highest paying undergrad degrees

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The 9 highest-paying jobs of 2020 you can get with a bachelor’s degree

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While high-paying jobs often require multiple advanced degrees and years of study, some jobs paying nearly $100,000 a year or more require just a bachelor’s degree, according to the latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

The publication’s list of the 25 best-paying jobs of 2020 includes nine jobs that require no grad school, just an undergraduate degree. Here they are, along with their median salaries, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled by U.S. News.

Keep in mind that even though you may only need a bachelor’s and not an advanced degree, certain jobs may require other training or certifications. Pilots, for example, take flight lessons and train for months or even years before being qualified for some licenses, while a financial advisor’s career path may require certain licenses to sell investment products.

9. Financial advisor

Financial advisors help individuals sort out their personal finances, from planning how to fund short- and long-term goals to advising them on paying off debt and helping with investments. Financial advisors can make their money in a variety of ways, from earning commissions to charging for their time.

Median salary: $88,890 per yearHow much money do I need to start investing?Many experts recommend the 50-30-20 rule. Learn more here.

8. Business operations manager

Business operations managers go between the various departments of a business and help them work together to achieve the company’s goals. They have a hand in a wide range of tasks like hiring, budgeting, and product creation.

Median salary: $100,930 per year2:32Suze Orman’s three rules to earn more money at your job

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

7. Actuary

Actuaries calculate the cost of risk in a given industry. Health-care actuaries, for instance, assess the cost of risk for their organizations from illnesses or pandemics.

Median salary: $102,880 per year

6. Pilot

Pilots fly planes and helicopters for commercial airlines like Delta and Jet Blue, for private individuals, for law enforcement, and for the military.

Median salary: $115,670 per year

5. Sales manager

Sales managers generally lead the sales team of a company, focusing on plans and strategies. They may set sales goals, set quotas, help with hiring and personnel, and train new employees.

Median salary: $124,220 per yearTake it or leave itYoung people were the least likely to negotiate when they accepted their most recent job offer.KIERSTEN SCHMIDT/GROW ZIPRECRUITER

4. Financial manager

Financial managers manage the finances of a company by writing reports, for example, and developing strategies for long-term success.

Median salary: $127,990 per year

3. Marketing manager

Marketing managers build online, print, and other campaigns to spread the word about a company’s products and activities. They analyze data around demand for the company’s product and coordinate with the sales team to ensure the release of a product and its marketing happen simultaneously.

Median salary: $134,290 per year

2. Petroleum engineer

Petroleum engineers design and develop ways to extract oil and gas from below the Earth’s surface. Many of them work for oil and gas companies.

Median salary: $137,170 per year

1. IT manager

Information technology managers implement a company’s tech infrastructure and ensure that everything runs smoothly, from selecting the best computers for the company to making sure the web server is continually running.

1. Systems Manager
Salary: $151,150
Job Growth: 10%

Also known as IT managers and IT project managers, these professionals earn a median income of over 150,000 a year, making it the highest-paying bachelor degree job on our list. While you only need a bachelor’s degree for this career, you will need a few years of related work experience.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Information System Management from Colorado Christian University

2. Engineering Manager
Salary: $149,530
Job Growth: 3%

These are the professionals who oversee engineering projects, with tasks that include hiring staff, developing plans, and coordinating work. Once again, because this is a management position you will need related work experience to move into this position, usually at least five years of experience to land one of these jobs.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration / Engineering Management from Salem University

3. Marketing Manager
Salary: $141,490
Job Growth: 6%

With so many avenues for advertising products and services, effective marketing managers are needed to develop strategies and garner attention for manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses. The best marketing managers are well paid, and a bachelor’s degree, as well as work experience in the career, is usually required for this bachelor degree job.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing from Full Sail University

4. Natural Science Manager
Salary: $137,940
Job Growth: 5%

A natural science manager needs to supervise and direct the activities of various scientists, which can include chemists, physicists, or biologists, depending on the position. This career only requires a bachelor’s degree, usually in the applicable scientific discipline, although many will find that advanced management and business degrees are also useful. At least five years of professional experience is also required to land one of these bachelor’s degree jobs.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science / Natural Resources & Conservation from Southern New Hampshire University

5. Petroleum Engineer
Salary: $137,330
Job Growth: 3%

While some believe oil and natural gas are on their way out, making room for other energy sources, there is still a hearty demand for this resource. Engineers in this field are as important as ever. With a higher focus on safety and responsible practices, the need for engineers to create and use extracting equipment, as well as develop innovative new methods remains strong.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management from Bismarck State College

6. Financial Manager
Salary: $134,180
Job Growth: 15%

Large organizations need someone to plan, coordinate, and organize their finances, and they turn to financial managers to oversee these efforts. Most financial managers will have a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, although some companies will require a master’s degree as well. At over $130,000 a year for median income, financial education is one of the highest paid bachelor degrees.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science in Business Administration / Finance from Lindenwood University

7. Sales Manager
Salary: $132,290
Job Growth: 4%

Sales teams are often the most important unit for a company’s success, and good sales managers are needed to hire, train, and oversee an effective group. These professionals are well paid, with median salaries over $130,000.  A bachelor’s degree is often the minimum required education, although on-the-job experience is often required as well.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Marketing & Sales from Colorado Christian University

8. Airline Pilot
Salary: $130,440
Job Growth: 5%

While some pilots only need a high school diploma or equivalent, in addition to pilot training, airline pilots will need a bachelor’s degree. There will also be advanced certificates to land this job, including the Air Transport Pilot certificate, which is issued by the FAA. Airline pilots can have bachelor’s degrees in “any subject” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Bryan University

9. Human Resources Manager
Salary: $121,220
Job Growth: 6%

An HR manager is the professional who coordinates and administers company compensation and benefits packages. They generally need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or management, and at least five years of experience is usually required for these positions.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Capella University

The latest statistics regarding student loan debt in the United States are sobering, to say the least. As of 2020, students in America owe a collective balance of $1.57 trillion, up 12% since the previous year. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that prospective college students are eyeing degrees that promise a good return on investment. After all, there’s nothing more worrying than taking out a loan on your education with the possibility that you won’t be able to pay it off in the future. One sure way to avoid this potential pitfall is to choose a major from among the highest paying bachelor’s degrees available.

Need an online option? Not to worry. Most of the best college degrees for employment are available via distance learning formats. So if you’re looking for the highest paying online bachelor’s degree programs, you’re in the right place.

Methodology for Finding the Best Bachelor Degrees 2021

To identify the 20 highest paying bachelor degrees, our editors consulted PayScale.com’s recent college salary report to identify undergraduate majors associated with the highest return on investment, according to mid-career pay. This figure refers to the median annual wage for professionals with more than ten years of experience in their respective fields. Below, we’ve ranked the 20 highest paying college majors in descending order.

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