10 Highest Salaried Jobs for Graduates

The Highest-Paying Jobs For Recent College Graduates
Bachelor's degrees are not the fast-track to big paychecks they once were. But professionals in some fields have a significant head-start in the years immediately following graduation according to a study by Elana Altman, a career editor and contributing writer at Her Campus, a Cambridge-based online magazine. "You always hear about law school and medical school, but those are things that take a time and money," Altman said. "These are things you can do to make money right out of college."

10 - Registered Nurse
Average first-year salary:$47,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree in nursing, passing a national licensing exam.

From creating plans of care to dismissing patients from the hospital, nurses follow patients' medical conditions throughout their stay in hospitals. As in all other medical careers, a strong background in math and science is an absolute requirement. According to the BLS, petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface—and they’re responsible for finding new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells. They typically work in offices, research laboratories, or at drilling sites. Employment of petroleum engineers is expected to grow 17% from 2010 to 2020.


9 - Web Designer
Average first-year salary:$58,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's computer science or graphic design.

This field combines art, design, an eye for great websites and HTML. Designers can either work for a firm of their own managing different clients, or sign up to build and maintain the website of one larger companies.


8 - Pharmaceutical Representative
Average first-year salary:$59,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree in chemistry, pharmaceutical science, marketing.

Altman said seeing this career on the top-paid list caught her off guard: Nearly all other career choices on the list require strong math or computer skills, but pharmaceutical representatives are more people-oriented. Representatives meet with doctors and pharmacist to ensure their company's drug is the first that comes to mind when they prescribe a cure for applicable ailments.


7 - Financial Analyst
Average first-year salary:$66,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's or master's degree in finance, business, accounting, statistics, or economics.

Analysts dole out advice on how to best grow a company's or individual's worth. Getting a job in this field is hugely dependent on contacts, so grow your network through internships and university activities.


6 - Internet Marketer
Average first-year salary:$67,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree in marketing, relevant work experience.

This nascent career path was created when companies realized they could directly interact with consumers through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as through their own websites and Web advertising, according to HerCampus.com. Internet marketers are responsible for keeping the brand's followers and fans updated on all things relating to that brand, with a focus of special deals, sales, and new products.


5 - Network Systems Administrator
Average first-year salary:$69,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree in computer science.

Good with computers? Enjoy helping others? Think about becoming a systems administrator. When computers, phone, televisions, or printers break, system admins swoop in and fix the problem.


4 - Engineer
Average first-year salary:$72,000
Preferred background: Bachelor of Science in engineering, passing two state licensure exams.

Here's one for the problem solvers: Those who pass rigorous engineering school curriculums are handsomely compensated during the first years of their careers. Engineers fix issues that arise in fields from bridge-building to agriculture.


3 - Actuary
Average first-year salary:$79,000
Preferred background: Strong mathematical background, passing a series of professional exams.

Actuaries, most of whom work for insurance companies, calculate risk to help determine insurance rates. Altman of HerCampus.com said this was the one professional group on the MyDegree.com list she had never heard much about. "Once I started reading about them, hearing what they did, it made sense," she said. "You need a lot of math skills, and not a lot of people have those."


2 - Software Developer
Average first-year salary:$84,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree computer science, math, or engineering.

This is one math and science-based field that requires abundant creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills. Developers can create anything from medical diagnostic software to video games and office tools. Very strong computer, coding, and math abilities are required, as is a knack for quickly learning new technology as it becomes the industry norm.


1 - Investment Banker
Average first-year salary:$112,000
Preferred background: Bachelor's degree iin economics, business or math.

Students with strong math skills and an eye for business who do not mind putting in long, stressful hours can consider this old-fashioned money maker. As college graduates realize a more benevolent job might not cover their rent, student loan payments, and other bills, money-making careers become more attractive. "Some people look at this and think, 'what will get me money now? Then I can go into something else later on,'" Altman said. "You can't spend all your time making a difference."