What Are High Salary Jobs for Recent College Grads?

Many high salary jobs are available today for recent college graduates, including those in business, engineering and computer science. Read on to learn about a few careers options with high entry-level salaries.

High Paying Job Options for Recent College Graduates

According to a 2015 report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average starting salary for 2015 college graduates with a bachelor's degree was $50,651. Among the top-paying disciplines were engineering, computer science, and business, with average starting salaries of $61,819 $65,849 and $49,536, respectively.

Important Facts About These Careers

Petroleum Engineers Financial Managers Software Developers
Key Skills Math, analytical, and problem-solving skills Detail oriented, math, and communication skills Creativity, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills
Similar Occupations Geoscientist, industrial engineer, materials engineer Loan officer, budget analyst, insurance underwriter Computer network architect, database administrator, information systems analyst
Work Schedule Full-time, though hours are often irregular when going out to drilling sites Full-time, sometimes over 40 hours a week Full-time, commonly long hours
On-the-Job Training Some universities offer paid internships. Some companies, such as JP Morgan Chase, offer training programs in finance Internships are often available for college students.

Petroleum Engineers

NACE data shows that the job with the highest average starting salary in 2015 for recent college graduates was petroleum engineer. These engineers design methods for extracting oil and gas deposits from the earth and discover new ways to get the deposits from older wells. They may also be responsible for evaluating wells, conducting site surveys, and making sure site equipment is installed and operating correctly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree in petroleum, mechanical or chemical engineering is typically required for this job. Petroleum engineers must also secure a state license. Licensure requirements may vary by state but typically require graduating from an ABET-accredited engineering program, having at least four years of work experience and passing two exams.

The NACE reports that the average starting salary for petroleum engineers was $72,063 in 2015, but their earning potential is much higher. According to BLS data from May 2014, the median salary for petroleum engineers was $130,050, with the top 25% earning $185,200 or more. The BLS also reports a faster than average job outlook, with an expected growth in employment of 10% from 2014-2024.

Financial Managers

In 2015, college graduates entering careers in finance earned an average starting salary of $52,788, per NACE data. Financial managers are responsible for overseeing and monitoring the financial health of an organization. Specific responsibilities may include preparing or reviewing company financial reports and statements, analyzing market trends, making long-term company financial goals and finding ways to reduce costs. The BLS reports that most financial managers have at least a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field, like accounting, economics or business; however, some positions may require a master's degree.

The BLS has predicted that employment of financial managers will grow by 7% from 2014-2024, which as fast as the national average. The median salary for all financial managers was $115,320 in May 2014, though the top 25% made about $159,230.

Software Developers

Software developers come up with ideas for computer programs and applications then design, develop and maintain the program. These individuals may work on computer applications and games for consumers or they may concentrate on systems software and operating systems for computers or mobile devices. Software developers typically have bachelor's degrees in computer science or closely related fields.

Salaries for for this field depend on the industry. In 2014, according the BLS, applications software developers working in the computer systems design industry earned an average wage of $97,490, while those working with securities and commodity exchanges earned an average of $125,360. The BLS also reports that the median salary among all application software developers for that year was $95,510, while those working in systems software earned $102,880. This field is expected to see an employment growth of 17% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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