Choosing a career can be an overwhelming decision thanks to the vast array of options available to you. So, aiming high and setting a six-figure salary goal could be a smart move — it narrows down your choices and might even help you secure a bright financial future.
To find jobs where you can earn more than $100,000 a year, GOBankingRates analyzed all occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that paid a 2020 median salary between $100,000-$150,000 AND had an employment growth outlook for 2020-2030 that was “average,” “faster than average” or “much faster than average.” In addition, the study found each occupation’s top-paying metropolitan area.
25. Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Salary: 103,390
Electrical engineers develop and improve products that rely on electrical power, such as auto electrical systems as well as power-generating, communication and navigation systems. Electrical engineers design the components that go into products and systems. Although you can get engineering jobs with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s allows you to teach at the college level or work in research and development.
With an annual mean wage of $150,480, the San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California, metro area is the highest-paying market for engineers. But the overall median salary of $103,390 per year suggests you’ll do well no matter where you work. And you’re likely to find ample job opportunities. Electrical and electronics engineering jobs are expected to grow 7% through 2030.
24. Information Security Analyst
- Salary: $103,590
Information security analysts design and implement measures to keep computer systems and networks safe from security breaches. They also investigate breaches when they occur and create disaster recovery plans to restore systems following a breach. Most work in computer systems design-related services, but the finance and insurance industries are also important sources of analyst jobs. To qualify, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a computer field, related experience and ideally, a professional certification such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional.
Qualified individuals should have no trouble finding an information security analyst job, as growth is expected to reach an impressive 33% through 2030. Maximize your earnings by looking for employment in the San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California, market, where the annual mean salary is $147,160.
23. Medical and Health Services Manager
- Salary: $104,280
Medical and health services managers oversee medical and health services in accordance with laws, regulations and technological standards. Some run medical or health facilities, whereas others focus on a particular clinical specialty or department. Medical and health services managers can also manage group medical practices. A bachelor’s degree will get your foot in the door, but some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s. As this is not an entry-level job, you’ll also need related clinical or administrative experience.
This field should see a 32% increase in jobs through 2030, for a gain of 139,600 positions. The Vallejo and Fairfield, California, metro area has the nation’s highest mean salary — $174,010, which is about 158% more than the national median for 2020.
22. General and Operations Manager
- Salary: $107,680
General and operations managers direct and oversee the day-to-day operations of an organization, often by implementing policies and strategies developed by chief executives. Most work in retail trade or professional, scientific and technical services. A bachelor’s degree is typically required, but you might need a master’s to progress into an executive role. Related experience will help you secure a position.
Opportunities for general and operations managers are expected to grow at an as-fast-as-average rate of 8% through 2030. The Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, metro area is an especially lucrative one, with an annual mean wage of $183,170 per year.
- Salary: $108,350
Economists can work in a variety of settings, analyzing economic data, identifying trends and staying apprised of issues affecting the production and distribution of goods, services and resources. Most work for the federal government. Positions generally require a graduate degree, and those in the private sector might require some work experience as well.
Economist jobs are expected to see much faster than average growth, with a 13% increase amounting to 2,400 positions. The New York metropolitan area, which includes Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey, has the highest annual mean wage for economists: $153,610.
20. Chemical Engineer
- Salary: $108,540
Chemical engineers apply scientific and mathematical principles to problems involving the manufacture and use of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, fuel and other products. Most work for engineering services and in research and development. A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or similar degree is usually required, and internships and co-op programs can be helpful as well.
Chemical engineering jobs are expected to grow 9% through 2030, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. The highest-paying jobs are in Midland, Texas, where chemical engineers earn a mean salary of $158,110.
19. Sales Engineer
- Salary: $108,830
Sales engineers are sales representatives who sell scientific and technology products and services to organizations. In addition to having good sales skills, sales engineers need scientific expertise in how their products are made and function. They may also be involved in new product development. A bachelor’s degree in a technical field like engineering — or training or experience in a technical field — coupled with sales skills will help you land a sales engineering position.
Jobs in this field are expected to experience a fast-as-average growth rate of 8% through 2030. Sales engineers who work in the Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, metropolitan area are the highest earning, with an annual mean wage of $163,860.
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18. Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst and Tester
- Salary: $110,140
If your interests lie in coding, a career as a software developer, quality assurance analyst or tester can earn you a great salary doing what you love. These individuals usually work in teams to design and test computer software to find, report and resolve problems. Although you can get a job in this field with a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, software developers sometimes need a graduate degree.
As with several other high-paying technology-related jobs on this list, you’ll earn the best pay if you work in the San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California, metropolitan area, where the annual mean salary is $157,480. And your job prospects are excellent — the employment growth outlook is 22% through 2030, which would add 409,500 jobs.
- Salary: $111,030
Working primarily for finance and insurance companies, actuaries use statistical data to estimate the probability and financial costs of events like accidents and death, and then devise strategies to mitigate the risk and enhance profitability.
The outlook is good for those entering the field. Growth is expected to reach 24% through 2030, which would mean 6,800 new jobs. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics or a related field to get an actuary position, but you don’t need prior experience — you’ll train on the job.
Actuaries who work in the metropolitan area encompassing the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area earn the highest annual mean wage of $156,910, which is significantly higher than the $111,030 national mean.
16. Nurse Midwife
- Salary: $111,130
In addition to delivering babies, nurse midwives provide gynecological care, family planning services and prenatal care to pregnant people. As advance practice registered nurses, they manage medical emergencies and assist surgeons during cesarean sections. Of the total 271,900 APRNs practicing in 2020, just 7,300 were nurse midwives. To join their ranks, you’ll need at least a master’s degree as well as RN and APRN licenses, which require passing exams. Nurse midwives may also be required to obtain certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
The job outlook for nurse midwives ties for first place among these rankings, with 45% job growth expected through 2030. The most lucrative market to work as a nurse midwife is the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim area, where the annual mean salary for nurse midwives is $191,440.
15. Nurse Practitioner
- Salary: $111,680
Nurse practitioners fall under the same general category as nurse midwives, but their role is that of a general practitioner — although some do focus on a clinical specialty, such as geriatric or psychiatric health. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, but master’s degrees are more common for APRN candidates, some of whom go on to earn a Ph.D. or Doctor of Nursing Practice. Certification by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board or a similar board might also be required.
Nationwide, mean pay for nurse practitioners is nearly identical to that of nurse midwives. But in the highest-paying metro area — Vallejo and Fairfield, California — nurse practitioners earn slightly less than nurse midwives in their most lucrative metro, with an annual mean of $188,070. But job opportunities are just as plentiful, with 45% growth expected through 2030.
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14. Physician Assistant
- Salary: $115,390
A physician assistant career might appeal to those who want to work in patient care but want a more clinical experience than nursing provides — without the long years of school and training to become a physician. PAs perform patient exams, order tests, diagnose illnesses and injuries and provide hands-on treatment under the supervision of a physician. Job requirements include a master’s degree and a license, which requires passing an exam. Many PA candidates have experience working as an RN, emergency medical technician or paramedic.
The job outlook for PAs is excellent, with 31% growth expected through 2030. For top earnings, look to Salinas, California, where the annual mean wage for PAs is $168,220.
13. Training and Development Manager
- Salary: $115,640
Training and development managers coordinate programs that are designed to boost employee knowledge and skills at an organization. To land the job, you typically need a combination of education and related work experience.
Employment is projected to grow by 11%, or 4,500 jobs, from 2020-2030. The top-paying area for this field is located around New York City and Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey. Training and development managers earn a mean wage of $178,590 per year in that region.
12. Computer Network Architect
- Salary: $116,780
Computer network architects, also referred to as network engineers, use their knowledge of an organization’s business to design and build communication networks that meet the organizations current and future needs. You’ll need a computer-related bachelor’s degree plus related information technology experience to be eligible for a job.
Anticipated job growth from 2020 to 2030 is expected to be modest, at 5%. California’s San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara metro area is once again the most lucrative metro-area market, with an annual mean wage of $161,950.
11. Nurse Anesthetist
- Salary: $117,670
Nurse anesthetist is the last — or first, in terms of earnings — of the nursing trinity included in GOBankingRates’ ranking. These APRNs administer anesthesia, monitor patients while they’re under anesthesia and care for patients after their procedures. In addition to graduate-level study, passing RN and APRN exams and earning licenses to practice, nurse anesthetists must maintain board certification through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
Job prospects for nurse anesthetists are excellent, with 45% growth expected through 2030, as with the other APRN jobs. Although nurse anesthetists’ nationwide mean salary is excellent, their best metro-area earnings are the highest of any job in this ranking — $271,940 in the Duluth, Minnesota, area.
- Salary: $118,050
Optometrists are doctors who diagnose and treat vision problems as well as eye injuries and diseases. Three years of post-secondary education are required for acceptance into a four-year program leading to a Doctor of Optometry degree, but most candidates complete a bachelor’s degree before entering an O.D. program. Graduates who wish to specialize may complete a yearlong residency program after graduation.
The job outlook for optometrists is good, with 9% growth expected through 2030. Optometrists who practice in Columbia, South Carolina, earn the highest annual mean salary — $228,340.
9. Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
- Salary: $118,430
After accumulating years of work experience, you can aim for a position as a public relations and fundraising manager. These professionals create materials to enhance the public image of their employer, and they also direct campaigns to raise donations for their organization. You will also need at least a bachelor’s degree for this position and potentially a master’s degree.
Employment in the field is projected to grow by 13% or 11,300 jobs. The best opportunities are located in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area — the annual mean wage for public relations and fundraising managers in this region is $195,770.
8. Human Resources Manager
- Salary: $121,220
If you love working with people, a job as a human resources manager might be right for you — once you ascend the ranks in the field. These professionals serve as the bridge between management and employees at an organization, and they coordinate the company’s staff and human resources activities. While most positions require a bachelor’s degree, some jobs may require a master’s degree.
For the highest-paying jobs, head to the Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk metropolitan area in Connecticut, where the mean wage for human resources managers is $194,040 per year.
7. Political Scientist
- Salary: $125,350
Political scientists are experts in how political systems develop and operate, and they use that expertise to analyze government policies and political trends. Nearly half of political scientists work in federal government. The minimum education requirement for these positions is a graduate degree in political science, public administration or a related field, but a bachelor’s degree can get your foot in the door as an assistant.
Expected job growth through 2030 sits at 9%, or 600 jobs. Surprisingly, Washington, D.C., is not the highest-paying metropolitan market. That distinction goes to the nearby Baltimore, Maryland metro area. The annual mean wage for Baltimore and surrounding suburbs is $156,110.
6. Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Salary: $126,830
If you’re leaning toward a career in computer and information science, you’re in luck — it’s one of the faster-growing industries on GOBankingRates’ list. The annual mean wage for these positions in the San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara metropolitan area in California is $170,890.
You’ll need a master’s degree in computer science or a related field to get the job. But with employment projected to shoot upward by 22%, or 7,200 jobs, through 2030, there’s a good chance that your degree will pay for itself in record time.
- Salary: $126,930
Lawyers advise clients on legal matters and represent them in resolving their issues and disputes. Most lawyers work in private offices or in corporate legal offices, although government employment is also common. To practice in most states, you must graduate from a three-year Juris Doctor program and pass a rigorous licensing exam.
The most lucrative market for practicing law is the San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California, area, where lawyers earn an annual mean salary of $231,610. The job outlook is about average, with 9% growth expected to add 71,500 jobs through 2030.
- Salary: $128,950
As a physicist, you’ll conduct research, develop theories based on experiments and observation and come up with ways to apply physical laws and theories. For jobs in academia and research, you will need to obtain a Ph.D.
Fascination with the physical world can pay off in a big way for physicists, who earn an average salary of $170,690 per year in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford, Connecticut. Job growth is solid as well, with an increase of 8% — or 1,600 jobs — expected through 2030.
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3. Commercial Pilot
- Salary: $130,440
Whereas airline pilots transport passengers according to a predetermined schedule, commercial pilots provide unscheduled flights such as charter flights and aerial tours. They might also serve as corporate pilots who transport executives. A college degree isn’t required for a commercial pilot position, but you do need a commercial pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Commercial pilots have the best earnings opportunity in the Sioux City, Iowa, metro area, where the annual mean wage is $153,990. With projected job growth of 13%, or 14,700 jobs, through 2030, you have a good shot at landing a position.
2. Financial Manager
- Salary: $134,180
Financial managers are tasked with the financial well-being of an organization, and their responsibilities include directing investment activities, producing financial reports and developing long-term strategies to meet the goals of their employers. Typically, you will need a bachelor’s degree for this position, as well as five or more years of experience in a business or financial occupation. This can include prior experience as an accountant, auditor, securities sales agent or financial analyst.
The job outlook for financial managers is overwhelmingly positive: Employment is projected to grow by a healthy 17% through 2030, which means an increase of 118,200 jobs. The highest-paid financial managers can be found earning an annual mean wage of $214,670 in the metropolitan area encompassing New York City and Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey.
1. Petroleum Engineer
- Salary: $137,330
Petroleum engineers find ways to extract oil and gas from underground deposits. Travel opportunities abound for petroleum engineers, as oil and gas companies often operate globally. To qualify, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or another engineering discipline. Some schools offer a five-year program where you earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time.
Jobs for petroleum engineers are expected to grow 38% through 2030, for a gain of 2,200 jobs. The highest-paid petroleum engineers work in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, where they earn an annual mean salary of $185,130.
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