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As we each search for our personal pot of gold, many of us wonder whether the rainbow leading us to a six-figure paycheck has to be so long. We want financially rewarding jobs, but not everyone is eager to commit the time and money necessary to complete a medical or law degree.

The good news is that, even though statistics have shown that more education translates to higher earnings, there are still plenty of six-figure salary jobs for those of us who have decided not to take the seven-years-and-a-stethoscope route. The following is a list of seven lucrative fields in which the top-earning 25 percent of workers take home more than $100,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That percentage proves there is real potential for sizeable salaries within these fields, even if your résumé doesn't boast a lengthy list of alma maters.

Though some of these positions are filled by people with graduate degrees, a bachelor's degree and a little initiative could get you well on your way to a six-figure salary.

Sales Managers

Salary of top 25 percent:
$127,820*

Median salary: $87,580 What they do: Sales managers establish company or team sales goals and coordinate training programs for sales representatives. They monitor sales statistics and customer satisfaction, and make adjustments to sales strategies as needed.

How to get the job: The educational background of sales managers varies. Managers frequently work their way up the ranks of a company -- often starting as sales representatives -- and many companies have established management training programs.

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

Salary of top 25 percent: $123,910

Median salary:
$67,130 What they do: Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents buy and sell stocks, bonds and other financial products. They may also inform clients about financial markets and counsel them regarding their financial portfolios.

How to get the job: The majority of financial sales agents have college educations, and have taken courses in business, economics and finance. Securities and commodities agents must pass state licensing examinations, and many firms require agents to complete in-house training programs.

Financial Managers

Salary of top 25 percent: $118,150

Median salary: $86,280

What they do: Financial managers' responsibilities vary, but they generally oversee the preparation of financial reports involved with accounting, investing, banking, insurance and securities. They can also develop financial strategies for their organizations.

How to get the job: Employers expect financial managers to have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics or business administration, and increasingly expect a master's degree in one of these fields as well. Depending on the company and the specific position, professional certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation may also be required.

Computer and Information Scientists, Research

Salary of top 25 percent: $113,830

Median salary: $91,230

What they do: Computer and information scientists act as theorists, designers or inventors while developing solutions to computer hardware and software problems and researching computer technology.

How to get the job: A bachelor's degree is usually a prerequisite for filling these positions, with most of the more technically complex jobs reserved for workers with graduate degrees.

Actuaries

Salary of top 25 percent: $112,360

Median salary: $81,640

What they do: Actuaries are often employed in the insurance industry. They assess the potential for various types of risks and design insurance policies and other financial strategies in order to reduce the potential cost of those risks.

How to get the job: In addition to a bachelor's degree, there are a series of examinations that actuaries must complete to gain full professional status.

Personal Financial Advisers

Salary of top 25 percent: $107,470

Median salary: $63,500

What they do: Personal financial advisers provide guidance to clients regarding financial decisions. Many financial advisers specialize in a particular field, such as retirement planning or risk management.

How to get the job: Most financial advisers hold a bachelor's degree in finance, economics or accounting. Certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation can strengthen an adviser's professional standing.

Public Relations Managers

Salary of top 25 percent: $106,440

Median salary: $76,450

What they do: Public relations managers supervise public relations specialists and act as a liaison between their clients -- usually individuals or companies -- and the public. How to get the job: In addition to experience as a public relations specialist, most employers expect a public relations manager to have a bachelor's degree in public relations or journalism.

* All salaries reported by the BLS.

Last Updated: 22/02/2008 - 1:54 PM


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