What Does Six-Figure Salary Mean?

By M. Scilly; Updated July 05, 2017
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A six-figure salary is a term referring to a large salary in a specific range. Having a six-figure salary puts you well above the average American income, which was $46,440 per year in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Choosing the right career path will give you a better chance of earning a six-figure salary.

The Definition

A six-figure salary refers simply to the figures in the number. Those earning less than $100,000 but at least $10,000 have a five-figure salary. On the other end of the spectrum, someone earning a million dollars per year has a seven-figure salary.

Medical Professions

Doctors are typically six-figure earners and they make up a large portion of the top earners in the United States, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 2013, the average salary of physicians and surgeons was $191,880 per year. Surgeons earned even more, with an average salary of $233,150 a year. Anesthesiologists earned more, with a salary of $235,070 per year in 2013. Dentists also have an average salary in the six figures, at $168,870 per year, as do orthodontists, who earned $196,270 annually.

Business Leaders

Business professionals are another sector with plenty of six-figure earners. Appropriately enough, chief executives were the top earners in business professions for 2013. They earned an average salary of $178,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top executives made less but still enough to put them in the six-figure club at $121,010 a year. Marketing managers earned average pay of $133,700 a year; financial managers made $126,660 a year; and general operations managers made an average $116,090 a year.

Other Professions

Several other professions feature average earnings in the six figures. These are as diverse as mathematicians, with an average salary of $103,310 a year, and air traffic controllers, who earned $118,650 a year on average, according to 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Lawyers made $131,990 annually on average. Educators aren't known for being big earners, but post-secondary education administrators just made it into the six-figure range with an annual salary of $100,600.

About the Author

M. Scilly is a writer and editor who writes for various online publications, specializing in business and management. He has a fondness for travel and photography. In his free time he enjoys marathon training.