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College Success

18 High Paying Jobs and the Degrees Behind Them

03.29.2022 • 13 min read

Jennifer Rivera

Subject Matter Expert

The article provides a list of the 18 highest paying jobs detailed with the descriptions, the education required to get them, and the average salary.

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In This Article

  1. Logistician

  2. Computer Systems Analyst

  3. Construction Manager

  4. Art Director

  5. Database Administrators and Architects

  6. Information Security Analyst

  7. Chief Executive Officer

  8. Industrial Production Manager

  9. Software Developer

  10. Public Relations and Fundraising Manager

  11. Human Resources Manager

  12. Air Traffic Controller

  13. Sales Manager

  14. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

  15. Petroleum Engineer

  16. Natural Sciences Manager

  17. Architectural and Engineering Manager

  18. Airline Pilot

Going back to school is a big investment in time and money, so it’s important to know that your investment is going to pay off. Certainly money isn’t everything; you should make sure you really enjoy what you’re doing and that you get enjoyment from it. That being said, money is also very important.

Here are 18 positions with an annual median salary over $75,000 you can qualify for with a bachelor’s degree*:

1. Logistician

Logisticians are people who organize the flow of goods and services in the supply chain. This person is essentially the conductor of the organization, ensuring everyone and everything is moving at a good pace. People who like to pay attention to systems and the bigger picture are sure to like this position.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $76,270

  • This job market is projected to grow 30% in the next 10 years, which is much faster than the average job growth in the U.S.

  • This is a great position for you if you like to see how all the pieces fit together, or if you are a person who likes to tweak systems to see if you can make them better. These jobs also require you to be able to work with all kinds of data to make projections about how processes can function more effectively.

2. Computer Systems Analyst

This position is one where the job is what it says - you analyze computer systems. You will spend your days examining how your organization works with computers, and find ways to do it more effectively and efficiently. The median annual salary for this position is $93,730 This job market is projected to grow by about 7% in the next 10 years. This is about the average growth for jobs in the United States. This might be a great job for you if you are interested in technology and like solving puzzles or problems.

3. Construction Manager

This is a great job for someone who likes people but also likes to work with their hands. A construction manager leads a team of people in construction projects. This is a job that not only requires hands-on construction experience but requires important soft skills necessary for leading a team. Sometimes even a high school degree or an associate's degree will qualify you for this position. Work experience is often important in this position, but people skills are just as important.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $97,180

  • This job market is projected to grow 11% in the next 10 years, which is above average for job growth in the U.S.

  • This would be a great job if you can communicate well and direct a team. This is a job for someone who is detail oriented and able to communicate well with many different kinds of people, from bankers to construction workers.

4. Art Director

Another position that’s good for creative people is an art director. For this job, you would work on movies, publications, or a related field to make sure the visuals fit the image and messaging the company is trying to project.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $97,270.

  • This job market is projected to grow 11% in the next 10 years - faster than average growth for jobs in the U.S.

  • This might be a great job for you if you are excellent at leading a team. You should also have a creative spirit and a good eye for design. Communication skills are a must, as well as good listening skills.

5. Database Administrators and Architects

This position is a great career option for someone who likes to work with computer hardware, data, and systems. Data administrators and architects find ways to store data systematically and make sure it’s secure. This means it’s important to follow processes and be able to improve them continually.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $98,860

  • This job market is projected to grow 8% in the next 10 years, which is the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This is a great position for someone who likes working with systems and flow, as well as technology. This job requires strong attention to detail, good communication skills, and evaluation of a variety of information.

6. Information Security Analyst

Another technology lover's position, this job lets you get into the sleuthing side of technology. For this job, you will do things like diagnose computer viruses and find ways to eliminate them from different kinds of technology. You are also your company’s first line of defense for security breaches and creating preventative measures to stop these breaches in the first place.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $103,590

  • This job is fast growing. Openings are projected to increase by 33% in the next 10 years. This is much faster than the average growth for a job in the United States

  • This might be a great job for you if you are curious, a good critical thinker, and have strong communication skills.

7. Chief Executive Officer

People are often surprised that this position only requires a bachelor’s degree. You will love this job if you love growing an organization to be the best it can be. This position leads the executive team of an organization to set and attain short and long-term goals for the organization. This job does take years of experience in your chosen industry, as this gives you the vision you need to see the organization from multiple viewpoints. CEOs come from a variety of degrees, though business administration is a common major in this position.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $107,680

  • This job market is projected to grow 8% in the next 10 years, which is average job growth for the U.S.

  • This is a great position for you if you are ambitious and willing to work your way to the top of an organization. For this job, you not only need to set goals for the organization, but you also need to help create the culture of the organization.

8. Industrial Production Manager

If you have always wondered how life works inside a manufacturing plant, this may be a great job for you to look into. The flow of a manufacturing plant, from who goes where to what machine works when is all controlled by the Industrial Production Manager.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $108,790

  • This job market is projected to grow 5% in the next 10 years, which is slower than the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This is a great position for you if you like to understand how systems work and like to tinker with them to make things better. This job also allows you to do quality control tests, seeing where problems are in the systems, and find ways to fix them.

9. Software Developer

Do you love information technology and computer science? Are you always dreaming up ideas about how technology can be used in computer programs? This might be the career for you! A software developer creates new programs and applications for computers. They also work on testing programs and identifying any problems or bugs with web developers.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $110,140

  • This job market is projected to grow 22% over the next 10 years—much faster than the average growth of positions in the U.S.

  • This would be a great job if you are someone who enjoys dreaming up ideas and pushing through to make them a reality. This job requires high attention to detail and excellent communication across teams working on the same project.

10. Public Relations and Fundraising Manager

This is a great position if you like creating new ways of presenting or thinking about the way you present ideas, products or services. These positions are also great for “people people” who really like getting to know others from a particular perspective.

  • The median average salary for this position is $118,430

  • The job is projected to grow 13% in the next 10 years, which is faster than the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This is a great position for someone who is creative and loves to connect with people through storytelling. Both of these jobs create campaigns to show people things they might want or need—be those products or helping particular causes.

11. Human Resources Manager

A human resources manager is a great position for people who like to work with people and have an eye for detail. This position works with a team to interview potential candidates, run employee processes, and keep up on employment law.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $121,220

  • This job market is projected to grow 9% in the next 10 years, which is about average for job growth in the U.S.

  • This might be a great job for you if you are great with conflict management, listening skills, and interpersonal communication. This person should also be interested in learning about people, be able to design training programs, and have good negotiation skills.

12. Air Traffic Controller

If you are fascinated with flight, but not really interested in doing the actual flying, this job might be a great opportunity for you. This is a job well suited for the detail oriented and someone who likes a fast-paced job.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $130,420

  • This job market is projected to grow 4% in the next 10 years, which is slower than the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This would be a great position if you like jobs that really make you concentrate. These jobs often have night and or weekend shifts and require significant attention to detail to ensure the safety of those on the planes as well as on the ground.

13. Sales Manager

This position is great for someone who loves to connect with people and help them assess and fulfill their needs. This position is also great for people who have a great ability to direct a team towards their group and individual goals.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $132,290

  • This job market is projected to grow 7% in the next 10 years, which is the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This is a great position for someone who is extroverted and able to work well with a variety of people. You must be an excellent communicator and also be someone who is comfortable analyzing data and using that data to create new goals for your team.

14. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Are you a creative soul? If so, you might love this position. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers work with their teams to create campaigns to get people to notice and buy products or services. You’ll negotiate contracts and work with your team to create layouts and pitch ideas.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $133,460 (advertising and promotions managers)-$142,170 (marketing managers)

  • This job market is projected to grow 10% in the next 10 years. This is about the average growth for jobs in the U.S.

  • This might be a great job for you if you are creative, love a fast-paced position, and have excellent communication skills. This is a position where you’ll need to be able to clearly and ethically direct people in teams.

15. Petroleum Engineer

This job doesn’t just extract raw materials like oil and gas from the earth, though that is certainly part of the job. People in this position also work to find more cost efficient and more environmentally friendly ways to run power plants and find gas and oil for the everyday needs of people.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $137,330.

  • This job market is projected to grow 8% over the next 10 years, which is about average for job growth in the U.S.

  • This would be a great position for you if you think outside the box and like to find new ways to do things. This is a job that can take you to many places around the world - even out in the ocean! Some petroleum engineers work outside, so you should love the outdoors and be able to handle working in all kinds of weather conditions.

16. Natural Sciences Manager

If you are someone who loves science and loves talking to others about science, this might be a great job. This person not only does science but helps manage a team of other scientists to help make scientific advances. In this position, you would direct people towards goals they set for the team, and help the team to see the bigger picture their experiments may fit into.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $137,940

  • This job market is projected to grow 6% over the next 10 years, which is about average for job growth in the U.S.

  • This would be a great position for you if you are passionate about the sciences, but also like working with a team to achieve broader goals. Good communication skills are a plus to help get your ideas across to the team, and present the team’s ideas and progress to donors or funding agencies.

17. Architectural and Engineering Manager

Do you like to be the central hub of a project? Are you interested in how things work or how they are built? This might be a great position for you. People in this position work with people who are building the project, financing the project, and going to be working or living in the space being built.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $149,530

  • This job market is projected to grow 4% in the next 10 years, which is slower than the average job growth for the U.S.

  • This would be a great position for you if you like mechanics and structure, enjoy working with all kinds of different people, like seeing the big picture and keeping track of the details, and like to see your ideas take shape in a physical form.

18. Airline Pilot

If you have a sense of adventure, a desire to travel, and very strong communication skills, this might be an ideal job for you! Airline pilots don’t just fly the plane - they are a key piece in the safety of flying! Pilots are the ones who run through preflight and inflight safety checks. They are also responsible for making sure everyone on the plane - from crew to passengers - is safe and following all requirements and guidelines.

  • The median annual salary for this position is $160,970

  • This job market is projected to grow 13% over the next 10 years—faster than the average growth of positions in the U.S.

  • This would be a great job for you if you love to fly and are a stickler for details. You also need to be an excellent communicator - making sure that the directions you give are clear and understandable to everyone. You also need to be comfortable with shifting work patterns. Pilots will generally fly for multiple days, often with overnight layovers, and then get time off at home for a few days.

Going back to school is a big investment in time and money, so it’s important to know that your investment is going to pay off.

The Bottom Line…

You might notice that many of these career paths require working with people. The highest paying careers are often ones that require you to be able to effectively manage people. That means that while you are working on your undergraduate degree, much of your general education coursework can help you with some of the “people” skills that will be helpful in many of these positions. Psychology, Sociology and Communication courses, like the ones you can sign up for on Outlier, can help you ‌understand people better, and be an effective manager and leader. Job training is important, but developing these leadership skills while you are getting your college degree will put you in an excellent position to obtain one of these high paying positions.

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