The 10 highest-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree all pay more than $118,000 a year (2024)

After four-plus extra years of school and thousands of dollars (or more) in student loans, college graduates have high hopes for the kind of job and lifestyle they imagine their bachelor's degree will bring.

On average, new grads expect to earn $60,000 in their first job out of college, and while that number may be high — most will earn closer to $50,000 — most will get there in time. Bachelor's degree holders make a median weekly salary of $1,173, or about $60,996 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's far more than what someone with an associate's degree or high school diploma will take home, but about $35,000 less than what a professional degree holder typically earns annually.

But heading back to school to collect additional degrees isn't the only path toward salaries in the $90,000s. Instead, there are dozens of jobs that will reward bachelor's degree recipients with a similarly hefty paycheck. The trick is to know which positions to go after.

To help job seekers best capitalize on their academic achievement, CNBC Make It analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the occupations that pay workers the largest salaries while only requiring a bachelor's degree to be hired.

So if you want to earn well into the six-figures with your undergraduate experience, consider one of these 10 jobs:

Purchasing managers

Supervisor doing paperwork while using laptop in warehouse

Morsa Images | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Median salary: $118,940
Projected job growth through 2026: 5 percent

These workers oversee and coordinate the activities of a company's buyers and purchasing agents or the people responsible for buying products and services for a company to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, interview vendors and visit suppliers' plants and distribution centers, negotiate contracts, and attend meetings and trade shows to learn about new industry trends. In addition, they maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories, develop their organization's procurement policies and procedures, and train new staff.

Compensation and benefits managers

Hinterhaus Productions | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $121,010
Projected job growth through 2026: 5 percent

These workers develop and oversee a company's programs for compensating employees. This means they help set the organization's pay and benefits structure, determine competitive wage rates, select and manage outside partners, such as benefits vendors, insurance brokers and investment managers, and ensure that pay and benefit plans comply with federal and state regulations.

Natural sciences managers

Median annual pay: $123,860
Projected job growth through 2026: 10 percent

These managers supervise the work of scientists, such as chemists, physicists and biologists. They direct research and development activities and coordinate all testing, quality control, and production procedures. Natural sciences managers also typically work with executives at a company to set the goals for researchers or developers on staff, create a budget for projects, review staff members' methodology and the accuracy of their research results, and present project proposals, research findings, and the status of projects to clients and top management.

Sales managers

Caiaimage/Tom Merton | Caiaimage | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $124,220
Projected job growth through 2026: 7 percent

Responsible for directing a company's sales teams, sales managers must assign sales territories and set sales goals or quotas, develop training programs for an organizations' sales representatives, resolve customers complaints regarding sales and service, project sales and determine the profitability of products and services, monitor customer preferences, and develop strategies for acquiring new clients. They also frequently work closely with managers from other departments in the organization, such as marketing or research and design.

Financial managers

Monty Rakusen | Cultura | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $127,990
Projected job growth through 2026: 19 percent

These managers look after the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, ensure that legal requirements are met, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization. Because of technological advances that have reduced the amount of time needed to produce financial reports, many financial managers now do more data analysis and advise senior managers on ways to maximize profits.

Marketing managers

Ingolf Hatz | Cultura | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $134,290
Projected job growth through 2026: 10 percent

Understanding the need or demand for the product or services an organization offers is this manager's main job. It is up to them to identify potential markets interested in the company's products and develop pricing strategies that help maximize profits and market share while keeping customers satisfied. They work closely with sales, public relations and product development staff to discuss topics such as budgets and contracts, marketing plans and the selection of advertising media.

Petroleum engineers

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $137,170
Projected job growth through 2026: 15 percent

These engineers develop methods for extracting oil and gas from onshore and offshore underground reserves as well as find new ways to do the same from older wells. They design equipment used to extract the fossil fuels and ensure it is installed and operated correctly, create the plan for how to drill in these oil fields and recover the oil, find ways to inject water, chemicals, gases or steam into an oil reserve to force out more oil or gas, and finally evaluate well production. They work closely with geoscientists and other specialists to understand the rock or other formation containing the deposit.

Architectural and engineering managers

vm | E+ | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $140,760
Projected job growth through 2026: 6 percent

These managers are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or for solving the technical problems that prevent the completion of a project within an architectural and engineering company. This means they make detailed plans for the development of new products, lead research and development projects to create new products, processes or designs, review the methods and technical accuracy of their staff's work, and determine the budgets needed for projects. They often work with other managers, including those in finance, production, and marketing, as well as with contractors and equipment and materials suppliers.

Computer and information systems managers

John Fedele | Tetra images | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $142,530
Projected job growth through 2026: 12 percent

These tech workers direct all computer and technology-related activities within an organization. They determine a company's computer needs and recommend the appropriate products to top executives, oversee and plan the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software and ensure the security of a company's network and electronic documents.

Chief executives

Martin Barraud | OJO Images | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $189,600
Projected job growth through 2026: -4 percent

Also known as chief executive officers, executive directors, managing directors or presidents, these leaders are responsible for the overall direction of a company or organization. They manage the company operations, formulate and implement company policies, oversee an organization's financial and budgetary activities, and ensure profit, revenue and sales goals are met.

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The 10 highest-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree all pay more than $118,000 a year (2024)


How can I make 100k a year with a bachelor's degree? ›

Table of Contents
  1. Some bachelor's degree jobs offer a high return.
  2. Construction Managers.
  3. Medical and Health Services Managers.
  4. Art Directors.
  5. Actuaries.
  6. Computer Network Architects.
  7. Medical Dosimetrists.
  8. Human Resources Managers.
Feb 8, 2024

What is the highest paying job with a bachelor's degree? ›

20 high-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree
  1. Project manager. ...
  2. Nuclear engineer. ...
  3. Petroleum engineer. ...
  4. Chemical engineer. ...
  5. Construction superintendent. ...
  6. Architect. ...
  7. Aerospace engineer. ...
  8. Statistician.
Apr 18, 2024

How to make $100,000 right out of college? ›

Best jobs with a bachelor's degree that pay over $100,000 per year
  1. Sales executive. ...
  2. Compensation manager. ...
  3. Economist. ...
  4. Actuary. ...
  5. Risk manager. ...
  6. Strategy manager. ...
  7. Chief financial officer. ...
  8. Loan officer.
Apr 18, 2024

Which bachelor's degree has the highest salary? ›

College majors that pay the most right after college
  • Computer engineering. $80,000.
  • Chemical engineering. $79,000.
  • Computer science. $78,000.
  • Aerospace engineering. $74,000.
  • Electrical engineering. $72,000.
  • Industrial engineering. $71,000.
  • Mechanical engineering. $70,000.
Mar 14, 2024

How to make 200k a year without a degree? ›

3 jobs that can pay $200k a year
  1. Real estate associate.
  2. Voice-over artist.
  3. Business owner.
  4. Inspector.
  5. Makeup artist.
  6. Sales representative.
  7. Web developer.
  8. Truck driver.
Apr 18, 2024

What entry level job pays the most? ›

10 Entry-Level Jobs That Actually Pay—Plus Tips on How to Get Them
  • Business analyst, IT.
  • Investment associate.
  • Desktop support engineer.
  • HR associate.
  • Executive assistant.
  • Marketing associate.
  • Sales development representative.
  • Tips for landing a high-paying entry-level job.

Can you make six figures with a bachelor's degree? ›

Many types of engineers can start their work with just a bachelor's degree, and there is a high pay range for this type of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , mechanical engineers earn an average of $95,300 a year, while environmental engineers earn $96,820 a year on average.

What is the highest paying job right out of college? ›

25 of the highest-paying out-of-college jobs
  • Biomedical engineer. ...
  • Nuclear engineer. ...
  • Petroleum engineer. ...
  • Civil engineer. ...
  • Aerospace engineer. ...
  • Electrical engineer. ...
  • Chemical engineer. ...
  • Statistician.
Apr 18, 2024

What job makes the most money? ›

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in USA (Inc Salaries)
  1. Chief Executive Officer. The company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for guiding the company towards success and growth. ...
  2. Physician/ Doctor. ...
  3. Psychiatrist. ...
  4. Airline Pilot. ...
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. ...
  6. Orthodontist. ...
  7. Lawyer. ...
  8. Architectural and Engineering Manager.

What diploma pays the most? ›

Dentistry is the highest paying degree and has been for some years.

What's the fastest degree that makes the most money? ›

Top 15 Quick Degrees That Pay Well
  • Human Resources. ...
  • Information Technology. ...
  • Management. ...
  • Management Information Systems. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Sociology. A bachelor's in sociology doesn't mean you have to become a sociologist. ...
  • Supply Chain Management. A global economy relies on effective supply chains.

How much should you make a year with a bachelor's degree? ›

$38,189 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $69,525 is the 75th percentile.

How hard is it to make 100K a year? ›

Building up to or earning 6 figures is not easy. It will take hard work to be able to earn that much or acquire that much wealth.

What career can you make 100K a year? ›

Jobs that pay $100K a year typically require a bachelor's degree or higher. For example, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), physicians, surgeons, chief executives, lawyers, pharmacists, and dentists in the U.S. all earn more than $100,000 per year, on average.

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