Unexpected jobs that pay $100K
You’ll be surprised that these jobs pay six figures.
Just because you don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, or senior executive at a large corporation doesn’t mean a six-figure salary isn’t attainable. Plenty of other career paths produce sizable paychecks—and you might be surprised which nontraditional jobs rake in the most cash.
In an analysis of more than 2,000 U.S. employers, Monster PayRight data recently identified some surprising jobs—meaning, we filtered out the obvious jobs like lawyers, doctors, surgeons, and executives that are typically high paying—that pay more than $100K.
Just don’t expect to see this many zeros right off the bat. All of the jobs on our list typically require several years of experience, but if you stay the course, it will (literally) pay off in the long run. Other factors that affect salary are specialty niche and location of employment. For example, an electrical design engineer salary in Seattle is 5% higher than the national median; a landscape architect salary in San Francisco is 18% higher than the national median; and a supply chain manager salary in Chicago is 11% higher than the national median.
Check out the list below to see if one of these jobs is worth your consideration.
What you’d do: Overseeing the creative services of an organization, creative directors manage a team of artists and other creative professionals on projects from start to finish—from determining objectives, brainstorming themes, and creating designs and layouts to refining concepts and overseeing the final production. In this position, you would also ensure that projects adhere to company guidelines and budgets, manage freelancers, and act as a liaison between creative personnel and clientele.
What you’d need: A senior-level job, creative directors typically hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least 10 years of experience.
What you’d make: $134,000 per year
Six Sigma master black belt
What you’d do: Sorry, this job has nothing to do with karate, but it's still grouped with nontraditional jobs. In this instance, a master black belt works with companies to incorporate Six Sigma, a statistical analysis methodology for improving the quality of a business’s processes and output. Industries use Six Sigma to help reduce manufacturing costs.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree in addition to four or more years of experience is typically required. Some positions may require Six Sigma Black Belt certification.
What you’d make: $130,400 per year
What you’d do: The pilot-in-command, or captain, is responsible for the safety of airline passengers and crew and the operation of the aircraft. Job responsibilities include ensuring all flight and ground operations comply with federal aviation regulations; analyzing weather conditions for delays, rerouting, or cancellations; and arranging alternate transportation for passengers if their flight is affected.
What you’d need: An airline Transport Pilot (ATP) rating and first class medical certification are standard.
What you’d make: $126,000 per year
Design engineering manager
What you’d do: In this position, you would lead a team of engineers, scientists, and technicians in designing machinery. Job duties include overseeing production, operations, quality assurance, testing, and maintenance.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree plus four or more years of experience is usually required.
What you’d make: $125,900 per year
Managing landscape architect
What you’d do: In overseeing a team of landscape architects, a typical day involves managing site plans, specifications, and cost estimates and coordinating the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures.
What you’d need: Generally, a bachelor’s degree, as well as at least six years of experience, is required.
What you’d make: $125,100 per year
Organizational change management consultant
What you’d do: In this position, you would design new processes or operating models, identify gaps in employee competency, and recommend training and development programs with the goal to improve organizational effectiveness and drive business results through thoughtful use of employee resources.
What you’d need: Typically, a master’s degree, along with six or more years of experience, is needed.
What you’d make: $120,800 per year
International supply chain manager
What you’d do: In managing the international supply chain activities of a company, you would oversee inventory levels, shipping and receiving departments, and warehousing capabilities. Other job duties include tracking and enforcing purchasing guidelines and contractual obligations and fostering relationships with vendors.
What you’d need: This position typically calls for a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of experience. Have a look at how to become a supply chain manager.
What you’d make: $117,600 per year
Major gifts director
What you’d do: Major gifts directors oversee fundraising planning for an organization, nurture relationships with existing donors, and identify and solicit contributions from potential donors.
What you’d need: A senior-level role, major gifts directors typically have a bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of experience.
What you’d make: $112,300 per year
What you’d do: If you’re the kind of person who typically took charge when working on group projects in school, then this job is perfect for you. Responsible for all aspects of the project life cycle—from planning and designing to executing and delivering—project managers coordinate work activities, track progress against milestones and budgetary guidelines, and deal with external vendors.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree, minimum five years of experience, and sometimes Project Management certifications, can land you a job as a project manager.
What you’d make: $106,300 per year
What you’d do: Product designers develop new products, creating sketches, concept boards, wireframes, and prototypes. You may also collaborate with technical designers on usability testing to ensure that the final product meets its specifications and serves its stated purpose.
What you’d need: Before you can become a product designer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and at least six years of experience under your belt.
What you’d make: $100,800 per year
Go your own way (but first do this)
People earn a living in more ways than you can possibly imagine; some prefer to take the tried-and-true path, while others look to the road less traveled. Regardless of where you want to end up in your career, you need to let hiring managers know how awesome you are if you have any hopes of getting their attention. Could you use some help getting your name out there? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can spend less time combing through ads and more time applying to great new gigs. It's an easy way to help you stand out from the crowd.