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That cushy office job may be harder to come by these days — but working in a cubicle isn’t the only way to a six-figure salary.

The question surfaced recently on Reddit: What kinds of jobs will pay $100,000 a year or more? Many users are sharing their own non-traditional paths to higher pay, including producing concerts and fixing commercial HVAC systems. 

It turns out there’s a pretty diverse array of roles that can bring home six figures, many of which don’t require you to wear slacks, work in an office or get an expensive degree. 

“It’s not rocket science,” one user wrote in the thread. “Pick a field that you can somewhat enjoy/tolerate. Stick with it, and continue to build niche skills so you can demand more money.”

Some of the six-figure roles mentioned by Redditors included: merchant mariner and fisherman; journeyman electrician; steel worker; freelance cinematographer; and a certified golf-course superintendent. The golf-course poster noted that their job “[d]oesn’t pay MUCH over 100k, but it’s still 6 figures. BUT, it’s 55+ hr work weeks throughout the growing season. Stressful, but the golf course is your office. Pretty nice gig.”

Here are four of those high-paying positions you may not have expected: 

Truck driver

The average base salary for a truck driver in the U.S. is $103,594, according to the job-search site Indeed. That pay rate can vary from about $52,000 to upwards of $200,000, the site estimates. 

Truck-driver salaries have increased rapidly in the last four years and are expected to keep going up, according to Migway, a Charlotte, N.C.-based trucking company. Drivers need to attend training to obtain a commercial driving license, but there’s no college diploma required. 

Even newer drivers could see salaries in the six figures: In 2022, Walmart
began offering drivers with more than one year on the job up to $110,000 to join their private fleet.

The career isn’t always a path to financial security. Some trucking companies have been accused of engaging in exploitative practices, like forcing drivers to finance their own trucks and then using that debt as leverage to extract forced labor from truckers. (In response to a 2017 USA Today investigation into trucking-industry practices, some companies denied ever mistreating drivers with truck leases and said any labor violations were unintentional.)

But some Reddit users said their gig had benefits, like one user who said they earned $150,000 annually driving a tractor trailer and are still “home every day,” though they work 50 to 55 hours a week.

Car salesperson

Salespeople at car dealerships earn an average annual base pay of $78,328, according to Indeed estimates. But they also take home an average of $40,000 in commission, the job-search site says. 

“I love my job because the harder you work the more you get paid and it’s not like I’m doing any manual labor,” wrote one Reddit user who said they earn six figures in their role at a dealership.

The job typically requires a high-school diploma or GED, but not a college degree, according to Indeed. However, people who want to advance to be sales managers at car dealerships “should consider pursuing further education, such as a bachelor’s degree in business or finance,” Indeed noted.


Unlike other jobs on this list, getting a role as a pharmacist requires some extensive schooling — a total of eight years to complete both an undergraduate and doctor of pharmacy degree.

Pharmacists earn an average base salary of $135,307, according to Indeed’s estimates. 

But the working conditions at some of these positions have come under fire recently, with thousands of Walgreens
pharmacists walking off the job in October to protest understaffing and overwork. 

Fast-food restaurant manager 

Even roles in an industry notorious for low pay — fast food — can hit the six-figure mark for some employees. 

At In-N-Out, the California-based burger restaurant, the average salary for a restaurant manager was over $160,000 a year as of 2020. The privately held chain had been paying its managers six-figure salaries for more than a decade prior to that, a spokesperson previously told MarketWatch. 

and Taco Bell
are among the other fast-food restaurants offering paths to earning $100,000 or more. 

Taco Bell has a leadership-development program for general managers of company-owned restaurants where participants receive a base salary of $80,000 and can earn up to $100,000, including bonuses, the company told MarketWatch. 

Chipotle also has a program for employees offering a path to the “restaurateur” title, the highest general-manager position, and average pay of $100,000 in 3.5 years.

Some grocery-store managers can also earn six figures or more, according to the Reddit thread — but that career path may require employees to work their way up the ranks, users said. Managers of Walmart stores, which sometimes combine a big-box retailer with a grocery store, now make an average of $128,000, up from $117,000, the company announced recently.

Does earning $100,000 make you rich? 

While earning $100,000 or more was once considered a marker of wealth, a six-figure salary isn’t what it used to be. 

About 45% of Americans that make six figures or more say they are still living paycheck to paycheck, according to a December report from PYMNTS and LendingClub.

And the rapid pace of inflation over the last few years means those dollars won’t stretch as far. For example: If you made $100,000 in January 2020, you’d need to make about $118,000 at the end of 2023 to retain the same purchasing power, according to the Labor Department’s inflation calculator. 

Where you live also determines how far six figures will take you. A single person earning $100,000 in the New York City metro area ranks in the middle income tier for their area, according to the Pew Research Center  — while earning the same salary in Bismarck, N.D., would place you among the highest earners. 

Related: Why $100,000 can’t support a middle-class family anymore, according to a viral video

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