Unemployment rates in the U.S. have remained low during the Trump presidency, but with all eyes on the Bureau of Labor Statistics June jobs report released Friday morning, Americans are still hungry for fatter paychecks.
The unemployment rate increased to 4.4% in June, even though robust hiring in the health care, financial services and restaurant industries boosted non-farm payroll employment by 222,000, 55,000 above estimates. As a preview, ADP reported Thursday that private sector hiring did lose some momentum in June, with a seasonally adjusted 153,000 jobs added, 27,000 below consensus predictions. But wth wage growth relatively stagnant for the last 40 years, Americans are sniffing around to find which professions might pay them more.
Doctors and lawyers aren't the only professionals who tend to bring home a big paycheck. Online job review site Glassdoor has identified 15 other careers that might not jump to mind when you think of six-figure salaries.
The list is made up of jobs with Glassdoor reviews where employees reported total compensation of $100,000 or more, including commissions, tips and bonuses. To be considered for the list, each job must have received at least 60 salary reports shared on the site by U.S.-based employees a two-year period, Glassdoor said.
The number of job openings listed indicates active open jobs on Glassdoor's site.
Would you consider a career in any of these high-paying professions?
Median base salary: $85,000
Total median pay: $100,000
Job openings: 300
Equity research associates report on financial trends using financial models and other analytical techniques. The position is less demanding than that of an investment banker, according to Glassdoor.
Sell-side research analysts, who work within the research departments of a broker-dealer, typically engage in "financial modeling and analysis under the supervision of the analyst who is responsible for coverage of a specific sector or group of companies," according to Investopedia.
They also at times will communicate their findings with buy-side clients, management and traders.
Besides a bachelor's degree, equity research associates also need to obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
The closest career defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to equity research associate is financial analyst, which the agency projects will grow 12% over the 10-year period through 2024, faster than average.
Median base salary: $100,000
Total median pay: $100,392
Job openings: 3,499
A physician assistant is a certified medical professional who practices on a team under the supervision of a physician. He or she is educated to examine and diagnose patients and provide treatment, including prescribing some medications. A physician assistant does not perform surgery, unless supervised by a physician.
The profession is similar to a nurse practitioner, with both obtaining master's degrees, but the PA attends medical school rather than nursing school. It takes less time to become a physician assistant than to become a medical doctor.
As demand for health care continues to grow, the BLS projects that employment of physician assistants to grow 30% over the 10-year period through 2024.
Median base salary: $100,000
Total median pay: $101,600
Job openings: 6,784
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses that also have a master's degree in nursing, and some have doctorate degrees within a specialty area.
While individual states may require additional certifications, nurse practitioners are qualified to perform physical exams, treat common injuries and illness and prescribe some medications. Some NPs even have their own private practices, according to Glassdoor.
Along with nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists, the profession is expected to grow 31% over the 10-year period through 2024, according to the BLS.
Median base salary: $65,000
Total median pay: $103,500
Job openings: 345
A regional sales executive, or regional sales manager, is responsible for distribution of a product or service across a specific territory.
"In general, regional sales managers set budgets, forecast product and pricing trends, and write follow-up reports," said Study.com. "As sales leaders, regional managers are also responsible for training and motivating individual representatives and teams, as well as determining how well they're achieving sales objectives and quotas. Regional sales managers also provide guidance to district sales managers or work with other area supervisors to share information and coordinate business strategies."
Depending on what industry they represent, a college degree may or may not be necessary, Glassdoor says. That said, a firm grasp on business and marketing-related issues is beneficial.
The BLS projects employment of sales managers to rise just 5% over the 10-year period to 2024.
Median base salary: $106,680
Total median pay: $116,500
Job openings: 49
Drilling engineers ensure that all plans and practices related to gas, oil or water drilling are strategic and safe, Glassdoor said.
Drilling engineers are a specialized discipline within petroleum engineering. The BLS projects employment in petroleum engineering to grow 10% over the 10 years through 2024.
Securing a job as a drilling engineer requires a bachelor's of science in petroleum or mechanical engineering.
Median base salary: $106,000
Total median pay: $119,012
Number of job openings: 162
Actuaries analyze risk and uncertainty and determine the associated financial costs. It is a field suited for those with schooling in mathematics, statistics and financial theory. The work of actuaries is essential to the insurance industry, according to the BLS.
The BLS projects that employment of actuaries to rise 18% over the 10-year period to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
"Actuaries will be needed to develop, price, and evaluate a variety of insurance products and calculate the costs of new, emerging risks," according to the BLS.
Becoming an actuary requires a bachelor's degree as well as professional certifications.
Median base salary: $109,864
Total median pay: $119,380
Job openings: 117
Geophysicists study the earth using gravity, seismic, electrical and magnetic methods and can specialize in many areas. Some study how the earth is changing, while others locate valuable minerals beneath its surface, Glassdoor said.
The position requires a bachelor's or a master's degree in geology. Geophysicists must also be skilled at evaluating sites, conducting often complex experiments and reporting their conclusions, Glassdoor said.
The BLS projects that employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 10% over the 10-year period through 2024, faster than average.
"The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management is projected to spur demand for geoscientists in the future," the BLS said.
Median base salary: $111,760
Total median pay: $119,888
Number of job openings: 2,163
One of the top jobs for 2016 is a data scientist.
"Similar to a business/data analyst, data scientists [combine] knowledge of computer science and applications, modelling, statistics, analytics and math to uncover insights in data," according to I Programmer, an online magazine for programmers.
Employment growth is strong for data scientists. The rise of big data means there is a growing need for professionals who can interpret the data.
Harvard Business Review has dubbed the profession the "sexiest job of the 21st century."
Median base salary: $121,000
Total median pay: $125,000
Job openings: 85
A special agent works for law enforcement and help build cases for criminal investigations by amassing evidence. Others are employed by private companies, Glassdoor noted.
Agents typically have a law enforcement background or military experience and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. The job is physically demanding and often requires agents to work long hours and weekends.
Median base salary: $120,000
Total median pay: $122,000
Number of job openings: 493
Within the technology sector, IT security experts are in hot demand these days. A security architect is responsible for maintaining the security of a firm's computer system. According to InfoSec Institute, security architects must "think like a hacker" by anticipating "moves and tactics that hackers will use to try and gain unauthorized access to the computer system."
In fact, many IT experts say the best security architects are former hackers themselves.
The median base pay for security architects via Glassdoor reviews is $120,000.
Security architects typically earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, but the degree is not a requirement. That said, there are certifications that many employers prefer to see from security architects.
Median base salary: $114,808
Total median pay: $128,000
Number of job openings: 168
Medical science liaisons obtain advanced scientific training and generally have doctorate degrees in the life sciences.
Medical science liaisons typically work at pharmaceutical or biotech companies providing information about "new products, drugs and research to doctors, regulators and investors," according to Study.com. "They must have scientific expertise, business savvy and excellent interpersonal skills" as well as knowledge of current regulatory compliance requirements.
Median base salary: $125,000
Total median pay: $129,968
Job openings: 1,952
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients' teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth. They also provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health, according to the BLS.
Becoming a dentist requires a four-year undergraduate degree in pre-dentistry or another scientific field, scoring well the Dental Acceptance Test administered by the American Dental Association and completing a doctoral degree in dental surgery or dental medicine before they can get licensed, Glassdoor said.
The BLS projects employment of dentists to grow by 18% over the 10-year period through 2024, faster than average as the demand for dental services rises from an aging population.
Median base salary: $120,000
Total median pay: $134,000
Job openings: 116
Most airline pilots begin their careers as commercial pilots, which typically need at least a high school diploma, according to the BLS. A bachelor's degree is require to become an airline pilot as well as a commercial pilot's license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Airline pilots are also required to have the Airline Transport Pilot certification.
Glassdoor added that to fly for a major airline, candidates with degrees in aviation, physics or related fields or those who have served in the military are preferred. "In addition to the mechanics of operating the plane and evaluating obstacles that may interfere with the flight, pilots also take a leadership role in overseeing their crews. They need to be seasoned managers and savvy communicators who are comfortable with a non-standard schedule," Glassdoor said.
Employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow just 5% over the 10-year period through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
"Low-cost regional airlines and nonscheduled aviation services will provide the most job opportunities. Pilots seeking jobs at the major airlines will face strong competition," the BLS said.
Median base salary: $130,000
Total median pay: $139,000
Job openings: 642
A software architect is essentially a computer programmer who makes decisions about design, coding standards and platforms.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment for software developers to grow 17% over the 10 years through 2024, much faster than the average job, due to increasing demand for computer software, according to the agency.
Most people with this job have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or math, as well as strong computer programming skills. Glassdoor added that non-traditional education, such as through an online coding bootcamp or another online accelerated education program, is also rising in popularity.
Median base salary: $125,000
Total median pay: $143,000
Job openings: 23
Reservoir engineers are a specialized discipline within petroleum engineering.
Reservoir engineers determine how best to exploit each new oil and gas discovery. "They'll decide how many wells to drill into the reservoir and where they'll be placed to enable the most cost-effective extraction of the petroleum. It isn't possible to completely empty an oil reservoir, but reservoir engineers continually work to refine existing extraction techniques and create new ones," according to the Houston Chronicle.
In order to fill this role, professionals need a degree in chemical engineering plus experience in a field that is highly technical and nuanced, according to Glassdoor.
The BLS projects employment in petroleum engineering to grow 10% over the 10 years through 2024.