The Best Six Figure Jobs (and How to Get Them)

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Want to earn a six-figure salary? Choose your next career path carefully and get ready to make a serious investment in education.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of the highest paying jobs listed require a master’s degree, Ph.D., or other professional degree. It’s also worth noting that these jobs tend to have a better occupational outlook, meaning that they’re more likely to add jobs over the next 10 years.

But advanced degrees aren’t the only road to a six-figure job. Learn more about the types of jobs that pay well, the skills that are required to perform these roles, and how to jump to a better-paying job.

How To Find a High-Paying Job

High-paying jobs tend to concentrate in industries that value technical expertise and training, such as health care and computer/IT.

Beyond that, being a manager pays off—many top-paying occupations have the word “manager” or “director” in their title.

Of course, a six-figure salary isn’t much use if you can’t get a job. To create our list of the very best six-figure jobs, we selected only occupations with a solid projected growth rate. These are some of the jobs that are most likely to net you a high salary and good job opportunities.

Top 10 Six-Figure Jobs


Actuaries use mathematics and statistics to assess risk and minimize cost, typically for insurance companies. While this might sound like a dry occupation, actuaries are known for being extremely satisfied with their jobs.

To get this job, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a concentration like mathematics, actuarial science, or statistics. In addition, you may want to take coursework in programming languages, databases, and writing.

Actuaries are certified by two professional societies: Casualty Actuarial Society, which certifies professionals who work in property and casualty, and The Society of Actuaries, which certifies professionals who work in life and health insurance, as well as retirement and finance.


Anesthesiologists administer local and general anesthesia during medical procedures, as well as monitor patient vital signs.

If you want to become an anesthesiologist, it’s a good idea to begin preparations for your career as early as high school, by taking advanced classes in biology and chemistry and volunteering in hospital settings.

Anesthesiologists must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three to four years of residency. Many opt for an additional fellowship year to train in a subspecialty like pain management, cardiac anesthesiology, or critical care medicine.

Computer and Information Research Scientist

These scientists solve complex problems using computer software. They create and refine tools and methods, as well as oversee research projects in fields like medicine and business. Specialties in this field include data science and robotics.

Most private-sector employers want candidates to have a master’s degree; in the public sector, a bachelor’s in computer science is sometimes sufficient.


Dentists help their patients keep their smiles looking great, as well as prevent and address serious health problems related to teeth and gums.

To become a dentist, you must have a bachelor's degree and attend an accredited dental school, as well as pass the required exams for licensure in your state.

Financial Manager

Financial managers work for a variety of organizations, including banks and insurance companies. Their primary role is to develop strategies to ensure the long-term financial health of their employer.

A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related subject is generally required; some employers give preference to candidates with an MBA.

Internist, General

What’s the difference between internists and family practice physicians? “We're all primary care physicians, but the biggest difference is internal medicine doctors are like adult pediatricians,” said Saju Mathew, M.D., a primary care physician at Piedmont Physicians Group, on the group’s website.

Doctors must have bachelor’s degrees and graduate from medical school. They then embark on three to seven years of internship and residency.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners are known as advanced practice registered nurses. Respectively, they administer anesthesia, provide gynecological care and deliver babies, and perform many of the same functions as a primary care doctor (with or without physician supervision, depending on their state.

Nurse anesthetists must have at least a master’s degree and be accredited by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Certified Nurse Midwives must have a master’s degree in nursing, be licensed to practice in their state, and be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

NPs must have a master’s degree and meet their state’s licensure requirements.


Gynecologists provide counseling and treatment for their female patients’ reproductive health. Obstetricians care for women before and during pregnancy and deliver babies.

OBs and gynecologists must attain a bachelor's degree, graduate from medical school, and participate in at least four years of internship and residency, as well as be licensed in their specialty.

Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers typically work for oil companies, designing and perfecting methods of extracting oil and gas from the earth.

Petroleum engineers typically have a bachelor's degree in petroleum, mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering. Some students may opt for five-year programs leading directly to a master's degree.

Software Developer, Applications

App developers create, perfect, and debug web-based software applications.

Software developers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science—although some employers will give a chance to a skilled candidate without a degree.

Develop Sought-After Skills

If you’re looking at the educational requirements for these jobs and despairing, don’t. While it’s true that the clearest path to a high-paying job may be to acquire advanced education, it’s not the only possible route to take.

Employers pay top dollar for candidates with in-demand skills. The harder those skills are to find, the more likely an employer will be to overlook the lack of formal schooling. This is especially true in tech jobs, where what you can do is more important than owning a piece of paper stating that you can do it.

Web developers, software engineers, and systems administrators, among other occupations, may find high-paying opportunities that pay top dollar. With experience, some of these jobs can approach or surpass six figures.

To get started, you have to upskill yourself. Coding academies and bootcamps can provide a grounding in the required concepts—or you can save yourself the tuition and teach yourself, using free online courses.

Key Takeaways

  • Most high-paying jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, and many demand a master’s degree, Ph.D., or professional degree.
  • Jobs that require more education are also more likely to have a solid occupational outlook, meaning that you can find opportunities in these fields more easily.
  • Six-figure jobs are concentrated in health care and technology, fields that require extensive training and hot skills.
  • If you have the right skillset, you may be able to find a high-paying tech job by upskilling yourself with bootcamps, classes, or self-directed study.