15 Jobs That Can Make You Rich

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Money isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a career. But what if you could find a job to get rich?

Sounds ideal? If you’re deciding “what you want to be when you grow up,” you might as well look at careers that can make $100,000 or more.

While you can become a millionaire by saving money and investing diligently, certain careers lend themselves better to accumulating wealth.

Let’s dive into the best jobs to get rich — and how to get them.

What Careers Make the Most Money?

If you’re looking for the careers that make the most money, you should consider a college major that will get you on the right track.

Certain careers have a higher starting salary that will get you more quickly (or immediately) over the six-figure threshold.

Jobs That Can Make You Rich

These jobs can help you get to a six-figure salary quickly. However, keep in mind that these fields are competitive. Additionally, some of them require extensive schooling.

Six-figure incomes can often mean six figures in student loans. While these may be the best jobs to make you rich, some also require a graduate degree.

Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding on what career to pursue.

1. Investment Banker

Average Salary: $144,562

An investment banker provides financial services for corporations or institutional customers to help raise money or capital through mergers, acquisitions, and other investments.

However, if you look at salary plus bonus, the average associate makes up to $150,000 in the first year, according to WallStreetOasis.com. Salaries for vice presidents top out at $1.5 million, and managing partners can make more than $20 million.

It’s by no means easy money, though. Investment banking hours are notoriously long. And while getting an entry-level analyst position requires a bachelor’s degree, many investment bankers pursue graduate degrees. Most finish an MBA program but some get other graduate degrees such as a law degree.

You’ll succeed better at getting a high-paying investment banking position if you attend a top-tier school. Many investment banks recruit heavily from Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Columbia.

2. Physician


Average Salary: $229,300

A physician, also known as a doctor, is a person who is qualified to practice medicine.

The more specialized you are as a physician, the higher your compensation. For example, a heart surgeon will make significantly more than a general practitioner, but they’ll also have to undergo more extensive schooling.

According to Salary.com, the average compensation for a surgeon is $394,658, while cardiologists make an average of $394,900.

To become a doctor, you’ll need to complete a four-year college degree, then take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply for medical schools. Going to medical school takes four years, and admission is highly competitive.

After medical school, the minimum residency to become a general practitioner is three years. Specializations such as surgery or cardiology can add several more years.

3. Orthodontist

Average Salary: $231,288

An orthodontist is a dentist qualified to treat irregularities in teeth, be it straightening, alignment, and more.

How much you make as an orthodontist greatly depends on your location.

To become an orthodontist, you first must complete a four-year college degree. Some dental schools accept undergraduates without a bachelor’s degree if they’ve studied in a pre-dental program for at least two years.

Once you’ve graduated from college, you must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). From there, you must apply to accredited dental schools and complete a four-year program.

After dental school, an aspiring orthodontist must complete an orthodontics specialty program, which typically takes two years. Some orthodontists also complete a master’s degree program or a doctoral dentistry program in orthodontics.

Before practicing as an orthodontist, you must pass state licensing exams. This will give you the right to practice as an orthodontist in that particular state.

4. Dentist


Average Salary: $159,530

A dentist is qualified to treat the diseases and conditions affecting the teeth and gums.

Becoming a dentist requires a bachelor’s degree in addition to specialty training. As noted, some dental schools accept undergraduates without a four-year degree if they’ve studied in a pre-dental program for at least two years.

You’ll need to take and pass the DAT to get accepted to dental school. Dental school programs take four years to complete. Just like orthodontists, dentists must be licensed in the state in which they work. This often requires passing written and practical exams.

As a dentist, you’ll diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. In addition, you’ll counsel patients on how to take care of their teeth and gums.

This can be a great recession proof job as people will still need to care for their teeth, even in a down economy.

5. Engineer

Average Salary: $131,800

An engineer is a person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or public works.

Engineering is one of the best fields to get rich with just a four-year college degree. Becoming a doctor or orthodontist requires extensive schooling before you can reap the benefits of a six-figure salary.

And even many investment bankers have master’s degrees. Most engineering jobs, on the other hand, only require a bachelor’s degree.

However, not all engineering specialties pay the same. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineers are the highest paid, with a median annual salary of $137,720.

Glassdoor.com shows the average compensation is a bit lower at $104,917.

Petroleum engineers focus on the best methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface. They also focus on maximizing oil and gas production from older wells.

Becoming a computer hardware engineer is another option if you’re good with technology. The median salary for this engineering specialty is $115,120 per the BLM. You’ll need a four-year college degree from an accredited program.

Related: 10 Quick Certifications That Pay Well

6. Air Traffic Controller

Average Salary: $132,250

An air traffic controller’s role is to be the ground-based personnel and equipment concerned with monitoring and controlling air traffic within a particular area.

Looking for one of the best jobs to get rich without a four-year degree? That honor goes to air traffic controllers.

To become an air traffic controller, you’ll need an associate’s degree, although some programs may require a bachelor’s degree. You must attend an accredited Air Traffic Collegiate Initiative school and pursue a non-engineering aviation degree.

Additionally, you must be a U.S. citizen, pass all medical and background checks, and take exams and courses at the Federal Aviation Administration Academy.

What do air traffic controllers do? They are responsible for coordinating aircraft movement to maintain safe distances between planes.

Air traffic controllers work in control towers, approach control facilities, or route centers. This can be a stressful job since maximum concentration is always required.

7. Pharmacist


Average Salary: $132,750

A pharmacist is a person who is professionally qualified to prepare and dispense medicinal drugs.

If you’re looking for a career in the medical field but don’t want to be a doctor, becoming a pharmacist may be a good option. Pharmacists fill medication prescriptions and advise on their safe use and side effects.

You may also advise patients on general health topics like diet, exercise, managing stress, and health conditions, and so on.

Becoming a pharmacist requires completing at least three years of college and, in many cases, getting a bachelor’s degree. All pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an accredited school to practice.

You must also pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and apply to PharmD programs, which take four years to complete.

Upon graduation, you must get licensed to practice pharmacy by passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).

8. Lawyer

Average Salary: $135,740

A lawyer is a person who practices or studies law. They work for a law firm or practice independently.

Becoming a lawyer is among the best careers to make you rich. Lawyers specializing in certain types of law, such as pharmaceutical patents, can expect higher compensation.

Becoming a lawyer requires a four-year college degree and additional higher education. After college, you must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and apply for law schools.

Getting into law school is highly competitive and takes three years to complete. Upon graduating from law school, you’ll need to take the bar exam for the state where you plan to practice law.

If you want to specialize in a certain area of law that will result in higher earnings, you’ll likely need even more school. For example, becoming a pharmaceutical patent lawyer would require a graduate degree in biochemistry and law school.

9. Airline Pilot

airplane pilot

Average Salary: $148,900

An airline pilot is a person who flies planes that are either for commercial airlines or for private jet owners.

Are you interested in airplanes? Becoming an airline or commercial pilot may be a good option for you.

Airline pilots typically begin their careers as flight instructors or commercial pilots. To become a commercial pilot, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent and a commercial pilot’s license from the FAA.

Becoming an airline pilot requires a four-year degree and an FAA-issued Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.

The job of airline and commercial pilots involves navigating airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Pilots usually work variable schedules, with overnight layovers being more common for airline pilots than commercial pilots.

10. Optometrist

Average Salary: $125,590

An optometrist is a person whose profession is examining the eyes for visual defects and prescribing corrective lenses.

If you are ambitious to become an eye doctor, you may consider serving as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

As an ophthalmologist, you will provide advanced treatment for unique situations. These professionals can also perform eye surgery. These additional capabilities provide a median annual wage of $270,090.

Either position requires receiving a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), although ophthalmologists can have an M.D. designation instead. Ophthalmologists may also need to spend one year of internship with general medicine plus three years in an ophthalmology fellowship.

11. Software Developer

Average Salary: $124,200

A software developer is a person who designs and builds computer programs.

Many of these jobs are available from companies specializing in computer systems design (32% of current jobs). The finance and insurance industry offers 11% of positions, and software development takes third with 10%.

This position can be a shoo-in for a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology. Engineering and mathematics majors also make ideal candidates.

It’s possible to find a high-paying college job within this niche while earning a degree, too.

12. Psychiatrist

Average Salary: $226,880

A psychiatrist is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

In comparison, a counseling psychologist earns from $60,000 to $80,000 in most communities.

So, why do psychiatrists earn more than psychologists despite many overlapping roles? First, they must attend medical school to get a medical degree. Second, they must be licensed like a physician.

As psychiatrists have medical credentials, they can prescribe medications directly to their patients. They can also oversee advanced treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy.

13. Sales Director

Average Salary: $130,600

A sales director is a person who manages and oversees the sales and operations of a company or organization.

You can make an excellent sales director if you love to travel and are an effective marketer. Some companies refer to this position as sales manager as well.

A bachelor’s degree is usually the highest prerequisite for this position, although some employers may only need a high school diploma.

Some sales directors can also earn bonuses based on their team’s success.

14. Travel Nurse

Average Salary: $130,000

A traveling nurse is a nurse who travels to other cities as work demands.

Nursing is a profitable career field, but it’s tough to crack the $100,000-a-year threshold. For instance, the BLS reports that registered nurses (RNs) only make $77,600.

However, you can earn around $111,975 per year as a traveling nurse. The pay potential varies by state, as Indeed.com reports that California nurses can earn an average of $2,500 a week or more.

Having a nursing specialty, such as being an operating room nurse (CNOR) or a neonatal nurse (CCRN), can help you earn more per shift. Being licensed in multiple states is also helpful.

You can start applying for travel nursing jobs with these minimum qualifications:

  • Nursing degree (most require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing [BSN], but an associate’s [ASN] suffices with some agencies)
  • RN license
  • Two years of bedside experience
  • Any special certifications

15. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Average Salary: $164,070

A computer and information systems manager oversees the information systems teams of a company or organization.

You direct and manage an organization’s computer-related activities as a computer and information systems manager or an information technology manager (IT manager).

One of the initial steps for this position is having a bachelor’s in a computer, IT or engineering background. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a common second step.

In addition to the educational background, several years of related experience is necessary. Specializing in a specific field like information security or hospital IT systems can also be worth exploring.

How Do These Jobs To Get Rich Compare?

JobAverage Pay
Computer & Information Systems Manager$164,070
Air Traffic Controller$132,250
Sales Director$130,600
Airline Pilot$148,900
Travel Nurse$130,000
Software Developer$124,200
Investment Banker$144,562


Choosing the right degree can have a big impact on your earnings over your lifetime. There are several professions in diverse fields that can get you over the six-figure mark. Keep in mind, though, that many require advanced degrees as well as passing licensing exams.

The extra schooling also means taking out additional student loans and delaying the start of your professional earning career. However, starting with a six-figure salary after graduation can offset some of the negatives and help you get ahead quickly.

Additionally, some jobs to get rich only require a four-year degree, and in the case of air traffic controllers, only an associate degree.

Make sure you align your financial goals with your interests so you can decide on a career with the best balance between pay and stress.

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  1. Marinol Flores says:

    How about graphic designer or senior designer?

  2. Some misleading info here. People need to understand the particulars of a respective occupation before believing what they read about ‘pay’ on the internet. This also goes for sites on the internet that supposedly give the average pay of occupations without telling readers the nitty-gritty, which often gives the wrong impression. Unfortunately, too many young readers believe everything they see on the web and make academic choices based on bad info.

    Ok, so *generally speaking*….

    1. What people don’t know is that Air traffic controllers that make the big money aren’t the people sitting in the tower telling you that you’re cleared for takeoff. The controllers that make the money are working radar (e.g. RAPCON (radar approach control) and in high-stressed / high volume areas. You’re not going to make big money, sitting in some tower in Montana telling 2 Cessna 172s that they’re cleared for touch-and-gos.

    2. Attorney? Most attorneys aren’t anywhere near “rich” and a good many of them have trouble paying their law school student loans… so much that many would-be students are foregoing the field altogether. Currently, when you consider law school costs and what you’re likely to make as an attorney – law school isn’t worth it if “money” is your goal.
    It wasn’t too many years ago that the ABA (America Bar Association) had to get involved and pretty much tell law schools to be up front with incoming students who thought law school was a ticket to riches. It isn’t. I wish the author had posted the % of test takers who past the patent exam for patent law. Most test takers do not pass the exam.

    3. Physician- when it comes to “rich”, ‘physician’ is actually the lowest occupation on the totem pole that might possibly make you “rich”, depending on what you’re definition of rich is. Physician is the last regular occupation before you get into those that really pay a lot of money (business & finance in anything, law, bio, pharma, porn, etc.. but you have to own or own controlling shares in whatever you’re doing).

    If you’re poor or middle class, then rich to you might mean being able to afford a Ferrari. Unfortunately, most people make so little money that they haven’t a clue on how much money many people actually do make.. and it’s a LOT more than you can make as a physician. $300k per annum isn’t “rich”. “Rich” is when you can afford a super yacht (and crew/maintenance) crew, your own Boeing 777 (and crew/maintenance), etc., which most physicians on the planet can’t come even remotely close to doing. A multi-billionaire is rich. A millionaire today is merely middle – upper middle class. To put things into perspective, a dual military couple (two senior commissioned officers) can easily have several million in assets. Physicians are middle to upper middle class. One problem is that too many people who assume they’re middle class, aren’t, and they’re view of “money” is distorted based on how little they make.

    4. Pharmacist – like lawyers, schools pump out grads and there’s not enough of the great paying jobs to go around .. so how are you going to pay back that looming student debt that’s over $100k?

    5. Airline pilots- “Airline pilots typically begin their careers as flight instructors or commercial pilots..” Ok, let me clear something up.. Airline pilots, flight instructors teaching people to fly small Cessnas (Cessna also makes some of the largest business jets), corporate pilots, the guy who gives helicopter rides over the beach, and those pilots flying helicopter taxis up and down the Potomac …. * are all “commercial pilots” * Basically, if you get paid to fly, you have to have a commercial license/be a commercial pilot, which historically hasn’t required a high school diploma (refer to the applicable FAR).

    Again, this is all stuff that is dangerous to get over the internet unless the author is at least somewhat versed in the respective fields.

    When it comes to getting “rich”… many youngsters will have a ‘better’ chance creating a catchy app for smart phones, or having a popular youtube channel than what’s listed above, especially when you adjust for the fact that many can’t afford $100k in tuition, don’t qualify for loans, can’t do high level math and or don’t have the grades to get into engineering, med school, dental school, or get a decent score on the LSAT (law entry).. much of the above is out of reach for the typical Joe.

    Basically to get rich you need to create something, or do something.. but having a regular job (as opposed to creating one), being someone else’s employee is not generally the way to get rich. 🙂

    1. Julie Bridwell says:

      Thank you Tella for your feedback.

  3. Chidimma Malachy says:

    Surely, I read it all, but am confuse on what to study. I can’t discover myself