A Doctorate degree can lead you to become part of a billion-dollar industry. Unlike many of today’s young people who make big bucks early on in their laid-back lives, Ph.D. holders rake in much more by wealth throughout their lives by taking the road less traveled, that is, earning a Ph.D. degree.

Highly educated as they are, doctorate degree holders exude an air of confidence and dominance. They may be inherently elitist too, considering the many years of isolation they spend perfecting their dissertation.

Often too focused and determined for their own good, Ph.D. holders are reputed to be snobs who can’t stand small talk. But they know that even with all its challenges, earning a Ph.D. raises their chances of making it big in their chosen field, and apparently, even beyond.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have been exceptionally lucky to have joined the billionaires club without a college degree. We know that this is no longer the case today.

Making a mark in the congested and competitive tech business landscape requires more than just luck. Running your business from a garage doesn’t cut it anymore either, unless you were Steve Jobs.

To gain a competitive advantage, a graduate degree could very well be the ace in your deck. In fact, those who belong in the .001 percent of us who earn more than most do in their lifetime share one thing in common: they are well-educated. The biggest names in the tech, pharmaceutical, and other industries are taking the steps to obtain advanced degrees.

If you are a little apprehensive about this advice, here is a list of the world’s richest doctors ranging from Ph.D., JD and M.D. degree holders. They come from various fields of industry. This is a well-curated and expansive list because we want to make sure that we provide the best information out there.

World’s Richest Doctors (Ph.D.)

Research is key to a successful Ph.D. and these people have proven their worth in the academic world. Juggling academic excellence with entrepreneurial skill is what they are good at. Meet the academically gifted with fat bank accounts.

Jim H. Simons

“Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer”

A holder of Ph.D. in Mathematics, Dr. John Simons is a very curious man. He is relentless in his efforts to give public schools around the United States access to advanced resources and development opportunities in the field of Mathematics.

This objective drove him to create his foundation Math for America. In the year 1976, Dr. Simons was awarded the Oswald Veblen Prize of the American Mathematical Society. It is the most prestigious award in the field of Geometry.

He earned his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley at the age of 23. At 44 years old, he founded Renaissance Technologies (RenTEc) which remains one of the world’s most prolific hedge funds.

RenTec is a New York-based hedge fund that has an estimated $50 billion worth of assets. Although Dr. Simons retired in 2010, he is currently active in the company which led him to his $20 billion net worth.

Dr. Jim Simons is a “billionaire star of mathematics and private investment” who has made a significant impact in both. Most importantly, his contribution to the NSA during the Vietnam War as a codebreaker is remarkable.

Alma Mater: University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in Mathematics

Industry: New York-based hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies

Net Worth: $20 Billion

Miuccia Prada

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language.”

Miuccia Prada is the Chief Executive Officer of the luxury brand Prada. Along with her siblings and husband, they own 80% of the Prada Group shares. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Milan University. This is before she started designing accessories for the family business. It was her grandfather who founded Prada in 1913.

In 1988, Miuccia Prada began designing her debut line of womenswear collection. Eventually, she launched Miu Miu which represented her own style and wardrobe in 1922. On top of her success in the fashion industry, Miuccia was determined to earn a doctorate.

The epitome of a true power woman, she was determined to make education her priority. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science in 1973.

Miuccia Prada is an intellectual with a great dress sense and a $3.7 billion net worth. She was named the McKim Medal Laureate in 2010. The award was in honor of her exceptional achievement in the fashion and business industries as well as her charitable efforts in Fondazione Prada.

Alma Mater: University of Milan; Doctorate in Pedagogical Sciences

Industry: Fashion designer – Prada

Net Worth: $5.5 Billion

Condoleezza Rice, Ph.D.

“We are at war, and our security as a nation depends on winning that war.”

The woman of many firsts. Condoleezza Rice is the first African American woman to have served as the United States’ national security adviser under President George W. Bush’s presidency. On top of that, she served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009.

During her service, she dedicated her department to “Transformational Diplomacy.” The mission was an effort to build and sustain democracy and good governance in all states and the world.

Today, she serves as a Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Dr. Rice is a Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.

Lastly, she is a professor of Political Science at Stanford University. In 1981, she earned her doctorate in International Studies. Having an exceptional political career, Condoleezza Rice gathered a net worth of $4 million.

Alma Mater: University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies

Industry: Politics

Net Worth: $12 Million

Angela Merkel

“Whoever decides to dedicate their life to politics knows that earning money isn’t the top priority.”

The #1 Power Woman of 2017, Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany since 2005. She serves as the de facto leader of Europe. Merkel is often referred to as Mutti, which means “Mommy”, by her avid supporters. This is a reflection of her strong but compassionate leadership.

Evidently, Angela Merkel is well-loved in her country as she serves her fourth term of office. She continues to strengthen Germany’s economy as it experienced a collapse in 2015. Merkel, a former scientist is “the decider” among the members of the Cabinet.

Her logical and systematic approach might be from her years in Leipzig University where she earned her doctorate in Physical Chemistry in 1986.

In her years as a researcher and as a powerful politician, she amassed $11.5 million in assets. Truly, she is a force to be reckoned with – both in the laboratory and in politics!

Alma Mater:  Leipzig University; Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry

Industry: Politics

Net Worth: $11.5 Million

Michael Bloomberg

“No place epitomizes the American experience and the American spirit more than New York City.”

Michael Bloomberg is a three-term and the 108th Mayor of New York. Mike, as people fondly call him, has made extraordinary progress during his term as mayor. He was elected just weeks after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Efforts for public safety, especially for counterterrorism was heightened making New York as the safest city in the US in 2013.

Mike is a philanthropist. He has dedicated a fortune for climate change and various other causes. Because of his philanthropic efforts, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology celebrated his achievements by awarding him with an Honorary Doctorate. To this day, Bloomberg LP remains at the top since its establishment in 1981 and a constant source of Michael’s wealth.

Alma Mater: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Honorary Doctorate

Industry: Multinational Mass Media

Net Worth: $94.5 Billion

James Franco

Beyond his charming good looks, James Franco is a man of many accomplishments. He is a man who created his own brand in the bustling world of Hollywood. James Franco has defied many stereotypes including having survived five MFA programs at the same time.

Avoiding the conventional pigeonholed images of Hollywood actors, James pursued a Ph.D. in English at Yale University. In addition to his Golden Globe win, he authored a book and some poetry focusing on the subject of youth.

He is relentless and is set to pursue yet another doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston.

Alma Mater: Yale University; Ph.D. in English

Industry: Film and acting

Net Worth: $30 Million

Daniel “Dan” Grimaldi

Dan Grimaldi, a quintessentially American actor, is best known for his angsty roles as twins Philly and Patsy Parisi on the hit HBO show The Sopranos. However. his students at Kingsborough Community College know him best as their professor.

Dr. Girmaldi holds a Ph.D. in Data Processing from the City University of New York. Unlike other celebrities who got their first break in acting, Grimaldi was a professor prior to joining the big screen.

He teaches Mathematics and Computer Science and worked at the lab prior to entering Hollywood. A good choice, nonetheless, as it landed him a $17 million net worth.

Alma Mater: City University of New York; Ph.D. in Data Processing

Industry: Actor, Professor

Net Worth: Approximately $5 million

Dexter Holland

The Offspring‘s punk rock icon Dexter Holland is more than just his spiky hair and screaming groupies. He has an impressive academic record. Before he began his music career as the singer and lead guitarist of his band, he was studying Molecular Biology at the university.

He already earned his Master’s Degree and was working towards his Ph.D. However, he chose to leave and focused on his singing and his band.

Eventually, he went back to school and finally earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 2017. His dissertation is a mouthful:  Discovery of Mature MicroRNA Sequences within the Protein-Coding Regions of Global HIV-1 Genomes: Predictions of Novel Mechanisms for Viral Infection and Pathogenicity. Copies are free via the USC website.

As a bonus, Dexter Holland is also a licensed flight instructor!

Alma Mater: University of Southern California; Ph.D. in Molecular Biology

Industry: Music

Net Worth: $80 Million

John N. Kapoor

John Kapoor is a visionary leader and a pharmaceutical giant. He is the founder and CEO of Insys Therapeutics. His other company, Akorn, is into medical drug manufacturing. In 1964, he moved from India and pursued Pharmaceutical Science. In fact, he was the first person in his family to finish college. In 1972, he earned his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry.

Kapoor had a hard time adjusting as an immigrant, but his hard work and sly intellect paid off as his net worth climbed to over a billion dollars. Kapoor also does charitable work and donated an entire building to his alma mater, University at Buffalo.


News in the alleged racketeering in the pharmaceutical industry led by Kapoor broke out in the last few years. It has completely changed the way he does business. He stepped down from his positions in both companies and answered the allegations.

Eventually, he was indicted and arrested for bribing doctors to prescribe opioids. This is because opioids cancer drugs are the main product of the billion-dollar drug company.

Alma Mater: SUNY Buffalo; Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry

Industry: Pharmaceutical

Net Worth: $1.63 Billion

Eric Schmidt

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”

Eric Schmidt is a decorated Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He has worked in Google and Apple, two the world’s leading innovators in tech and information technology. During the formative years of Google, it was Eric Schmidt who sat as the company’s CEO. He served as CEO for ten years and moved as an Executive Chairman for seven more. He was Board member at Apple for three years.

In January of this year, he put an end to his 17-year career at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. After stepping down, he now serves as its technical advisor.

A holder of a doctorate degree, he teaches at Stanford University’s computer science department. Massachusetts Institute of Technology was quick to announce that Schmidt would be joining the institution as a visiting innovation fellow.

Alma Mater: University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in Computer Science

Industry: Information Technology

Net Worth: $17.5 Billion

World’s Richest with Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Law is a dreaded path to take, but these people managed to stand out in their chosen career. They are not only exceptional in what they do, but they were also able to accumulate a fortune while establishing a name in the legal field. And the world is assured that every penny they earned is within the bounds of the law.

Sumner Redstone

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.”

Beyond his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sumner Redstone has made a name for himself. He is a Harvard Law graduate, a coveted accolade that only a few people successfully accomplish. He remains to have controlling shares in both multimedia conglomerates, CBS and the seized Viacom.

Redstone started his legal career in the Department of Justice Tax Division. He eventually opened his private practice. He was a Harvard alum through and through, having earned both his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the Ivy League school.

Unlike most people who are born into a wealthy family, Redstone opted to continue his legal practice for several years. He became a clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco after earning his J.D. In addition, he was a law professor at the University of San Francisco and at Boston University.

Most notably, Sumner Redstone served as the special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General in which he was able to litigate more or less 50 cases. A billionaire who is devoted to the legal profession, he donated $18 Million to BU Law to help fund the new building on campus.

Alma Mater: Harvard University; Doctor of Jurisprudence

Industry: Law and Media

Net Worth: $2.6 Billion (At the time of his death)

Samuel Robson Walton

The name Samuel Robson Walton is synonymous with Walmart, Inc., the multi-billion American multinational retail company. He is the eldest son of Rob Walton, founder of Walmart. He succeeded his father as the chairman after his death in 1992. Walton has chaired the board of the retail company for 23 years.

He had a Doctor in Jurisprudence degree from Columbia University which he earned in 1969. In June 2015, he stepped down as chairman and was replaced by his son-in-law.

Samuel Robson Walton made use of his law degree as he was a practicing lawyer at Conner & Winters Law Firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Alma Mater: Columbia University; Doctor of Jurisprudence

Industry: Retailing Corporation, Walmart

Net Worth: $59.7 Billion

Stephen Ross

A giant in private real estate, Stephen Ross is the chairman of Related Companies. His company is highly regarded for its New York real estate development works, including the construction of the Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. This $25 billion mega-project partially opened in 2016 and will be completed in 2024.

He owns a chain of gyms Equinox and SoulCycle wherein Michelle Obama is a regular.

Stephen Ross is a self-made billionaire who holds a Doctor in Jurisprudence degree. An odd but workable combination as evidenced by his net worth. He has donated a total of $378 million to his college Alma mater the University of Michigan.

Alma Mater: Wayne State University; Doctor of Jurisprudence

Industry: Real Estate

Net Worth: $11.6 Billion

Todd Wagner

Todd Wagner is the co-founder of Broadcast.com. Together with his business partner and fellow Indiana University (bachelor’s degree) Mark Cuban, they created an internet empire out of the online video broadcasting site.

When they sold the internet outfit to Yahoo in 1999, they became $5.7 billion richer. It is worth noting that the sale also benefited all their 300 employees who became millionaires.

Todd ventures out as an investor in start-up companies and other profitable interests. He has also devoted a portion of his wealth to charitable causes through his online fundraising platform Charity Network.

Alma Mater: University of Virginia; Doctor of Jurisprudence

Industry: Technology

Net Worth: $1.5 Billion

George Roberts

He is the co-founder and co-CEO of the private financial equity giant KKR & Co. George Roberts along with his Henry Kravis and mentor Jerome Kohlberg led the KKR firm. They come into buyout debt-stricken companies.

They have pioneered leveraged buyout business since the 1970s. KKR is known for their buyout of RJR Nabisco. In 2010, the firm went public and registered in the New York Stock Exchange.

Alma Mater: UC Hasting College of Law; Doctor of Jurisprudence

Industry: Finance, Private Equity

Net Worth: $8.2 Billion

World’s Richest Medical Doctors

Doctors are essential contributors to society. Playing a vital role in the healthcare industry, they are leaders who have pledged to prioritize the health, safety, and life of patients before anything else.

Working closely with a team of medical professionals, they have a sworn duty under the Hippocratic Oath to live by the First do no harmprinciple.

Aside from the social impact doctors make, the job outlook in the field is very promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that in 2017, doctors and surgeons made $100 an hour or a median annual salary of $208,000. Considering the numbers, it is no surprise that many doctors amass big fortunes during their careers.

Throughout their lifetime and depending on their field, physicians earn enough to become part of the affluent and luxurious circle.

As one of the most responsible, but often overlooked personalities in society, we ought to acknowledge their remarkable success. Here is a list of the world’s richest medical doctors and their corresponding net worth. It is important to note, however, that medicine is not their only source of income. 

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Born in South Africa to Chinese immigrant parents, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has made a name for himself in the medical field. He is a successful surgeon. He made a fortune in revolutionizing cancer treatment. Patrick is considered the richest doctor in the world sitting with billions in his bank account.

Patrick is now retired surgeon and focuses on entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts. Today, he is helping fund hospitals for children and finds long-term solutions for healthcare costs. He owns the Los Angeles Lakers.

Alma Mater: University of Witwatersrand; Medical Doctor

Specialty: Surgeon and Medical Researcher

Net Worth: $5.9 Billion

Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr.

Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr. has been inducted to the Healthcare Hall of Fame. In addition, he has received the United Way Lifetime Achievement Award. He was an Air Force flight surgeon who founded Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) along with his father.

Dr. Frist is a very famous businessman and philanthropist, a remarkable achievement for a prominent internal medicine specialist. The staff of HCA refers to him as the “soul of our company”.

His family-led Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) suffered tremendous losses in stock value in the wake of November 2016 US Presidential elections.

Despite this, Frist, Jr. and his family continue their efforts to make quality health care affordable and within reach for the American public. To this day, this billionaire is the wealthiest person in Tennessee.

Alma Mater: Washington University; Medical Doctor

Specialty: Air Force Flight Surgeon

Net Worth: $20.8 Billion

Dr. Phillip Frost

A professor of dermatology, Dr. Philip Frost has a doctorate in medicine placing him in a highly competent stature. He is a long-time investor in healthcare and pharmaceutical and runs a diagnostics-maker company, Opko Health. In 1972, he joined Key Pharmaceutical and revolutionized asthma drugs which turned became bestsellers.

With no children, Phil and his wife focus on their philanthropic efforts. They signed the Giving Pledge initiative for charity and causes.

Alma Mater: Yeshiva U Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Medical Doctor

Specialty: Pharmaceutical

Net Worth: $1.6 Billion

Dr. Wu Yiling

Wu Yiling comes from a long line of family doctors. He practiced Chinese medicine for 10 years before making a huge fortune for himself. Wu’s Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical was founded in 1992. The pharmaceutical company specializes in selling organic and herbal medicines to cure various illness and ailments.

He is a self-made doctor and billionaire. The successful debut of his pharmaceutical company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange has contributed greatly to his net worth. Through the company, Chinese medications for cardio-cerebrovascular illnesses and the common flu has reached a wide market.

Alma Mater: Hebei Medical University, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine; Medical Doctor

Specialty: Pharmaceutical

Net Worth: $1.6 Billion

Dr. Gary Michelson

A retired orthopedic and spinal surgeon, Gary Michelson was awarded 340 U.S. patents for the surgical instruments used in orthopedic and spinal surgery. He completed his spinal surgery fellowship at St. Luke’s Medical Center. After which, he moved to California to start his own practice focusing on spinal surgery.

He earned $1.35 billion in a settlement with Medtronic, a giant in manufacturing medical device. This was after years of litigation over his registered patents. The settlement was finalized in 2005. To give back, in June 2016, Dr. Michelson signed the Giving Pledge. He also founded several nonprofit efforts to fund medical research, among other causes.

Alma Mater: Hahnemann Medical College

Specialty: Orthopedic and spinal surgery

Net Worth: $1.8 Billion

Undeniably, the wealth of these people is overwhelming. By demonstrating hard work and genuine quest to advance academically and pursue their doctorate degrees, they prove themselves worthy of every hard-earned penny.

Some of them are self-made, which means it is possible for any doctorate candidate to get their net worth closer to the billion-dollar mark!