27 Six-Figure Jobs that Don't Require an MD

Last Updated May 18, 2011 8:23 PM EDT

If you want to earn the big bucks, become a doctor -- or so says the Bureau of Labor Statistic's just-released listing of employment and wages.

But you're not so into science or the gazillion extra years of school and training it takes to become a surgeon? Buck up. There are lots of six-figure jobs that don't require a medical degree.

Once a year, the BLS takes a look at 800 different jobs and breaks down how much each position earns on average. This year, 27 of the 43 best-paid positions in America did not require that you become a doctor of either medicine or dentistry. (Of course, 15 did and dominated our listing of highest paying professions, which you can find here. The only doctor that didn't show up on that listing: Optometrists, who earn $106,750 on average.)

There are a few things to note about the BLS data, however. First, their figures exclude income reported by those who are self-employed either as sole proprietors or partners. As a result, the salary figures for lawyers and accountants are likely to reflect company lawyers and bookkeepers, rather than their more high-paid counterparts at partnerships like Ernst & Young or Gibson, Dunn. Were these executives included, they could certainly give the doctors and surgeons on the Top 15 listing a run for their money.

Then, too, the BLS data doesn't reflect bonus, commission or contingent pay -- such as stock options -- so chief executives probably earn more, as do brokers and insurance salesmen. That said, if you want a steady job, with a six-figure income, here's where the BLS says you can find one:

1. Chief executive officer........................$173,350

2. Lawyer.................................................$129,440

3. Natural Science manager.....................$129,320

4. Petroleum engineer..............................$127,970

5. Architecture/engineering manager......$125,900

6. Computer systems manager................$123,280

7. Marketing manager..............................$122,720

8. Financial manager................................$116,970

9. Airline pilot/flight engineer.................$115,300

10. Sales manager....................................$114,110

11. Industrial psychologist.......................$114,040

12. General operations managers.............$113,100

13. Physicist.............................................$112,020

13. Air traffic controller............................$110,280

15. Pharmacist..........................................$109,380

16. Human Resources manager................$108,600

17. Law professor.....................................$107,990

18. Political scientist................................$107,930

19. Judge..................................................$105,390

20. Public relations/fundraising mgr........$104,390

21. Postsecondary health instructor..........$103,960

22. Computer research scientist...............$103,150

23. Managers (all)...................................$102,160

24. Computer hardware engineer............$101,600

25. Nuclear engineer...............................$101,500

26. Purchasing manager..........................$100,600

27. Mathematician..................................$100,260

If you want detailed career advice on how to handle tough interview questions and the sort of social media mistakes that could cripple your chances, be sure to check out Amy Levin-Epstein's wonderful On the Job blog.

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