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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Forbes List of America's Most Surprising Six-Figure Jobs

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Sunday, 6th November 2011


We often associate hefty salaries with corner offices, scalpels and law degrees – but it turns out you can pull in a pretty penny working outside the financial, medical or legal fields. In fact, writers, elevator installers and ship captains are just a few of the professionals who surprisingly can score six-figure paychecks.

Forbes combed through data gathered annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Labor Department, to find the 15 most surprising six-figure jobs. The BLS culls its information from surveys it mails to businesses, and it releases its Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Data each May. The report shares information about hundreds of occupations, including hourly and annual wages, total numbers of workers in the profession, and the states and metro areas that pay the best. To make the cut for our list, at least 10% of employees in the profession had to earn more than $100,000 a year.

Human resources managers are the only ones on the list where most, not just some, earn six figures. These professionals, who are responsible for everything from interviewing candidates to handling personnel and implementing strategies and policies, earn a stellar average annual salary of $108,600. According to the BLS’ Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Data for 2010, the top 10% of H.R. managers earn more than $166,400 a year. The best-paying state for these professionals is New Jersey, where they pull in an average annual salary of $134,170.

An art director’s income isn’t too shabby, either. The mean annual wage for those talented professionals is $94,100. The top 10% make $163,430—almost four times the national average for all occupations, which is just $44,410. The top-paying state for art directors: New York. Those in the Big Apple earn a hefty $128,080 a year.

Some other surprising six-figure jobs, especially from the perspective of the fragile media industry, include broadcast news analysts, authors, and technical writers. Workers in the top-earning 10% of each of these professions earn more than $100,000, according to the BLS data. For broadcast news analysts, it’s $146,230; for writers and authors, $109,440; and for technical writers, $100,910.

Gaming managers, the people who supervise gambling operations, also make the cut, earning a handsome annual income of $73,940. Workers in the top 10% of that profession really hit the jackpot. These high rollers rake in $116,070 a year.

Pennsylvania pays its gaming managers better than any other state ($91,850 a year, on average), but it’s only got about 50 of them. In total, 3,230 Americans hold the job nationwide.

Water vessel captains, mates and pilots also make a boatload more than one might think. The top 10% earn an ample $117,310 a year, but on average they make $70,500. Boat captains in Tennessee earn $89,700, making it the best paying state.

The list doesn’t end there. There are plenty more surprising six-figure jobs that don’t require a necktie or lab coat. Astronomers, film editors and farm product buyers are some others we’ve singled out. Please see below for a complete list of the 15 most surprising six-figure jobs.

1. Human Resources Managers

Top 10% make over $166,400 Mean annual income: $108,600 Total employed: 67,700 
Top-paying state: New Jersey

2. Technical Writers

Top 10% make $100,910 Mean annual income: $66,240  Total employed: 43,990 Top-paying state: California


3. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

Top 10% make $119,320  Mean annual  income: $73,010 
Total employed: 110,640 
Top-paying state: Washington, D.C.

4. Animal Scientists

Top 10% make $117,150 Mean annual income: $68,170 
Total employed: 2,440 
Top-paying state: Maryland

5. Broadcast News Analysts

Top 10% make $146,230 Mean annual income: $72,710 
Total employed: 5,670 
Top-paying state: Florida
6. Art Directors


Top 10% make $163,430 Mean annual income: $94,100 
Total employed: 29,700 
Top-paying state: New York


7. Astronomers


Top 10% make $155,480 Mean annual income: $93,340 
Total employed: 1,840 
Top-paying state: Massachusetts


8. Captains, Mates and Pilots of Water Vessels


Top 10% make $117,310 Mean annual income: $70,500 
Total employed: 29,280 
Top-paying state: Tennessee
9. Elevator Installers and Repairers


Top 10% make $101,390  Mean annual income: $70,010 
Total employed: 20,430 
Top-paying state: New Hampshire


10. Gaming Managers


Top 10% make $116,070 Mean annual income: $73,940 
Total employed: 3,230 
Top-paying state: Pennsylvania
11.  Writers and Authors


Top 10% make $109,440  Mean annual income: $65,960 
Total employed: 40,980 
Top-paying state: New York
12. Transportation Inspectors


Top 10% make $107,790  Mean annual income: $63,050 
Total employed: 24,280 
Top-paying state: Washington, D.C. 
13.  Buyers and Purchasing Agents for Farm Products


Top 10% make $101,080 
Mean annual income: $63,540 
Total employed: 10,250 
Top-paying state: Kansas
14. Home Economics Teachers (Postsecondary)


Top 10% make $115,740  Mean annual income: $69,060 
Total employed: 5,910 
Top-paying state: California
15.  Film and Video Editors





Top 10% make $111,860
 
Mean annual income: $61,890 
Total employed: 19,930 
Top-paying state: California 


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