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Best Six-Figure Jobs: How to Earn a Six-Figure Salary Fast

Joshua Weinstein - October 11, 2022


To earn a six-figure salary, you should look for a career in engineering, tech, or finance. While many other jobs offer a six-figure income, these industries are the most popular for high-paying salaries. This is especially true for the tech industry, which offers a wide range of six-figure jobs that are easy to break into.

Six-figure salary jobs are the mark of success. While formal education is often necessary to earn a six-figure salary, coding bootcamps, trade schools, and other alternative education programs can train people for high-earning positions. These learning pathways often cost less than a college degree so you can earn a six-figure income without accumulating debt.

In this article, we’ll feature the top 15 jobs offering six-figure paychecks, whether you’re a four-year college degree holder or not. These jobs mean you won’t live paycheck to paycheck and allow for a comfortable lifestyle. Read on and see if any of these over-$100,000-a-year positions sounds interesting to you.

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Top 15 Six-Figure Jobs in 2022: At a Glance

Job Industry Median Salary Minimum Education
Airline and Commercial Pilot Aviation $134,630 High school diploma
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager Finance $133,380 Bachelor’s degree
Petroleum Engineer Engineering $130,850 Bachelor’s degree
Air Traffic Controller Aviation $129,750 Associate degree
Computer Hardware Engineer Engineering $128,170 Bachelor’s degree
Sales Manager Business $127,490 Bachelor’s degree
Human Resources Manager Finance $126,230 Bachelor’s degree
Computer Network Architect Tech $120,520 Bachelor’s degree or coding bootcamp
Software Engineer Tech $110,140 Bachelor’s degree or coding bootcamp
Actuary Finance $105,900 Bachelor’s degree
Data Scientist Tech $100,910 Master’s degree or Coding Bootcamp
Computer Systems Analyst Tech $99,270 Bachelor’s degree or coding bootcamp
Construction Manager Construction $97,180 Bachelor’s degree
Management Analyst Finance $93,000 Bachelor’s degree
Computer Programmer Tech $93,000 Bachelor’s degree or coding bootcamp

Top 15 Six-Figure Jobs in 2022: A Closer Look

As you can see from the list below, six-figure jobs in 2022 cover a variety of industries and typically only require a bachelor’s degree . Six-figure salary jobs are commonly found in the tech, engineering, finance, aviation, and energy industries where advanced technical skills are required. Earning a six-figure salary is a possibility if you pursue one of these careers.

Airline and Commercial Pilots

Commercial pilots earn impressive paychecks. You get to fly massive commercial airliners and travel frequently. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how much time you are willing to be away from home. If you want a chance to see the world and perform important work, consider becoming an airline pilot.

How to Become an Airline or Commercial Pilot

Airline pilots need a bachelor’s degree in any field and experience as military or commercial pilots. Commercial pilots do not always need a degree, but they must have flight training and a commercial pilot license. Both airline and commercial pilots are required to have certificates and ratings from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers work with teams of art directors, sales agents, and financial staff members and plan programs to generate interest in services and products. Other duties include organizing advertising campaigns, negotiating contracts, strategy development, and helping clients meet their marketing needs.

How to Become an Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Manager

You should have a bachelor’s degree and work experience in advertising, marketing, promotions, or sales to become an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager. Bachelor’s degrees should be in a related field to your role. For example, advertising managers might require a degree in advertising or journalism. Marketing managers typically need a marketing or communications degree.

Petroleum Engineers

  • Median Salary: $130,850
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $167,750
  • Job Growth: 8%

Working in oil companies, particularly as a petroleum engineer, is one of the most popular highest-paid jobs for many people. Keep in mind, however, that oil fieldwork requires long hours and tends to be dangerous.

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers are required to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering . Although the common choice of major is petroleum engineering, degrees in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering are also accepted. Employers often prefer candidates who have obtained an accredited degree from an association like ABET.

Air Traffic Controllers

  • Median Salary: $129,750
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $163,700
  • Job Growth: 1%

Air traffic controllers have an enormously important job and their salary reflects it. These professionals monitor flight paths, ensuring that airplanes don’t collide and can land and take off safely. This makes the role one of the most stressful jobs in the world. If you can keep cool under pressure then this career might be a good pick for you.

How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

This six-figure job is highly competitive and becoming an air traffic controller can be a challenge. You’ll need to earn either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree from an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program.

Before signing up, make sure that the program you chose is Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved. After completing the program, you’ll then be required to take the Air Traffic Selection and Training Exam. All air traffic controllers must also secure an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate.

Computer Hardware Engineers

  • Median Salary: $128,170
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $164,930
  • Job Growth: 5%

Computer hardware engineers design, develop, and test computer systems. They work across a variety of industries, from tech to medicine to finance, and often work closely with software engineers as they must ensure that hardware components work with the latest software updates.

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How to Become a Computer Hardware Engineer

While a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from an accredited institute is preferred, a degree in a related field such as IT or computer science will suffice. Students preparing for a career in hardware engineering will need a strong background in math and science. Those looking to become computer hardware engineers may be able to do so without a four-year degree by completing a cyber security bootcamp.

Sales Managers

  • Median Salary: $127,490
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $173,010
  • Job Growth: 5%

Sales managers look after a company’s sales team. While responsibilities depend on the size of a company, six-figure jobs in sales management will require the distribution of goods and services, setting up goals, and hiring and training the sales team. Sales managers also use software to analyze sales statistics and project future outcomes.

How to Become a Sales Manager

Six-figure salary sales manager jobs require a bachelor’s degree and experience. However, it is possible to work as part of a sales team with a high school diploma and build up enough experience to apply for sales management roles. It is recommended sales managers have between one and five years of sales experience.

Human Resources Managers

  • Median Salary: $126,230
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $163,360
  • Job Growth: 7%

Human resource management jobs with six-figure salaries have a lot of responsibility. They often act as the link between a company’s management and its employees. They must also hire new staff and consult with executives on strategic planning. Human resources managers often work with a team of specialists. \

How to Become a Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field, such as business, communications, or psychology. As this is a management role, applicants will need experience with leadership, directing, and organizing. Upper-level and senior roles will require applicants to have a master’s degree , such as an MBA.

Computer Network Architects

  • Median Salary: $120,520
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $151,560
  • Job Growth: 4%

Human resources managers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field, such as business, communications, or psychology. As this is a management role, applicants will need experience with leadership, directing, and organizing. Upper-level and senior roles will require applicants to have a master’s degree , such as an MBA.

How to Become a Network Architect

Hands-on skills and knowledge of in-demand technologies are key for network architects. While you can earn a four-year degree in network architecture or a field like computer science, employers do not necessarily require that level of education. Those interested in network architecture can opt to learn the required in-demand technical skills at a coding bootcamp.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are in charge of the design and development of software solutions. They spend their days diagnosing hardware and software systems for bugs and errors and resolve these accordingly.

These six-figure jobs are in high demand because of companies’ increasing need for new, innovative, and custom-built software. The software engineering field branches out to other more-specialized disciplines, such as gaming, security, blockchain, and mobile engineering.

How to Become a Software Engineer

You can take the traditional college route and earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Or you could opt for the much faster and more affordable yet just-as-effective route of coding bootcamps.

The best web development bootcamps , such as Galvanize, Flatiron, and General Assembly, offer immersive programs in software engineering that last less than a year. These bootcamps also offer an array of financing options to help you save money.

Actuaries

Actuaries have an incredible growth rate of 21 percent, making these high-paying jobs incredibly in-demand and secure. Actuaries are responsible for analyzing financial costs and risks. As an actuary, you need advanced math, statistics, and financial theory skills. Actuary jobs with six figures are common in the insurance industry due to their importance.

How to Become an Actuary

Actuaries are in-demand, but you will need a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, statistics, math, or an analytical field. Furthermore, you must have a strong background in specific subjects related to the job like economics, math, statistics, business, and corporate finance. Actuaries have a variety of tracks to choose from, such as life, health, pension, and casualty so internships are an ideal way to find the best path.

Data Scientists

Data scientists use techniques and analytical software to turn raw data into meaningful and useful information. They use various programming languages and visualization software to do this. Data scientists can work across various industries such as business, science, and medicine. Furthermore, these jobs are in high demand and have strong job security.

How to Become a Data Scientist

You can become a data scientist by either pursuing a degree in data science or a related field or attending one of the best data science bootcamps . The former usually takes four years to complete while the latter will take you less than a year. Data science research roles may require a master’s degree or even a PhD.

Computer Systems Analysts

  • Median Salary: $99,270
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $126,780
  • Job Growth: 9%

Computer systems analysts, also known as systems architects, improve computer systems tech firms and other organizations. They design ways to improve these systems to help an organization operate more efficiently. This can save a company a lot of money, so it’s no wonder that experts in these jobs with six-figure salaries are highly sought after.

How to Become a Systems Analyst

Systems analysts don’t necessarily need a tech degree. For example, if you have a business degree or a liberal arts degree you can transition into this field. While a traditional degree may be more attractive on your resume, it is not a required qualification. You can learn essential systems analyst skills at coding bootcamps. Bootcamps are cheaper than four-year colleges and ensure you are job-ready in a matter of months.

Construction Managers

  • Median Salary: $98,890
  • 75th Percentile Salary: $127,110
  • Job Growth: 8%

Construction managers, as the name implies, manage and look after construction sites to make sure everything goes according to plan. Their job requires long hours and often dealing with hundreds of people to make sure a project goes smoothly. However, these six-figure jobs have good job security, a diverse workday, and room for career advancement.

How to Become a Construction Manager

You can go one of three ways to become a construction manager. First, you can pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Science, Construction Management, Architecture, or Engineering.

Alternatively, you can take a much-shorter route by pursuing a two-year associate degree in construction management or construction technology. Lastly, if you only have a high school diploma, you may qualify for the role if you have enough experience.

Management Analysts

Management analysts use their expertise, experience, and skills to improve the overall efficiency of a company or organization. It is no wonder these are among some of the highest paid jobs as the top analysts can save large companies a fortune. These roles are most commonly found in management and technical consulting organizations, where profit and loss margins are huge.

How to Become a Management Analyst

To become a management analyst, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business, social science, and engineering at the very least. This will suffice for entry-level roles, but jobs with six-figure salaries will require an MBA. Furthermore, bootcamp education can help you. You’ll gain the technical and soft skills required for an analyst career.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers use programming languages such as Python or JavaScript to write, modify, and test code. Programmer enthusiasts looking for six-figure salary jobs must have advanced knowledge of programming techniques. Employees may wish to specialize in one language or have a wide knowledge of multiple languages.

How to Become a Computer programmer

Computer programmers don’t need a college degree if they attend one of the best coding bootcamps . If you choose a traditional degree, you’ll need to pursue a computer science bachelor’s degree or a degree in a related tech field. If you’re looking for quick and intensive training, bootcamps offer immersive programs to teach in-demand coding skills and use hands-on training to teach other technical skills and soft skills.

Top Skills for Six-Figure Salary Jobs

The top skills required for six-figure salary jobs are typically transferable skills , such as time management and leadership. The skills that earn you six figures can be hard skills or soft skills . You can learn and practice these skills from professional experience, educational problems, and general everyday life.

Time Management

Good time management is essential for every job but is especially important for six-figure salary jobs where you have a lot of responsibilities or lead a team. Acquiring and practicing efficient time management will help you hit deadlines and save your company money.

For example, as a construction manager, you will need to use time management to deliver projects on time and prioritize tasks. Time management will help you focus on the most important tasks at hand to help avoid exceeding budgets or delaying the completion of an important project.

Leadership

Most six-figure jobs are upper-level, management roles, and will require employees to have advanced leadership skills. Leadership is not just about giving instructions. You must be able to successfully motivate your team to get the best out of them.

As a sales manager, you must use leadership to build relationships with your team, set goals, and delegate tasks. As you work the way up the ranks toward a high-paying job, you should learn from those in positions above you, and take note of any leadership techniques and skills you feel will help you.

Communication

Communication covers multiple tasks, such as active listening, presentation, constructive feedback, and written communication. It is not simply being able to talk with your colleagues. In fact, listening is the most important aspect of communication.

Poor communication can lead to costly errors. For example, if a web developer poorly communicates with a client, they will end up building an app or a website that doesn’t do what the client wants. Furthermore, air traffic controllers must have exceptional communication skills to avoid any fatal errors.

Coding

If you are interested in a career in tech, you must have at least a foundational understanding of coding. As technology advances, coding is used across a variety of industries, such as finance and healthcare. There are plenty of free coding bootcamps and online resources that will help you learn the fundamentals of programming.

If you plan on working as a web developer, a software developer, a data scientist, or UX/UI designer, to name a few, you will need advanced coding skills. JavaScript, HTML, SQL, and Python are among the most popular programming languages among developers. A coding enthusiast or professional should be efficient in all four of these languages.

Project Management

You can work as a project manager across a wide variety of industries, such as tech, construction, finance, and law. Project management involves leading teams, effective communication, risk management, and critical thinking.

If you are a project manager at a tech firm, you will need to use these skills to satisfy client and customer needs. Dealing with conflict will also be vital, as you try to balance the input from your own team against shareholders, budget restrictions, and client input.

Best Industries for Six-Figure Salaries

Tech jobs with a six-figure salary
Tech jobs offer some of the highest-paying salaries in 2022.

The best industries for six-figure salary jobs are tech, engineering, and finance. These industries not only offer lucrative career paths, but jobs are in-demand with high growth rates. This means that not only will you earn a six-figure income, but you will have excellent job security.

Tech Industry

Careers that require tech skills are often the highest-paying jobs. So, if you’re looking for a six-figure salary, consider working in the tech industry. According to a report by Dice, the average tech salary in the US was $104,566 per year in 2021. This was an increase of 6.9 percent compared to 2020. The tech industry’s reputation for high salaries is deserved, making it one of the highest-paid fields in the country.

Data scientists, for example, make an average of $131,490 annually, according to BLS. Today, there are a large number of top data science bootcamps available if you want to break into this exciting industry. To gain technical skills for other tech careers, consider the best web design bootcamps , web development bootcamps, or general coding bootcamps.

Engineering

The engineering industry covers various fields, such as industrial, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering. Petroleum engineers, computer hardware engineers, and aerospace engineers are the best-paying engineering jobs.

If you are interested in becoming an engineer , you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in your field of study. However, if you want a six-figure income, a master’s degree is advisable. Alternative learning options such as MOOCs or bootcamps won’t cut it for an engineering career, but they can help careers like hardware engineers to advance and update their skills.

Finance

Finance is a lucrative industry that includes various sectors such as banks, real estate, and insurance. With the growth and advance of technology, fintech (financial technology) has become more popular and common and fintech bachelor’s degree graduates are increasingly in-demand.

You can find six-figure salary jobs such as management analysts, sales managers, human resource managers, and data scientists in the finance industry. It is advisable for anyone looking to break into these jobs to have at least earned a bachelor’s degree. However, bootcamp programs in areas like data analysis or fintech are becoming increasingly popular and widely accepted by employers.

How to Earn a Six-Figure Income in Tech: Step by Step

Earning a six-figure salary from your laptop
Many six-figure jobs allow people to study through coding bootcamps

If you are wondering how to get a six-figure job, there are various educational pathways you can take. Attending a coding bootcamp is a proven way to break into tech, especially if you have no prior experience in the industry. Coding bootcamps are one of the fastest tracks to achieving a tech career that pays six figures.

Learners may prefer to choose the traditional route and enroll in a bachelor’s degree program. You can use this bachelor’s degree to earn a master’s degree such as an MBA. If you want to know how to land a six-figure job, continue reading, as we outline the required steps toward getting a six-figure salary.

Identify your Skills

The first you need to do, when it comes to how to earn six figures, is to identify your skills. As mentioned earlier, transferable skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving are ideal for six-figure salary jobs. Making a list of your technical skills and soft skills is the best way to start your journey.

Educational Pathway

Once you know what skills you have, and more importantly what skills you lack, you can decide which educational pathway is most suitable for you. If you want to break into tech, where six-figure incomes are common, a coding bootcamp will be the best option. Jobs such as petroleum engineering will require learners to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Build a Professional Resume

A professional resume is vital if you want a high-level job that pays six figures. When you are applying for jobs, you must read the job requirements carefully and tailor your resume to suit the job. You should avoid a bulky resume with information that isn’t relevant. Make sure you pair your resume with a strong cover letter too.

Earn Experience

Experience is vital when it comes to making a six-figure income. Most jobs at this level will require a minimum of two years of experience. You can use internship programs to build up experience. The best bootcamps and universities will include internships as part of their curricula.

Look for Opportunities

It is difficult to walk straight into a six-figure salary job. Most people will apply for entry-level or mid-level jobs which have a lower median income when they are starting their career. Therefore, if you look out for opportunities, such as further learning or promotions, you can work toward a six-figure income. For example, opportunities may include free management training programs or help with payment for master’s or PhD degrees .

Can Coding Bootcamps Earn Me a Six-Figure Salary?

Six-figure salary for petroleum engineers
You can gain a six-figure salary across many industries.

Coding bootcamps are a great way for learners to earn a six-figure salary. This is especially true for those who want to break into tech. Furthermore, bootcamp programs are ideal for careers in other industries such as finance, education, and engineering.

For example, data scientists or cyber security experts can learn job-ready skills at bootcamps. Not only are these jobs in high demand, but they can find work across multiple industries as companies become more reliant on cloud networking and data protection.

Professionals who have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree can also benefit from bootcamp programs. Bootcamps teach in-demand and up-to-date skills, which are essential for those looking to upskill, earn promotions, and make a six-figure income.

Six-Figure Salary FAQs

Is a six-figure salary good?

A six-figure income is the epitome of success for many. Typically, earning a six-figure salary means you are one of the elite employees in your profession. Furthermore, six-figure jobs come with various benefits such as job security, dental and medical insurance, and pension schemes.


What are the easiest six-figure jobs?

Some of the easiest six-figure jobs include senior consultant, IT security specialist, product manager, and senior web developer. You can also earn a handsome annual salary by working as a front end developer, audit manager, or technical lead.


How common is a six-figure salary?

Six-figure salaries are more common than most people think. This is especially true in the tech industry. Typically, six-figure jobs require workers to have advanced technical skills. These can be learned at bootcamps or universities.


What percentage of Americans earn six figures?

According to Statista, 33.6 percent of Americans had six-figure salary jobs in 2020. Furthermore, the 2022 Policy Advice Report estimates that 30.7 percent of households in America earned over $100,000 .

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Joshua Weinstein

About the author: Joshua Weinstein is a senior staff writer focusing on future of work and alternative education programs.

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