Everyone dreams of having a six-figure job. When we think of these jobs, most of us instantly start fantasizing about driving a BMW, eating at fancy restaurants, and owning a beautiful home. Most of us believe that the only way to get such a job is to either know someone who knows someone or spend decades rising up the corporate ladder.
Believe it or not, having a six-figure job isn’t a pipe dream — it’s actually a lot more within reach than you think. Normal people from all over the world are earning over $100,000 a year doing specialized work. We’ve collected just a few dozen examples, which will hopefully inspire you to get one of your own.
Air Traffic Controller
Mean Income: $84,146 Top 10%: $122,950
Air traffic controllers get paid a great salary because they are responsible for the difference between a great commercial flight and a full-blown national disaster. The job includes monitoring weather changes, staying on top of flight schedules, and being in constant communication with the pilots. Air traffic controllers are required to have an almost unlimited capacity to stay focused and alert throughout their shift.
To work in air traffic control, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen and pass rigorous background and medical examinations. Many companies prefer to hire people with past military experience, but it’s not mandatory. You also must have an aviation degree or go through the FAA’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program.
Makeup Artists: Theatrical And Performance
Mean Income: $63,710 Top 10%: $120,050
People with a passion for makeup have an almost unlimited abundance of opportunities nowadays, as anyone can start a YouTube channel and become rich and famous. Unfortunately, as opportunities show up, so does the competition. If you want to get a job or have a freelance business as a theatrical or performance makeup artist, you better know what you’re doing.
To become a full-time makeup artist, you’ll have to get a cosmetology license. Good luck though, because the competition is tough and it might take a while to become really successful.
Mean Income: $61,075 Top 10%: $120,000
The profession of being a virtual assistant has been steadily on the rise in recent years, as the internet opened up that possibility for just about anyone. You can find people in the Philippines offering to sell you their time for as low as $2 an hour, but truly experienced, disciplined, and talented virtual assistants can often charge as much as $100 an hour.
You really don’t need anything to enter this field, and can simply create an Upwork profile and get started. Things that will help you find high-end jobs in this industry are great marketing skills, having a full stack of skills, and a great resume of administrative jobs.
Mean Income: $67,280 Top 10%: $102,250
Technical writers are highly detail-oriented and get paid to write extremely precise documents. Every company that sells a product needs one, and finding technical writers that are skilled and dedicated is not easy. If you’re very good at writing and communicating, and have an extremely precise ability to pay attention to detail, this six-figure job is perfect for you.
Technical writers are often required to have a Bachelor's degree in either communications, writing, English, journalism, or the specific field in which the company operates. Being a great writer, having a portfolio, and showing your potential employer that you are fluent in the language of their business will give you a massive advantage when trying to land this job.
Mean Income: $107,657 Top 10%: $209,000
Imagine being the quarterback of a winning NFL team. Add a lot of nerdiness, and you’ve just become a technical lead. This is an extremely complicated job, and it requires both a mastery of programming and highly developed leadership skills. This is a very rare combination, which is why they get paid so well.
Tech leads are also often guaranteed stocks and shares in companies, which is why many of them end up very rich despite not being the founders of a given company. While a master’s degree is often required for the job, you might still get by without one in a field as dynamic as tech, assuming you’ve can truly impress and actually deliver the goods.
Elevator Installers and Repairers
Mean Income: $73,560 Top 10%: $105,750
If you’re not claustrophobic, don’t mind crawling in tight spaces, and are great at fixing electrical systems, this might be the perfect job for you. By the way, many elevator technicians work as freelancers and get paid a monthly retainer for their services.
One of the most obvious qualifications for the job is being certified as a professional technician. Hiring an amateur for such a job is extremely dangerous. It’s best if you own your tools and are able to work at any random hour of the day, but that’s up to you!
Mean Income: $68,170 Top 10%: $117,150
This is a job for people who absolutely love animals, but prefer to research and test new medications and treatments rather than be the ones administering them. It’s a perfect gig for the creative scientific personality types, and it helps that you never have to wrestle with large dogs and feisty cats.
Lots of adults once had the fleeting (or long-term) childhood dream of becoming a vet, but this job takes real grit, perseverance, and stamina. Research veterinarians have the option to be regular veterinarians as well, but they prefer to be on the research side testing new products, medications, and treatments for various animal diseases, which means less wrestling with stubborn 100 lb. dogs, and more experimenting.
Broadcast News Analysts
Mean Income: $76,370 Top 10%: $159,530
It seems that almost everyone considers themselves a new pundit or sports analyst these days. However, sometimes people prefer to just get a job in the field. This can take anywhere from five to seven figures, depending on your network.
To be considered a broadcast news analyst, you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field. Being a great public speaker, having a presentable look, and developing your own cool catchphrase can all help you get the job. Don’t forget that the cameras are rolling and that what you say can and will be used against you in the court of Twitter.
Mean Income: $67,960 Top 10%: $115,450
Loan officers are tasked with collecting important information, analyzing it to draw a conclusion, and making the final decision on whether someone is eligible for a loan, and on which terms. It’s a very complex subject, but if you love numbers, finances, and are great at reading people, this might be a perfect career path for you.
Common qualifications obviously include some sort of a degree in business, finance, or economics. You’ll also need proper certifications to become a loan officer, and having experience always helps. Another great skill is having thick skin, as you’ll often have to turn down people that are either really charming, dominant, or just really need your help.
Mean Income: $129,148 Top 10%: $175,563
Software architects are very different from programmers. Just like building architects are very different from builders. Your job as the architect of a successful SAAS (Software as a Service) company is to constantly pay close attention to both your programmers and your customers so your product is optimal.
Software architects are the top-level people who help create the limitations and systems behind various popular software. Although they don’t usually do the coding themselves, most of them are highly proficient at it. Having a degree in Systems Engineering, Computer Science, or Software Engineering can also help quite a bit. These jobs pay a lot of money thanks to the scaling nature of software which leads to massive growth.
Education Administrators, Elementary And Secondary
Mean Income: $90,200 Top 10%: $128,660
Becoming an administrator in an elementary school or a college is quite a rewarding position, and it also pays quite well. One of the biggest benefits is that you get to make a speech anytime you want, and students basically have to attend it. Just make sure you’re one of the “cool ones”, and that you actually care about and listen to the students you’re overseeing.
This position is usually short on supply and held for many years so it's not simple to get one. You’ll need at least a few good years of experience for the job, and the more certifications and recommendations you have the better.
Mean Income: $63,830 Top 10%: $106,005
By working as a freelance writer, you’re basically keeping your options open and working for the best clients you can get your hands on. Basically, having good writing skills will open many doors for you and will almost guarantee you the ability to generate income.
Freelance writers aren’t required to have any degree or credentials and mostly rely on their resume and their existing body of work. You can choose to specialize in anything from copywriting for businesses, which means writing to get people to buy things, or going for more enjoyable avenues, such as writing content for blogs that involve topics you’re passionate about.
Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Mean Income: $73,010 Top 10%: $119,320
It’s incredible how many people watch crime shows and believe that that gives them the ability to become detectives and criminal investigators. If only it were that easy. This profession does not give you the same authority as a police officer, but it does allow you to spy on people, which is cool and creepy at the same time. You’ll also get to see a lot of humanity’s darker side, so you better have the stomach for it.
In order to become a private detective or a criminal investigator, you’ll need a GED, a license, and a degree in Criminal Justice. Having past experience working in law enforcement or specific military divisions also helps.
Environment, Health, and Safety Engineering Manager
Mean Income: $109,946 Top 10%: $136,324
You’ll be surprised just how lucrative being an Environment, Health, and Safety Engineering Manager can be. Because governments set up various regulations on businesses, they are basically forced to hire these safety checkers in order to get various business licenses and permits. This means that you’re never out of work, and usually, get paid quite heftily.
You’ll obviously need to have a lot of knowledge on the subject and the required government-issued certificates, but there’s really not much else involved in getting the job. Plus, the time spent on writing notes and making evaluations is definitely worth the mini-muffins you get from potential clients who want your approval.
Mean Income: $106,020 Top 10%: $185,613
Being a speechwriter is an extremely cool job if you can do it. It’s an unbelievable honor when you realize that some of the world’s most successful people are reading the speeches you wrote for them for the whole world to hear.
Things you’ll need in order to become a successful speechwriter include the ability to communicate clearly with a lot of emotions, being able to convey principles and messages in short sentences, and a strong grasp of human psychology and trends in business and politics. If you’ve always wanted to do public speaking but prefer to avoid the people staring at you, this is definitely the gig for you.
Mean Income: $76,000 Top 10%: $116,000
If you don’t mind forfeiting much of your days, giving up the idea of a good night’s sleep, and watching doctors take credit for your hard labor, you might have what it takes to become a registered nurse. It also helps if you’re very passionate about helping people, and being able to calmly deal with hysterical patients.
To get the job you’ll need a Master’s degree in nursing or a related area, and a license provided by the state you’re in. Needless to say, the more experience you have in the medical field, the easier it will be to get hired as a registered nurse and start bringing in those paychecks.
Library Services Director
Mean Income: $108,771 Top 10%: $139,523
People today not only don’t appreciate libraries enough, but they have also stopped visiting them altogether. These prestigious bodies of knowledge contain much of the world’s literature and are an incredible place to sit down and work quietly. Being the supervisor of a library is also cool, as it gives you the responsibility of hiring, educating, and managing library staff.
You’ll get to spend most of your time at the library, which depending on your taste, is either the best use of your time or a complete bore-fest. You’ll need at least a few years of experience working in libraries and using their systems to qualify for the job. Also, being very customer-oriented and a good manager helps too.
Mean Income: $91,763 Top 10%: $183,703
Geophysicists are highly proficient at studying and analyzing the earth’s patterns, after which, they use that vast knowledge to make discoveries and predictions. If you have a love for mother nature and a scientific mind, this job is very exciting, and also earns six figures annually.
For entry-level positions in the field, you’ll need your basic Bachelor’s degree. However, in order to get to some of the highest levels of responsibility (and salary) of the job, you’ll definitely need a master’s degree in the field. So if you have one of those kids who bring leaves and dirt home from kindergarten each day, just know there’s hope for them.
Film and Video Editors
Mean Income: $66,690 Top 10%: $126,250
If you’ve got a passion for editing films and videos, you should know that nowadays this field is a lot easier to get into than most people think. The challenge is to find a job at a high-end organization instead of an amateur one — that’s a matter of skills, luck, tenacity, and connections.
Most studios and companies would require you to have some sort of a degree in the subject or at least a really good demo reel. You’ll also need to learn various Adobe software, including After Effects, Premier, Auditions, and others. Luckily, Adobe caters to students, so you don't have to shell out much to learn the software.
Captain/Pilot in Command
Mean Income: $128,063 Top 10%: $230,573
By becoming a pilot in command, you’re tasked with ensuring that flights are conducted safely and with no incidents. This is a job with the utmost level of responsibility, which is why you’ll be required to have either 5,000 hours of commercial flight experience or at least 15 years of experience working in aviation.
Some of the basic requirements also include having an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), owning a valid passport, and going through a multitude of rigorous physical, mental and emotional checkups. They don’t just let anyone become a pilot in command, so if you succeed, you know you're one of the best and your paycheck will follow suit.
Mean Income: $74,480 Top 10%: $116,840
Gaming managers work at casinos and other establishments that allow for gambling-style games like poker and roulette. Their job is to attract players, encourage them to bet as much as possible, and ensure that nobody is cheating or getting an advantage. This is a serious profession that could potentially make you a bunch of money, but you must have a very specific set of skills to prevail at it.
The most important things you need for this career are having great charisma, the ability to multitask, and an eye for spotting odd behavior. No matter how great you are at attracting potential gamblers, if you can’t pay attention to the entire table, your casino might still lose money.
Authors and Writers
Mean Income: $68,060 Top 10%: $115,740
There are tons of writing jobs, from SEO writers (who help businesses rank high on Google searches) to content writers. One option is to find a stable writing job that pays you a salary or based on how much work you do. Another option is to go freelance and have full control over your projects.
Being hired for a writing job has more to do with the field you’re entering than having an actual degree. The more skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable you are at a specific niche, the easier and more lucrative opportunities will be available to you. Just do yourself a favor and get a standing desk, your back and neck will thank you for it later on.
Mean Income: $95,500 Top 10%: $166,620
Art Directors are responsible for things like designing video games and turning them from an art project into a real business. This means that you need to have both a creative mind and higher managerial and number-oriented skills. Steve Jobs is a great example of such a mix.
In terms of credentials, you’ll need to have a BA and at least a few years of working in a management position (unless you’re planning to start or join a new company). This is a potentially risky position. Art directors are often blamed if projects end up failing for any reason, as they are responsible for both the artistic and business side of things.
Insurance Sales Agents
Mean Income: $62,970 Top 10%: $115,300
Depending on your state, the qualifications for becoming an insurance agent could be as simple as taking a basic course, passing some tests, and getting your license. This job will be either one of the worst career paths you’ve ever tried or one of the most lucrative and rewarding ones. Many insurance agents get paid “passive” monthly income for retaining their clients. If you’re great at sales, this may just be the job for you.
Depending on your temperament and level of motivation, this could be either extremely rewarding and satisfying or downright awful. What’s certain is that in this career, only you can truly make your fortune.
Public Relations Manager
Mean Income: $90,410 Top 10%: $128,101
Public relations can be either amazing or a nightmare. This job requires a lot of communication, and an ability to spin and present bad things positively. Public relations managers basically have to make sure everyone thinks favorably of their product/company. It’s all about maintaining that great image in the minds of others.
To get into the field, you’ll probably need a Bachelor's degree in Communications or a related field (or a related cousin). Having a lot of experience and successful past accomplishments obviously helps too. You’ll also want to develop really good communication skills, both written and spoken.
Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers
Mean Income: $70,010 Top 10%: $112,150
Despite many regulations and economic issues, farming is still one of the most lucrative fields in the rural market and has the potential for a hefty income. If you’re not afraid of hard work, heavy machinery, and having to work with mother nature, this might be a great job for you. If, however, you’re a more desk-oriented person, agricultural managing might be a good choice.
Lacking experience shouldn’t stop you, as you can simply start by becoming an apprentice of an experienced farmer. This is an industry that’s always looking for high-quality people, so try your luck if you love the idea of getting your hands dirty and making a profit at the same time.
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
Mean Income: $75,550 Top 10%: $137,570
If you’ve got some experience in law and have a knack for solving disputes, one interesting career option might be to become an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator. Businesses and organizations frequently enter into complicated disputes, and they need someone who’s impartial, talented and highly experienced to help them solve these disagreements.
Once you’re working with high-status individuals, you can sometimes charge a certain percentage of the deal you’re helping mediate. Basically, this is a very lucrative field, but you’ll need to have a spit-shine reputation and a highly developed ability to read people. If you’re not interested in reading hundreds of psychology and leadership books, it’s best to just sit this one out.
Captains, Mates, Pilots of Water Vessels
Mean Income: $71,760 Top 10%: $119,280
If you love the seas and want to make a living from that, captaining a water vessel might just be the job for you. It’s actually a lot easier to get into the field than you think, as you don’t need any type of degree for it. You will, however, need a few years of training and certifications. Namely the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).
Obviously, you don’t want to enter this field if you tend to get seasick, or just don’t like being around or in anything sandy or dirty in general, as these are both characteristics of the wide ocean.
Mean Income: $93,340 Top 10%: $155,480
Working as an official astronomer can earn just as much money, if not more, than any other well-paying job. If you have a love for the stars but not enough courage to fly into space, becoming an astronomer could be perfect for you. This job can earn you up to $150,000 annually!
To become an astronomer, you’ll need a Ph.D. and a master’s degree. Publishing some articles also helps a lot, but this takes years to do. Ignore any naysayers because this job will give you all the flexibility you could want and need, and could potentially lead to you writing the next hit sci-fi book that ends up as a Hollywood film. Then we’ll see who’s laughing.
Mean Income: $108,600 Top 10%: $169,310
Offices can be quite a complicated environment to work in. Tensions between co-workers, employees and managers, and many other dynamics are at constant play throughout the day. Add those people who were born before the politically correct era into the mix, and you’ve got yourself quite an interesting work-day as an HR Manager.
The job combines many skills but is mostly about making people happy. You’ll most likely need a degree in the subject for an entry-level position. If you’ve got some experience and can help mediate between people, this might just be one of the most rewarding jobs you can possibly get. And hey, it also pays very well!
Mean Income: $65,770 Top 10%: $110,210
Transportation inspectors are the overseers of our roads, bridges, and sidewalks. They are usually hired by both the government and large construction companies to make sure that safety procedures are met. This job literally saves lives, which is why it requires a few key qualifications. The job might be very physically demanding, or involve mostly desk work, depending on who you work for.
You’ll obviously need some mechanical and/or construction background in-order to qualify for the job. Based on your state, different certifications are also required. It’s also extremely important to be knowledgeable in regulations, rules, and procedures, as that’s the essence of the job.
Mean Income: $77,350 Top 10%: $108,500
Database administration is an extremely cool job. If you work as a freelancer, you’ll basically get to work from home and help secure private databases for companies. If you’re a tech wiz and don’t mind the occasional CEO freaking out when their computers don’t work, this is a very profitable and rewarding venture.
You should have at least a few years of experience working on SQL databases and/or online databases. In addition, having a degree helps, but it’s not mandatory. Being great at problem-solving is obviously important, as you’re basically taking the role of protecting the precious data of these companies.
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Mean Income: $68,060 Top 10%: $109,370
Digital artistry has received a bad rap in recent years as a job that requires enormous hours for very little pay. This is true when you’re working for visual effects companies and most video-game developers, but the job is much better if you work for a business. As a digital artist, you’ll get to work from home, and have extremely flexible hours.
Since this is a very artistic job, you’ll obviously need to have a great visual sense. It’s also important to be adept at various digital art software such as Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, and others, mostly depending on your field. Having a portfolio is important as well.
Funeral Service Managers
Mean Income: $79,930 Top 10%: $140,740
While we get no pleasure from saying this, working in the funeral industry is extremely luxurious and quite profitable. Caskets go for thousands of dollars, and funerals are a very expensive thing to hold. If you don’t mind the field (and spending your days consoling people), you can make great money in this business.
Funeral directors are responsible for the entire funeral process — from finding the right casket to filing the necessary paperwork. To get the job, you’ll need a degree in funeral service or mortuary science. Completing the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) program is also necessary, but might be worth it.
Home Economics Teachers
Mean Income: $68,080 Top 10%: $110,650
Home Economics teachers get to teach young people practical life skills. These teachers help students learn about being financially smart, finding a career path, living a healthy lifestyle, doing your taxes, investing in real estate, and more. You basically get the chance to prepare young people for adulthood.
The job usually requires a degree or at least a very considerable base of experience. You may also need some other various certificates and licenses, depending on where you’d like to teach. It’s also crucially important to be a great communicator, love the subject, and have the ability to create engaging and well-structured lessons for students.
Mean Income: $194,500 Top 10%: $370,000
Let's face it — garlic and other home remedies can only go so far. When your home remedies aren't working anymore, you contact your physician. Those can be found in hospitals or in private practice (in case you have some fancy insurance policy). Whether it's stomachache, headache, or sniffles, you can count on one of these to help you out.
After all, they don't go through years of studying and residency periods for nothing. Medical school is anything but cheap (between $19,000 and $68,000 a year), so it's a good thing this job pays well. You know those student loans don't pay themselves.
Mean Income: $120,910 Top 10%: $228,000
Lawyers, huh? You can't live with them and you can't live without them. Somehow, they managed to become the most hated and the most sought-after trained professionals out there. Without them, there would be no way for us common folk to navigate the labyrinth of law on our own.
Good lawyers end up making incredible amounts of money, and it's a good thing that they do because their tuition is high as the top floor of the Burj Khalifa. And that's not even the end of it — once the college degree is over, there is still an internship period, the bar exams, and actual job hunting.
Mean Income: $142,120 Top 10%: $151,000
For those of you who have been out of the business sphere, let us tell you that R&D stands for research and development. Business savvy people who have been in that field for a long time or have a special talent for it end up being managers in that industry.
Practically speaking, those managers take care of every aspect of the product they were hired to deal with. It could be making the product more efficient, collaborating with other brands, doing market research, and the list goes on. There is a lot to wrap your head around but ultimately, the paycheck seems to be worth it.
Software Development Manager
Mean Income: $103,620 Top 10%: $170,626
These days, it seems that you have to be working in hi-tech in order to be considered successful. It is no surprise considering how incredibly dependent we are on our phone (tell yourself all the lies you want, we know you play Candy Crush on the toilet).
Software developers are the very people who basically run the modern-day world. After completing a degree in computer science and finding a job in their field, they make smartphone apps, build and maintain websites. They are essentially the construction workers of the digital world. Without them, there would be no online activity. And without online activity, how will our Instagram followers know what we had for lunch?
Mean Income: $130,000 Top 10%: $170,607
You must think that a pharmacy manager does very little other than scheduling the shifts for their staff but you'd be wrong. Actually, managing a pharmacy is much harder than most people realize. Being a pharmacist dealing with self-appointed medical professionals is hard, but you know what's even harder? Managing an establishment that does that every. Single. Day.
Pharmacy managers will need years of experience as regular pharmacists as well as a doctoral degree. They will also need nerves of steel. Oh, and some big wallets for all the money they will be making.
Mean Income: $130,000 Top 10%: $140,769
Strategy manager sounds like one of those overly vague, made-up, hi-tech titles, but we promise it's a real thing and that it pays well too. What strategy managers usually do is help a company reach its full potential. Again, we know it sounds vague, but trust us, we're getting somewhere.
Helping a company grow and become more efficient is usually done through business partnerships and planning new initiatives. Strategy managers are able to do just that thanks to an academic background which includes a bachelor’s (and sometimes a master's) degree.
Integrated Circuit Designer Engineer
Mean Income: $127,500 Top 10%: $176,000
Those of you who aren't in hi-tech must read this title and think you're looking at a foreign language of some sort. Those of you who are in hi-tech are probably here by mistake because you must be too busy making money to be reading this. But we're not bitter. No matter what the therapist says.
Anyway, let us just explain that integrated circuit designer engineers deal with electrical design as well as development support. They also solve technical hardware problems for the companies that hire their services. In order to be able to do that, they study for a B.S. or even a Master’s of Science degree in electrical engineering.
Mean Income: $142,530 Top 10%: $146,945
You know the IT person you call whenever your work computer starts showing signs of ADHD? Apparently, those people have other responsibilities too, such as overseeing information technology systems. Sure, they help workers navigate through technological problems, but they also perform system maintenance on any software the company uses, install and upgrade different hardware systems, and more.
With all the sensitive information on their hands (plus, their anti-virus responsibilities), IT managers need professional training which includes at least a B.A. in computer science. They would also need a rewarding paycheck or they will be easily tempted to sell the company secrets to online psychopaths.
Mean Income: $120,000 Top 10%: $200,500
Wait a minute. We thought architects design buildings, don't they? Well, generally speaking — yes. But solution architects aren't regular architects. Solution architects deal with product or project design and are also deeply involved in their technological aspects.
In order to become a solution architect, one will need to study. Hard. One will typically start with a B.A. in computer systems, but they could also start with a degree in information systems. Those who are exceptionally passionate about the field might even go for a Master’s in marketing or engineering.
Mean Income: $120,000 Top 10%: $178,580
Believe it or not, engagement managers have nothing to do with couples getting married. What they actually do is come up with new ways to keep clients involved with the company they work for. After all, if your client relationships are less than optimal, your company's days are numbered.
Engagement managers will need to study both marketing and project management, but really good ones will also have some software or technical skills.
Applications Development Manager
Mean Income: $120,000 Top 10%: $154,448
Your system or software is old, cumbersome, and outdated? Your business probably needs an application development manager. Those people are in charge of improving internal systems and software, and could probably save you from constantly having to restart your computer whenever your office chatroom crashes (which is about twice an hour).
Good application development managers will have a bachelor’s degree under their belt, as well as a few years of experience in the field.
Mean Income: $116,920 Top 10%: $162,568
What? An architect who doesn't deal with buildings? What's the point of words anyway? But never mind that for now. A system architect would be in charge of a company’s software, databases, and system coding.
This kind of architect would have to have learned engineering or computer science for a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Sure, that kind of degree costs quite a bit, but the payout, once you get a job in the field, seems to be worth it.
Mean Income: $127,990 Top 10%: $140,626
Finance managers are the ones who make sure a company stays financially healthy. Money doctors, if you will. Finance managers do the research and advise top executives about how to generate better income and spend less money.
Financial managers can't just be anyone. They need an undergraduate degree or even Master of Business Administration degrees in some cases. That kind of degree would cost $9,000-$70,000 a year, depending on the institution.
Mean Income: $115,000 Top 10%: $190,500
When you hear the word 'scientist' you usually get a mental image of a person wearing a white lab coat, some protective goggles, and holding a test tube or a petri dish. But data scientists do nothing of the above. Well, they are free to come to work in a white lab coat but that's just as a fashion statement.
Data scientists would solve computing problems for the company they work for, plus do the necessary data research. Demand for this line of work has only been increasing in the last few years, and it will probably keep growing in the following years.
Mean Income: $115,000 Top 10%: $142,656
How do you know if a certain business move is worth making? You ask your risk manager. No risk manager? Good luck getting sued or losing some major bucks. Risk managers work in different capacities, depending on the industry they work in.
The job pays really well, obviously, as there is a lot at stake here. Feel like becoming one? You might be a good fit if you're not afraid of studying hard, working long hours, looking at statistical analysis, and dealing with insurance.
Mean Income: $102,880 Top 10%: $175,500
People who avoid taking risks are what good actuaries are made of. Actuaries go deep into math, statistics, and economics to help companies spend less money on their ongoing liabilities. The way they do it is by designing tests, analyzing models, and presenting what they found to the decision-makers in the company.
An actuary is especially essential to insurance companies, as he or she would help set insurance fees based on how likely certain events are. In order to become one, you will need a bachelor's degree and not get a migraine whenever you look at numbers.
Mean Income: $113,000 Top 10%: 188,907
Data architect sounds like a pretty generic hi-tech position but they have pretty specific expertise. What they do is create a so-called 'road map' for the business they work for, both in terms of information and technology.
Becoming a data architect would normally require a set of technical skills plus a B.S. in computer science (information systems works too).
Mean Income: $110,000 Top 10%: $160,717
Ugh, taxes. Modern-day ball and chain. Much like wi-fi, you can live with it and you can't live without it. If we had to think of one good thing about taxes, it is that you can get someone to do them for you.
A tax manager would be the one to deal with a private person or a company's tax returns. In order to do that, the manager would need to have a degree in accounting (undergraduate or graduate, depending on the requirements).
Mean Income: $107,000 Top 10%: $154,000
In the mood for another vague job title? Wonderful. Product managers, obscure as they sound, are actually pretty instrumental in developing a product. They lead the development team as well as make sure that the development happens according to the designated timeline.
There is a great demand for product managers in hi-tech. Considering that the job pays really well too, we would think that those open positions won't remain open for a long time.
Mean Income: $106,500 Top 10%: $157,395
Design managers' responsibilities include envisioning and executing a client’s experience with a company. It sounds super general because the job entails being involved in every aspect of the designing process.
Design managers will often be people who have a very artistic mind but are also very practical. This way they make sure the product or service is done both creatively and efficiently.
Mean Income: $106,000 Top 10%: $151,241
We don't know who they are nor are we interested in being friends with them, but we acknowledge their importance to modern-day society. Those are the people who could get a good, six-figure-income job as analytics managers and not end up in a mental institution. Good for them.
For most people, statistics are what nightmares are made of. We see numbers, formulas, and spreadsheets and go running for the hills. But this isn't the case for everyone. Some people find beauty in data analysis and management.
Information Systems Manager
Mean Income: $106,000 Top 10%:$128,000
This job is pretty similar to that of an IT manager (which is the person you call whenever your work computer crashes and burns. So... every three hours). However, this role has some more responsibilities.
Information systems managers are in charge of a company's information no matter how it's organized. They are the Marie Kondo of information and they are being paid as such.
Median Salary: $100,770 Top 10%:$151,000
How often have you told yourself you need to start therapy? Probably way too often. We all need a mind doctor to help us sort through the thoughts and feelings we experience on a daily basis.
Psychologists usually get a doctorate in psychology in order to be practicing their craft. Other than that, they also need a psychology license in most states. Other than treating people's psyche, psychologists also conduct research to further contribute to their field.
Business Operations Manager
Mean Income: $100,930 Top 10%: $135,000
The title is pretty self-explanatory: running a business properly is why business operations managers are needed. They discuss ways to meet company goals and establish a course of action for the workers to achieve them. They deal with budgets, recruitment, organization strategy, and more.
In order to become a business operations manager, one will need a bachelor's degree, or sometimes a master's of business administration degree. This kind of degree would cost about $9,000-$70,000 a year.
Mean Income: $101,900 Top 10%: $109,975
You know how you were little and your math teacher warned you that you won't always have a calculator at your side? Well, the joke's on them because your cellphone does all of your calculations for you. But, as it happens, some people's intelligence stretches beyond that of your cellphone's calculating skills. Those people are mathematicians.
Those superhumans. They take numbers that would give most people anaphylactic shock and use them for the greater good (the greater good being more money for businesses and government agencies). Those people normally have a bachelor's degree, and oftentimes a master’s degree or doctorates.
Mean Income: $108,610 Top 10%: $128,504
Physician assistants work with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to take better care of patients. They perform tests, diagnose patients, write prescriptions and treat patients however they can.
PAs would learn their profession at an accredited program. They will learn all there is to know about anatomy, clinical rotations, and medical ethics. Getting into such a program would cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, but the salary you get paid once you get a job would make it all worth it.
Mean Income: $111,790 Top 10%: $139,500
An optometrist is the only person who can look deeply into your eyes and not make you feel awkward. Those doctors help bespectacled and soon-to-be-bespectacled see the world better. They have a set of tools and machines to test patients’ eyesight and eye condition.
Optometrists start out as mere college students and then move on to study for four years for a doctor of optometry degree. The annual tuition for such a program could fall anywhere between $18,000 and $55,000, but it could take less than a year's work to earn all of that money back.
Mean Income: $129,550 Top 10%: $272,692
Apparently, there are more things to do with a foot fetish other than selling shoes. Podiatrists (or 'feet doctors' as the people would call them) deliver medical treatment to poor people's feet. Be it bone spurs, ingrown toenails, arthritis, or sports injuries, they know what to do.
In order to become such a doctor, one would have to complete a college education followed by a podiatric medicine degree. There are nine official institutions that teach this program. It's not cheap, but it turns out as a great long-term investment.
Art, Drama, Music Teachers
Teachers who teach some of the more artistic subjects such as music, dance, and drama teachers have a real opportunity to affect the younger generation and help them develop. Rather than being limited to a specific curriculum, like in most subjects, art teachers usually get to create their own.
In order to become a teacher of the arts, you’ll need some sort of an arts degree. This isn’t really an issue, as it’s likely that you’ve already studied at least one thing that interests you, such as art, drama, or music. You’ll also need to be quite patient, as kids today have a lot of trouble bringing out their artistic side.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Mean Income: $100,860 Top 10%: $159,520
Electrical power, since its very development, has remained one of the most important things in the world. It's no surprise, then, that electrical engineers bring down the big bucks. Even the average income for one of these hard workers is over six figures, with metro areas boasting even higher incomes.
Engineering jobs are expected to grow seven percent in the following decade, and there's no shock there – more and more electricity is being used around the world, both for old systems being updated and for new things being added to our daily lives. All of those cell phones, websites, and fancy devices all need engineers behind them.
Information Security Analyst
Mean Income: $103, 590 Top 10%: $150,000
If you've ever gotten a message from a website, a business, or some other entity only to find out their servers have been hacked, that means an information security analyst didn't do his or her job right.
An ISA is becoming an increasingly important job in today's world since more and more of our information is being stored online – whether we like it or not. Passwords, email addresses, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and lots of other details are there for the taking if not for information security analysts. It takes a lot of work to get this job, though, including numerous certifications and constant study to stay up-to-date.
Medical and Health Services Manager
Mean Income: $104,280 Top 10%: $195,630
If there's one thing that will always be required for our modern world, it's health services. Nurses and doctors are just the beginning of the employees that hospitals and clinics need to have on staff to make sure all the rules are followed and patients are treated properly.
A medical and health services manager oversees employee groups to make sure laws and regulations are being followed. Some managers can also manage groups of medical practices. This job requires clinical hours, plenty of time working in the health system, and, for most places, at least a master's degree.
Mean Income: $108,350 Top 10%: $195,377
We guess it shouldn't be much of a shock to find out that economists earn a pretty penny. This employment option works in a variety of settings. They analyze economic data, identify trends, and stay apprised of issues affecting population, goods, services, and resources. Lots of them work for the federal government, but there are also plenty who work for companies both big and small.
Money has been studied for thousands of years, so don't be surprised if this kind of work requires a graduate degree. Positions that come from the private sector also often require work experience in the field, as well. A thirteen percent increase in the field is expected in the coming decade.
Mean Income: $108,540 Top 10%: $168,960
What exactly does a chemical engineer do? Testing paints, studying blood samples, and everything in between. They apply scientific and mathematical principles to the manufacture and use of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, fuel, and millions of other products. Almost without a doubt, you've benefited from the work of chemical engineers today.
Expected to grow nine percent through 2030, a chemical engineer is a critical job for today's world, and the pay reflects that. However, a bachelor's degree is just the beginning when it comes to schooling for many people in this industry. Internships and co-op programs are other ways of gaining experience.
Mean Income: $111,130 Top 10%: $179,770
Combining the hard work and broad knowledge of a nurse with the deep knowledge and critical skills of a midwife, a nurse-midwife earns every penny on the job. Delivering babies, providing gynecological care, and assisting in prenatal care, a nurse-midwife is an advanced nursing practice, meaning there's plenty of extra schooling that goes into this field.
Not only will you need a nursing degree, but you'll also need a master's degree and RN and APRN licenses, which require passing exams. Midwife nurses are also required to obtain certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board. Even with all that work, the job outlook for nurse midwives is incredible, with an expected forty-five percent increase in positions through 2030.
Mean Income: $117,670 Top 10%: $215,000
There's a big, BIG reason why nurse anesthetists make so much money. It's that anesthesia is an incredibly complicated and dangerous tool that is nevertheless required for most surgeries. If you've ever been knocked out and woken up a few hours later right as rain (effects of the surgery notwithstanding), thank your anesthetist. They have to take into account weight, height, body chemistry, your medical history, and many, many other things to make sure you wake up well.
It requires years of graduate-level schooling, board certification and recertification, and RN exams to earn your license to practice. But, after all that work, you're getting paid what you're worth, with some positions shelling out almost three hundred thousand a year.
Mean income: $137,330 Top 10%: $238,500
If you drive, or fly, or even like to putter around on the lake, you have petroleum engineers to thank. They find ways to extract oil and gas from natural underground deposits, often traveling all over the world to keep the black gold flowing.
To become one of these incredibly-high earners, you'll need a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering or another discipline, and there are few positions that don't also require a master's degree. There are some schools that offer a bachelor's and master's at the same time during a five-year span. The reason for all this schooling is that, put simply, do things wrong and stuff is going to explode.
Mean Income: $125,350 Top 10%: $170,800
Political systems – from small groups in small towns to entire countries – are endlessly complicated. Political scientists are experts in how these systems develop and operate, using their knowledge to assist politicians, governments, and groups. Nearly half of the political scientists in the United States work in the federal government in one way or another.
This position often requires a graduate degree in political science, public administration, or a related field, but even with a bachelor's degree, you can use an internship to get your foot in the door. You might think that Washington D.C. has the best options for this field, but it's actually the nearby city of Baltimore that boasts the best salaries.
Mean Income: $108,830 Top 10%: $119,500
Really just a fancy way of saying salesperson, a sales engineer is nevertheless a niche field that is still important. They sell scientific and technology products and services to organizations and businesses. It requires not only good sales skills but also expertise in their products – which often requires scientific knowledge in how they're made or how they function.
Starting with a bachelor's degree in engineering is a good way to begin, but this position requires some critical sales skills as well. Through 2030 the growth rate for this position is expected to be eight percent. If you've always wanted to combine sales and tech, this is the way to do it.
Mean Income: $158,940 Top 10%: $208,000
With the price of dental work these days, we're surprised that dentists don't earn more. Still, $150,000 is no small amount, and the necessary work comes with lots of schooling, just like any other health-related position.
The first step is a bachelor's degree in dentistry or even pre-med, followed by passing the Dental Admission Test to make it into an accredited dental program – after that, it's the traditional schooling before becoming a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine. There's more to do after that, but all that work with books allows you to command a hefty price.