We all know doctors and lawyers make a lot of money, but those aren’t the only types of jobs that can earn you a healthy paycheck. There are actually a lot of working-class jobs that pay six-figure salaries, many of which don’t require a higher degree to get. If you want to boost your salary, consider one of these high-paying jobs you didn’t know existed.
Air Traffic Controller
- Median annual salary: $129,750
- Annual salary for top earners: $185,990
Air traffic controller is a six-figure job that doesn’t require a four-year degree. People with this position are responsible for making sure that aircraft are operating at a safe distance from each other. You can qualify for the job by taking the Federal Aviation Administration’s two-year Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative course at an approved school. You can also qualify for the job through three years of progressively responsible work experience.
- Median annual salary: $198,190
- Annual salary for top earners: $208,000
Commercial pilot is one of the highest-paying jobs you can get without a college degree; however, you do need to get a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. If you’re in the top 10 percent of earners, you can make upward of $208,000 a year as a commercial pilot.
- Median annual salary: $108,210
- Annual salary for top earners: $163,800
The median salary for construction managers is just shy of six figures, but the top 10% of earners with this job earn $163,800 or more. This fast-growing career requires you to plan, coordinate, budget and supervise construction projects.
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation and Relay
- Median annual salary: $87,640
- Annual salary for top earners: $120,000
These high-paid electrical workers inspect, test, repair and maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations and in-service relays. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers usually have at least a high school education, plus specialized training, apprenticeships or extra education to learn how to do the job.
Elevator Installer and Repairer
- Median annual salary: $91,320
- Annual salary for top earners: $130,940
If you’re not claustrophobic and don’t have a fear of heights, you can make a good living as an elevator installer or repairer — it’s an odd job that pays insanely well. Getting the gig typically requires an apprenticeship rather than a higher degree, and top earners in the field make more than $130,940 a year.
Farmer or Rancher
- Median annual salary: $78,440
- Annual salary for top earners: $126,330
Farmers and ranchers produce the crops, livestock and dairy products that feed people around the U.S. The job is typically learned through hands-on experience rather than a college degree, and pays top earners in the field upward of $126,330. However, the annual salary depends on the current price of farm products, which can change with weather conditions and other factors.
Industrial Production Manager
- Median annual salary: $117,780
- Annual salary for top earners: $170,470
Industrial production manager is one of the many boring jobs that pay over $100,000. People in this role are responsible for ensuring that manufacturing plants are operating properly. These managers — who typically have a bachelor’s degree — coordinate, plan and direct a plant’s activities. Industrial production managers can work in plants that produce cars, computer equipment, paper products and other goods.
- Typical annual salary: $106,533
- Annual salary for top earners: 212,543
In-N-Out is known for treating its employees well — and the manager salary offered by the burger chain is a testament to that. You might be surprised to learn that it’s a job that can pay more than $100,000, according to GlassDoor. Employees start with a salary of at least $13 an hour, and are able to rise to the rank of manager without a college degree, The California Sun reported. In-N-Out employees also get a range of benefits, including 401(k) plans, paid vacation and health, dental and vision plans.
- Median annual salary: $75,950
- Annual salary for top earners: $113,360
There are many pieces of equipment you can specialize in operating as a construction worker, and the pile driver might be the most lucrative choice. These construction equipment operators drive pilings for retaining walls, bulkheads and foundations of structures, such as buildings, bridges and piers. It’s also a growing field — employment of construction equipment operators is expected to grow rapidly through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections.
- Median annual salary: $70,750
- Annual salary for top earners: $102,530
It can pay well to protect the lives and property of the people in your community — being a police officer is one of the higher-paying government jobs. The top-paid police officers earn more than $102,530 a year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Power Plant Operator
- Median annual salary: $83,740
- Annual salary for top earners: $110,590
Power plant operators control the systems that generate and distribute electric power. The job typically requires a high school diploma and on-the-job training. The highest 10 percent of power plant operators earn more than $110,590.
- Median annual salary: $77,620
- Annual salary for top earners: $124,200
These inspectors are responsible for ensuring that cargo and people are being transported safely on trains and other vehicles. They may inspect equipment or goods as part of their job. The majority of transportation inspectors work for the local or federal government.
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Laura Beck contributed to the reporting for this article.