We often associate hefty salaries with corner offices, lab coats and law degrees, but it turns out you can pull in a pretty penny working outside the financial, medical and legal fields. Writers, home economics teachers, and film editors, for instance, can score six-figure paychecks in their respective jobs–and those aren’t the only ones that might surprise you.
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 year. The report shares information about more than 800 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.
It turns out the top earning elevator repairers and installers also make well over six figures. The 19,700 professionals in the U.S. who “assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters,” earn $74,140 a year, on average—but the top 10% rake in a whopping $106,450, according to the BLS. Massachusetts is the best-paying state for these workers.
Another job that can surprisingly earn you a six-figure paycheck: Theatrical and performance makeup artists.
Those who apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role, earn $67,580 a year, on average. However the top earners bring in a handsome $117,720. There are approximately 1,950 theatrical and performance makeup artists in the U.S.; the best-paying state for these professionals is New York.
Gaming managers, who are responsible for supervising gambling operations, earn an annual income of $71,390. According to the BLS, the top 10% really hit the jackpot. These high rollers take home $113,600 a year. The best-paying state for these professionals is New Mexico.
Home economics instructors who teach at the college level earn a mediocre average annual salary of $68,260—but the top 10% earn a stellar $109,370. These professionals are responsible for teaching courses in childcare, family relations, finance, nutrition, and related subjects pertaining to home management. California is the best-paying state for post-secondary home economics teachers.
Incomes for video editors and writers aren’t too shabby, either. The mean annual wages for these talented professionals is $64,060 and $68,420, respectively. But the top earning film and video editors make $119,250, while the top 10% of writers and authors pull in $117,860. The best-paying state for both professions: California.
Water vessel captains, mates and pilots also make a boatload more than one might think. The top 10% earn an ample $125,930 a year, but on average they make $73,760.
The list doesn’t end there. There are plenty more surprising six-figure jobs that don’t require a necktie or scalpel. Funeral service managers, loan officers and transportation inspectors are some others we’ve singled out.
Here are 15 professions that you might be surprised to learn pay six figures. The top-earning 10% of these professionals earn more than $100,000 a year, on average, according to BLS data.
Funeral Service Managers
Writers and Authors
Home Economics Teachers, Postsecondary
Film and Video Editors
Elevator Installers and Repairers
Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance
Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary
Public Relations Specialist
Power Distributors and Dispatchers
Human Resources Managers
Multimedia Artists and Animators