Management Positions With Salaries Pushing Six Figures

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A six-figure salary isn't out of reach for those who want greater responsibility.

By Amy Howell Hirt

Being a manager isn't always a walk in the park. Whether you're responsible for the actions of a group of employees or the success of a company-wide project, managerial roles come with a lot of responsibility - often after accruing a lot of experience and education in the field. But thankfully, management positions in many areas may also come with a lot of dough.

"Managers can make very good money," says Robin Ryan, a career counselor and author of seven books, including "Soaring on Your Strengths." "It just depends on the field."

So which fields pay managers well? If you're thinking about climbing those corporate rungs toward a new level of responsibility, here are a few profitable places to shoot for.

Career #1: Marketing Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $119,480
Bottom 10 Percent: $62,650
Top 10 Percent: equal to or greater than $187,199

If you're a savvy marketer, you don't have to work at a Fortune 500 company to make big bucks. Marketing managers at large companies and even some non-profits can make $150,000 to $300,000 a year, Ryan says.

What You'll Manage: It varies greatly. A marketing manager could manage multiple employees or none, depending on the structure and size of the organization, Ryan says. Typically the focus is instead on managing "the strategy and the systems they're using," she says.

That could mean planning advertising campaigns, initiating market research studies, or working with other department heads to discuss what products or services to promote, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Ryan says this role has already expanded to include managing social media and mobile marketing campaigns, and she expects many positions will become "mar-com" managers - those responsible for the overall marketing direction but also the hands-on creation of communication materials, such as ads or brochures.

Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.

How to Get There: The Department of Labor says that most marketing managers have a bachelor's degree to start. Typically these professionals also have one to five years of experience in sales, promotions, marketing, or advertising. If this is a position you'd like to set your sights on, the Department adds that an internship is "highly recommended."

Career #2: Computer and Information Systems Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $120,950
Bottom 10 Percent: $74,940
Top 10 Percent: equal to or greater than $187,199

A salary of $110,000 to $120,000 a year isn't too shabby, right? Well, that kind of return is pretty typical for managers in the information technology field, says Ryan.

What You'll Manage: These managers get the big bucks for good reason. They're often tasked with implementing organization-wide initiatives, such as determining appropriate hardware and software upgrades, Ryan says.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, computer and information systems managers - also called IT managers or IT project managers - are responsible for planning and implementing the computer-related activities for an organization, including incorporating the appropriate computer systems to meet particular goals.

While they might work with a range of departments, they often don't serve as the direct supervisor for anyone, Ryan says, which means "they have to have very good persuasive skills" in order to earn, rather than require, the help they need to get their job done.

Click to Find the Right IT and Information Systems Program.

How to Get There: Go after a bachelor's degree in computer or information science if you're reaching for this management career - it's typically a requirement, according to the Department of Labor. You'll also be required to have related work experience, and some organizations also require a graduate degree, such as a master's in business administration.

Career #3: Financial Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $109,740
Bottom 10 Percent: $59,630
Top 10 Percent: equal to or great than $187,199

If you have any interest in market trends and supervising a team, the role of financial manager might be right for you. The other good news? Ryan says finance is a field that generally pays very well.

What You'll Manage: Financial managers often are paid handsomely not just for their smarts and experience, but because of the demands of the job.

"The nature of finance is hard, 55 to 60-hour-a-week work. It's a very difficult field," Ryan says.

That long day in the life of a financial manager might include supervising employees, analyzing data and market trends, or working on a team to provide business advice to senior management, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They work in different places, such as insurance companies and banks.

Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

How to Get There: To pursue this office, you'll need to put in at least five years in a financial or business occupation, work experience that the Department of Labor says financial managers have. You'll also have to meet the minimum education requirement and receive at least a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration, the Department reports. Many employers prefer financial managers who also have a master's degree in business administration, finance, or economics.

Career #4: Human Resources Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $99,720
Bottom 10 Percent: $59,020 
Top 10 Percent: $173,140

If you're in charge of recruiting and hiring talented folks to help a company succeed, the compensation for your contributions just might be in the form of a six-figure salary, Ryan says.

What You'll Manage: Human resources (HR) managers typically are responsible for both organization-wide efforts - like recruitment and hiring processes - as well as supervising the day-to-day work of specialists and support staff, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Some might oversee all HR functions - including employee benefits and training programs, while at larger organizations they may fill a specific role, the Department of Labor reports.

Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

How to Get There: You'll typically need a bachelor's degree in HR or business administration and related work experience before moving into this management role, according to the Department. Some high-level positions could require candidates with a master's degree in business administration, labor relations, or HR, the Department says.

Career #5: Engineering Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $117,000
Bottom 10 Percent: $75,350
Top 10 Percent: equal to or greater than $187,199

Engineering managers - particularly those in charge of research and development or those working in the automotive or aerospace industries - make very good money, Ryan says.

What You'll Manage: Engineering managers might bring home a hefty paycheck if they lead the development of new technologies, products, and solutions with big potential - both for innovation and the company's bottom line, Ryan says.

While engineering managers often create detailed technical plans, propose budgets, and may develop overall concepts for a new product, much of their time is spent supervising staff and checking the accuracy of their work, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

How to Get There: Expect to put in some time before advancing into this position. According to the Department of Labor, engineering managers typically have years of experience under their belt before they advance to a management position and nearly all have at least a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty. Many also have a master's degree in engineering management, technology management, or business administration, the Department says.

Career #6: Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Annual Salary*: $88,580
Bottom 10 Percent: $53,940
Top 10 Percent: $150,560

No M.D.? No worries. A medical and health services manager - also called a health care administrator is one of the few high-paying roles in health care that isn't necessarily held by a doctor, Ryan says.

What You'll Manage: Medical and health services managers direct the medical services for an entire hospital, a specific clinical unit, or department, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But the duties vary depending on the size and organization of the facility.

And for some managers, the high pay might come with a high price. If a facility needs management around-the-clock, they may have to work on weekends and overnight, the Department of Labor reports.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

How to Get There: "Prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration," according to the Department. While a degree in health administration could prepare you for this role, some employers also hire managers who have work experience instead of formal education, the Department reports.

* All salary information from the Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages statistics, May 2012.

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