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4 Attainable Jobs That Bring $100k Salaries

Six-figure salaries aren’t just for corporate executives – learn about some practical professions that can get you there!



By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2011

100k Job Profiles and Education Requirements
100k Job Profiles and Education Requirements

Many people believe that truly high-paying careers – those that bring in $100,000 – are beyond their reach. But the truth is that a variety of attainable professions offer a chance at that sort of salary. You just have to be willing to put in some time and hard work.

Here are four fields in which $100k jobs are often found:

1. Accountant: Accountants perform tasks such as auditing, bookkeeping, financial advising, and tax planning. Ever-increasing globalization and a rash of financial scandals in the early 2000s have grown the demand for honest accountants with a comprehensive understanding of their field. Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) requires licensure in addition to a college degree.

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Top end salary: $102,380 Annually*

How to get there: Complete your Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Work as a CPA while earning your Master’s degree in Accounting or MBA – Accounting. More than five years of workplace experience combined with a master’s-level accounting education can put six-figure positions within your reach.

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2. Advanced Practice Nurse: Nurses perform the bulk of day-to-day healthcare duties, from evaluating patients to providing front-line care. Advanced practice nursing includes four specialties – clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners. All have advanced education and licensure requirements.

Top end salary: $101,098 Annually**

How to get there: Complete your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Work as an RN while earning your Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN). About 10 years of workplace experience, combined with an MSN degree and licensure in your chosen specialty, can allow you to seriously compete for six-figure nursing positions.

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3. Pharmacist: Pharmacists prepare and dispense critical medication prescribed to patients by their doctors. They often monitor the health and progress of those patients to make sure they are using their medications properly, and they will consult with the doctor if they believe changes are required. Becoming a pharmacist has advanced education and licensure requirements.

Top end salary: $131,440 Annually*

How to get there: Complete your associate’s degree in a science field such as chemistry or biology, then apply to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program (most do not require a bachelor’s degree to enroll). Work as a pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician while earning your PharmD. Once you complete your PharmD you must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). More than five years of workplace experience, combined with a PharmD degree and required licensure, can put six-figure positions within your reach.

[Search for pharmacy degree programs now!]

4. Software Engineer: Software engineers create, test, maintain and update the software that allows computers to perform their functions. However, they typically do more than code in a computer language; software engineers are often responsible for all phases of software design and development. Becoming a software engineer has a moderate education requirement but your computer skills must be exceptional.

Top end salary: $128,870 Annually*

How to get there: Complete your Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. Work as a software engineer while gaining proficiency with the latest coding languages and development tools. Earning advanced credentials such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or a master’s degree can help you advance, but are not strictly necessary. About 10 years of workplace experience, combined with keeping up to date with the newest technology, can put six-figure positions within your reach.

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*Salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition
** Salary data from Salary.com

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