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by Heytutor Blog
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Earning a salary of $100,000 a year is a major financial milestone for many Americans. The good news is that with steadily rising wages and increasing demand for skilled jobs, the goal of earning a six-figure salary is more attainable than ever before.


Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the percentage of individuals with a total income of $100,000 or more per year (in 2018 dollars) has increased dramatically over the past several decades. While only 3.5 percent of earners in 1980 had the equivalent of a six-figure salary, that number rose to over 11 percent in 2018. This upward trend closely follows the trend in mean individual income over the same period. Nationwide, the mean annual income was $50,413 in 2018 for all individuals ages 15 and over.



The share of high-paying jobs is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, especially due to increased demand in the healthcare, management, and technology industries. The average projected employment growth rate across all occupations for the period 2018-2028 is 5.2 percent, but occupations with a mean annual pay of $100,000 or more are expected to increase twice as fast, at almost 10 percent. High-paying healthcare jobs, in particular, will expand rapidly as an aging population requires increased medical care.



However, the concentration of high-paying jobs is not uniform across the country. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment in six-figure occupations tends to be higher in the Northeast and the West Coast. For example, 15.1 percent of workers in Massachusetts are in jobs that pay an average of $100,000 or more, compared with only 1.7 percent of workers in Mississippi. 



To find the most popular jobs paying six-figure salaries, researchers at HeyTutor analyzed the most recent wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). Occupations with annual mean wages of at least $100,000 were selected and then ranked according to the total number of employees in those occupations. 


Among the nation’s 15 most popular six-figure jobs, all are projected to grow over the next 10 years with the exception of chief executives (-5.5 percent growth) and pharmacists (expected to remain flat). Perhaps not surprisingly, all of these occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree and several require graduate education.

The most popular jobs paying six-figures


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15. Chief Executives

  • Number of employees: 195,530

  • Mean annual wage: $200,140

  • Projected employment change: -5.5%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


The second-highest paying job on this list, chief executives help an organization reach its strategic goals by developing company policies and providing direction. Chief executives often employ other managerial staff to assist with planning or coordinating operational activities, especially at the department level. Chief executives are the only occupation on this list projected to decline in employment over the next 10 years.



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14. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

  • Number of employees: 199,480

  • Mean annual wage: $122,320

  • Projected employment change: 23.2%

  • Education: Doctoral or professional degree


Health specialties teachers are educators for postsecondary courses such as dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, public health, therapy, and veterinary medicine. Notably, this profession excludes postsecondary biological science teachers and postsecondary nursing instructors, which are in a category of their own. Among the professions on this list, postsecondary health teachers are expected to experience the most employment growth, at 23.2 percent.



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13. Marketing Managers

  • Number of employees: 240,440

  • Mean annual wage: $147,240

  • Projected employment change: 8.1%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Marketing managers are responsible for developing marketing programs that inform consumers about a company’s products or services. Marketing managers might conduct research to determine the market demand for a product, the competitive landscape, and where to find potential customers. In addition, marketing managers play a role in determining pricing strategies that maximize profits or market share while keeping customers satisfied with the price point. The typical marketing manager has at least a bachelor’s degree and earns close to $150,000 per year.



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12. Construction Managers

  • Number of employees: 278,460

  • Mean annual wage: $103,110

  • Projected employment change: 9.8%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Construction managers oversee the organization, scheduling, budgeting, and implementation of a construction project, such as a new commercial building or home. Additionally, construction managers might also supervise activities related to the maintenance of finished structures, facilities, and systems. The BLS expects construction management jobs to grow at a rate that’s nearly double the national average in the coming years. 



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11. Administrative Services Managers

  • Number of employees: 283,570

  • Mean annual wage: $106,050

  • Projected employment change: 7.3%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


The mean annual wage for administrative services managers is about twice as high as the mean annual wage for all occupations. Administrative services managers are in charge of an organization’s administrative services, such as recordkeeping, mail distribution, facilities maintenance, custodial operations, and other office support services. In fact, professionals in this field might further specialize in facilities management or records and information.



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10. Pharmacists

  • Number of employees: 309,550

  • Mean annual wage: $123,670

  • Projected employment change: 0.0%

  • Education: Doctoral or professional degree


Unlike most of the other jobs on this list, the number of pharmacists is not expected to grow over the next 10 years. Pharmacists are responsible for filling prescriptions from physicians and other health practitioners. They also provide information to patients about medications, their side effects, their dosage, and their use. As with the other medical professions on this list, pharmacists now must have a graduate degree in order to practice.



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9. Medical and Health Services Managers

  • Number of employees: 372,670

  • Mean annual wage: $113,730

  • Projected employment change: 17.6%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Medical and health services managers work in healthcare settings like hospitals, clinics, and  public health agencies to coordinate medical services. These healthcare professionals often work with insurance agents, patients, and medical staff to ensure that patients receive the care they need in a timely and efficient manner. This is the only healthcare-related profession on this list that does not require a graduate degree.



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8. Sales Managers

  • Number of employees: 379,050

  • Mean annual wage: $140,320

  • Projected employment change: 5.1%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Sales managers often work with marketing managers to drive sales and increase a company’s profits. More specifically, sales managers direct the way that a product or service is distributed to a customer. Sales managers also manage and train junior-level sales representatives, establish sales territories and quotas, and analyze sales statistics to optimize sales potential and inventory requirements. The projected employment change for sales managers is slightly below the average growth for all occupations.



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7. Computer and Information Systems Managers

  • Number of employees: 391,430

  • Mean annual wage: $152,860

  • Projected employment change: 11.3%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Computer and information systems managers are responsible for managing activities related to electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming. However, this profession excludes other computer-related occupations such as computer programmers and web developers. The mean annual wage for computer and information systems managers is about three times as much as the mean annual wage for all occupations.



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6. Financial Analysts and Advisors

  • Number of employees: 602,500

  • Mean annual wage: $104,050

  • Projected employment change: 4.8%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Financial analysts and advisors work with public or private institutions to analyze quantitative data that could affect their investment programs. More specifically, financial analysts advise clients on how to optimize their financial plans based on tax and investment strategies, as well as the market for securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. They can also assess risk involved in insurance applications. Although employment in this field is poised to grow, the projected 10-year change is below the national average of 5.2 percent.



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5. Financial Managers

  • Number of employees: 608,120

  • Mean annual wage: $146,830

  • Projected employment change: 16.0%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Financial managers work within a branch, office, or department of a company in order to direct financial activities such as accounting, investing, banking, insurance, and securities. The employment growth for financial managers is about three times the growth rate of all professions. Notably, this profession does not include “Financial Risk Specialists.”



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4. Lawyers

  • Number of employees: 642,750

  • Mean annual wage: $144,230

  • Projected employment change: 6.1%

  • Education: Doctoral or professional degree


Lawyers are best known for representing clients in a variety of criminal and civil litigations. They also write legal documents and advise clients on legal transactions. Lawyers can specialize in a single area such as personal injury or family law, or they may offer services in a few related areas. In addition to an undergraduate degree, becoming a lawyer requires a juris doctorate from an accredited law school and passage of the bar exam.



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3. Physicians and Surgeons

  • Number of employees: 679,280

  • Mean annual wage: $210,980

  • Projected employment change: 7.3%

  • Education: Doctoral or professional degree


Physicians and surgeons have the highest mean annual wage on this list, at $210,980. They also have the highest barrier to entry, including a medical school degree, passage of board exams, and a residency. Physicians provide medical care to patients by diagnosing, treating, and helping to prevent diseases and injuries. Depending on their specialization, physicians may administer anesthetics, provide care for children, or treat mental ailments. Surgeons are a subset of physicians that treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods.



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2. Software Developers and Programmers

  • Number of employees: 1,666,270

  • Mean annual wage: $104,480

  • Projected employment change: 16.2%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


Employment growth for software developers and programmers is expected to outpace employment growth for all occupations, and the mean annual wage is about twice as high as the national average. Software developers and programmers create, modify, and test the code, forms, and scripts needed for computer applications such as websites and systems-level software. They also analyze user needs and create solutions using software.



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1. General and Operations Managers

  • Number of employees: 2,289,770

  • Mean annual wage: $123,880

  • Projected employment change: 6.9%

  • Education: Bachelor's degree


The most popular job on this list, general and operations managers coordinate the overall operations of an organization, which often involves supervising multiple departments or locations. General and operations managers might create unified company policies, manage daily operations, and oversee the allocation of company resources such as equipment and human resources. The employment outlook for general and operations managers is slightly higher than the overall average.

Methodology

Data on wages, employment projections, and educational requirements for occupations are from the May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupations with annual mean wages of at least $100,000 were selected and then ranked according to the total number of employees in those occupations. 


Data on historical income for persons age 15 and older are from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements from the U.S. Census Bureau. Income was adjusted to represent 2018 dollars.

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