""Being able to get $100 an hour is rare," said Al Lee, the director of quantitative analysis at PayScale.com . The median hourly wage in the U.S. is $16 an hour, he points out, so earning $100 an hour would be more than six times what the average worker makes.
Lee says the three easiest ways to get a $100 an hour job are: 1) Become a doctor, 2) Become a CEO of a large company (500 employees or more) or 3) Manage other people's money (stock broker, portfolio manager, etc.).
So, most of the time, you're going to need higher education like a medical degree, law degree or at least an MBA. Though, as you'll see, there are a few exceptions on the list for those with special talents in the arts. It's also important to note with most of the jobs, you're not going to earn $100 an hour out of the gate — you'll need to stay in the business for a few years.
United States Navy
Actually the technical name is "saturation diver," which means you do deep-water construction like pipe replacement and pipe repair, usually for oil and gas companies.
You can make $900 to $1200 a day, according to the Commercial Diving Academy, working extreme hours (30 days at sea with 12-hour shifts) in extreme conditions — the "saturation" part refers to maxing out your body's capability to handle the pressure of being at depths of 700 feet or more for extended periods of time. Divers are actually brought down to the site in a hyperbolic chamber, explained Dusty Harrison, the placement director at the academy, and live in a pressurized habitat while they're on the dive.
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It's not uncommon for doctors to earn $100 an hour or more but one category you might not expect is anesthesiologist. These are the doctors — yes, they are MDs -- who administer anesthetics, the drugs that knock a patient out, during surgery or other medical procedure.
The mean hourly wage is $101.80, according to the Labor Department. The pay is so high because the patient's very life is in their hands: They not only determine how much of anesthetic to administer but also record and monitor the patient's vital signs throughout the surgery.
Those working in doctors' offices typically earn the most, compared to those who work in hospitals, out-patient clinics or universities. The states with the best chances of earning over $100 an hour are Arizona and Tennessee. The outlook for this profession is good, due to a growing population and growing health-care needs.
The top 10 percent of commercial pilots earn an average of $120 an hour, according to PayScale.com. However, this is one of those cases where most pilots don't have high annual salary because that's the rate for flight hours and they're not in the air 40 hours a week. FAA regulations limit flying time to a max of 100 hours a month or 1,000 hours a year.
A lot of pilots learn to fly in the military but an increasing number have college degrees and training from an FAA-certified flight school, according to the Labor Department. The best opportunities are with commercial airlines but many require 4,000 flight hours before they'll hire you.
Getting to travel is a perk but it can be grueling: Pilots spend, on average, 360 hours a month away from their home base, according to the Airline Pilots Association . Plus, the work can be dangerous — not just the risk of a crash but risk of hearing loss.
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The top 10 percent of tattoo artists earn on average $130 an hour but, like pilots, they're not working 40 hours a week at that rate. They usually negotiate a price per tattoo with the client.
There are some tattoo schools but in general, there are no education requirements, rather most tattoo artists learn via an apprenticeship with an experienced tattoo artist, which may be paid or unpaid. Working for a shop is a good way to get experience and build clients but the top earners tend to be self-employed. Most shops also offer piercing and some sell clothing as way to supplement income.
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Arbitrators are legal professionals who help settle disputes outside of court, a quicker and cheaper resolution, though make no mistake — arbitrators still make a good buck. PayScale estimates that the top 10 percent earn $130 on average.
Arbitrators tend to be attorneys or business professionals with special expertise, though they are a neutral party in the dispute.
There is no standard requirement for being an arbitrator — this varies by state. Most arbitrators go to law school or have a masters' degree in public policy, law or other field. Many also go through a special mediation-training program which is 40 to 60 hours. Currently, only five states — Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia — have certification programs. The Navy also certifies mediators.
The job outlook for arbitrators is expected to be above average in the next decade as individuals and corporations increasingly try to stay out of court.
Braces! Tons of kids need them and orthodontists make top dollar straightening out those teeth. The mean hourly wage is $99.13 an hour, according to the Labor Department, which means probably half of the profession earns $100 or more an hour. The highest-paying states for orthodontists are Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma, the department reports.
Becoming an orthodontist requires 2-3 years of specialized education beyond dental school, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
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Most freelance photographers earn $13 to $50 an hour but the top 10 percent, on average, earn $100 an hour, according to PayScale.
Commercial photographers and those who specialize in graphic art and design tend to be among the highest paid. Geographically, the highest rates are in New York and Boston. And most don't get close to that $100 mark until they've had 5 to 10 years experience. Most, of course, don't get health or retirement benefits which can eat into that $100 an hour paycheck.
The top 10 percent of interior designers earn, on average, $100 an hour, according to PayScale. Those who can provide architectural, engineering and other specialized services in addition to design tend to earn top dollar.
Most firms require a bachelor's degree and some states license interior designers, though there are many interior designers who don't have a degree. The key is to have a good eye for design — and be able give clients a space they like and that meets their needs.
Demand is expected to be strong over the next decade as more people discover the benefits of hiring a designer for remodeling projects but competition for the jobs is expected to be tough, according to the Labor Department. The highest salaries are in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Arlington, Va., San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles and New York, according to Simply Hired.
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"Parts" models as they're called in the biz, may be selected for their extraordinary hands, feet, torso or other body parts to model "everything from diapers to diamonds" as one hand model told Katie Couric. They tend to earn about $100 an hour, according to Job Monkey.
One of the downsides is that parts models have to take extra good care of the part that brings home the bacon. One hand model said she moisturizes 25 to 30 times a day and wears gloves every day. Of course, you can't wash dishes, clean, garden or do other tasks that jeopardize your part with something like — gasp! — a paper cut. And then, there comes a time when you need to think about insuring your part. Remember that time we learned that Heidi Klum's legs are insured for more than $2 million? Internet has it that one is worth less than the other because of imperfections!
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Being a "life coach" is a relatively new profession. It's part therapist, part career coach and designed to help people "bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be in their profession and their personal life," according to the Institute for Life Coach Training, which likens it to how a coach trains an athlete to "win the gold medal not just be in the race."
Life coaches on average earn $100 to $150 an hour, according to the International Coaching Federation. Executive and corporate coaches tend to earn the most.
Life coaches are often certified therapists (master's degree or doctorate plus certification) and then take special life-coach training like the ILCT's 40-hour training program. Most — particularly the top earners — are self-employed.
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Massage therapists can make $100 an hour or more, according to the American Massage Therapy Association , though you probably won't make that in a spa — the highest earners are in private practice. The average is $45 an hour. Geographically, the potential for earning that $100+ an hour is highest in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Massage therapists have to graduate from a 500-hour training program through a massage school in order to be certified, according to the American Massage Therapy Association.
The job outlook is strong with a lot of growth potential as more people are starting to realize the health benefits of massage — not just the relaxation benefits. Hospitals are increasingly using massage therapy for pain management, cancer-related fatigue, pregnancy and physical therapy as well as for preventative measures like boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure, according to the AMTA.
The informal consensus is that political speechwriters earn $100 an hour, according to "Career Opportunities in Writing," a book by Allan Taylor, James Robert Parish and Brad Schreiber.
Of course, you won't earn that right away — you probably have to log several years in a congressman's office or other political office. And, most speechwriters charge by the speech, assuming it will take about 30 hours at $100 an hour. An undergraduate degree in communications, English, journalism or liberal arts is usually standard.
Demand for speechwriters is expected to be strong and with elections held every two to four years — steady."