15 Surprising Jobs That Can Pay $100,000 or More

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By Kathryn Dill

Top-dollar salaries are often associated with corner offices, operating rooms and trading floors. But there are some other, unexpected arenas in which professionals can bring in six figure salaries -- such as elevator shafts, roulette tables and home economics classrooms.

To collect some of the most surprising six-figure jobs, Forbes examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates each year for more than 820 occupations, refined by geography and industry. The top 10 percent of earners in these 15 occupations make $100,000 a year or more.

Broadcast and Analyze This

Though journalism is often cited as a field with anemic compensation at the entry- and mid-career levels, broadcast news analysts, those who analyze and interpret news for a television audience, earn a mean annual salary of $84,710 with the top earners pulling in as much as $186,260. The best-paying state for broadcast news analysts is Florida.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Some writers and authors–even those without a bestseller to their name, as yet–also bring in annual earnings that might raise a few eyebrows. The mean annual salary for preparing "scripts, stories, advertisements, and other material" is $69,250, with the top 10 percent earning an average $117,050, annually.

Running a tight ship can also translate to a nice paycheck. Captains, mates and pilots of water vessels who "command or supervise operations of ships and water vessels, such as tugboats and ferry boats" earn a healthy mean salary of $75,580, with the top earners bringing in as much as $122,590. The top-earning state for these seafarers is Georgia.

Whether or not you think of them on your trips up and down, elevator installers are crucial to safe and efficient building operations. Those who "assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters" earn a mean annual salary of $76,220. Top-earners can take home as much as $108,130. Hawaii is the top-earning state for these professionals.

15 High-Paying Fields

It may surprise you to learn that these 15 occupations pay six-figure salaries. The top earning 10 percent of professionals in each field earn $100,000 or more, according to data from the BLS.

15 Surprising Jobs That Can Pay $100,000 or More
Though journalism is often cited as a field with anemic compensation at the entry- and mid-career levels, broadcast news analysts are an exception.

BLS job description: Analyze, interpret, and broadcast news received from various sources.

Top 10 percent annual income, on average: $186,260

Mean annual income: $84,710

Total employed: 4,820

Top-paying state: Florida
BLS job description: Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting and advertising. Direct workers engaged in artwork or layout design.

Top 10 percent annual income, on average: $169,450 

Mean annual income: $96,650 

Total employed: 32,250

Top-paying state: New York
BLS job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the services or resources of funeral homes. Includes activities such as determining prices for services or merchandise and managing the facilities of funeral homes. 

Top 10 percent annual income, on average: $137,980 
Mean annual income: $80,250 

Total employed: 8,810

Top-paying state: New York
BLS job description: Apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

Top 10 percent annual income, on average: $121,910 
Mean annual income: $66,330 

Total employed: 2,440

Top-paying state: New York
BLS job description: Create special effects, animation or other visual images using film, video, computers, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials.

Top 10 percent annual income, on average: $118,890 

Mean annual income: $72,400 

Total employed: 30,790

Top-paying state: California
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