Good at Math, Science, or Computers? Choosing the right Degree in College can lead to Lucrative Entry Level Jobs
Choosing the right degree path in college can make a substantial difference in the quality of your life after graduation. If you have a knack for computers, strong financial acumen, or are good at math or science, you can choose a college degree that can lead to a job that pays much, much higher than the median annual wage in the U.S. of $43,460.
Best-Paying Entry Level Jobs for Recent College Graduates
- Computer engineer. Computer programmers, software engineers, and computer systems engineers all earned nearly double the U.S. median wage. In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that programmers took in nearly $75,000 on average, while software developers and systems engineers each brought in more than $90,000 per year. Employers seek job candidates with proven understanding of complex technologies, as well as bachelor's or master's degrees in information technology or computer sciences.
- Electrical engineer. On average, electrical engineers made $86,250 in 2009, the BLS reports. Electrical engineers develop, design, test and implement complex electrical systems or components in many different settings. Many electrical engineers find work for defense or space contractors and work on next-generation vehicles. Others work in power distribution, generation and transmission--all growing fields. Job seekers should have earned a college degree in electrical engineering for nearly all entry-level jobs.
- Investment banker or financial services agent. Investment bankers typically earn a good base salary and have the chance to cash in through sales of banking services such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or insurance. Training brokers usually start with a salary until they build up their client base--which can push wages way, way higher. Investment bankers and financial service agents earned average annual salaries of $91,390 in 2009, the BLS says, but the top 10 percent took home more than $160,000 annually. The minimum education level for job seekers should be at least a bachelor's or master's degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics.
- Registered nurse. Although nursing doesn't pay as much as the above career paths for entry-level jobs, it still pays well for students who complete college degree programs in nursing and pass a national licensing exam. Registered nurses--and there is a pressing need, both in big cities and rural areas throughout the U.S., says the BLS--made average annual salaries of $66,530 in 2009. Nurses who work graveyard shifts typically take home a slight night differential that can boost pay. Registered nurses hold bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing.
- Database administrators. A good job for recent college graduates who have earned a college degree in database administration, computer sciences, management information systems, or information technology. Database administrations use data management software to store, organize, and disseminate data. They took home annual wages approaching $75,000 on average. California and New York employed the most database administrators, the BLS reports.
- Petroleum, nuclear, aerospace, or mechanical engineer. All these jobs require candidates to hold a minimum education level of a bachelor's degree in engineering. Despite problems associated with offshore oil well drilling, or regulatory challenges on nuclear power generation, or reduced funding for aerospace programs, each of these job fields needs "fresh blood" to replace retiring workers, the BLS says. Petroleum engineers earned average annual salaries of almost $120,000 in 2009, while nuclear engineers earned just over $100,000. Mechanical engineers, which have a much larger employment base from which to seek jobs, earned more than $80,000 annually on average.
10 Highest Paying Entry Level Jobs • http://www.thebestdegrees.org • http://www.thebestdegrees.org/10-highest-paying-entry-level-jobs/ • BestDegrees.org
May 2009 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates--United States • http://www.bls.gov • http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000 • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics