How Much is a 6 Figure Salary and What Can It Get You?

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Making six figures is when you earn a salary between $100,000 and $999,999 per year. Likewise, making five figures is when you make between $10,000 and $99,999 per year.

Earning a six-figure salary can get you many things in life, especially if you earn mid-to-high six figures.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a six-figure salary gets you, how to make six figures, and what jobs pay a six-figure salary.

Let’s jump right in. 

What is a 6 Figure Salary?

A 6-figure salary is when you earn between $100,000 and $999,999 in a year. Years ago, earning this kind of money was generally seen in specialized positions and upper management of companies.

While earning 6-figures is still not common in the U.S., it’s less rare than it used to be.

According to Ibisworld, in 2022, 34.4% of all Americans earn $100,000 per year or more.

A low-range six-figure salary might be considered when you earn $100,000 to $400,000.

In the mid-range of six figures, you might earn $400,000 to $700,000.

At the high range of a six-figure salary, you could expect to earn $700,000 to $999,999.

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Is a 6 Figure Salary a Million?

A 6-figure salary is not a million. To earn a million, you would need to make a 7-figure salary. 

6 Ways to Earn a 6 Figure Salary

There are many ways to earn a 6-figure salary, as it depends on your career path. Here are some common ways to help you land a job that pays over $100,000 per year.

1. Obtain the Education and Training

If you’re going to make $100,000 or more per year, you’ll need to have the right education. This could be a certification, college degree, or courses you take online that teach you how to do your future job.

While not all six-figure jobs will require an advanced college education, many will require specialization in something.

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2. Be the Best at Your Work

Moving up the corporate ladder and landing higher-paying jobs requires you to be the best or one of the best. 

With that in mind, you’ll want to consider doing things such as:

  • Setting and tracking goals and accomplishing them
  • Seek feedback and improve on your weaknesses
  • Ask questions when unsure of something
  • Stay focused and avoid distractions

By giving your full attention to your work and becoming the best at it, you open new doors for yourself that can lead you to a job that pays $100,000 or more one day.

3. Negotiate for Higher Pay

Of course, one way to make six figures is to negotiate your way up. This can be done when you land a new job or at your current job. 

Build your case when negotiating for higher pay. Talk about how you benefit the company and what you bring to the table. Be ready to back up your statements, as you may be countered by the person you’re negotiating with.

Practice your delivery with a friend or career coach so that you maximize your chances of getting the salary range you’re looking for.

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4. Network With Others

Finding that six-figure job often comes down to knowing the right people. Putting yourself in front of as many people as possible can lead you to the greatest opportunities. 

Gain value from others while also providing value.

Leverage LinkedIn and consider Twitter, as growing a following on these networks can get you in front of people you normally wouldn’t have access to.

5. Never Stop Learning

By continuing to learn new things, you’ll solve tougher problems, which makes you more valuable. Companies will pay more money to keep you on board as people who can solve tough problems are hard to replace.

Find courses that enhance what you already know or that teach you things that help you accelerate your career. You can take courses at night at a local university or take online courses on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy.

Skillshare is an online learning platform with thousands of creative courses and classes taught by experts to help you learn new skills. Increase your value at work or use new skills to create a business of your own.

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Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 204,000 courses and 54 million students. Master new things and use those skills to make more money.

Check out courses here.

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6. Add Additional Income Streams

If you can’t get a six-figure salary from a single job, why not add multiple income streams to get your annual income into the six digits?

Relying on a single income can be risky, as losing that income means you have no money coming in.

By diversifying your income streams, you’ll have money coming from several sources, meaning if one source is cut off, you won’t be completely cut off from making money. 

Some other sources of income include:

  • A side hustle you do one day a week
  • Investment income
  • Real estate rental income
  • eBook royalties

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10 Careers That Pay a 6 Figure Salary

While there are many six-figure jobs out there, here are 10 to consider.

1. Air Traffic Controllers

Your job as an air traffic controller is to monitor aircraft movement and direct them around the airspace. You'll also direct grounded planes as to what taxiways to use, which gates to taxi to, which runways to use, and transfer pilots to other controllers as they pilot their plane.

In order to be an air traffic controller, you need to have a degree and go through comprehensive training at the FAA academy.

According to Salary.com, the average air traffic controller makes between $67,181 and $100,923 per year.

So while not all air traffic controllers make 6-digits, it’s still possible depending on your experience and what airport you work at.

2. Software Engineers

Software engineers design and write programs and applications that solve real-world problems. They may test their own code and team members’ code. 

To be a successful software engineer, you’ll need to learn one or more programming languages and be proficient in them. Your code will need to be clean and readable. You’ll need effective time-management skills and discipline.

Software engineering is a highly technical position, but it’s typical to earn six figures when you’re mid-level or higher.

According to PayScale, the average pay of a senior software engineer was $121,778 in 2022.

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3. Pharmacists

Pharmacists provide expert advice on the safe use of prescription medication while also filling prescriptions for patients. They may also conduct wellness screenings and provide immunizations. Some pharmacists provide essential advice on living a healthy life as well.

To be a Pharmacist, you’ll need a doctoral degree from a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

The average pay for a Pharmacist, according to Ziprecruiter, ranges from $83,527 to $126,678, based on what state you live in.

4. C-Level Executives

C-Level executives include CFOs, COOs, CEOs, CMOs, CTOs, and similar. C-level executives are in charge of making decisions that set the direction for the company they’re in. C-level stands for Chief, as they are the head of an entire unit of a company.

Becoming a C-Level executive requires you to be a master of your field while developing a strong network and having great leadership skills.

C-level executives 

According to BlueSteps, the average C-level salary is $278,000.

5. Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent clients in court and assist with legal matters. To become a lawyer, you’ll need to get an undergraduate degree and then go to law school after taking the LSAT.

You may end up working for a firm as a lawyer or eventually opening your own. There are many facets of law that you can choose from to practice.

The average salary for a lawyer varies state by state, but you can expect to earn 6-figures in some states or based on what services you offer. 

6. Financial Advisors

Financial advisors manage every aspect of someone’s financial life. This can be from helping develop a budget to making long-term investment choices for them. 

To become a financial advisor, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and want to take the necessary accreditations. It will help to intern or have someone to shadow. You also consider becoming a Certified Financial Planner.

In the top 10 states, financial advisors earn between $125,240 and $166,100 per year.

7. Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear engineers research things related to nuclear power or nuclear material. They examine nuclear accidents and figure out ways to prevent issues in the future. 

You’ll typically work at an office if you’re a nuclear engineer, doing much of your work at a computer.

Typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a physical science to get a job as a nuclear engineer. 

The average nuclear engineer in August of 2022 makes $245,145, according to Salary.com.

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8. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are trained, independent healthcare providers who manage their patients’ overall healthcare. They may treat injury and illness, prescribe medication based on their state, and conduct preventative care. 

To become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to be a registered nurse (RN), have an undergraduate BSN-registered nursing education, and go to graduate school.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average nurse practitioner made $120,680 in May of 2021.

9. Project Managers

A project manager (PM) plans, organizes, and directs projects for companies and company teams. They do so while staying within timelines and budget constraints.

Project managers often have a bachelor’s degree in management, and some may have a Master’s degree. You may also take the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

According to Northeastern.edu, the average salary of a project manager across all industries is $116,000.

10. Commercial Pilots

Commercial pilots go through years of training before they reach the status of Captain. With that in mind, a Captain can earn exceptional salaries for their time.

Sometimes, you'll have a choice as to which routes you want to fly, and taking less popular routes in the early morning might be just right for you if you're an early bird.

According to Comparably, the average airline captain's salary is $117,290.

What Does a 6 Figure Salary Get You?

You might be wondering what a 6-figure salary can get you. It depends on a few factors, such as where you live, your current financial situation, and your lifestyle choices.

Here are some general things that earning 6-figures might lead you to.

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Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

If you don’t spend your 6-figure salary, you can use it to pay down debt faster. This can be especially handy if you have a lot of credit card debt that has been eating away at your finances. Additionally, if you have other high interest debt, having a hefty paycheck can help you wipe the debt out months, if not years, faster.

Live In Nicer Places

Having more money opens the ability to live in nicer neighborhoods, larger houses, or have more luxurious accommodations. 

That extra money coming in can allow you to hire help with things such as cleaning your home, delivering food to your door, or having someone take care of the yard work.

You can also enjoy neighborhoods with better schools and lower crime rates.

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Have More Lavish Vacations

A higher paycheck means you may be able to take more lavish vacations, should you choose. You might be able to spend a few extra nights away or go to other countries. You could stay at a nicer hotel or upgrade your spa treatment.

While avoiding lifestyle creep is key to protecting your finances, treating yourself to something nice here and there is still fine, especially to decompress from work.

May Help You Retire Sooner

If you have more money left over with each paycheck, consider investing it into your retirement accounts or in other investment avenues. When you invest for your future, you’ll grow your nest egg, which may help you retire at a younger age.

Figure out your retirement number, which is the number you need to be financially independent, and use a retirement savings calculator to set a savings goal for yourself. 

May Tempt Lifestyle Inflation

The drawback of having a higher salary is it may tempt you to have lifestyle inflation, sometimes called lifestyle creep. Lifestyle inflation is when you start spending more money as you start making more money.

Your spending keeps up with your earnings, meaning you never increase the amount you’re saving, which can cause you to live paycheck to paycheck or, worse, financial hardship should you suddenly lose your job.

Do You Need a 6 Figure Salary To Build Wealth?

You don’t need a 6-figure salary to build wealth. While having more money helps you build wealth faster, you can also build wealth without a 6 figure salary by living a frugal lifestyle and not being wasteful with your money.

Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed what six figures mean, how to earn six figures, and what six figures can get you. If you’re looking to increase your earnings, then you now have the knowledge you need to do so.

Jot down some ideas and make a plan for yourself so that you can make your goal a reality.

Looking for your next 6-figure job? You might be able to find one on FlexJobs.

FlexJobs is the #1 job search site for hand-screened flexible and remote jobs. You can also get resume, coaching, and career help.

Get your next work-from-home job on FlexJobs.

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