purely tied to supply and demand. If there is a product, skill, service or industry that is low in supply and high in demand it will become more valuable and thus more profitable or receive higher wage payouts.

If everyone was given an opportunity to become a surgeon and everyone became a successful board-certified surgeon then the supply would exceed the demand and board-certified surgeons would only make minimum wage. Does this mean the surgeon’s has a low IQ because he makes minimum wage? No!

IQ and how much money one makes have nothing to do with each other. How much money an individual, corporation or industry makes is purely linked to economics, primarily supply & demand.

All of the listed professions up above will become replaced by Artificial Intelligence robotics technology within the next decade and the price of products and services in ALL industries will also come down by 50 to 100 times. Everyone from a surgeon to a lawyer to a dishwasher will be worth less-than minimum wage when AI replaces human labor. Does this mean the IQ of these professionals has dropped? No! It simply means that AI can perfectly carry out complex jobs requiring high intelligence, abstract reasoning & creativity as well as unskilled menial jobs around the clock, 24/7 at 50 to 100 times lower costs than any human can regardless of skills, education or IQ.

Even the most advanced field will become high in supply and low in demand when AI supersedes human labor making all human professions less-then minimum wage in value. Again, how much money one makes is directly linked to economics, i.e. supply & demand, not IQ.

In actuality the smartest human professions are: Physicist, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Automotive Engineer, Software Engineer, Nuclear Engineer, Electronics Technician, Avionics Technician, Computer Scientist, Materials Scientist, Aircraft Mechanic & Automotive Mechanic. All the other professions out there could not even exist without these technical professionals. That is because Physicists, Engineers, Mechanics & Technicians hold most if not all technology patents allowing ALL of the other professions to exist.

There is no correlation between IQ and how much money one makes. As a matter of fact 95% of all billionaires are high school drop-outs or college drop-outs that never held a steady job. All of whom learned at an early age that making money is all about going into business for one’s self and developing or investing in low supply products/services in high demand markets.

Greg Moore said...

I am astonished that anyone would present, to the public, an Intelligence/Income chart based on income (and potential for greater income)! As one might expect, the incomes at the top are overwhelmingly in three fields: Medical, State and Unionized. I will concede the Medical (partly because I must trust my doctor for my life, so I believe implicitly that he's really smart!) The State pays top dollar for its workers. My wife is a Master Teacher, but works in a private school - $24,000 a year for the same job for which a veteran teacher commands $80-90,000 annually. That's State and Union working together, not native intelligence, for the high wage. I myself tested 145 for IQ (my first test was 103, but I improved on each one, learning better how to take the test). As a minister, my salaries were just about where you put them - in the middle (perhaps a cynic would say my career choice was IQ 70, and thus it evens out?). I cannot imagine that my college prof's had anything on high school teachers - one needs far more education and native ablity to teach high school than college, and more to teach elementary than high school.

Greg Moore said...

...a postscript: Examining another chart (Henmon-Nelson), I observe that 25% of the janitors (lowest ranked of all) outscored 25% of the college professors. The view from the standpoint of the anomalies does indeed look pretty close to reality.

Ham Samick said...

I've met many doctors who had the intelligence of a stick.

Anonymous said...

This is as ridiculous as saying a persons hight is directly related to their longevity.
I'm in the 99th percentile as tested by government approved contractors, tests and live chats took place over two days in Toronto and New York.

mikemodano902@gmail.com said...

Tks very much for your post.

Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

Source: Interview Questions & Answers:

Best rgs

Greg Moore said...

I just successfully had an interview (got the job!) by simply asking the director (piano accompanist position) to give me some music I had never seen and he would direct me - a common task in that sort of work. I did well, and he never did even look at my resume.

Sumudu Werahera said...

I think there are quite lot of misunderstandings in this list. As a medical student I agree an average doctor having an IQ of 110-140 as reasonable but giving such a immense value of 234 which excels the highest value of IQ a person has in this world. IQ is a big scope which I'm not gonna cover in this comment, although if you look at this list it's obvious that the author has considered only the values of memory related IQ while neglecting most of the logical part. Also author has purposely prioritized on medical related jobs as firsts in his list which is a big second mistake. If we take the statistical data about high IQ prodigies in the world and which profession they've moved for later in their life, highest score goes to Mathematics and engineering. So it's clear since the author has put them into a much shallow score, most part of this list is a mess.
On the other hand the truth is doctors don't have a big logical knowledge as math oriented scopes because most of the time (over 70% in our medical college life)we only have to deal with medical books, not with new things or logical juggles. So as the bottom line I can say and you'll also agree that putting medical career as the first place while throwing away such high IQ required scopes like Physicists, Engineers and mathematicians is a big mess after all.

Kevin M Packard said...

This data is really stretching having any validity. While there is a positive correlation between annual income and IQ, it all but completely breaks down when you look at it from the perspective of individual occupations, especially those toward the high end of the spectrum.

This is due to the way we value some occupations relative to others as a society, and pay scales do not fall along a standard bell curve the way IQ does.

The average IQ of the "smartest" profession is likely not over 130 or so; it certainly isn't 160 or 230. Additionally, the average IQ of surgeons, CEOs, and physicians is certainly not higher than the average IQ of most types of engineers, scientists, and professors.

David said...

I agree with the Dr. Who ever heard of iq in 200's.

Also in CA MD's Licensed by the State are surges when you check CA State Web Page, so it seems all Doctors are surgens.

Anonymous said...

Ok so the fact you had ANY profession listed as high as 234 shows you don't have a clue what you're talking about. NO ON HAS AN IQ THAT HIGH. Its impossible. Measurement of IQ has to do be within the bell curve and since there are currently about 7.3 billion. For someone to have an IQ of 234 they would have to be out of many more billions than the 7.3 billion currently on earth. In fact this how absurd the idea that surgeons, any occupation or anyone person has an IQ of 234.

Here is an IQ correlation calcuator


For the IQ test of your choice whether its Wais(STd 15), Stanford-Binet(STD 16) or Cattell(STD-24) put in 234 and then click calculate. Now it doesn't matter which one of the 3 you choose because in each of the 3 cases you get the rarity(at the botto, where it says 1/x) you get infinity. In other words ITS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO GET AN IQ OF 234. So suffice to say stating that Surgeons(or any person) have an IQ of 234 is beyond absurd.

Also the idea that Physicians on average have an IQ of 161 is also absurd.

I also very much doubt that Mathematicians on average only have an IQ of 119 and that their IQs would be on average less than Corporate executives(I also doubt on average CEOs have anywhere near an Average IQ of 148), dentists, Orthodontist, Financial planner, Astronomer, Physician, Commercial airline pilot or even a surgeon.

Anonymous said...

"The highest IQ of any living person today is of Marilyn vos Savant, who has an IQ of 228. "

That is a myth. Savant never scored that high. For more detail read the following

"Alan S. Kaufman, a psychology professor and author of IQ tests, writes in IQ Testing 101 that "Miss Savant was given an old version of the Stanford-Binet (Terman & Merrill 1937), which did, indeed, use the antiquated formula of MA/CA × 100. But in the test manual's norms, the Binet does not permit IQs to rise above 170 at any age, child or adult. And the authors of the old Binet stated: 'Beyond fifteen the mental ages are entirely artificial and are to be thought of as simply numerical scores.' (Terman & Merrill 1937). ...the psychologist who came up with an IQ of 228 committed an extrapolation of a misconception, thereby violating almost every rule imaginable concerning the meaning of IQs."[11] Savant has commented on reports mentioning varying IQ scores she was said to have obtained.[12]"


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm calling BS. as a British Mechanical Engineer I'd say almost all my colleagues are way, way smarter than "112".
My IQ is over 150, as tested several times, and I'd struggle to tell the difference between a person with an IQ of 112 and person with an iq of 90.....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

A historian needs a much higher IQ than average, tell David Starkey or Dan Jones that they only need an IQ of 105; David Starkey must have an IQ of at least 145 and probably a lot higher. Also, the term "nurse" covers a vast area, and if you have ever had an endoscopy you will know that the theatre nurse is who primarily deals with you the patient, she is to an extent in charge of the surgeon too, and probably has an IQ of at least 130 to be able to do that job. She also has to re-assure the patient and explain what you have to do. I also agree with the post above me that a lot of engineers have to be extremely intelligent, in the region of 150 as he says. Teachers come in all ranges of intelligence, from the nasty little schoolmarms who would struggle to score 95, to teachers who really care that everyone understands their subject and even try to care about those who are learning much faster than the rest of the class, we had a teacher like that and he probably scored around 135, lovely guy, very patient, very deep understanding of his subject.

Unknown said...

Would anyone want just an adequate doctor or surgeon, or would they hope to be getting the best?

Anonymous said...

Donald trump must have a massive IQ...

Antony said...

What an interesting accidental test!

Anonymous said...

I have an IQ of 127, and have been a ( 88 IQ ) cashier all my life.

What does this say about these silly little results and correlation between income and intelligence ?

Peter Potts said...

Something that I think certainly skews the graph is that a lot of the occupations on the lower end of the IQ scale are jobs performed by younger people, dishwasher and such, breaking into the workforce. Peak brain performance caps out at about, what, 24 I believe? Further, the working poor tend to have lower IQ's because of their economic status - poor diets, long hours that consume free time for more intellectually stimulating activity, etc. So, I think charts like these are kind of foolish.

Anonymous said...

The data are fictitious...absurdly so. In my brief search for information on this topic this is the second time I have seen the table.

The statistics do not make sense and were created by someone ignorant of statistics and psychometrics. It is not even plausible lie. There are not enough people in the world in the upper IQ ranges to fill those professions. Others have pointed this out. IQ's are measured with a mean set at 100 and typical standard deviation of 15 or 16. That people post this and comment this information a bit of a shame (ah I am commenting, what a shame). Unless the evil genius was to get responses to the misinformation.

For those that comment: Do the research, take a class, read a book and ignore how you feel about it. People talking about who they know, who they are, or what their IQ is has no bearing on the issue. Murry and Hernstein wrote a controversial book in the 1990s that deals with this and other issues. Read the book to understand the methods and patterns and then decide.

Why would anyone bother to make a table of nonsense is the more interesting question. Did a surgeon make it? A physician that is a surgeon?

How do you estimate IQ from income? There is a correlation but I cannot imagine a valid method to create the estimates here.

Wow, I just took 10 minutes reading this and writing comments on it. That must have been the purpose for it, suck me in from search for research on the topic I was doing.


Victor Lee said...

Farmer has an IQ of 105 ? Same as accountant and higher than many other occupations ?
come on.