If a plastic surgeon lets his salary slip, you're not going to lose it over the large number of zeroes on his paycheck. It might be six times your income, but you expect those guys to clean up. These guys, though? These guys are making way more than you can imagine. While not everyone in the following professions is going to make $100,000 a year, we found documented proof that it's possible. The information mostly comes courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although there's a magazine report or two thrown in for good measure. Get ready to forget everything you thought you knew about golf ball divers:
Most people think of PIs as schlubby dudes with clunky cameras who haven't seen the inside of a shower since '12. Their median income ($44,570) already doesn't square with that image, but some of these guys are really making bank off adulterous Mrs. Francis. The 90th percentile pulls in $85,560 and if you go out to Spokane, they'll pay you $102,090, for whatever reason.
Funeral service managers
Not many people jump at the chance to "coordinate funeral home resources," so the few that do get paid exceedingly well. Funeral service managers (which are not the same thing as funeral directors) can earn $137,410 if they've got the right skills and right locale, as well as a healthy understanding of their own mortality.
Air traffic controllers
To clarify, we're not talking about the dudes with orange sticks, even if they are badass. No, the moneybags in question are the ones giving flight orders from the control centers. These guys typically make around $122,340 a year, but the highest earners hit closer to $200k. So hurry up and enroll in the FAA Academy before you're too old to qualify.
Boat captains and mates
You'd think this guy could at least spring for an ascot and cap on his salary, but we guess some people are more concerned with looking exactly like Mark Twain than fashion. For serious, though, boat captains and mates (excuse us, "captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels") can command a paycheck of $128,330 if they play their cards right. Piloting the steering wheel with both hands is probably a good place to start, sir.
A transportation inspector can inspect freights or really any vehicle transporting cargo and/or people. And they are paid handsomely for doing so -- the top tier brings home $114,360. With incentive like that, you better believe they're counting every potato in the truck.
Golf ball divers
First of all, yes, this is a real profession. And second of all, it repays you for lost dignity with heaps of cash! As Golf Magazine reported in 2013, skilled divers can hit six figures recovering golf balls from ponds and lakes. Which is good, because we can't imagine Chip, Asher, or any of their country club pals tip well.
Nanny salaries are highly dependent on location, but if you're in a stupidly rich neighborhood, you can make bank wiping boogers. Consider this casual New York Times reference to a $180,000 a year nanny, who didn't even count her $3,000-per-month apartment in that haul. Parental indifference has never been so lucrative. (Just kidding! They're probably super busy.)
"Gaming manager" is the official Bureau of Labor Statistics term, but you might know these folks as casino managers. If you "plan, direct, or coordinate gaming operations," you fall under this category, and it's a pretty nice place to be. The best/luckiest make $119,950 annually. And since they actually run the games, they're probably smart enough not to lose it all on black.
We know the guys directing electricity from the plants to the grid need plenty of on-the-job training. But when a snowstorm takes out your power for three days straight, it's hard not to get a little skeptical (and salty) about their pay, which goes up to $107,880.
You might have to listen to a bunch of pompous lawyers yell at each other all day, but court stenographers clean up. Although the median salary is just shy of $50,000, if you head out to, say, the San Francisco metro area, you're looking at $101,680. So yes, your honor, we'd be happy to read back the witness' rant about whippets.
CIA grads working in regular, landlocked kitchens were doubtless pissed to find out they could be making bank cooking on a goddamn submarine. Back in 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that an experienced "senior sub-sea chef" can earn up to $200,000 in the Special Air Services (SAS) in Australia. That's more than a Navy captain or a one-star commodore, so take that, Lionel Richie.
Its tagline might be, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?", but make no mistake: IT is a lucrative industry. The median annual wage is an impressive $127,640. Move up to the 75th percentile and you're pocketing $161,520. As for the 90th percentile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics won't even list it because it's higher than $187,199, and they don't want you to murder your tech geek friends in cold blood.
Go ahead and press the emergency stop button, wiseass -- the guy coming to fix the elevator you broke definitely makes more than you. "Elevator installers and repairers" are a very elite group which earns an average of $78,620, although if you're in the top 10%, you're making a median $109,450. Presumably, those are the guys you call for Tower of Terror situations.