What can you do for a living to earn six figures? These jobs might surprise you
What do some software developers, pharmacists, nurses, tow truck drivers and air conditioning technicians have in common? They make $100,000 or more a year.
There are plenty of surveys and listings of the best jobs that pay six figures a year or more, mostly in the technology and healthcare sectors.
But a viral Reddit thread that has gotten over 15,000 comments and counting is asking real people to share what they do for a living to make six figures. “It seems like a lot of people are making a lot of money, and it seems like I’m missing something,” the original poster writes. So the poster asked the internet, which professions pay so well?
It turns out that there are quite a diverse set of positions that can earn $100,000.
One of the most-voted comments describes repairing broken air conditioners for skyscrapers and hospitals to raise so much money, though insiders warn it’s a competitive niche industry. But the good news is that the minimum training requirement for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians is a high school diploma or GED, although working HVAC technicians note in the thread that it’s wise to have a certificate or degree in HVAC- maintenance to have a better chance of getting a good job. Some community colleges also offer HVAC certificate programs with hands-on training.
An Atlanta area tow truck driver also claimed he’s made $100,000 so far this year cleaning up wrecks on the highway, and hopes to round out the year at about $160,000.
“The trick is to do a job that no one wants to do,” notes one commenter who identifies as a mining engineer.
Many pharmacists said they also exceed the $100,000 salary threshold, but many of them discouraged readers from following in their lucrative footsteps.
“High student debt, declining wages and dire prospects in the future job market,” warned one. Another noted that their brother-in-law is taking on $200,000 in debt to become a pharmacist. One former pharmacist even described giving up his job after 11 years in the field to instead become a licensed contractor for a real estate development company. “Best decision I ever made,” they write, noting, “I’m still making six figures.”
Nurses working in intensive care units and hospices also described earning six-figure salaries, although they noted that incomes can vary widely in their field and that the work is often emotionally and physically draining.
Related: Hospitals have few nurses because they are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients
And, of course, there were plenty of people working in the legal, biotech, sales, engineering and software development sectors who also made the $100,000 club. Watch the full Reddit discussion here.
The U.S. News & World Report’s top job rankings for 2021 — ranking occupations that pay well, are in demand, and offer high job satisfaction — include positions in the health sector such as physician assistant (No. 1 on the list with an average salary of $112,260) and nurse practitioner (No. 3 with an average salary of $109,820), as well as technical gigs such as software developer (No. 2 for $107,510) and IT manager (No. 12 for $146,360.)
Read more: The #1 job in America pays $100,000 a year — and it’s not in Silicon Valley
Remote working is also becoming increasingly rewarding as the pandemic has forced more companies to rely on telecommuting. More and more work-from-home gigs are also offering six-figure salaries, according to a recent Ladders report, which found that there are more job openings with six-figure salaries for remote positions than for jobs in any city in North America. In fact, more than 80,000 remote jobs pay at least $100,000, Ladders found.
Read more: Why many people earning more than $100,000 are likely to continue working from home
And as pandemic burnout and “the great layoff” have seen a growing labor shortage, some employers are offering higher wages and softer benefits to lure workers back. Chipotle’s new pay incentives include a career path to becoming a “restauranteur” who could pay a six-figure salary within 3.5 years.