Six Figure Salaries

Did you know that only five percent of Americans earn a six figure income or higher?

Here are some jobs that pay that level with what it takes to get them (credit to writer Clare Kaufman):


Earnings (2007): $48.31/hour $100,480 salary

Health care workers are gaining earning power by the day, as an aging population boosts demand for qualified professionals. Pharmacists play a critical role in long-term care regimens, dispensing medications and advising patients about their use, possible side effects, and interactions with other drugs. Demand for pharmacists is expected to grow by twenty-two percent through 2016.

Needed: Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
The qualification, which has replaced the bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy, is much more accessible than a medical or doctoral degree. It begins with the standard two-year undergraduate core curriculum, followed by four academic years (or three calendar years) of professional pharmacy career training. About a quarter of the Pharm.D. program is dedicated to hands-on training in a clinical setting.

Actuary (Management & Technical Consulting)

Earnings (2007): $51.48/hour $107,080 salary

In the wake of two major economic bubbles–the 2001 tech revolution and the 2008 mortgage crisis–better risk analysis suddenly looks like a good idea. The private sector is already putting renewed emphasis on calculating and hedging risk. Actuaries specialize in risk assessment, analyzing statistical data to calculate the probability of different outcomes and forecast risk. 

Job opportunities look strong through 2016, with 24 percent growth predicted across the industry. The Department of Labor indicates the most optimism for health care and consulting firm jobs, where demand and earnings are highest.

Needed: Bachelor degree in Math, Statistics, Corporate Finance, Economics, or Business

Marketing Manager

Earnings (2007): $54.52/hour $113,400 salary

While engineers and industrial designers develop a company’s goods and services, marketing managers determine how to make money from these products. Marketing professionals develop pricing strategies, monitor market trends, and oversee the presentation of the product. They are, in effect, the liaison between the company’s product or services and its customer base. As a marketing manager, expect to add management and leadership skills to your job description.

Needed: Masters in Business Administration

High School Principal

Earnings (2006): $44.70/hour $92,965 salary

K-12 education administrators enjoy the perks of a teaching career–helping students, summers off–without the “labor of love” salaries. In fact, the administrators at the pinnacle of their profession earn close to six figures. High school principals develop and coordinate the school’s program, implementing a curriculum, monitoring students’ progress, and managing the school’s budget.

Needed: Masters degree in Education Administration (M.Ed). Administrators often start their careers as teachers and work their way up to a leadership role as they gain the necessary experience and credentials.

Petroleum Engineer

Earnings (2007): $54.75/hour $113,890

Engineers command the highest starting salary among bachelor’s degree holders–and petroleum specialists rank at the upper end of the engineering salary spectrum. Demand for qualified petroleum engineers is expected to soar in coming years, as energy issues dominate the national agenda. Petroleum engineers create and optimize methods of extracting and processing oil and gas.

Needed: Bachelors degree in Engineering with a program specializing in energy or petroleum engineering curriculum.

These jobs all need degrees, but there are also 6 figure jobs that don’t- while I’ll create a future post on.


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