In this study, AdvisorSmith examines the most lucrative careers where salaries are rising the fastest. We studied six-figure professions with the fastest-growing salaries from 2016 to 2019. To find these professions, we calculated the compounded annual growth rate for the annual mean salary from 2016 to 2019 earned by each profession with earnings of $100,000 or more. We then ranked the top 25 six-figure professions with the fastest annual mean salary growth rate over the study period.
Our study found that the jobs with the fastest growing salaries over $100,000 were primarily STEM professions, as more than half of the top 25 ranked careers were based around science or mathematics. Other jobs that were highly represented in the study were professions in law and business.
The average annual mean salary growth rate for the top 25 professions with the fastest salary growth was 2.8%, and the average annual mean salary for the top 25 six-figure jobs with the fastest salary growth in 2019 was $128,878.
Read on to find the top 25 six-figure professions with the fastest-growing salaries.
Top 25 Six-Figure Jobs with the Fastest-Growing Salaries
1. Advertising and Promotion Managers
Salary Growth: 6.40%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $117,810
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $141,890
Total Jobs: 25,100
Advertising and promotion managers topped our rankings with an annualized salary growth rate of 6.4%. These professionals plan programs to generate interest in products and services offered by a variety of companies. Their work environment consists of corporate offices or advertising agencies. To become an advertising or promotion manager, a bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in business or management.
2. Nuclear Engineers
Salary Growth: 4.44%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $105,950
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $120,700
Total Jobs: 15,850
Nuclear engineers conduct research and develop the processes, systems, and instruments used to harness nuclear energy and radiation. Examples include developing nuclear equipment such as nuclear cores and the handling and disposal of nuclear waste. Nuclear engineers work in the offices of their respective nuclear facilities. A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering is needed for the profession.
3. Physical Scientists
BLS Category: Miscellaneous Physical Scientists
Salary Growth: 4.41%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $98,460
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $11,2070
Total Jobs: 17,550
Physical scientists are professionals who conduct research in niches, not involving living organisms, such as physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology. Their work focuses on physical properties and energy. They can work for private industries and advise engineers with their research or work in academia. A bachelor’s degree in a specialty area of science is required to become a physical scientist.
4. Chemical Engineers
Salary Growth: 3.56%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $105,420
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $117,090
Total Jobs: 30,120
Chemical engineers use their extensive knowledge of math, physics, biology, and chemistry to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, and more. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations. They mostly work in laboratories or offices. Becoming a chemical engineer requires a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
5. Nurse Anesthetists
Salary Growth: 3.34%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $164,030
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $181,040
Total Jobs: 43,570
Nurse anesthetists provide patients with anesthetics for trauma and surgical operations in the hospital. They work with surgeons, dentists, and anesthesiologists. To become a nurse anesthetist, one must first obtain a bachelor of science degree and become a registered nurse. As a registered nurse, one must have at least one year of experience in an acute care setting and complete two to three years of an accredited nurse anesthesia program.
6. Physician Assistants
Salary Growth: 3.26%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $102,090
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $112,410
Total Jobs: 120,090
Physician assistants provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care to patients in collaboration with medical physicians. They perform daily tasks such as performing physical examinations and developing patient treatment plans. Becoming a physician assistant requires a bachelor’s degree in science and admission into a physician assistant program that will take two to three years.
BLS Category: Judges, Magistrates, and Other Judicial Workers
Salary Growth: 3.03%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $103,740
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $113,470
Total Jobs: 49,140
Judges and magistrates are responsible for overseeing the legal processes in court and issue legal decisions for court cases of various subjects. They work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. Education to become a judge requires a four-year bachelor’s degree and law school. Judges are essential in society as they ensure that trials and hearings are conducted fairly.
8. Purchasing Managers
Salary Growth: 2.94%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $117,720
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $128,400
Total Jobs: 72,100
Purchasing managers acquire products for organizations to use or resell. Their daily tasks include evaluating suppliers, negotiating contracts, and reviewing product quality. Purchasing managers work in office spaces, but they often have to travel to visit vendors when acquiring products. The education required to become a purchasing manager is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business.
9. Astronomers and Physicists
Salary Growth: 2.54%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $120,650
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $130,110
Total Jobs: 18,800
Physicists and astronomers conduct research to understand the nature of the universe and explain certain theories. They are scientists that observe, measure, and develop theories to explain physical and celestial phenomena using mathematics. Their day-to-day tasks include publishing research papers and keeping careful records of research. Physicists and astronomers often work in labs or academic institutions. The education required to become an astronomer or physicist is an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D.
10. Human Resources Managers
Salary Growth: 2.53%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $120,210
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $129.570
Total Jobs: 154,800
Human resources managers plan, coordinate, and direct administrative functions of an organization. They are usually hired in any industry and they work in offices. The projected employment growth for human resources managers is 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Becoming a human resources manager requires a bachelor’s degree and years of related work experience.
11. Administrative Services Managers
Salary Growth: 2.50%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $98,930
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $106,550
Total Jobs: 307,280
Administrative services managers maintain the efficiency of an organization by planning, directing, and coordinating activities. They spend most of their day in office buildings and are hired in different fields such as healthcare and education. The education required for this position is a bachelor’s degree, typically in business. The employment growth for this profession is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.
12. Industrial Production Managers
Salary Growth: 2.45%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $107,060
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $115,110
Total Jobs: 185,790
Industrial production managers oversee the manufacturing operations of a company. The largest employers of industrial production managers were transportation equipment manufacturing and fabricated metal product manufacturing facilities. They spend their working hours on the production floor and in the office. Most industrial production managers hold a bachelor’s degree in business or industrial engineering.
13. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
Salary Growth: 2.44%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $123,360
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $132,630
Total Jobs: 79,160
Public relations managers enhance the public image of their client or company through media relationships and other material. Fundraising managers oversee campaigns that generate money for their given organization. The largest employers for these professions are private companies, PR firms, religious organizations, educational institutions, and nonprofits. The education required for these positions is a bachelor’s degree in English, public relations, communications, or journalism.
14. Computer and Information Systems Managers
Salary Growth: 2.38%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $145,740
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $156,390
Total Jobs: 433,960
Computer and information systems managers direct and oversee the technological processes of an organization. Their daily tasks include planning and directing the installation of computer software and ensuring the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents. The employment for computer and information system managers is expected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, as firms adapt to the digital age. To become a computer and information systems manager, a degree in computer science is usually required as well as a few years of related work experience.
15. Training and Development Managers
Salary Growth: 2.34%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $115,180
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $123,470
Total Jobs: 38,510
Training and development managers coordinate and oversee the skill and knowledge enhancement programs for a company’s staff. Their day-to-day activities include managing training budgets and developing training programs for employees. The job outlook for the profession is promising as employment is projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028. Becoming a training and development manager requires a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree as well as related work experience.
16. Nurse Practitioners
Salary Growth: 2.25%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $104,610
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $111,840
Total Jobs: 200,600
Nurse practitioners deliver patient care and can provide primary and specialty healthcare. They work in hospitals or physicians’ clinics. They provide essential services for patients such as performing physical exams and ordering diagnostic tests. Employment for this profession is expected to grow 26% from 2018 to 2028. Education required for becoming a nurse practitioner is a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
17. Natural Sciences Managers
Salary Growth: 2.22%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $136,150
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $145,450
Total Jobs: 67,720
Natural sciences managers oversee research and development for their respective companies. For example, they work with executives to develop strategies for researchers and ensure that laboratories are stocked with equipment and supplies. The largest employers for this profession are research and development labs in the physical, engineering and life sciences, and the federal government. Becoming a natural sciences manager requires a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline.
18. Petroleum Engineers
Salary Growth: 2.16%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $147,030
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $156,780
Total Jobs: 32,620
Petroleum engineers develop methods to extract oil and gas deposits. Their daily activities include developing plans to drill oil fields and ensuring that oil field equipment is maintained properly. Working as a petroleum engineer will require one to be in the office as well as on the oil well site. The education required to become a petroleum engineer is an engineering degree, preferably in petroleum engineering.
19. Aerospace Engineers
Salary Growth: 2.10%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $112,010
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $119,220
Total Jobs: 63,200
Aerospace engineers operate and maintain equipment used in developing, testing, and sustaining spacecraft and aircraft. Employment for this profession is expected to grow 4% from 2018 to 2028. The largest employers for aerospace engineers are aerospace products and parts manufacturing, and engineering services. To become an aerospace engineer, one must hold a degree in aerospace engineering or an engineering field.
20. Architectural and Engineering Managers
Salary Growth: 2.06%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $143,870
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $152,930
Total Jobs: 194,250
Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for overseeing activities conducted in architectural and engineering companies. They mostly work in offices, but they also spend time in research laboratories or industrial plants. Their day-to-day activities include making detailed plans for the development of new products and designs, and proposing the budget for specific programs. Becoming an architectural or engineering manager requires a bachelor’s degree and extensive work experience as an engineer or architect.
21. Nurse Midwives
Salary Growth: 2.05%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $102,390
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $108,810
Total Jobs: 6,930
Nurse midwives provide medical care, which includes gynecological exams and prenatal care. They deliver babies and manage emergency situations during labor. Overall employment for nurse midwives is expected to grow 26% from 2018 to 2028. To become a nurse midwife, one must hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing and go through training to become a registered nurse. After, one then proceeds to get a master’s degree from an accredited program.
Salary Growth: 1.96%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $114,120
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $120,970
Total Jobs: 22,260
Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. Their work schedule includes compiling statistical data for analysis and estimating the probability of certain events. Overall employment for actuaries is expected to grow 20% from 2018 to 2028. The education required to become an actuary is a bachelor’s degree in an analytical field such as mathematics, statistics, or business, as well as passing numerous certification exams.
23. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
Salary Growth: 1.91%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $97,630
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $103,320
Total Jobs: 132,040
Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are responsible for allocating and shipping merchandise for their company. These professions require a high school diploma and at least five years of work experience in the field. Overall employment for the job is projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028.
24. Compensation and Benefits Managers
Salary Growth: 1.88%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $126,900
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $134,210
Total Jobs: 16,900
Compensation and benefits managers develop and oversee programs to compensate and pay employees. Their daily activities include setting the organization’s pay and benefits structure and supervising work activities of the staff. Employment in the field is expected to grow 3% from 2018 to 2028. Positions in the field require a bachelor’s degree in business or human resources.
25. Financial Managers
Salary Growth: 1.83%
Annual Mean Salary 2016: $139,720
Annual Mean Salary 2019: $147,530
Total Jobs: 654,790
Financial managers create financial reports and develop plans for the financial goals of their organization. Their daily tasks include preparing financial statements and analyzing market trends to maximize profits. Overall employment for the profession is expected to grow 16% from 2018 to 2028. Financial managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and five or more years of experience in a financial occupation, such as being an analyst.
Six-Figure Jobs with the Fastest Average Salary Growth
The table below lists the top 25 six-figure professions with the fastest-growing salaries. For each profession, we listed the annual mean salary growth from 2016 to 2019, annual mean salary in 2016, annual mean salary in 2019, and total employment for 2019.
|Rank||Job Title||Total Jobs (2019)||Annual Mean Salary (2016)||Annual Mean Salary (2019)||Annual Mean Salary Growth Rate 2016-2019|
|1||Advertising and Promotions Managers||25,100||117,810||141,890||6.40%|
|3||Miscellaneous Physical Scientists||17,550||98,460||112,070||4.41%|
|7||Judges, Magistrates, and Other Judicial Workers||49,140||103,740||113,470||3.03%|
|9||Astronomers and Physicists||18,800||120,650||130,110||2.55%|
|10||Human Resources Managers||154,800||120,210||129,570||2.53%|
|11||Administrative Services Managers||307,280||98,930||106,550||2.50%|
|12||Industrial Production Managers||185,790||107,060||115,110||2.45%|
|13||Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||79,160||123,360||132,630||2.44%|
|14||Computer and Information Systems Managers||433,960||145,740||156,390||2.38%|
|15||Training and Development Managers||38,510||115,180||123,470||2.34%|
|17||Natural Sciences Managers||67,720||136,150||145,450||2.23%|
|20||Architectural and Engineering Managers||194,250||143,870||152,930||2.06%|
|23||Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers||132,040||97,630||103,320||1.91%|
|24||Compensation and Benefits Managers||16,900||126,900||134,210||1.88%|
This study examined six-figure professions that had the fastest annual mean salary growth rate from 2016 to 2019 using data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics data set. To identify these professions, we first filtered for professions where the annual mean salary was $100,000 or more in 2019. We then calculated the compounded annual growth rate for the annual mean salary growth from 2016 to 2019 for each of these professions. We then ranked these jobs based on the annual mean salary growth rate between 2016 and 2019 to determine the top 25 six-figure jobs with the fastest growing salaries.
1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics