6 High Paying Entry-Level Jobs for College Grads

best paying jobs

Generating some cash towards your student loan debt payments could mean adopting a new savings plan or finding new and creative ways to garner extra money in your pocket. Nothing compares, however, to a steady paycheck to bolster your finances.

For the newly minted grad looking to jumpstart their career prospects, getting hired can be difficult since those between the ages of 20 to 24 have an unemployment rate that tops 8 percent. So can landing the best paying jobs with ample room for advancement — they often depend on the field in which you earn your degree.

Here are six of the fastest growing, best paying jobs to earn you the most money at the entry level, straight out of college.

6 best paying jobs for college graduates

1. Investment banker

Average starting salary: $73,000

Arguably the highest paid job one can obtain with a bachelor’s degree (with an average median salary into the low six figures), becoming an investment banker doesn’t mean you’ll simply be crunching numbers all day. No, you’ll need to channel your inner Warren Buffett to stand among the brightest and best.

Becoming an investment banker requires a good eye for economics, math, or business, so you should have a degree in at least one of those three fields. Whether you’re Wall Street-bound or looking for a smaller-scale gig, expect a high pressure working environment and long hours protecting your clients’ funds and predicting the best investments for them.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, investment banking will have grown 10 percent between 2014 and 2024.

2. Software developer

Average starting salary: $54,000

Software developers wear many hats and can sometimes carry different titles. A new bachelor’s degree holder in a field like computer or information science, math, or engineering offers enough diversity that you could be designing video games, writing complex computer coding like C++, or developing software.

An entry-level software developer may hold the title of software engineer, and depending on the company or firm you work for, you may hold a more integral role managing the organization’s entire IT structure or support system.

Engineers are often recruited by everyone from larger companies to smaller startups. Though one drawback is a constant learning curve to stay abreast of new technologies and skills as they emerge, it’s one profession that’s future-proof against becoming obsolete. If Apple or Microsoft come calling, you can climb into a six-figure salary.

3. Actuary

Average starting salary: $65,000

What actually is an actuary? Using a combo of math, statistics, and financial theories, actuaries assess and analyze the financial consequences and outcomes associated with risk-taking business moves.

Companies — mostly insurance firms — employ actuaries when determining the rates they assess to customers. A solid mathematical education and proficiency mean you could find yourself branching out to work for the government, banks, other financial institutions, or health care organizations and hospitals.

The BLS predicts a whopping 18-percent job growth in the actuarial field by 2024.

4. Network systems administrator

Average starting salary: $62,000

When your company’s computer systems crash, who do you call? If you’re thinking of a career in software engineering or development, a computer science degree can also qualify you to become a network systems administrator, the person who gets the system back up and running.

The network admin doesn’t just fix bugs or reconnect faulty Wi-Fi connections. Your role is much more critical than that. You’ll need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to predicting and safeguarding your network against hackers, viruses, and security issues that could compromise your organization financially and professionally.

There’s a lot of responsibility attached to being in charge of an entire network (or several), such as developing proprietary firewalls and other software, as well as overseeing phone connections — thus, your starting-to-median income will show for it.

Newbie network admins can pull an initial salary in the low $60,000s as a starting engineer, but a fully fledged admin with the right technical acumen may earn closer to $100,000.

5. Engineering

Average starting salary: $53,000

An engineering degree can open up so many doors in the field that it’s a smart and financially sound career move for anyone looking to be well-compensated immediately following graduation.

Engineering students have a wide variety of concentrations to choose from: Nuclear or electrical engineers earn a median salary that tops $90,000, where you’ll have a leading role in developing processes, fixing issues, and finding solutions.

Like software development, engineering is a diverse, wide profession. Agricultural engineers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, and petroleum, aerospace, and environmental engineers are just a small sample of career choices to make.

6. Internet marketing

Average starting salary: $41,000

In a nutshell, marketing is the practice of advertising and finding opportunities to sell a product, a service, or something else of value to someone else. Internet marketing is the use of the web to broaden a company’s marketing efforts and customer base to increase its revenue and reach.

But internet marketing is more than just being a social media coordinator. A savvy marketer will need to be a branding whiz who knows instinctively how to leverage email, search engine optimization, blogs, podcasts, videos, and other outlets to maximize your company’s presence.

To start as a marketing specialist, a bachelor’s degree in marketing won’t earn much at first — only the low $40,000s — but the career and income growth can expand exponentially. (Marketing managers can take home $120,000+ annually.)

It’s one of the most secured and open-ended professions unlikely to die out, either — the internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Research the best paying jobs

The best jobs for recent college grads don’t have to be elusive when you choose what you study wisely.

Parents and kids should talk about the costs of college to determine how much tuition may cost for that engineering or computer science degree at your school of choice. After that, research how much the job will pay upon graduation and beyond to see your earning potential.

By taking these financials into account, you’ll know what college will cost, how much to borrow in loans, and what the curriculum entails — but most importantly, what your future earnings will be to keep you ahead of your loans and out of debt.

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