Six-figure salaries are usually designated for the highest positions in particular fields, and are meant to reward the amount of education and career experience it takes to earn them. From science to health care to finance, nearly every field and industry has opportunities to earn six figures.
Browse these 14 jobs that earn six-figure salaries and determine if your career path will lead to one of these attractive paychecks.
Advertising, promotions and marketing manager*
2010 median pay: $108,260
What they do: Advertising, promotions and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in a product or service. They work with art directors, sales agents and financial staff members.
Air traffic controller
2010 median pay: $108,040
What they do: Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to ensure that planes stay safe distances apart.
Architectural and engineering manager
2010 median pay: $119,260
What they do: Architectural and engineering managers plan, coordinate and direct activities in architecture and engineering, including research and development in these fields.
Chief executive officer
2010 median pay: $101,250
What they do: Chief executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct and coordinate operational activities of companies and public or private-sector organizations.
Computer and information systems manager
2010 median pay: $115,780
What they do: Computer and information systems managers, often called IT managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing the appropriate computer systems to meet those goals.
2010 median pay: $146,920
What they do: Dentists diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s teeth, gums and other parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.
2010 median pay: $103,910
What they do: Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
2010 median pay: $112,760
What they do: Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses or government agencies on legal issues or disputes.
Natural science manager
2010 median pay: $116,020
What they do: Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists and biologists. They direct research and development projects and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control and production.
2010 median pay: $114,080
What they do: Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.
2010 median pay: $111,570
What they do: Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer advice on their safe use.
Physician and surgeon
2010 median pay: This salary is equal to or greater than $166,400 per year
What they do: Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses in patients. Physicians examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications and order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
2010 median pay: $105,430
What they do: Physicists study the fundamental nature of the universe, ranging from the vastness of space to the smallest of subatomic particles. They develop new technologies, methods and theories based on the results of their research that deepen our understanding of how things work and contribute to innovative, real-world applications.
2010 median pay: $118,030
What they do: Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people suffering foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery.
*All median annual pay figures and job descriptions are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.