11 Unexpected Jobs That Pay Over $100,000

In no particular order, check out 11 different jobs that pay $100K or more:

1. Special Agent 

  • Total median pay: $125,000
  • Median base salary: $121,000

How to Get Hired: Some special agents work for law enforcement and help build cases for criminal investigations by amassing evidence. Others are employed by private companies. Qualifying candidates usually have a law enforcement background or military experience plus a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

2. Airline Pilot 

  • Total median pay: $134,000
  • Median base salary: $120,000

How to Get Hired: Airline pilots have to be certified with an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). Major airlines often prefer candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in aviation, physics, or related fields, or those who have served in the military.

3. Regional Sales Executive 

  • Total median pay: $103,500
  • Median base salary: $65,000

How to Get Hired: Successful regional sales executives need to be well-versed in their company’s product lines and acutely aware of their customers’ needs. Regional sales executives are stellar communicators with a knack for spotting opportunities.

4. Nurse Practitioner 

  • Total median pay: $101,600
  • Median base salary: $100,000

How to Get Hired: Nurse practitioners (NPs) have at least a master’s degree in nursing. Individual states may require additional certifications. NPs are qualified to perform physical exams, treat common injuries and illness, and prescribe some medications.

5. Reservoir Engineer 

  • Total median pay: $143,000
  • Median base salary: $125,000

How to Get Hired: Reservoir engineers identify and pursue oil and gas reserves underground. Their goal is to extract the maximum amount of energy without over-tapping the reservoir.

6. Dentist 

  • Total median pay: $129,968
  • Median base salary: $125,000

How to Get Hired: Prospective dentists have to complete a four-year undergraduate degree in pre-dentistry or another scientific field, score well on the Dental Acceptance Test administered by the American Dental Association, and complete a doctoral degree in dental surgery or dental medicine before they can get licensed.

7. Equity Research Associate 

  • Total median pay: $100,000
  • Median base salary: $85,000

How to Get Hired: Equity research associates report on financial trends using financial models and other analytical techniques. Their research and reports inform other financial analysts’ efforts. To qualify for the position, candidates need a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or a similar field.

8. Geophysicist 

  • Total median pay: $119,380
  • Median base salary: $109,864

How to Get Hired: Geophysicists study the earth using gravity, seismic, electrical and magnetic methods. There are various kinds of geophysicists. The position requires a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in geology.

9. Physician Assistant 

  • Total median pay: $100,392
  • Median base salary: $100,000

How to Get Hired: A physician’s assistant (PA) is similar to a nurse practitioner (NP). Both hold master’s degrees, but a PA attends medical school rather than nursing school. Like NPs, PAs can examine patients, order tests and prescribe some medications.

10. Drilling Engineer 

  • Total median pay: $116,500
  • Median base salary: $106,680

How to Get Hired: Securing a job as a drilling engineer requires a bachelor’s degree in petroleum or mechanical engineering. Professionals in this role ensure that all plans and practices related to gas, oil or water drilling are strategic and safe.

11. Software Architect

  • Total median pay: $139,000
  • Median base salary: $130,000

How to Get Hired: Software architects build software that enables businesses to operate more efficiently. Most people with this job have at least a bachelor’s degree in math, software engineering, or a similar field.

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