11 jobs that you wouldn’t think pay $100k

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Man throwing dollar bills in the air, arms raised in celebration

Image: Jonathan Kitchen/gettyimages

Your childhood dream of being a pilot just became appealing again.

Employment review site Glassdoor has released a list of 11 unexpected jobs that pay $100,000 or more.

Career paths highlighted include special agent, geophysicist, regional sales executive and software architect. The highest paying job on the list is reservoir engineer, which has a total median pay of $143,000. Equity research associate is the lowest paid career highlighted, with a median pay of an even $100,000.

While most of the jobs on the list were chosen on base salary, others include commission and bonuses to reach six figures.

Not all of the jobs are open to all job seekers. The list lays out requirements for each job, which can be extensive. For various career paths on the Glassdoor list, necessary qualifications include a Airline Transport Pilot License, a master’s degree in nursing and a degree in chemical engineering.

Glassdoor is a jobs marketplace which allows employees to anonymously rate their jobs, and research companies with open positions.

The 11 jobs, in no particular order:

Special Agent

Studio Portrait of a Special Agent With an ID Card

Image: Digital Vision/Getty Images

Total median pay: $125,000

Median base salary: $121,000

Special agents can work for law enforcement or for private companies. A history in the military or law enforcement is definitely a boost to any hopeful. The hours can be irregular, but it’s a fast paced career that’s never short on excitement.

Nurse Practitioner

Total median pay: $101,600

Median base salary: $100,000

Nurse Practitioners usually perform exams, treat low-level injuries and illnesses, and prescribe some medications. Although qualifications vary by state, to be an NP, you must have a masters degree in nursing at least.


Airline Pilot

Total median pay: $134,000

Median base salary: $120,000

Strong leaders looking for a career chance might consider becoming a pilot. To fly, you must obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License, and major airlines prefer candidates with degrees in aviation or physics.

It can be a tough road to becoming a pilot, however, often costing thousands of dollars to accrue the necessary flight time.

Software Architect

Total median pay: $139,000

Median base salary: $130,000

Simply put, software architects build software. Glassdoor pointed out in their blogpost that despite the technical nature of the job, you don’t need to graduate from a top IT university to land the job.

“Most people with this job have at least a bachelors degree in math, software engineering, or a similar field. Some people do acquire the right skills, however, through non-traditional education, such as through an online coding bootcamp or another online accelerated education program,” the post noted.

Reservoir Engineer

Engineer measuring voltage on a conductor board in her workshop

Image: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Total median pay: $143,000

Median base salary: $125,000

Reservoir engineers identify and pursue oil and gas reserves. They oversee the extraction of these natural resources, without over-tapping the reservoir.

This highly nuanced job requires technical knowledge and experience in the field. A degree in chemical engineering is also a must.


Total median pay: $119,380

Median base salary: $109,864

Geophysicists study the earth, for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of ways.

Applicants must have a degree in geology.

Regional Sales Executive

Total median pay: $103,500

Median base salary: $65,000

The most successful regional sales executives are personable, intuitable, and have a strong grasp of their companies product line.

The job requirements vary based on the industry. Glassdoor says that “regional sales executives are stellar communicators with a knack for spotting opportunities.”

Physician Assistant

Assistant at medical clinic

Image: Getty Images/Hero Images

Total median pay: $100,392

Median base salary: $100,000

Physician assistants are highly trained medical professionals who can see patients, order tests and prescribe medications. Like an NP, physician assistants must have a masters degree. Unlike an NP, PAs must attend medical school.

Equity Research Associate

Total median pay: $100,000

Median base salary: $85,000

Equity research associate is a great position for a person with a bachelors degree in finance, or economics who does not want to work in the high stakes world of investment banking.

Associates use analytical techniques to report on financial trends, and to share with other analysts


Total median pay: $129,968

Median base salary: $125,000

Dentistry is more than cleaning teeth and giving out free dental floss. Interested individuals must have an undergraduate degree in pre-dentistry or a related field, pass the Dental Acceptance Test, and get a doctoral degree in dental surgery or dental medicine.

Drilling Engineer

Total median pay: $116,500

Median base salary: $106,680

If you have a bachelors degree in petroleum or mechanical engineering, you might have a future as a drilling engineer!

According to Glassdoor, drilling engineers “ensure that all plans and practices related to gas, oil or water drilling are strategic and safe.”

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