Quit your job? Here are 7 six-figure salary alternatives


Money may not buy happiness, but it will be buying your food, paying your mortgage, and financing your vacations – things that can help you find your own happiness. It has been proven time and time again that when your personal finances are healthy, your overall stress level goes down.

In most of the United States, an income of around $ 100,000 is more than enough to provide you (and your family) with financial peace of mind.

While many well-paying jobs require a significant investment in education and many years of experience, you don’t always have to spend a decade working to reach that six-figure milestone. Here’s a look at seven jobs you could do in a few years that can give you a six-figure income.

1. Computer programmer

This is a broad category of career options that covers a variety of skills and roles, such as a software developer, database manager, or web developer. The type of programming you do – or, more specifically, the programming languages ​​you are proficient in – will have an impact on how much you can earn. That said, it’s common to find skilled programmers earning six figures or more.

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Some employers may prefer programmers with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but skilled developers can often bypass this requirement. Resources for learning various types of programming are plentiful. Online courses and “boot camp” programming can give you marketable skills in just a few months.

2. Air traffic controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for helping pilots (and their planes) take off and land safely at airports. This role is therefore vital for the operation of any airport. Fortunately, the salary is commensurate with this importance: according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the median salary of an air traffic control specialist is over $ 125,000.

You will need to be 30 years of age or younger to get an air traffic controller job with the FAA. You will also need one of the following:

  • Three years of progressive professional experience
  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • A combination of post-secondary education and work experience equivalent to three years

The FAA gives preferential attention to applicants with an aviation degree from a College Training Initiative school.

3. Commercial truck driver

Truck drivers are the blood cells of commerce, bringing needed supplies across the country (and around the world). A good salary for a commercial truck driver is around $ 65,000, but some industries and regions may pay more. If you want to hit the six-figure range, you’ll probably have to buy your own truck and become an owner-operator.

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Becoming a commercial truck driver requires a high school diploma (or GED) and a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you are planning to specialize, you may need additional training or certification. While you definitely need some training before trying to get your CDL – driving a 26,000 pound vehicle on city streets is not a simple skill – the training can be completed in just a few months. .

4. Digital marketing

If you live and breathe the internet, digital marketing could be a no-brainer. High-end digital marketers easily make over $ 100,000 a year, and you can get the job done by either working for a large company or starting your own.

The type of training you need depends on the type of digital marketing you want to do, but moderate to expert skills in social media and search engine optimization can be very helpful. There are many online courses you can take to get certifications for several useful skills. Plus, many of these courses are free or inexpensive, and they can often be completed in a matter of weeks or months.

5. Site manager

As owners of construction sites, construction managers are responsible for keeping projects on track and on budget. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a construction manager is $ 107,260, but salaries tend to range from around $ 97,000 to $ 130,000 or more, depending on the type of construction (commercial or residential, for example) and your experience.

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You will definitely need training for these jobs, but it is not necessarily necessary to have a four-year degree. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer two-year programs in construction management that you can combine with on-site experience.

6. Transport inspector

If it flies, rolls, or floats, there’s a good chance someone will inspect it before it can get out. And, in many industries, these vehicles will be inspected regularly while in use. The median salary for a transportation inspector is around $ 81,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and you could hit six figures with a little time and experience.

The amount and type of training you need will vary depending on the specific role and industry, but you will typically need a two-year degree or advanced certification to work as a transportation inspector. . Alternatively, you can start in a lower level job, such as a mechanic, and move up through the ranks.

7. Sales manager

Whether we like it or not, the cogs of capitalism are turned by sales. And a quality sales manager is worth their weight in rhodium (which currently sells for around 10 times more than gold). Most people in sales positions earn most of their income from commissions, so it’s not always the most stable or reliable job – but the potential for six figures is huge in many areas. .

Most industries need sales managers, so you can work in almost anything that piques your interest. The majority of your sales training will likely come from on-the-job experience, although there are some basics you can learn through an online course or training seminar.

Shaping your way to financial security

There are many paths to success. Sometimes these paths include a decade of study and a doctorate. But you can also find six-figure financial security with other types of training that won’t take that long. Use this list as a starting point to explore ways to take your income potential to new heights.

We strongly believe in the Golden Rule, which is why the editorial opinions are our own and have not been previously reviewed, endorsed or endorsed by the advertisers included. The Ascent does not cover all the offers on the market. Editorial content for The Ascent is separate from editorial content for The Motley Fool and is created by a different team of analysts. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner providing financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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