A salary of $100K a year is almost three times the national median average for all occupations. Even among college graduates who don’t pursue law or medicine, earning six figures isn’t common. But there are careers that pay at least $100K and don’t require a J.D. or M.D. title. In fact, a few don’t even require a bachelor’s degree. Below are 10 of those jobs, compiled from data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (See also: 5 Jobs With High Salary, Low Education.)
1. Marketing Manager
Median Annual Salary: $127,130
Marketing managers research consumer trends and help companies identify their target audience and competitively price products or services. They also direct the activities of the marketing team. The typical requirement for this position is a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field. Also, many marketing managers have previous work experience in such roles as marketing specialists or sales representatives.
2. Airline Pilots
Median Annual Salary: $118,140
Airline pilots transport cargo and people, usually along fixed routes. Commercial pilots fly planes for rescue and firefighting operations, aerial photography, crop dusting and other types of activities. Both types of pilots use instrumentation to guide the planes, and they also monitor fuel consumption, engine performance, and weight limit. A high school diploma is acceptable for commercial pilots, but they also need a commercial pilot’s license from the FAA. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for airline pilots. They need both a commercial pilot’s license and an Airline Transport Pilot certificate.
3. Computer Hardware Engineer
Median Annual Salary: $108,430
Computer hardware engineers design computer systems, routers, circuit boards, networks, and processors. They also conduct research, create blueprints, perform tests, and update existing computer equipment. A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is the usual requirement, although electrical engineering or computer science are also acceptable degrees.
4. Human Resources Manager
Median Annual Salary: $102,780
Human resources managers handle an organization’s various personnel-related functions, including interviewing, screening, and hiring, and they provide input on disciplining and firing employees. In addition, human resources managers ensure that the organization adheres to organizational policies, and they generally manage a team of HR employees. A bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration is the standard requirement, although some employers prefer either an MBA or a master’s degree in human resources or labor relations.
5. Air Traffic Controller
Median Annual Salary: $122,340
Air traffic controllers use radar screens to instruct pilots during takeoffs and landings. They also authorize flight changes and monitor aircraft traffic in the air and at airports. The Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative provides two-year and four-year degrees, and candidates must also pass the Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test. In addition, air traffic controllers must be U.S. citizens, and they must pass a background check and a medical test.
6. Top Executive
Median Annual Salary: $173,320
Depending on the organization, top executives may be known as the chief executive officer, president, vice president, executive director, school superintendent, university president, or general and operations manager. Top executives are responsible for strategic planning, setting and guiding an organization’s goals and policies, selecting management staff, and overseeing the company’s finances. A bachelor’s degree in a business field is typical, but top executives may also have degrees in a variety of other fields, including public administration, the liberal arts, or law. An MBA is preferred by many employers, along with prior experience in a management position.
7. Sales Manager
Median Annual Salary $110,660
Sales managers handle an organization’s sales team, including hiring and training team members and assigning sales territories. They also project and analyze sales goals, evaluate sales techniques, and determine ways to increase sales. A bachelor’s degree is standard; however, almost any major is acceptable. Sales experience is also important to potential employers.
8. Petroleum Engineer
Median Annual Salary: $130,050
Petroleum engineers create plans to extract oil and gas out of the ground as efficiently as possible. They also determine ways to extract resources from existing reservoirs. These plans may include ways to use water, gases, and steam to increase the amount of oil that can be taken out. Most petroleum engineers have a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, although a chemical or mechanical engineering degree is also acceptable.
9. Computer and Information Systems Manager
Median Annual Wage: $127,640
Computer and information systems managers, who are also known as information technology managers, handle all the computer-related needs of an organization. They analyze information technology needs and present results to decision makers, oversee hardware and software installations and upgrades, and manage a team of IT workers. A bachelor’s degree in a field related to computers or information sciences is the usual requirement. Some employers prefer a master’s degree in information sciences or an MBA.
10. Financial Manager
Median Annual Salary $115,320
Financial managers develop strategies and project long-term financial goals for an organization, oversee financial records and statements, analyze investment opportunities, and determine ways to operate more efficiently and reduce costs. They also lead a team of financial employees. Most financial managers have a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting or business administration. Some employers prefer an MBA or a master’s degree in a finance-related field. Financial managers usually have at least five years of experience as accountants or in a similar role.
The Bottom Line
Even if you don’t have the time, money, or desire to pursue a law or medical degree, there are other career choices that pay over $100K a year. Most of them require a bachelor’s degree, but a couple can be pursued with only an associate degree or even a high school diploma. (See also: 15 Jobs That Have Increased Salary During The Recession.)