Special Report

America's Favorite Six-Figure Jobs

Alexander, Robert Serenbetz

4. Sales Managers
> Employment: 352,220
> Median wage: $108,540
> Projected change 2012 – 2022: 8.3%

Sales managers are typically college graduates with past experience working in sales. Sales managers often dictate sales strategies and determine representatives’ budgets, sales targets, and territory covered. They are also often responsible for assessing the performance of sales representatives. The median pay of a sales manager was $108,540 in 2013, although specific compensation for a sales manager depends on the company’s commission policies and bonus structure. Because of these factors, some sales managers can earn far more than the median while some earn far less. In fact, the lowest paid 10% of sales managers earned no more than $53,770 as of 2013.

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3. Software Developers, Systems Software
> Employment: 373,510
> Median wage: $101,410
> Projected change 2012 – 2022: 20.4%

Systems software developers create operating systems and interfaces that are an integral part of almost all aspects of people’s lives. According to the BLS, long hours are common for software developers, who work in collaboration with a team. In 2013, the median annual wage for systems software developers was $101,410. That same year, the BLS estimated that 373,510 people worked as systems software developers. Already the third most popular six-figure job, the occupation may become even more popular. The BLS estimates the number of systems software developers will grow by more than 20% between 2012 and 2022.

2. Financial Managers
> Employment: 499,320
> Median wage: $112,700
> Projected change 2012 – 2022: 8.9%

Financial managers prepare financial statements and forecasts, manage a company’s cash balance and risk positions, and assess opportunities for business expansion as well as mergers and acquisitions. Financial managers can work either for a corporation or for a financial institution such as a bank or insurance company. Years of work experience in financial analysis or accounting is typically required to become a financial manager, and many have a graduate degree. There were slightly less than 500,000 financial managers in the U.S. as of 2013.

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1. Lawyers
> Employment: 592,670
> Median wage: $114,300
> Projected change 2012 – 2022: 9.8%

There are nearly 600,000 lawyers working in the public and private sectors around America, making it the most popular six-figure job. Lawyers are required to obtain a high level of education and certifications. In addition to completing a law degree, lawyers, must also pass a state’s written bar examination and work as associates while gaining experience. After several years, lawyers may gain partnership at a firm or move to a large corporation. Additionally, some lawyers start their own practice. For instance, the BLS estimates that 21.8% of lawyers were self employed as of 2012. The annual median wage for lawyers was nearly $115,000 in 2013. However, the highest paid lawyers can earn far more.