Special Report

America's Six-Figure Jobs

A typical American worker earns approximately $36,200 annually. While relatively few families, and even fewer individuals, earn over $100,000 a year, individuals employed in some professions are far more likely than others to make the coveted six-figure salary.

While it is possible to earn $100,000 annually in nearly any job, such a salary is normal in only 27 occupations. To determine America’s six-figure jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the highest median annual salaries for each occupation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These 27 occupations account for only 5.8 million of the 151 million jobs the BLS tracks. Physicians and surgeons have the highest annual median pay at more than $187,000 annually.

The occupations that typically have a six-figure income are limited to only a few fields. Management, health care, and engineering occupations account for 22 of the 27 six-figure occupations. Management occupations are by far the most common type of six-figure jobs, employing more than 3.3 million people.

Click here to see America’s six-figure salaries.

These high paying jobs almost always require a high level of education. For example, while some types of physicians are paid less than others, all must have received many years of education. Notably, even the lowest paid 10% of anesthesiologists, which requires graduate level medical degree, are paid well over $100,000. The median for the profession is $443,859.

These high-paying jobs may be highly coveted, but they might not be growing like other careers. The largest growth is likely to be in optometry with a projected increase in employment of 27%. On the other hand, three of the six-figure occupations will shrink during the same period. The largest decline will be in the number of nuclear engineers with an expected decrease of 4%.

Combined, the 27 six-figure occupations are expected to provide a total of 1.7 million job openings from 2014 to 2024. While this is less than 4% of the total job openings projected over the time period, some of these occupations will provide more opportunity than others. Physician and surgeon jobs will offer the most opportunities with an estimated 290,000 job openings. By contrast, there will only be an estimated 1,300 new openings for mathematicians, which is also a relatively fast-growing profession.

To identify America’s six-figure jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2015 annual median pay data for 449 jobs tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the broad occupation level of aggregation. 2014 employment figures, projected change in employment between 2014-2024, and job openings between 2014-2024 are also from the BLS. Projected job openings are calculated by adding the job growth over the 10 year period to the estimated amount of replacements needed to fill the jobs when a worker retires or permanently leaves an occupation. The BLS, to avoid statistical errors, lists the median annual salary for physicians and surgeons as >=$187,200.

These are America’s six-figure jobs.

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