High Salary Range: Surprising Jobs

Would you like to make six figures? Who wouldn’t? Well, it may surprise you to learn that not everyone has to get a medical degree, work as a broker on Wall Street or spend their days inside a law firm to earn in the $100,000 annual salary range. According to Forbes, there are some jobs with six figure salaries that do not require an advanced degree.

Can you knock out 200 words per minute? Then you could be one of the 50 to 60,000 court reporters working today. According to Forbes, the national average salary is $62,000, but some court reporters can reportedly earn an annual salary of $100,000 in “many cities.” We’d have to assume that includes working overtime, which could be tough on the fingers!

In our ever-crowding justice system, the job outlook for court reporters looks good. However, for those tiring of the legal profession, career changes for court reporters (or other fast typists) include broadcast captioning and real-time reporting for web casts. Are your fingers being paid what they’re worth? Find out by typing your job into the PayScale salary survey.

Not Your Average Six Figure Salary

Another Forbes six figure salary gig is working as a mine manager. Some mining companies do not require a college degree for this position. You simply start at the bottom of the mine and work you way up … literally. According to Forbes, a mine manager makes an average salary of $106,000 for planning procedures, setting budgets and keeping deadlines on mine projects. The major risks are little things such as possible black lung, claustrophobia and the dreaded cave-in.

For folks who are looking for more of a white collar gig, technical writing pays very well. The market is wide open, because the typical writer does not grow up dreaming of explaining the intricacies of C# programming. If you can understand and write about high-tech topics for the masses, the average salary in California, according to our salary survey, is $72,832; the high-end of this annual salary range is $108,000. I wonder if writing this blog counts as technical writing…

How Much Money Does a Life Coach Earn?

There are ways to make money in publishing without having to lift a pen (or laptop). In California, high end press operators can make $31.78 an hour according to our salary calculator. With working overtime, it is possible to break into a six figure salary. Unfortunately, as web publishing increases, the number of these press operator jobs is decreasing. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 300,000 of these jobs five years ago, compared to 191,000 positions these days. The times, they are a changin’.

In contrast, a market that is exploding is the “professional life coach.” A life coach for personal development provided confidence, encouragement and hand-holding for everyone: from struggling entrepreneurs to aspiring writers. According to Forbes, 10 to 20 percent of these professional life coaches make six figure salaries. Some coaches, such as business coaches, may need expertise in an area like sales, but for the average life coach, no training or degree is required. Get to know one personally in our Salary Stories.

Six Figure Salary by Serving Others

If you want to do well while doing good, consider running a school or non-profit. Even the lowest rung of the school management ladder, elementary school principal, can make in the six figures in urban areas. According to our salary calculator, an elementary school principal in New York makes an average salary of $76,000, with a high-end salary of $110,000. Middle school and high School principals can earn even more.

A recent article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that CEOs of even small non-profits can easily earn $100,000. Whether the non-profit focused on education, health, social services, or culture, running a non-profit is not about doing without. Maybe it is all relative: $367,000 per year to run World Vision sounds like serious money, but the current CEO gave up $1,000,000/year in the private sector to take the job.

Time for a Salary Survey

Forbes reports that air traffic controllers do very well – at least those who survive the rigorous training program. Forbes says they can make $100,000 to start, but our salary calculator found the average pay for a California air traffic controller to be $68,319, with a high-end of $83,171. However, by working overtime at large airports, we imagine that you can earn a six figure salary. Just remember though, you can’t go on strike (thank you, President Reagan).

How does your pay measure up to these six figure salary jobs? Should you be making more than a professional life coach? Find out with the PayScale salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee