Choosing a career is one of the most consequential decisions many will make in their lifetime. The right job for one person is not necessarily the best choice for another, and a person’s job is often a reflection of personal values and skill sets. Regardless, working is a practical necessity for most people, and as such, compensation is also usually an important consideration.
The average working American earns $50,620 a year, but there are dozens of jobs where the average salary is more than double that.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed average annual salaries for over 800 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the 77 jobs with six-figure salaries. Such high-paying jobs are relatively rare — and often hard to get. Of the 142.5 million employed Americans, only 7.8% work in professions where the average salary is at least $100,000.
The jobs that pay the highest average salaries are generally high-skilled positions. More than one-third of them require either a doctoral or professional degree and only two do not require a four-year college education. High-paid workers tend to work under difficult conditions and be in high demand.
The jobs on this list pay more than most for several reasons. Often, the high salaries are justified because there is a premium on the required skill set. Not everyone can be a surgeon, an aerospace engineer, or a mathematician — and the scarcity of those skills helps make those professions high paying.