5 Unlikely Careers With Six-Figure Salaries

5 Unlikely Careers With Six-Figure Salaries

It should come as no surprise that chief executives are among the most likely occupations to pay out six-figure salaries. But you don’t need to run a large company to achieve this level of wealth. And you don’t need to start your own company, or earn a college degree to hit such heights, either. 

In fact, there are many careers with perfectly ordinary positions paying out huge six-figure salaries. For the best in the industry, they can even reach seven figures. This article is going to introduce you to the unexpected careers that come with six-figure salaries.

1. Agents

Agents and/or business managers are there to handle the personal brands of athletes, celebrities, and artists. They often own their own companies, but they can also be part of umbrella corporations. They are there to make sure celebrities and athletes are making the most of what they have.

The latest data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey reveals the average wage for these agents is $115,940 in California, which is where the majority of these agents practice their trade. It should come as no surprise considering how many stars make their homes here. It’s the heart of the trade.

2. Makeup Artists

We should say the people earning six-figure salaries in this category are those within the performance and theatrical niches. Performers need to look their best before they appear in front of the public. The reason why they look so good is because of these makeup artists. 

It’s true the majority of makeup artists will be working for small potatoes in localized areas, but if you can make it towards the top of the profession you can earn $122,110 per year, on average. Believe it or not, it’s not California that comes with the best salaries for makeup artists, it’s Tennessee.

3. Elevator Installer and Repairer

Perhaps the least glamorous job in the world is installing and repairing elevators. Yet it’s a job that can command close to $40 per hour. And this is a time-consuming job, so you can imagine how quickly the money is going to add up. The best state in the country is Oregon, where elevator installers earn an average of $103,260.

The complexity of the job makes this a difficult role to train for, and one that’s in high demand as businesses continue to expand.

4. Mental Health Jobs

We decided to lump the various roles within mental health together. Becoming a school psychologist, for example, can leave you with $116,960 every year. Campuses and high schools are increasingly investing in mental health services, so just talking to people can do a lot for your bank account.

The state with the most mental health jobs is California, with the District of Columbia being the best paying.

5. Broadcast News Analyst

Journalism in general has gone downhill. The decline of newspapers and TV has meant salaries and jobs have declined in this industry. One role that has remained buoyant is the broadcast news analyst. For analyzing and interpreting the news in radio and television, you can expect to gain about $111,290.

The 4,020 broadcast news analysts around the nation are surprisingly well-spread, so there are no special states that pay much more than the rest.

And the Rest…

This is America and salaries are rarely rigorous. In theory, you can earn absolutely anything you like. Even the most mundane job can be turned into a major annual salary. With more and more people becoming self-employed, either part-time or full-time, every job has the potential to earn a six-figure salary.

Think about the average waiter. They may be among the lowest-paying jobs, but imagine if that waiter started their own staff supply company, where they send waiters to cover corporate functions. They may still be a waiter, but there’s no reason why they can’t earn a six-figure salary.

So how do you go about turning your career into a six-figure return?

You have to think outside the box. Consider what skills you have and how you can make people pay more for them. Stop relying on traditional corporate ladder progression for a higher salary. Start your own business or use your current set of skills to develop other skills. 


All of these jobs can come with six-figure salaries without earning a degree, but they’re far from easy to acquire. You’re always going to have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Without hard work, that money isn’t going to simply fall into your lap.

Which job on this list did you find the most surprising?

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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