By most people's standards, a six-figure salary is considered a great income — but the amount of education required to get there (not to mention the gendered pay gap) doesn't make it easy.
A recent thread asked the women of Reddit who earn $100,000 or more what they do, and they're not all doctors and lawyers. In fact, many of them only needed a bachelor's degree, and some only had to get certification.
Here's what they're doing for their high-earning jobs:
"[I'm a] nurse practitioner."
"If you are a nurse, I highly urge you to go back for your master's degree. There is all this chatter about 'there won't be any jobs,' but I'm telling you, nurse practitioners are about to be in high demand and you will forever have a job, just like [other] nurses will."
— Reddit user stefani13
"I'm an actuary working in consulting."
"My bachelor's is in actuarial science and I passed a series of professional exams. I enjoy it. I had an interest in math when I was in school and becoming an actuary was suggested to me.
"I definitely prefer the consulting aspect. I work with a lot of people and most of my work is problem solving. There's always something new to learn."
— Reddit user maptan
"I watch and manage high voltage power transmission lines for renewable energy sources in West Texas."
"I got this job by being in the Navy for a number of years as a power plant operator, then becoming a nuclear plant operator, then going to college and dropping out, then getting really lucky."
— Reddit user Sand_Dargon
"I'm a program manager and freelance on the side."
"I might be disqualified because technically I have two jobs and that's what pushes over into $100k territory. ... I make nearly $100K as a program manager and about $20K from freelance work.
"My biggest salary increases came from promotions. If you want to make the big bucks without having to go into a certain field, aim for management."
— Reddit user CuriousDiscoveries
"[I'm a] dentist!"
"Lots of schooling but worth it."
— Reddit user cingulum
"Cyber security for a global corporation."
"(Forensics, investigations, incident response, behavioral analytics, malware analysis, insider threat, etc.) I got to where I am without any formal degee although there certainly wasn't much to choose from when I started. Employers might pick you for an interview based on degree/work experience on a resume, but if you don't know what you're talking about you're not going to go very far. From the few people I've spoken to with these degrees, it seems like they didn't learn much; a lot of material is outdated the second it's on paper. To be good in infosec, you need to be doing this stuff on your own, self-taught, curious, on your own time, etc."
— Reddit user DarkMSTie
"[Business jet] pilot!"
"Just got my dream job and will officially cross the $100K mark this year. $60,000 of student loans will also be paid off in a few months."
— Reddit user agirlonredit
"Corporate finance at a Fortune100 company."
"I am currently a financial planning and analysis manager. ... It's less like 'Office Space' than you would think. Finance at my company is more than 50% female so there are lots of ladies making it rain."
— Reddit user 1337ginger
"I'm a pharmacist."
"It took a lot of schooling and student loans. I don't make much more than $100K though. I love my job! I didn't go into it for the money, although my staggering debt appreciates the salary. I love the feeling of helping my patients. The counseling and the questions are my favorite part, and they're why I'm a retail pharmacist.
"Least favorite parts would be angry people and insurance issues. Also the growing amount of metrics even at smaller chains kind of stinks."
— Reddit user SCurry34
"Tech writer for a major software firm."
"Majored in English and always had a fascination and love for software and games. ... [Been doing it for]12 years. I started out making $45K at a small software firm. I gained skills and changed jobs a few times and every time I did, I got a pay bump and learned new skills and solutions. Now I work for a global software firm but do not live in a major city so it's the best of benefits and pay without the high cost of living."
— Reddit user SummerofSiren
"I'm a budget analyst for a major west coast city."
"I enjoy my work about 80% of the time, I have good flexibility on my work hours, and as long as the courts remain in my favor, I have a good pension at the end of a 30-year career. I think the best part was taking off over a year with each of my children and coming back to my job both times as if I'd never left. ... Totally lucked out. Was in a dead end job with a for-profit college when I applied to take an entry-level civil service test. Did well on the test, interviewed at a few places and got my foot in the door when I took an offer. Two more tests and four promotions later, here I am at $150K. My advice is to take your chance whenever it presents itself — don't give up and keep reaching for more."
— Reddit user DalkonShield
"Mobile product manager."
"I design apps, except I don't do the actual design part but [more of] the concept-and-UX (user experience) part. I live in a part of the country where $100,000 is not actually a high salary, though."
— Reddit user cats_in_tiny_shoes
"[I'm a] psychologist."
"I started making that much soon after beginning practice — been practicing for 20 years now, cut my hours way back but still make that much — senior clinician = higher rates. Additionally, I now specialize in consultation for other therapists."
— Reddit user abbiewhorent
"I'm a chemical engineer."
"I'm only making $70K right now, but this is my very first job, and I'm working as a contractor. ... It's fully within reasonable expectations that I'll be making more than $100K in maybe 10-15 years (could be shorter, just trying not to get ahead of myself). I'm in an area with a low cost of living and lots of plants that give the opportunity for me to be able to bounce around companies to get larger salary increases faster without having to relocate. I ended up with a LOT of debt to get here, but I'm making enough to be able to get aggressive with my loans, and I fully expect to pay them off in under five years."
— Reddit user Doorothie