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What is a 6 Figure Salary? And How to Get One

People always refer to their dream jobs as having a 6 figure salary, 7-figure salary, 8-figure salary, or higher. But what exactly do these figures mean?

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And if you wanted to obtain this salary, can you fulfill it with just 1 job? What kinds of jobs offer six figures? seven figures? eight figures? and so on?

This post should help you clear up some misconceptions about salary goals and learn how to reach these figures yourself.

What do 6 figures mean? How Much is 6-Figures?

But first, let’s define what 6 figure salary means.

Getting a six-figure salary means receiving an annual pay of $100,000 through $999,999. This salary range starts at about $8,333 per month up to $83,333/month.

As such, anyone earning:

  • $10,000 to $99,999 yearly has a five-figure salary
  • $1 million to $9,999,999 yearly has a seven-figure salary
  • $10 million to $19,999,999 yearly has an eight-figure salary
  • $100 million  to $199,999,999 yearly has a nine-figure salary
  • and so on.

As you can see, a six-figure salary seems to be the most achievable range (especially for those who weren’t born rich).

This is why many people aim of working hard enough to get paid six-figures and even possibly go beyond it (to seven-figure, eight-figure salaries) in the future.

For most people, earning six figures is a mark of success.

Six-Figure Jobs

So which jobs earn THAT much money? If you’re deciding on a career and would like to know if your chosen course could eventually lead you to a 6 figure salary job, then this guide should help you weigh your options.

  • Managerial positions – Many managerial positions in the office earn six-figure salaries but note that this is more common in the corporate world. Fast food managers, for example, get only up to $56k/year. Car dealership managers can earn six figures.
  • Medical field – Because medicine is an industry that requires people to study for several years and learn highly specific skills, it isn’t surprising to find entry-level jobs in the medical field with six-figure salaries. This includes dentists, nurses, physician assistants, hospital managers, and so on.
    • Nursing: Pediatric nurses, psychiatric nurses or clinical nurse specialists, oncology nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, orthopedic nurses, or certified registered nurse anesthetists are examples of nursing jobs with six-figure salaries. Other specialties may also offer six figures, but the nurse must be senior-level with several years of experience.
  • IT – If you are a software engineer, UX designer, Full-Stack web developer, software programmer, data scientist, app developer, project manager, and other in-demand IT jobs, you can expect six-figure salaries even at entry-level (especially if you’ve got a solid portfolio).
  • Finance, real estate, and business – A business consultant, property investment, hedge fund manager, accountant, and other senior-level positions in the world of finance, real estate, and business can obtain six-figure incomes.
  • Engineers – Regardless of field, the exceptional skills of engineers are rewarded six-figure incomes from architecture, construction, IT, or other industries.
  • Education – Senior positions in higher education (colleges and universities) can take home six figures, but it takes them years of service or continuous learning (additional degrees) to reach that level.

These fields aren’t the only ones with six-figure incomes. For example, the construction industry can offer six figures to construction project supervisors or heavy-duty machine operators. Pilots earn an average of $110k a year.

5 Common Things about Jobs with Six-Figure Salary

The following factors contribute to a position offered with a six-figure salary.

1. Education

About 50 of 800 jobs with annual salaries of $100,000 require at least a bachelor’s degree.

While your chances of earning six figures increase with every degree you obtain, your education isn’t a guarantee.

Some jobs, such as pilots or factory managers are trade jobs but pay well above five figures even without a four-year degree.

2. Experience

Employees who have stayed loyal and hardworking for a particular company are rewarded promotions and salary increases.

An employee who has been the IT security specialist for over a decade has learned from numerous problem-solving scenarios through the years, so companies invest in their salaries than hiring newbies who may have a better-looking education on paper, but do not have the hands-on skills that they could only learn on the job.

3. Soft and Hard skills

Some employers hire job candidates based on skills suitable for the position. As such, those with sought-after skills can more than make up for a lack of formal education and achieve six-figure incomes.

If you can’t get higher education, try building your tech/hard skills. This means if you’re a computer programmer, master a new language such as Ruby on Rails or Python. If you’re a certified nurse, specialize in a medical field.

Soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, time management, presentation skills, and other similar skills are also weighed during promotions.

A boss would more likely choose someone who has proven worthy of leading a project, than a newcomer with a good portfolio but without experience in working with a team.

4. Future-Proof Industries

Energy (renewable energy), health care, cybersecurity, drones, analytics, education, marketing, culinary, and other industries with jobs that cannot be automated or replicated by a robot/AI will remain in demand.

As such, those who specialize in them can negotiate higher pay, or be promoted to six-figure salaried positions.

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5. Location

Note that location may also be a factor.

For example, it is very common for office jobs in Washington, DC to earn $100,000 or higher.

If you work in the IT industry and have landed a job in San Francisco (specifically in Silicon Valley), you have a bigger chance at getting six-figure salaries than if you are located in a smaller city.

Seven-Figure Jobs, Eight-Figure Jobs, Nine-Figure Jobs, and so On

One reason why people try to reach for six-figure salaries is that they are highly attainable. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with seven-, eight-, or nine-figure jobs.

The chances of us getting seven-figure salaries (or higher) is not likely. For two reasons:

  • According to Don’t Quit Your Day Job, the salary of America’s 1% (the richest people in the country) begins at $328,551.
  • Reuters reported that of these 1-percenters, about 5 to 6 of them are earning below $500k a year. That’s less than 0.20% of the 1-percenters.

What kinds of jobs earn seven-figure salaries and beyond, you ask?

  • Successful CEOs,
  • investment bankers (think Wall Street),
  • corporate lawyers,
  • doctors with their own private practice, or
  • sales reps focused on selling enterprise products and services.

Entertainers (TV stars, actors, musicians), professional athletes, business owners, and even online influencers (YouTubers, streamers, Instagrammers, and so on) are examples of careers that lead to seven-figure salaries without a degree.

Diversification 101: Getting a 6-Figure Salary with Multiple Jobs

Having a six-figure job means you’ll be able to pay off your student loan (or other debt), save up money for travel or retirement, buy whatever you like, and invest in a car or house. It simply gives you more financial freedom compared to a five-figure job.

Fortunately, diversification (or NOT putting your eggs in one basket) is another way to achieve a higher salary range.

Here’s a secret: there is no rule stating you should have a bachelor’s (or master’s) degree, extensive experience, skills, or employed within a future-proofed industry to enjoy a six-figure salary. These are just common factors, but not set in stone.

In fact, anyone who can commit to working harder for multiple jobs or multiple streams of income can succeed in reaching this milestone. Here are some examples:

If you haven’t heard the term passive income, it’s about time you get acquainted with it. Start with these passive income ideas, which allow you to earn even when you’re sleeping and could help you get closer to achieving your 6 figure salary dreams.

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