A a college degree is not a guarantee for the big bucks the way it used to be. and law school and medical school are always a good idea for making good money over the course of a career, but they can be prohibitively expensive—and take far too long.
Here are 10 of the highest paying jobs for college graduates that don’t require any additional schooling.
1. Investment banker – $100k
It’s not the most altruistic career, but starting salaries are often over $100k on average, and if you’ve got a degree in economics, business, or math, this could be a great way to set yourself up nicely right out of the gate.
2. Software developer – $80k
If you’ve got a degree in computer science, math, or engineering, and you’d like to make over $80k in your first year, plus you’re interested in getting in a field with a 30% growth rate, this career may be for you.
3. Actuary – $79k
Actuaries work for insurance companies, assessing risk and helping to determine rates. You’ll need a strong math background, plus you’ll have to pass a few professional exams, but the money is good—an average of $79k per year.
4. Engineer – $72k
You’ll need a BS in engineering, and to pass two different state licensure exams, but if you’re the problem-solving type and you’d like to make an average of $72k your first year, you might want to go to work—literally—fixing the world.
5. Network systems admin – $70k
With an average first-year salary of just under $70k per year, network systems administrators need a degree in computer science (sometimes even an associate’s degree plus experience!). It’s got good growth potential (23%) and if you love computers and helping people, this could be a great fit.
6. Internet marketer – $70k
With more companies turning to the internet and social media for marketing, this is a good ground-floor career to get in on. Best pursued with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, you’ll likely make just under $70k in your first year.
7. Financial analyst – $66k
If you have a degree in business, finance, economics, accounting, or statistics, and you feel you can give sound advice to business about expanding their growth, then you could make an average of $66k in your first year.
8. Pharmaceutical rep – $60k
You’ll need a degree in chemistry, pharmaceutical science, or marketing, plus some training, but the pay is almost $60k in the first year, and you’ll be interacting with people for a good chunk of your workweek.
9. Web designer – $58k
If you have a degree in computer science, graphic design, and/or some programming knowledge (i.e. HTML, CSS, java, flash, PHP, or MySQL), and you’d perhaps like to set your own schedule and workplace location, then you could be making around $58k in your first year designing and building websites.
10. RN – $45k
Registered nurses make over $45k in their first year. You’ll need a degree in nursing, plus you’ll have to pass a national licensure exam, but there’s good growth (22%), and you’ll be helping people for a living!
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