5 Types of Jobs Nobody Suspects Can Earn Six Figures per Year

While many assume that only doctors, lawyers, and executives rake in six-figure salaries, various less obvious types of jobs also offer substantial earning potential. This article unveils five unexpected job types where skilled professionals can earn over $100,000 per year, shedding light on unique career paths for ambitious job seekers.

The Riches Are in the Niche Types of Jobs

When it comes to high-paying jobs, many automatically think of careers in medicine, law, or business. However, there’s a wealth of opportunity in less conventional roles that often go unnoticed but can yield six-figure incomes. These niche careers require specific skills and certifications, which due to their specialized nature, offer lucrative payouts. The job market is evolving, with increasing value placed on unique skills that meet specific industry needs. This shift has opened doors to unexpected fields where the demand is high but not widely known, making these roles highly rewarding financially.

1. Elevator Installers and Repairers

Surprisingly one of the most lucrative trades, elevator installers and repairers are essential in maintaining the functionality of buildings that rely heavily on vertical transportation. This role involves not just installation, but also troubleshooting, repair, and routine safety checks of elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. With an aging infrastructure and new constructions continually on the rise, skilled technicians in this field are in high demand.

Surprisingly High Earnings

  • Salary Insights: Elevator installers and repairers often earn a median annual salary of around $79,000, with top earners making over $100,000.
  • Job Role: Specialize in installing, repairing, and maintaining elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

How to Get There

  • Required Training: Most enter the field through apprenticeships that combine paid on-the-job training with technical instruction.
  • Certifications Needed: Certification requirements vary by state but generally include significant safety training.

2. Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers hold a critical role in the aviation industry, managing the flow of aircraft through airspace and on the ground. They ensure safety by preventing collisions, directing aircraft during takeoff and landing, and managing traffic on taxiways. This high-stress, high-stakes job requires rigorous training and keen concentration but rewards with salaries well into the six-figure range, reflecting the level of responsibility held.

Sky-High Salaries

  • Salary Insights: Air traffic controllers can earn an average salary of $95,00, with high stress and responsibility levels.
  • Job Role: Manage the flow of aircraft into and out of airports and in-flight between destinations.

How to Get There

  • Required Training: Completion of an FAA-approved education program and passing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pre-employment test.
  • Additional Requirements: U.S. citizenship and passing a medical and background check.

3. Underwater Welders

Underwater welding is an exceptionally niche field that combines diving expertise with skilled welding, primarily used in maritime and offshore oil industries. This job requires working under challenging and often hazardous conditions, such as repairing ships below water, working on oil platforms, and salvaging sunken debris. The pay reflects the dangerous nature of the work and the specialized skills required, often reaching far into six figures.

Deep-Sea Earnings

  • Salary Insights: Underwater welders, on average, earn $98,000 per year or more, depending on the depth and complexity of their dives.
  • Job Role: Perform welding tasks on underwater structures such as pipelines, ship hulls, and offshore oil platforms.

How to Get There

  • Required Training: Certification in scuba diving and a professional diving school diploma.
  • Skills Needed: Strong swimming skills, diving expertise, and proficient welding experience.

4. Court Reporters

Court reporters play a pivotal role in the legal process, capturing every word spoken during court proceedings with unmatched accuracy. This career demands excellent listening skills, fast and precise typing, and familiarity with legal terminology. Beyond the courtroom, court reporters may also provide captioning for television and real-time translation for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Their ability to provide an accurate legal record makes them indispensable and well-compensated.

Unseen High Earners

  • Salary Insights: Court reporters can earn an average annual salary of $62,800, with the top 10% earning more than $105,000.
  • Job Role: Create verbatim transcriptions at legal proceedings, meetings, and other events where spoken words must be preserved.

How to Get There

  • Required Training: Completion of a court reporting program accredited by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).
  • Licenses/Certifications: Certification requirements vary by state but often include passing a state exam.