Some bachelor's degree jobs offer a high return.
It's common knowledge that earning a graduate degree can lead to a high-salary job. But in some fields, a bachelor's credential is sufficient to put workers on a path to six-figure earnings. Such a high level of compensation may not be immediate, since in many cases workers need to gain experience before advancing to higher-salary positions. Employers may also look for candidates who hold professional certifications, so studying may not stop after college graduation. The following careers, listed by salary level, are a few occupations where a bachelor's degree can lead to a job with an annual salary above $100,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the bureau indicates that a bachelor's degree is usually adequate for these fields, some employers may prefer or require candidates to have a graduate degree or other professional certification.
Human resources managers
Human resources managers oversee the administrative functions of a business. Among other duties, they often help manage a company's recruitment, interview and hiring processes. In 2020, human resources managers took home a median salary of $121,220, according to the BLS. The number of jobs for HR managers is predicted to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, per BLS projections.
Compensation and benefits managers
Compensation and benefits managers develop an organization's salary and benefits structures. Some managers focus on both compensation and benefits while others specialize in one or the other. Workers in this profession earned a median salary of $125,130 in 2020, according to BLS data. The BLS predicts 3% employment growth from 2019 to 2029 for compensation and benefits managers.
Airline and commercial pilots
Airline and commercial pilots are responsible for flying and navigating airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft. Flight certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration are required for those working as airline or commercial pilots. The median salary for this occupation was $130,440 in 2020, per the most recent BLS data. Predicted job growth from 2019 to 2029 is 5%, according to BLS estimates.
Sales managers direct the distribution of a company's products to its customers. This can involve assigning sales territories, setting sales goals and creating training programs for sales representatives, among other responsibilities. According to the BLS, the median salary for sales managers in 2020 was $132,290. The projected growth rate for this position is 4% from 2019 to 2029, per BLS data.
Financial managers plan for and oversee investments and long-term financial goals for their organizations. They often work for banks, investment firms and insurance companies, among other institutions. BLS data indicates that financial managers brought home a median salary of $134,180 in 2020. The projected growth for the financial management occupation between 2019 and 2029 is 15%, much higher than the average growth rate for all occupations, according to BLS numbers.
Petroleum engineers design and develop methods to extract oil and gas from underground. These jobs may require office work as well as being on site at extraction points. Workers in the petroleum engineering field earned a median salary of $137,330 in 2020 and the profession is poised to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, according to BLS data.
Natural sciences managers
Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists such as chemists, physicists and biologists, spending time in both the office and laboratories. The median annual pay for managers in the natural sciences was $137,940 in 2020, per BLS data. BLS projections show expected occupational growth of 5% from 2019 to 2029.
Advertising, promotions and marketing managers
Advertising managers work to boost interest in a product or service by developing effective ad campaigns. Promotions managers aim to increase a company's sales by managing projects that combine advertising with some sort of purchasing incentive, like a coupon or sample. Marketing managers monitor trends and direct marketing programs and policies. The median salary for these types of positions in 2020 was $141,490, according to the BLS, which also predicts that the number of jobs for advertising, promotions and marketing managers will increase by 6% from 2019 to 2029.
Architectural and engineering managers
These managers oversee plans and activities in architectural and engineering companies. Their work can be done in offices, research laboratories or industrial production plants. Requiring at least a bachelor's degree and work experience as an architect or engineer, these jobs netted a median annual salary of $149,530 in 2020. Employment in the field is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, per the BLS.
Computer and information systems managers
Computer and information systems managers are responsible for planning, coordinating and directing all things related to computers within their organizations. These professionals earned annual median pay of $151,150 in 2020, according to BLS data. The BLS projection for growth in this occupation is 10% from 2019 to 2029.
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Jobs that pay $100K+ and require only a bachelor's
— Human resources managers: $121,220
— Compensation and benefits managers: $125,130
— Airline and commercial pilots: $130,440
— Sales managers: $132,290
— Financial managers: $134,180
— Petroleum engineers: $137,330
— Natural sciences managers: $137,940
— Advertising, promotions and marketing managers: $141,490
— Architectural and engineering managers: $149,530
— Computer and information systems managers: $151,150