8 Highest Paying Careers for College Graduates

While education itself is worth an investment, a college degree should also pay off by launching successful careers.

But with ever-uncertain economic prospects, where can students expect to find a reasonable salary after graduating?

Some avenues are more specialized, so it helps to know what you’re trying to do right out of the gate. But there are plenty of options that only require the right kinds of skills to break into the field.

In this article, you’ll find a few of the highest-paying careers available to college graduates.


Look at any “highest paying jobs” list and you’ll see a dozen (or more) entries for chemical, petroleum, nuclear, civil engineering, and more.

While only one entry is here for the sake of space, it’s true – engineering remains one of the more lucrative career fields, even if saying you want to be an engineer is much like saying you want to be a scientist.

So if you want to help with one of Australia’s persistent skills shortages – and make good money while doing it – engineering could be for you.

Relevant Majors: Engineering


Like with engineering, medicine is a specialized field that you’ll want to confirm your interest in early on.

The path to becoming a full-on physician is a long one – from your undergraduate degree to your M.D. to residency can take more than a decade.

But while you’ll be saddled with plenty of student loans, your salary will more than makeup for it.

Relevant majors: sciences (biology, chemistry)

But with this career as with others, there can be burnout. There are many different causes for burnout and each career is different. As such, before you make your decision to pursue a career in this field, it is important to investigate and read up on some doctors burnout causes to ensure you fully understand how demanding a career as a physician can be. 

Information systems manager

Any kind of organization depends heavily on its technological infrastructure to get anything done.

That’s where information systems managers come in, as they help determine technology-related goals and set a path to achieving those aims.

While such positions require some experience beforehand, the requisite college majors are broad, meaning you can make up for your lack of coursework with experience if you decide on this career path relatively late.

Relevant majors: information systems, information technology, computer science

Software development

Becoming a software developer continues to be one of the most reasonable career goals out there in today’s job market.

While entry-level salaries are already reasonable enough, pay as a software developer can really ramp up as you move along in your career.

You’ll have to keep up with emerging technologies and practices well after graduating, but that’s a small price compared to the check you’ll be cashing in this field.

Relevant majors: computer science

Financial Analyst

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Positions as a financial analyst often don’t require more than an undergraduate degree and offer significant salaries right out of college.

Go for a major in a related field (such as accounting) but be ready to get an advanced degree or certificate if you want to reach the highest salaries.

If you like numbers, the financial analysis could be for you – and it’ll give you ample opportunities to count your own cash flow, too.

Relevant majors: finance, accounting, business


It’s not the type of career you dream about as a child, but actuaries sure do get their bills paid.

Like with the financial analyst entry, you’ll have to like numbers for this one – actuaries use statistics to evaluate risks for clients, often insurance companies.

A strong background in statistics is essential, but even entry-level positions can start off with big salaries.

Relevant majors: statistics, mathematics, finance

Internet marketer

Over the years, the Internet has become the venue with the biggest marketing potential – and because of that, effective Internet marketers are highly sought-after.

While the salary can be quite variable, the fact remains that this kind of work can pay off big-time if you’re producing good results.

And the best part? Organizations hiring for these positions consider much more than your educational background, so picking the right major isn’t as crucial as having the right skills.

Relevant majors: marketing, business, English

Chief executive

While chief executives these days tend to have an MBA under their belt, many only got that level of education after they’d already built up experience in their industry.

That industry experience is the real key to landing one of these positions – but that’s the great part because given the sheer variety of organizations with available executive positions, there’s a niche for pretty much anyone.

A business major can help you get your foot in the door, but if you have an industry you’re passionate about and can demonstrate as much, you’re well on your way.

Relevant majors: business


There’s a surprising variety of options for high-paying careers out of college – it’s not just engineering.

But while the major doesn’t always matter to people doing the hiring out of college, general academic performance does. Make sure to find your child a tutor or mentor to keep them afloat academically and help them plan ahead.

With help, they’ll land a successful career – and a happy life after college.

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