11 surprising jobs that pay over $100,000

Even as engineering jobs still rake in a ton

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Doctors, lawyers and teachers are often the first occupations that come to mind when thinking of high-paying, stable jobs. But employment review site Glassdoor.com has released an interesting little study on jobs that may not be on the top of your mind, but pay over $100,000 a year.

Of course, the jobs were mentioned with the United States in mind, and the salary figures are in U.S. dollars, but there are many under-the-radar jobs that apply to Canada, too—like drilling engineer.

1. FBI Special Agent

  • Total median pay: $125,000 USD
  • Median base salary: $121,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $157,071 CAD

No direct equivalent to this job exists in Canada—much of the duties of the FBI would fall under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s responsibilities. Still, it’s nice to dream about, especially when that salary in Canadian dollars would be around $160,000.

2. Airline Pilot

  • Total median pay: $134,000 USD
  • Median base salary: $120,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $155,773 CAD

A job as a Canadian airline pilot isn’t quite so dreamy as the American counterpart: Glassdoor lists the average Air Canada pilot’s salary as around $130,000 CAD while the average WestJet pilot is listed as $104,000.

3. Regional Sales Executive

  • Total median pay: $103,500 USD
  • Median base salary: $65,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $84,377 CAD

Some, though not all, require a Bachelor’s degree in Business. However, the ability to match the business’s product with the customer’s need is a must. Think the base salary is low? That’s because many sales positions offer low base salaries but high bonuses based on productivity.

4. Nurse Practictioner

  • Total median pay: $101,600 USD
  • Median base salary: $100,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $129,811 CAD

Being a nurse practitioner in the U.S. would amount to being paid about $130,000 CAD. However, Glassdoor lists the average salary for Canadian nurse practitioner as around $107,000.

5. Reservoir Engineer

  • Total median pay: $143,000 USD
  • Median base salary: $125,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $162,264 CAD

According to energy corporation Chevron, a reservoir engineer will need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in petroleum, chemical or mechanical engineering.

6. Dentist

  • Total median pay: $129,968 USD
  • Median base salary: $125,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $162,264 CAD

Anybody who’s looked at their dental bill won’t be surprised by this one. Though Canadians may take some satisfaction that their dentists are getting paid less than American ones. Glassdoor lists the Canadian national average for a dentist as $116,000.

7. Equity Research Associate

  • Total median pay: $100,000 USD
  • Median base salary: $85,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $110,339 CAD

According to Scotiabank, the responsibility of an equity research associate is to create and maintain financial models and conduct primary research from industry and financial sources, among other tasks. You’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree in business to get your foot in the door. Nationally, the average salary in Canada according to Glassdoor is $88,705.

8. Geophysicist

  • Total median pay: $119,380 USD
  • Median base salary: $109,864 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $157,071 CAD

According to salary listing website Payscale, the median salary for a geophysicist in Canada is $75,425. However, this doesn’t include bonuses, which can add tens of thousands to your paycheck every year. Glassdoor says the position requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in geology.

9. Physician Assistant

  • Total median pay: $100,392 USD
  • Median base salary: $100,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $129,811 CAD

What’s the difference between a physician’s assistant and a nurse practitioner? According to Glassdoor, both need master’s degrees, but a PA attends medical school rather than nursing school. However, it should be noted that in Canada, Physician Assistants are a very new field—one of the first PA education programs in Canada, at McMaster University, only graduated it’s first class in 2010. Payscale.ca lists the median salary for a PA in Canada at $76,007.

10. Drilling Engineer

  • Total median pay: $116,500 USD
  • Median base salary: $106,680 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $138,482 CAD

A drilling engineer is a specialized form of petroleum engineering. This engineer’s key responsibility is to make sure drilling of a well is done safely and effectively. You’ll also need a Bachelor’s degree in petroleum or mechanical engineering.

11. Software Architect

  • Total median pay: $139,000 USD
  • Median base salary: $130,000 USD
  • Median base salary in Canadian dollars: $168,754 CAD

What’s the difference between a software architect, and say, a software engineer? It may help to think in terms of a traditional architect versus an engineer. One is involved in high-level design, the other is down in the trenches making the design come to life. According to Glassdoor, a software architect in Canada can expect to make around $104,262.

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