The Jobs That Pay Over $100K a Year

High Paying White- and Blue-Collar Careers

Anesthesiologist in operating room
Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStock

Which careers pay the most money? Unsurprisingly, they’re the jobs that require special skills and training to perform tasks that not everyone can do. In the 21st century, that largely means medical and health care positions, as well as engineering, management, and information technology occupations.

Key Takeaways

  • The highest-paying jobs often require special schooling, skills and certifications.
  • Jobs in the medical field dominate the highest paying jobs in America.
  • While many jobs that earn six figures are in an office or require years of schooling, there are some blue-collar jobs that can crack $100,000 in salary per year.

Top 20 Highest Paying Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest-paying careers are mostly white-collar jobs in medicine, management, information technology, and engineering. To train for these careers, you’ll need to have an aptitude, passion, and willingness to spend time and money on the education required.

The following jobs are the highest-paying, all making at least $208,000 per year in median annual pay:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Physicians, all other; and ophthalmologists, except pediatric
  • Anesthesiologists
  • General internal medicine physicians
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists
  • Surgeons, except ophthalmologists
  • Psychiatrists

Other jobs that top $100,000 per year in median pay are:

  1. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers: $202,180
  2. Nurse anesthetists: $195,610
  3. Chief executives: $179,520
  4. Dentists with a specialty: $175,160
  5. Pediatricians: $170,480
  6. General dentists: $160,370
  7. Computer and information systems managers: $159,010
  8. Physicists: $152,430
  9. Architectural and engineering managers: $152,350
  10. Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates: $148,030
  11. Podiatrists: $145,840

Blue-Collar Jobs That Pay More Than $100,000

Although most of the highest paying careers require considerable education and training, not every job will necessitate spending years in graduate school or working indoors after graduation.

If you don’t care to put on a suit – or incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt – but you want to make serious money, there are a few blue-collar jobs that might fit the bill.


To make $100,000 or more in a blue-collar job, you might need to work for yourself, have a labor union behind you – or be willing to put your safety at risk.

MarketWatch produced a list of blue-collar jobs that can lead to six-figure salaries. Job titles ranged from police sergeant to oil rig worker.

Police Officers

While the national median wage for a police officer is $66,020, salaries for police departments in major urban areas can reach into the $100,000s depending on the rank. Sergeants and lieutenants typically get paid the most with salaries potentially reaching as high as $217,000 and $316,000, respectively. Overtime can also be a big contributor to all police pay.


The median salary for bartenders is $26,350 a year but the range varies widely. Bartenders at upscale locations in major cities can make more than $100,000 a year depending on the hours they work and tips.


Bartenders are in high demand, as the number of positions needed is expected to grow by 32% by 2030.

Construction Manager

 Construction managers are in charge of projects and are responsible for coordinating, budgeting, and supervising jobs, according to the BLS. Construction managers make $98,890 per year on average, and there are about 38,900 jobs open each year. Some companies may require a bachelor's degree for this role.

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

According to the BLS, the highest 10% of agricultural managers made more than $126,330 per year. Depending on the type of farm or ranch, the work may be seasonal and more than 40 hours a week during the planting and harvesting season. More than half of agricultural managers work for themselves.

Oil Rig Workers

A bachelor's degree isn't required for oil rig foremen and superintendents, directional drillers, and oil rig managers, though these jobs usually require years of experience. Working on a rig is very taxing work—it's labor-intensive, lonely, and potentially dangerous. Workers are compensated for these factors. reports that the average salary for oil rig workers is $66,483 but salaries can range from $19,500 to more than $261,500 annually.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Highest Paying Occupations."

  2. MarketWatch. "5 Blue-Collar Jobs That Pay $100,000 A Year."

  3. BLS. "Police and Detectives."

  4. Glassdoor. "How Much Does a Police Lieutenant Make?"

  5. Glassdoor. "How Much Does a Police Sergeant Make?"

  6. BLS. "Bartenders."

  7. Glassdoor. "How Much Does a Bartender Make?"

  8. BLS. "Construction Managers."

  9. BLS. "Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers."

  10. ZipRecruiter. "Oil Rig Worker Salary."

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