Six Careers With Six Figure Potential

Six-Figure Jobs

You could make more than just a decent living in these high-paying careers…

By Sarita Harbour

So you want to make top dollar doing something you love? You're not alone.

The good news is that there are quite a few opportunities out there with six-figure earning potential. But here's a dose of reality: Those extra zeros in your paycheck won't appear overnight and will depend on a variety of factors like locale and level of experience.

Of course every goal must have its starting point. Joining a company with high integrity, an excellent reputation, and potential for growth is a good place to start, says Michael Provitera, author of the book "Mastering Self-Motivation: Preparing Yourself for Personal Excellence."

"The key is to make two or three moves in your industry, either up the ranks in your current position or to jump ship and join a new company," Provitera says. Other significant factors in earning a hefty salary include your network of contacts and your job performance, he adds.

Are you ready to learn more about careers with $100K earning potential? We've compiled details on six careers where top earners have median annual salaries in the six-figures. Keep reading to learn more.

Career #1: Human Resources Manager

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $173,140
Median Annual Salary*
$99,720
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $59,020

If you've got a combination of people skills and business savvy, then a career as a human resources (HR) manager could be your dream job. Those in this role may generally direct recruiting, interviewing, and hiring efforts, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Tends to Pay: The higher pay in this career is due to the strategic role human resources managers play in organizations, says Provitera. They tend to advise and collaborate with chief executive officers and other senior managers to ensure that business strategies are successful, he explains.

Provitera adds that the best way to reach a six figure salary as a human resources manager is to join a large company that needs organizational development and change.

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How to Prepare: Consider earning a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration. According to the Department of Labor, one of those degrees, combined with several years of related work experience, are needed for this position. Some higher-level positions require a master's degree in human resources, business administration, or labor relations, says the Department.

Career #2: Art Director

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $162,800
Median Annual Salary*
$80,880
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $43,870

If life as a starving artist doesn't appeal to you, then consider applying your creativity in a career as an art director. As an art director, your responsibilities may include overseeing the visual style and images in newspapers, packaging, and movie and television productions, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Tends to Pay: Art directors can work in a variety of settings and for diverse clients, notes the Department of Labor.

But the one constant is that their skills have the potential to pay off - in any medium. They have the ability to command high salaries, because they possess a great eye for design plus business smarts, says Provitera.

He also offers a few words of advice: Compile a list of clients that you have served and the art that you recommended to them in order to show the value of your advice and knowledge.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.

How to Prepare: You will need at least a bachelor's degree in an art or design subject along with work experience in an art or design occupation, says the Department of Labor. In fact, many art directors start out as graphic, industrial, and set designers, and usually have earned a bachelor of arts or bachelor of fine arts.

Career #3: Medical and Health Services Manager

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $150,560
Median Annual Salary*
$88,500
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $53,940

If you're keen on working in the health care field but not on the front lines with patients, consider a career as a medical and health services manager. Also known as health care executives or health care administrators, these managers organize and plan medical and health services, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Tends to Pay: Provitera says that medical and health services managers earn high incomes because of the growing demand for health care. That demand, according to the Department of Labor, is due to the aging baby-boomer population who will need medical services.

Medical health services managers are so highly valued because physicians place a great deal of reliance on them to coordinate and help treat the increased amount of people seeking health care, says Provitera.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

How to Prepare: Look into earning a bachelor's degree or a master's. According to the Department, prospective health care executives should have a bachelor's in health services. Master's degrees in fields such as health services, public health, public administration, long-term care administration, and business administration are also common.

Career #4: Computer Systems Analyst

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $122,090
Median Annual Salary*
$79,680
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $49,950

Your tech skills could translate well in a career as a computer systems analyst. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these analysts use their understanding of business and information technology to improve current computer systems and procedures.

Why It Tends to Pay: "Computer systems analysts have such high earning potential, because they maintain the safety, security, and [performance] of the computer networks," Provitera says.

And since this field is constantly changing, the best paid professionals in this industry must continually learn and grow. "[You must] never let your skills become obsolete in a rapidly changing computer environment," he explains.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

How to Prepare: While a bachelor's degree in a computer or information science-subject is common among computer systems analysts, according to the Department of Labor, it may not always be required. Some may hire those with business or liberal arts degrees and computer and IT skills, while others may prefer to hire applicants with a master's in business administration with a concentration in information systems.

Career #5: Accountant and Auditor

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $111,510
Median Annual Salary*
$63,550
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $39,930

Have a love for numbers and money? If so, a career as an accountant or auditor may fit the bill. In this type of role, you might spend your days preparing and studying financial records for accuracy and to ensure taxes are correct and on time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It Tends to Pay: Accountants and auditors know how and why numbers change and are able to predict future changes - making them valuable assets to employers, says Provitera.

Even more importantly, these professionals are responsible for presenting the bottom line. They establish important processes and ensure that a company is accurately reporting its revenue, which is essential for any business, he adds.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

How to Prepare: Consider earning your bachelor's degree in accounting or a related area. According to the Department of Labor, that's what most positions require. Some employers may prefer those with a master's in accounting or business administration and an accounting specialization.

Career #6: Public Relations Specialist

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Top 10 Percent of Earners*
More than $101,030
Median Annual Salary*
$54,170
Bottom 10 Percent of Earners*
Less than $30,760

Don't mind taking center stage or hobnobbing for a living? Well then a job as a public relations specialist could be the perfect career match. In this career, you might develop and maintain a positive public image for your employer or client, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Your workday may include writing material for media releases, helping your client communicate with the public, or evaluating advertising and promotion programs.

Why It Tends to Pay: Public relations specialists are well-compensated for protecting the image of the people and organizations that employ them, says Provitera.

And as with any client-based profession, it pays off to build an established track record and well-recognized reputation for success yourself, he adds.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Communications Program.

How to Prepare: Typically, you would need a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, business, journalism, or English to pursue this career, according to the Department of Labor.

* All salary information comes from the Department of Labor's "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012" data.

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