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10 Jobs That Pay $100K a Year

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While a job is often more than just a paycheck, the reality is that most of us work because we need the money. And, for whatever reasons, some of us are looking for jobs that pay $100K a year but worry that we don’t have a few advanced degrees or specialized training to land that type of job.

Well, not every job that pays $100K requires years of school or a background in STEM. While it’s helpful, there are plenty of options for job seekers in a variety of fields.

How Much Is $100K a Year?

In 1985, approximately 15% of all households earned $100,000 per year. By 2022, that number had doubled to over 36%.

Of course, if you’re the sole income in the house, that $100K is spent differently than if you live with another high-earner or have kids. Not to mention, where you live changes how far that $100K goes. State and local taxes, for example, impact how much of that $100K ends up in your bank account.

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10 Types of Jobs That Pay $100K a Year

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists approximately 170 jobs with an average (mean) annual wage of at least $100K per year. At the top of the list are medical occupations, including cardiologists, surgeons, and dermatologists. Mixed into these medical professions, other top-paying jobs include chief executives ($265,740) and airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers ($229,470).

But what about those who don’t want to pursue something as specialized as medicine or flying airplanes? Are there jobs that pay $100K for the rest of us?

Absolutely! We’ve rounded up 10 types of jobs that pay $100K a year (or more!) based on BLS data. Keep in mind that the wage information is the mean annual wage. That means it’s calculated using salary data from the high and low earners. Not all entry-level roles in these fields pay $100K right away. It may take several years before you hit that mark.

And to get you on your way to $100K a year, we’ve also included virtual job simulations that will help you build the skills you need for each kind of role.

1. Engineers

While there are many types of engineers (biomedical, environmental, and mechanical, just to name a few), the engineering profession has one thing in common. Engineers design, test, modify, and inspect systems, products, and structures.

To become an engineer, you generally need at least a bachelor’s degree, though sometimes a master’s is necessary. And you’ll usually need to pass a licensing exam and often have your work signed off by a licensed engineer for at least a year (though some jobs, like QA engineer, are exceptions).

No wonder this is a job that pays $100K a year!

Engineering job titles and mean annual wages:

Learn more about job options for engineering majors, then see what it’s like to work as one:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
Supply chain engineerGE Aerospace Explore Supply Chain
Civil engineerJohn Holland Civil Engineering
Technical specialistSpectris Measurement Techniques for Sustainability
Aviation engineerGE Aerospace Explore Engineering
EngineerEngineers Without Borders UK Globally Responsible Engineering – Forage

2. Financial Services

Financial services is a broad term that covers activities related to corporate and personal finance. Someone in financial services works in industries such as financial planning, corporate investing, and insurance. Employees in the financial services field help their clients maximize their income and reduce their tax burden.

Financial services job titles and mean annual wages:

Gain practical skills for jobs in the financial services industry:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
Commercial bankerJPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking
Investment bankerBank of America Investment Banking
Wealth and personal bankerHSBC Wealth and Personal Banking
Investment bankerCiti Investment Banking
Global bankerHSBC Global Banking & Markets
Personal bankerCiti Personal Banking
Financial analystNew York Jobs CEO Council Financial Analyst
Internal auditorJPMorgan Chase & Co. Internal Audit Analyst

3. Post-Secondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers are those who teach classes beyond the high school level. That includes professors at four-year colleges, teachers at community colleges, and sometimes instructors at professional schools.

To become a postsecondary teacher, you often need a Ph.D., though it is possible to find postsecondary positions with only a master’s degree.

Postsecondary job titles and mean annual wages:

These postsecondary teacher job titles have a mean annual wage that’s close to $100K:

Build your teaching skills:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
TeacherTeach First Transferable Teaching Skills
STEM teacherTeach First Teaching STEM in schools

4. Project Managers

The next role on our list of jobs that pay $100K a year is project manager. As the name implies, project managers shepherd a project from start to finish. A large part of the role includes collaborating and coordinating with multiple teams and stakeholders to ensure the job gets done on time and on budget.

Project manager job titles and mean annual wages:

Learn what it’s like to work as a project manager:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
Agile project managerCognizant Agile Methodology
Project managerAccenture North America Project Management
Product managerElectronic Arts Product Management
Project managerCBRE Project Management

5. Computers

While a computer isn’t exactly a job that pays $100K a year, or even an industry or sector, it is an area where many $100K jobs are clustered.

For example, software developers design and create the programs that most of us use every day.. Quality assurance analysts and QA testers make sure those programs are bug-free. And web and digital interface designers make sure what we see on a website looks good.

Computer-related job titles and mean annual wages:

Try your hand at software engineering in one of these virtual job simulations:

Walmart USA Advanced Software EngineeringCiti ICG Technology Software DevelopmentWells Fargo Software EngineeringGoldman Sachs Engineering Job Simulation
Standard Bank Software DevelopmentJ.P. Morgan Software EngineeringAccenture North America Coding: Development & Advanced EngineeringElectronic Arts Software Engineering
Verizon Cloud PlatformHSBC Digital Business ServicesGE Aerospace Explore Digital TechnologyAccenture Nordics Developer
PepsiCo Advanced Software EngineeringHewlett Packard Enterprise Software EngineeringStandard Bank Software Engineering

6. Life Sciences

Life sciences is a specific branch of science that focuses on life — things like plants, animals, and humans. Under that broad umbrella term, life scientists have a specialty like biomedical engineer, medical scientist, or pharmacist.

Almost all jobs in the life sciences field require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, but many also require advanced degrees or training.

Life sciences job titles and mean annual wages:

Experience what it’s like to work in life sciences:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
Biology researcherLifeArc Life Sciences: Biology Research
Lab technicianThermo Fisher Scientific Mass Spectrometry

7. Consulting

Another umbrella term, consulting is the field of providing expert advice. Consultants help their clients determine what to do and how to do it. In terms of business, consultants provide their services in specialties like management consulting, strategy consulting, and IT consulting, just to name a few.

Though you don’t necessarily need a degree to get into consulting, most major consulting firms require consultants to have a bachelor’s degree and often an MBA.

Consulting job titles and mean annual wages:

Practice and build your consulting skills in any of these virtual job simulations:

SAP USA Technical ConsultingAccenture North America Strategy Consulting 
PwC US Cyber Security ConsultingBCG Introduction to Strategy Consulting
PwC US Technology ConsultingTata Consultancy Services ESG
BCG Climate & SustainabilityPwC US Management Consulting
BCG Strategy ConsultingEY Climate Change and Sustainability

8. Data Science

While we often think of data with regard to chem lab, data science is often used to help businesses make critical decisions. This data comes from various sources, such as A/B testing messaging on a website, looking at subscription information, or calculating who completes a task (like signing up for an account).

And though data scientists often work in data science, the field also includes statisticians, actuaries, and mathematicians.

Data science job titles and mean annual wages:

Try your hand at data science jobs:

SkillVirtual Job Simulation
Data visualizationTata Data Visualisation: Empowering Business with Effective Insights
Data analyticsKPMG AU Data Analytics
Artificial intelligenceCognizant Artificial Intelligence
Data scienceBritish Airways Data Science
Data scienceBCG Data Science

9. Sales

For a job that pays $100K a year, sales has a lot of options. Some jobs require a degree, while some don’t. But in either case, working in sales often requires being willing to reach out to total strangers and be tenacious (often in the face of many, many, nos).

To be clear, “sales” can include part-time work at an e-commerce site or in a brick-and-mortar store. Those are generally not the kinds of jobs that pay $100K a year. Jobs with that salary are often at companies that sell a product or service to other businesses. And even if you land that kind of sales role, making $100K a year is not guaranteed. Some sales roles have a small base salary that’s guaranteed, while the rest of your take-home pay comes from commissions you earn from your sales.

Sales job titles and mean annual wages:

Test-drive different sales jobs:

Job TitleVirtual Job Simulation
On-premise salesRed Bull On-Premise Sales
SalesPepsiCo Sales
PresalesHewlett Packard Enterprise Presales
Advertising salesThe New York Times Advertising Sales
Digital salesHewlett Packard Enterprise Digital Sales

The final type of career on our list of jobs that pay $100K a year is legal jobs. Across the board, all legal occupations make well over $100K per year. However, that includes roles like judges, arbitrators, and mediators. However, not all jobs in the legal field come with a $100K per year salary. As an example, the BLS notes that paralegals and legal assistants make, on average, $62,840 per year.

Legal job titles and mean annual wages:

Experience a day in the life of a legal professional in these virtual job simulations:

Clifford Chance Climate Change Hogan Lovells Life Sciences and Health CareHerbert Smith Freehills Digital LawLatham & Watkins Emerging Companies
Latham & Watkins White Collar Defense & InvestigationsWhite & Case US Intellectual PropertyBCLP Commercial Disputes & InvestigationsAllen & Overy Employment Law
White & Case US AntitrustHerbert Smith Freehills International MergersLatham & Watkins Antitrust & CompetitionLeo Cussen Criminal Law
Kilpatrick Townsend Patent LawHogan Lovells Life Sciences and Health CareLatham & Watkins Restructuring & Special SituationsClifford Chance Business and Human Rights

Plentiful $100K Job Options

As you can see, there are many jobs that pay $100K across a variety of industries and job types. Some require specialized education and training, but not all do, giving job seekers from all backgrounds the chance to earn six figures a year. And, depending on the field, you may even be able to find jobs that pay $100K a year without a degree!

Not sure which career is right for you? Sign up for a free Forage virtual job simulation today and experience what it’s like to work in one — or all — of these fields.

For guidance on the job application process, explore our Job Application Basics series below. This five-part series will show you how to increase your chances of getting hired. Start with the intro, then check out all five parts:



Image credit: Canva

Rachel Pelta is the Head Writer at Forage. Previously, she was a Content Specialist at FlexJobs, writing articles for job seekers and employers. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, The Ladders, MSN, and Money Talks News.

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