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How to get to six figures: 30 jobs you can pursue with or without a degree

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According to research from career site Zippia,1 only 18% of people in the United States earn $100,000 per year or more. 

However, you don’t need to have a doctorate or even a college education to get one of these high-paying jobs.

In this post, we’ll show you:

Six-figure jobs that do not require a degree

We put together a list of common and lesser-known six-figure jobs, including some high-paying remote jobs.

Most of the jobs on this list do not require formal training, though it might make sense to obtain a certification to improve your marketability. Learn about going back to school at 30 or 40.

Coursera has 7,000+ courses that can be completed in less than six months for just $39 a month after a 7-day free trial.

The salaries listed in this article reflect the high-end job earnings from Ziprecruiter and comparable career sites when Ziprecruiter data was unavailable:

Commercial AC repair technician

Salary potential: $120,797

Rather than working with residential clients, these air conditioning mechanics focus on commercial projects. 

One Reddit user repairs broken AC units in hospitals and skyscrapers and claims to earn more than $100,000:

Professionals in the industry say the industry norm is to start as an apprentice and receive on-the-job training from a specific company: 

Six-figure job HVAC on Reddit.

Job growth: AC repair technician jobs are expected to grow at a pace of 5% through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook2. That amounts to more than 40,000 expected job openings per year. The primary driver for this growth is likely to be new construction projects, but ongoing maintenance will also be needed.

Certifications: States have specific licensing requirements, but you can also earn additional certification from certain trade associations, including:

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification ($50 exam) 
  • EPA 608 certification for handling refrigerants ($85 exam)

11 local and online jobs that don’t require a background check

Digital content manager

Salary Potential: $103,000+

Digital content managers are responsible for raising brand awareness for a company. Your job might involve analyzing web traffic and metrics to develop a content strategy and attract the right audience to the company’s site.

Working professionals in this field say experience and skill certifications are more important than a degree for many companies. 

One Reddit user who dropped out of college stressed the importance of real-world experience:

Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.

While larger companies may require a degree, professionals in this field recommend applying with startups and small businesses if you do not have one. Alternatively, you can start your own digital content agency to secure clients based on a portfolio of your work rather than your educational background.

Reddit users offered this advice to a content manager who was being rejected by companies because of his lack of a formal education: 

Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.
Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.

Job growth: Media and communication job opportunities are expected to grow 6% from 2021-2031, which is about as fast as average for all jobs. About 68,600 jobs are expected to be available over the decade. 

Certifications: Several people on Reddit who hire digital marketing professionals say it’s beneficial to have certifications listed on your resume: 

Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.
Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.

There are lots of digital marketing certificates available, including a joint certification offered by the Digital Marketing Institute and American Marketing Association for $1,442. 

There are also free options, like: 

  • LinkedIn Learning’s digital marketing course (which is listed on your profile upon completion)
  • Google’s Marketing Platform and Analytics Academy
  • Meta Blueprint’s courses on Facebook marketing

One Reddit user suggested taking a free class through an accredited university: 

Six-figure job digital marketing on Reddit.

Freelance writer

Salary Potential: $165,000+

Freelance writers are self-employed writers who work on a contract basis for websites, blogs, social media accounts, and print publications. 

Focus on creating a strong portfolio to show potential clients. Most are more interested in your writing samples than your education or even your resume. In my own experience as a freelance writer, I can attest that most clients don’t require a formal resume or cover letter to apply. 

These Reddit users became freelance writers without a college degree:

Six-figure job freelance writer on Reddit.
Six-figure job freelance writer on Reddit.
Six-figure job freelance writer on Reddit.

Job growth: Job opportunities for writers and authors is expected to grow 4%, which is about as fast as average. About 15,200 job openings are expected annually, on average, over the decade. 

Certifications: The general consensus among freelance writers is that experience and clips are more important than a certification in this field: 

Six-figure job freelance writer on Reddit.
Six-figure job freelance writer on Reddit.


Salary potential: $122,390 

Logisticians coordinate supply chain activities, such as managing purchases, delivery, and inventory. This Reddit thread reveals many industry employees making well over $100,000, plus bonuses and stock options:

Job growth: The logistics industry is on track to grow exponentially in the years ahead, thanks to the continued demand of e-commerce. Logistician positions will grow 28% through 2031, resulting in 24,800 job openings each year. 

Certifications: There are several certification programs available in the logistics and supply chain industry. Reddit user MedEng3 recommends the following:

  • CPIM: from the Association for Supply Chain Management; cost: $1,190 (exam only)
  • Lean Manufacturing: Waste elimination in both physical and transactional processes from SME; cost: $439 to $599 
  • Six Sigma: Variation reduction, manufacturing focus – from The Council of Six Sigma Certification; cost: $229 to $349
  • PMP: Project management from The Project Management Institute; cost: $405 to $555

Makeup artist

Salary Potential: $119,500+

Makeup artists use cosmetics and other beauty products to enhance their clients’ appearances. They typically work in the fashion, beauty, film, wedding, photography, and television industries. 

While licensing may be required in some states, you can add to those skills by learning on YouTube. 

In addition to practice, Reddit user Veganmua recommends, “[watching] YouTube tutorials of actual make-up artists (rather than enthusiasts) of all skin colors and eye shapes.”

Job growth: Job opportunities for barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists are expected to increase 11% from 2021-2031. Approximately 93,800 jobs are expected annually on average. 

Certifications: You can search online directories for beauty schools in your area or search “beauty schools near me” on Google: 


Massage Therapist

Salary Potential: $113,000

Massage therapists use therapeutic touch and pressure on the soft tissues of the body to help relieve pain and stress and promote healing and general wellness. 

43% of massage therapists are self-employed, while the other 57% work for employers such as chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners.

To get a job as a massage therapist, you typically need: 

  • High school diploma or equivalent to qualify for training programs
  • Training from a state-approved massage therapy program (a one-year program costs between $3,000 and $15,000)
  • Successfully pass a licensing exam
  • Complete a background check, maintain liability insurance, and become CPR-certified (these costs may be covered by your employer, but it’s smart to check) 
  • Continuing education credits and licensing renewal might be required (costs may be covered by employer)

Job growth: Job opportunities for massage therapists are expected to increase by 20% from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average for all occupations. On average, about 25,200 openings for massage therapists are expected over the decade. 

Certifications: Each state has its own certification and licensure requirements. 44 out of 50 states also require the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) as part of the approval process. You can also get an additional certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork ($275).

Some massage therapists on Reddit, however, didn’t see the value of this additional certification:

Six-figure job massage therapist on Reddit.

However, another massage therapist on Reddit said that having the additional certification helped get jobs and navigate their massage school losing accreditation:

Six-figure job massage therapist on Reddit.

Nuclear technician

Salary potential: $180,000+

A nuclear technician assists scientists and engineers by operating testing and research at nuclear plants. 

A Reddit user reports senior technicians earning as much as $180,000 per year. Plus, nuclear technicians may enjoy higher spending power due to lower costs of living in rural areas where these plants tend to be located. 

byu/rko1985 from discussion

Job growth: The outlook for nuclear technicians is actually on the decline as traditional energy sources are replaced with more renewable options. However, as technicians retire, existing facilities will need new workers for maintenance and upgrades. Expect about 400 job openings each year through 2031 (a 17% overall decline).

Certifications: There are a few different industry certifications available for nuclear technicians:

  • The Nuclear Energy Institute: Offers multiple specialized trainings (cost varies; $179 t $359)
  • The American Society for Nondestructive Testing: Provides Industrial Radiography and Radiation Safety Personnel certification ($640 to $720)
  • The National Registry of Radiation Protection Technicians: Offers an exam for membership ($300).

Power-line installer and repairer

Salary potential: $114,590

Electrical power-line technicians work on installing and repairing poles and transmission towers. In a Reddit thread on six-figure careers, a user described their job as “fixing and building power-lines and playing with high-voltage electricity.”

Like AC repair, power-line work requires vocational training, which may involve becoming an apprentice for a specific company you eventually work for. 

Job growth: The outlook for power-line installer and repairer jobs are on par with the national average, with a 6% growth rate anticipated through 2023. Expect about 23,500 new job openings each year, particularly as older employees retire. 

Certifications: Optional certifications are available through BICSI (for installers and repairers), Electrical Training ALLIANCE (for specialized training), and The Fiber Optic Association (for telecommunications lines).


Salary Potential: $111,000+

Programmers create, edit, and test the scripts and code required for computer programs to run correctly. 

Programmers need experience writing code, specifically Python and SQL; testing programs; and correcting errors. 

To get a job, professional programmers recommend building a portfolio of completed projects. You can start with freelance gigs through sites like Fivrr and Upwork.

One Reddit user offered an extensive overview of how to get a programming job: 

Job growth: Even though job opportunities for computer programmers are expected to decline 10% from 2021-2031, 9,600 job openings are expected annually, on average. 

Certifications: There are several online coding classes to help you become a programmer. Harvard offers a free online Introduction to Computer Science class, with the option to get a verified certificate for $189. The self-paced course takes 11 weeks if you complete about 10 hours per week. 

Teaching platforms like Udemy also have specific skills courses available at a range of prices. You can take coding classes on subjects like Python and CSS.

Real estate agent

Salary Potential: $200,000+

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who represent buyers or sellers in real estate transactions, helping them market their properties and negotiate sales contracts. Agents can work with residential or commercial properties. 

While requirements vary by state and jurisdiction, real estate agents must go through a training course and pass a licensing exam to work with clients.

Real estate agents are not salaried, but rather earn commission on the sale of a home, typically between 3% and 6% of the final sale price. If you work for a brokerage like Keller Williams or Berkshire Hathaway, you’ll split that commission with your broker (50/50, 60/40, and 70/30 are common splits — the more experience/sales you have, the higher your percentage). 

You can also obtain a broker’s license to branch out on your own or start your own brokerage employing other agents. 

Experienced agents recommend having at least six months of living expenses saved up before you obtain a license, since it can take some time to build a client base and get paid for your first sale. Some brokerages will provide you with a list of leads and additional training upon joining. 

Job growth: Employment opportunities for real estate agents are expected to grow 5% from 2021-2031, which is about the average for all jobs. About 23,100 jobs are expected to be available over the decade.

Certifications: Licensing requirements for real estate agents vary by state. In California, for instance, the training takes 135 hours and costs around $305 for registration and examination fees. 

Compare that to a smaller state like Delaware, which only requires 99 hours of training and costs $180 to get a license.

Sales consultant

Salary Potential: $109,000

Sales consultants are professionals who help a business or individual increase sales revenue by providing advice, guidance, and support on sales-related issues. They also research and identify potential customers to create marketing campaigns and sales pitches.

Many Reddit users recommend enterprise software sales as a path to multi-six figure salaries. But there are non-technical options out there, as well. 

This Reddit thread provides a lot of ideas for six-figure sales industries, including some that might surprise you:

Six-figure job sales consultant on Reddit.
Six-figure job logistician on Reddit.

Job growth: Job opportunities across all sales occupations, including sales consultants, are expected to show very little change. About 1.9 million openings across all sales occupations are expected each year from 2021-2031. 

Certifications: While it is possible to take sales courses, many pros recommend improving your skills on the job and working your way up to more lucrative industries. 

Truck driver

Salary Potential: $158,500

Truck drivers transport cargo across short and long distances. Learn more about what it takes to become a truck driver

If you plan to drive a commercial truck, you first have to obtain a commercial drivers license. Most drivers attend a driving school or other program. Costs range from $3,000 to $10,000.

Drivers also have to pass a physical exam every two years and maintain a clean driving record. 

These are some of the top trucking employers in the U.S.: 

  • UPS
  • Fedex
  • J.B. Hunt 
  • XPO Logistics
  • Landstar System
  • Swift
  • Old Dominion Freight Line
  • Schneider
  • YRC Worldwide
  • Estes Express
  • C.R. England
  • Werner Enterprises

You can also find trucking jobs without a CDL if you drive a truck that weighs 26,000 pounds or less (like box trucks and Amazon delivery vehicles). 

Job growth: Job opportunities for truck drivers are expected to grow 4% from 2021-2031, which is about as fast as average. About 259,900 job openings are expected over the decade. 

Certificates: Training for truck drivers can take anywhere from three weeks to six months depending on the type of license you’re obtaining. Some companies will pay you to get your license as long as you sign a contract to work for that company for a set period of time.

Virtual assistant

Salary Potential: $108,500

Virtual assistants are typically self-employed workers who provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely. Job duties might involve answering emails, managing schedules and posting to social media accounts.

Be strategic with your pricing and packages to earn as much as possible. Reddit users offer advice on reaching $10,000 per month, particularly by offering niche services:

Six-figure job virtual assistant on Reddit.

Job growth: Overall job opportunities for secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to decline 8% from 2021-2031. However, 345,000 openings are expected on average each year over the decade. 

Certifications: There are online virtual assistant courses to help you launch into this career, though most are just designed by established VAs. 

While some VAs say they learned valuable information from these courses, others say you can find and learn everything you need to know for free, especially if you already have administrative experience. 

Six-figure job virtual assistant on Reddit.

Web developer

Salary Potential: $133,000

Web developers use programming languages, web development tools and frameworks to create websites and enable functionality. 

It’s possible to learn web development skills without a computer science degree. Reddit user EasyDescription-915, a front-end developer, recommends YouTube and Udemy courses and offers specific recommendations:

“Some people that helped me on my journey are Colt Steele (helped with React), Web Dev Simplified (helped with JS), Kevin Powell (Critical for CSS), Dev ed (JS, animation, design), and Design Course (UI/UX material).”

Job growth: Job opportunities for web developers and digital designers are expected to grow 23% over the decade or much faster than average. From 2021-2031, about 21,800 job openings are expected on average.

Certifications: Certifications may not be necessary, especially as you build a strong portfolio of work. But there are some you can take to bolster your resume. Here are some recommendations from Reddit user Snipercide, in response to this query:

“Certifications by respected bodies, and where you need to take an exam, are good things to have. These are a few that would be relevant as a developer:

  • Certified Web Developer (CIW)
  • ISTQB Certified Tester
  • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
  • Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
  • Linux Professional Institute (LPI)
  • AWS Certified Developer
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Certified Kubernetes Application Developer
  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 11 Developer (If you do Java)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA):
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

“While a lot of these aren't specifically web development, they are related and relevant skills, and they will give you an advantage over others that don't have them.”

Airline pilot

Salary potential: $202,180+

Airline pilots fly aircraft such as planes and helicopters. In addition to navigating the aircraft in the cockpit, pilots are responsible for checking the condition of the aircraft and communicating with air traffic control. Some major airlines, like Delta, have dropped their four-year degree requirements. 

There is currently a nationwide shortage of commercial airline pilots. Some airlines and airplane manufacturers like Boeing are offering incentives, including scholarships toward flight training. 

In particular, there is a push toward recruiting more women and minorities to the profession. 

Job growth: Expect steady job growth for airline and commercial pilots in the years ahead. 6% growth through 2031 amounts to 18,000 jobs added each year. One area of greatest need is pilots in ambulatory services who transfer patients to health care centers by air.

Certifications: To become a pilot, you have to: 

  • Complete flight training (either private or through an airline affiliate you plan to work for); costs range from $76,000 to $97,000
  • Earn their private pilot license and then their commercial pilot license
  • Earn private then commercial pilot certificate (1,500 hours of flight time plus exams, which typically takes about two years)
  • Medical exam (including 20/20 vision)

The first step is to get a private pilot certificate, followed by the commercial pilot certificate, and finally the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification. 

Six-figure jobs with four-year degree

These careers will likely require at least a bachelor’s degree: 

Art director

Salary potential: $151,000

Art directors manage a team of designers and artists to ensure projects are completed according to a brand’s aesthetic. Advertising and marketing agencies hire art directors to oversee clients in a range of industries. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in fine arts, design or communication technology (recommended but not required)
  • Five or more years of work experience in an art or design occupation

Real-life advertising professionals agree that a minimum of five years experience is standard for reaching art director level. 

“Typically the standard and experience required for an AD is at least that of a senior, so minimum 5 years, usually more though in the range of 7-10,” says Reddit user moreexclamationmarks.

by from discussion

Job growth: Art director opportunities are expected to grow 4% up to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 13,400 job openings are projected for each year on average.

Environmental engineer

Salary potential: $119,500

Environmental engineers research and develop solutions to environmental issues, such as waste management, water quality, air pollution and public health concerns.

The majority of environmental engineers work full time. However if you are in charge of managing a project, you may work more than 40 hours.

Education/job training requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental, chemical, civil or general engineering
  • Practical experience from a cooperative engineering program or an internship

Job growth: Job opportunities for environmental engineers are expected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. On average, about 3,400 job openings are expected each year.

Financial manager

Salary potential: $144,000 

Financial managers oversee the finances of individuals and various organizations, including banks, insurance agencies, and investment firms. 

Financial managers usually work full time, and some put in more than 40 hours each week. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in an area such as finance, economics, or business administration
  • At least five years of on-the-job experience in a business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, financial analyst, or auditor

Job growth: Job opportunities for financial managers will grow about 17% up to 2031, which is much faster than the average job growth. It’s expected that 71,300 financial manager jobs will be available each year. 

Funeral home director

Salary potential: $115,645

Funeral home directors provide funeral services and assist families in making arrangements for a deceased loved one. They also prepare bodies for burial or cremation.

Funeral home directors typically work full time and often must respond at odd hours, including during evenings and weekends, due to the nature of their work.

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in mortuary science, psychology, or business (an associate’s degree in funeral service or mortuary science education might be acceptable)
  • Receive a passing score on a state and/or national board exam to become licensed
  • Complete an internship of one to three years
  • Regularly complete continuing education hours to maintain licensing in some states

Job growth: Job opportunities for funeral directors are expected to grow 8%, or faster than average, from 2021-2031. About 7,900 job openings are expected each year on average. 

Market research analyst

Salary potential: $117,500

Market research analysts are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to help businesses make informed decisions about their marketing strategies. 

Market research analysts generally work full time during standard business hours. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in market research or another field, such as business, communications, or economics. Leadership roles may require a master’s degree.
  • An internship or volunteer experience doing market research could be helpful. 
  • Industry-specific certification from the Insights Association, while voluntary, could also be helpful. The Market Research Online Course from the University of Georgia, for instance, costs between $1,595 and $1,795 and must be completed within 12 months.

Job growth: Job opportunities for market research analysts are expected to grow 19% from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average. On average, approximately 99,800 job opportunities are expected each year. 

Product manager

Salary potential: $159,000

Product managers are responsible for overseeing the development, launch, and ongoing improvement of products. They are responsible for driving the success of the products they manage, working closely with cross-functional teams to ensure that the product meets customer needs and business objectives. Typical job duties include: 

  • Defining product vision and strategy
  • Collaborating with engineering and design teams
  • Managing product launches and monitoring product performance

Product managers usually work full time but sometimes must work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or finance
  • Industry-recognized product management certification might be required

Job growth: Specific data for product managers is not available. However, overall employment growth in management occupations from 2021 to 2031 is projected at 8%, or faster than average for all occupations, with 883,900 new jobs available. 

Public relations manager

Salary potential: $129,500

Public relations managers create and maintain a positive image of their client, which involves managing communications and relationships with the media, stakeholders, and the public. Typical job duties include: 

  • Develop and execute public relations strategies designed to improve the image and reputation of the company
  • Build relationships with the media to pitch stories and promote client’s brand
  • Track the results of PR strategies and reporting those results to an organization’s executives

Public relations managers usually work full time, and often work extended hours.

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, communication or business or a master’s degree in public relations, nonprofit management or fundraising 
  • Several years of experience as a PR specialist, fundraiser or related position

Job growth: Public relations manager opportunities are expected to grow faster than average for all occupations — approximately 8%  — until 2031. About 9,100 openings are expected each year. 

Six-figure jobs with an advanced degree

These jobs will require a master’s degree or doctorate: 

Computer scientist

Salary potential: $161,870 

A computer scientist creates solutions for both hardware and software. They design computer architecture across a range of industries, including business, science, and medicine. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • A master’s degree or Ph.D in computer science or information systems
  • Additional specializations may be helpful to work in certain industries (such as studying biology to work in biomedical applications)

Job growth: The outlook for computer scientists is strong, with a 21% growth rate expected though 2031. That equates to 3,300 new jobs added each year, with a particular need in cybersecurity. 

Human resources manager

Salary potential: $116,000

Human resources managers oversee a company’s recruitment, staffing, and benefits and compensation packages.

Human resources managers typically work 40 hours per week, but some positions require longer hours. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field, such as business, communications or psychology
  • Master’s degree in human resources or a related field may be required for some positions

Job growth: Opportunities for human resource managers are expected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, which is as fast as expected for all occupations. About 16,300 job openings are expected each year up to 2023. 

School principal

Salary potential: $100,500

School principals manage the staff and operations of a school while providing educational leadership and fostering a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

School principals typically work full time, even in the summer. They may also have to work some evening and weekend hours due to school functions or events.

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, counseling, or a related field
  • Master’s degree in education leadership or administration
  • Several years of experience in a related occupation, such as teaching
  • Complete a licensing or certification exam (required in some states; $350 to $375 for the ETS Performance Assessment for School Leaders)
  • Background check

Job growth: Job opportunities for school principals are expected to grow at a rate of 5%, or as fast as average for all occupations, until 2031. On average, about 23,500 job openings for elementary, middle and high school principals are expected each year. 

Health care careers that pay six figures: 

There are numerous health care careers that pay over six figures, and not all require an advanced degree. Here are some potential options: 

Dental hygienist

Salary potential: $121,000

Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who examine patients to identify oral diseases and provide preventative care. Typical job duties: 

  • Perform teeth cleanings, taking X-rays, and providing preventative care to patients
  • Educate patients on proper dental hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing techniques, and providing advice on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums
  • Document patient care, including dental histories, treatments provided, and any changes in oral health

Dental hygienists mostly work part time, and some choose to work for more than one dentist.

Education/job training requirements: 

Associate’s degree in dental hygiene from a school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation

Job growth: Job opportunities are expected to grow 9% from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average for all occupations. About 16,300 job openings are expected each year over the decade. 

Medical writer 

Salary potential: $176,500

If you’re looking for writing jobs that pay over $100K, a medical writer is responsible for producing various types of written content related to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Typical job duties include:

  • Writing content for healthcare news articles, websites or magazines
  • Writing clinical research documents
  • Writing journal manuscripts and abstracts
  • Writing educational and promotional literature related to medical conditions or drugs

Medical writers generally work full time but might also have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in a scientific field, such as biology or chemistry
  • Bachelor’s degree in English, journalism or communications might also be considered with related work experience or on-the-job training
  • Continuing education and certificates in medical writing from the American Medical Association are not required but can be helpful in demonstrating competence

Job growth: Employment for medical writers is expected to grow 6% from 2021-2031,  which is about as fast as average for all occupations. Around 5,400 job openings for medical writers are expected each year on average. 

Nurse anesthetist

Salary potential: $240,500

Nurse anesthetists are responsible for administering anesthesia and other medications to patients undergoing surgery or other medical interventions. Typical job duties include:

  • Collaborate with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that patients receive safe and effective care
  • Conduct preoperative assessments of patients to determine the appropriate type and amount of anesthesia to administer
  • Administer anesthesia and other medications to patients during surgical and medical procedures
  • Monitor patients' vital signs and adjusting medication dosages as needed

Nurse anesthetists typically work full-time shifts and work hours may be scheduled for evenings, weekends and holidays. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor's degree in nursing 
  • Registered nurse license
  • At least one year of experience working as an RN in an acute care setting, such as an intensive care unit
  • Completion of an accredited nurse anesthesia program to earn a Master's degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree
  • Successful completion of the National Certification Examination for Nurse Anesthetists, which is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists

Job growth: From 2021-2031, job growth for advanced practice registered nurses, which includes nurse anesthetists, is expected to grow 40% each year or much faster than average. About 30,200 job openings are expected each year on average. 

Nurse practitioner

Salary potential: $165,000

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who are licensed to provide healthcare services under the supervision of a physician. The typical job duties of a nurse practitioner include:

  • Assess patients, creating treatment plans and providing patient education
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors and pharmacists
  • Monitor patient progress and providing ongoing support
  • Update medical records for patients in their care

Nurse practitioners typically work full time. If they work in a physician’s office, they usually work normal business hours. If they work in a hospital, they work shifts, which can include nights, weekends and on-call availability. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing with a registered nursing license (some schools offer alternative paths)
  • Nurse practitioner-focused master’s degree 
  • Certification as a nurse practitioner to gain licensing

Job growth: From 2021-2031, job growth for advanced practice registered nurses, which includes nurse practitioners, is expected to grow 40% each year or much faster than average. About 30,200 job openings are expected each year on average. 

Occupational therapist

Salary potential: $165,000

Occupational therapists are health care professionals who help disabled, injured or ill people of all ages develop or recover the skills necessary to complete their daily activities at home and work.

Occupational therapists normally work full time but may work evenings and weekends to meet the needs of their patients. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in healthcare or a related field
  • Master’s degree in occupational therapy from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork to gain clinical experience

Job growth: Job opportunities for occupational therapists are expected to grow 14% from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average. About 10,100 job openings are expected each year.


Salary potential: $174,000

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing vision and eye health problems.Typical job duties include: 

  • Conduct eye exams
  • Prescribe corrective lenses
  • Treat eye conditions
  • Work with ophthalmologists to provide pre- and post-operative care

Optometrists typically work full time and may work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. 

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in biology or physical science
  • Four-year Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited school
  • One-year residency program (may not be required in some states)
  • Completion of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam to gain licensing
  • Continuing education hours and periodic renewal of license 

Job growth: Job opportunities for optometrists are expected to grow 10%, or faster than average for all occupations until 2031. About 1,700 job openings are expected, on average, per year. 

Physical therapist

Salary potential: $146,000

Physical therapists play a critical role in helping patients recover from injuries or illnesses, manage chronic conditions, and improve their physical function and quality of life. Typical job duties: 

  • Evaluate patients' physical conditions and medical histories to develop personalized treatment plans
  • Use a variety of techniques, such as exercise, manual therapy and equipment to help patients improve their mobility, flexibility, strength, and balance
  • Educate patients and their families about their conditions, treatment options, and self-care techniques to improve their outcomes and prevent future injuries

Physical therapists work either full or part time, and hours may include evenings and weekends to accommodate patients

Education/job training requirements: 

  • Complete a bachelor's degree program in a related field, such as biology or exercise science
  • Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program from an accredited institution
  • Completion of clinical internships and other supervised training programs to gain hands-on experience and develop clinical skills
  • Successful completion of the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy 
  • Licensure as a physical therapist in the state where they intend to practice

Job growth: From 2021-2031, opportunities for physical therapists are expected to grow 17%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. About 15,400 openings are expected, on average, each year.

How to make $100,000 a year

Matthew Warzel, a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and president of MJW Careers3, is a former recruiter for Fortune 500 companies like GM and Ford. He offers this advice for people who want to make six figures or more:

1. Research industries and jobs that pay well

Warzel says if you want a high-paying job, you should research in-demand careers and salaries on sites like: 

  • Glassdoor
  • Payscale
  • Linkedin Salary
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to jobs site Indeed4, these are six of the highest-paying industries: 

  • Health care
  • Engineering
  • Information technology
  • Finance
  • Mining, resources, and energy
  • Legal

2. Pursue new certifications

Certifications serve as proof to employers that you have specialized knowledge and skills in a field or industry, which can help you land a job and increase your earning potential.

However, Warzel cautions that you should carefully research: 

  • Need/demand for certification in your industry
  • Cost of certification and potential return on investment
  • Credibility of the certifying organization

He suggests reaching out to professionals in your chosen field to gain insight into the value of the certification and its impact on hiring.

“Pursuing a certification that isn't recognized by employers or is oversaturated in the job market may not yield the desired results,” he says.

These are some fields that offer certifications: 

3. Learn how to negotiate your salary

Warzel says you should wait to negotiate your salary until you’ve received a formal job offer.

However, you should prepare in advance. Here are some tips to help you be successful: 

Research salary data for the job you’ve been offered. Warzel recommends job seekers do their research on industry standards, company culture, and the value they bring to the organization to determine a salary range that’s appropriate.

Decide on a salary range rather than a single number. When the time comes to negotiate, Warzel says it is generally better to offer a salary range rather than a single number. He says this allows for more flexibility in the negotiation process and acknowledges the fact that there may be room for negotiation. 

Rehearse how you will present the salary information. Quote your desired salary range and present supporting facts from your salary data research to back up your numbers. Warzel says that you should also focus on highlighting your skills, experience  and unique value proposition to the company. Being confident, respectful, and open to compromise can also help increase your chances of a successful negotiation.

Stay upbeat and confident. Confidence is key when negotiating salary. If you seem unsure about your worth, the hiring manager will be, too. Warzel says employers may not make their best salary offer to begin with, so don’t be afraid to ask for more than is initially offered. 

“However, be respectful and professional in your negotiation, and avoid being confrontational or demanding,” he says.

Consider compensation beyond salary. If the salary you’re offered after negotiating isn’t quite what you were hoping, consider other negotiating points. Warzel says you can negotiate bonuses, stock options, or extra vacation days as a way to increase the value of the job offer.  

Be prepared to walk away. If your goal is to earn six figures, a salary offer that’s not even in the ballpark will delay your progress. As long as you’ve researched your worth and the reality of making six figures in your role, there’s no reason you should settle for less. Be persistent, but walk away if it’s clear you’ve reached the end of the negotiations. 

Learn more about how to ask for a raise

4. Seek to have multiple streams of income or side hustles

Earning six figures might require multiple streams of income. If you have time in your schedule, you can start a side hustle, rather than just relying on your full-time job to get there. 

In 2022, Lending Tree5 conducted a survey of consumers with side hustles and found that parents with kids younger than 18 earn an average of $533 per month (or $6,396 annually) from their side gigs.

Warzel says that side hustles and additional income streams can be a great way to supplement a full-time job and increase earning potential. But he cautions that you should carefully manage your time and prioritize your responsibilities so that the side hustle does not interfere with your regular job performance or personal life. 

He also recommends exploring opportunities to earn passive income, such as investing in stocks or rental properties. 

Here are some additional supplemental streams of income and side hustles to consider: 

  • Rent out your car through an app like HyreCar or 
  • Rent your driveway or garage on Neighbor
  • Pet sit or house sit using sites like Rover and
  • Resell items on Amazon, eBay and Poshmark, or a site like Craigslist
  • Offer online freelancing services, including writing resumes, proofreading, and building websites
  • Tutor online

5. Build your personal brand

“By building a strong personal brand,” Warzel says, “you can establish yourself as a valuable and credible professional in your field and increase your chances of reaching your salary goals.” 

These are Warzel’s recommendations for successfully building your personal brand: 

Be clear about your unique value proposition. Warzel says to ask yourself what sets you apart from others in your field and what unique skills, experiences, or perspectives  you bring to the table. 

“Knowing your unique value proposition can help you communicate your strengths and stand out in a crowded job market,” he says.

Create a professional website or portfolio. Warzel says that creating a website or portfolio to showcase your work and accomplishments can be a great way to demonstrate your expertise while building your personal brand. 

Use social media strategically. Warzel recommends using social media to engage with your target audience, share relevant content, and demonstrate your expertise, which will all help you build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Seek out opportunities to speak or write about your area of expertise. “Speaking at conferences, writing articles or blog posts, or appearing as a guest on podcasts or webinars can be great ways to demonstrate your expertise and build your personal brand,” Warzel says. 

Be consistent in your messaging and branding. Your messaging, visual branding, and online presence should all align with the personal brand you want to create.

Same-day pay jobs: 26 instant payout opportunities for quick cash


  1. “How many people make over 100K per year?” Jan. 18, 2023. Zippia.,over%20%24100k%20per%20year.
  2. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistic.
  3. MJW Careers, LLC.
  4. “6 Highest Paying Industries.” Feb. 16, 2023. Indeed.
  5. “Side hustlers on the Rise, and Nearly 70% say they’re more reliant on the extra income due to inflation.” December 5th, 2022. Lending Tree.

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