With more than 74,000 new jobs added in December the "Employment Situation" is improving -- but not nearly at the rate anyone was hoping to see. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is still teetering in the high 6% range, with more than 10 million unemployed.

While in many fields, the picture is still bleak, that doesn't mean there isn't ample opportunity in today's marketplace. Unfortunately, however, many of those high-paying opportunities are in career fields requiring advanced degrees. In fact -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- 14 of the top 20 highest paying occupations require an advanced degree -- and many of them require a doctorate degree.

On the bright side, though, that leaves six exciting and high-paying occupations that won't require extra years of study and more expensive student loans.

These jobs are competitive and demanding, they do require a Bachelor's degree in specific fields, and in many cases, they require specialized certifications. However, for those of you determined to find a new career, energized by the idea of a competitive work environment, and enthusiastic about earning six-figure salaries, well then, you've come to the right place.

In the slideshow below, I've identified six of the highest-paying jobs that don't require an advanced degree.