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6 High-Paying Jobs That Require a Bachelor’s — But Not a Grad Degree

March 9, 2016
by Susan Shain
Senior Writer
highest-paying jobs

I truly detested school.

I was a good student, but I hated being told what to learn. The day I turned in my last college paper was one of the happiest of my life.

If you’re like me, and want to be done after four years of college, listen up…

Glassdoor just released its 2016 list of the 25 highest-paying jobs.

The only problem? Several of them — like physician, lawyer and pharmacist — require a graduate degree.  

Since not everyone wants to be in school for a million years, I thought I’d pull out a handful of jobs you can get with just a bachelor’s.

Yes, several of the positions are managerial — meaning you won’t reach them until you have some experience under your belt — but you’ll still earn an awesome salary as an entry-level employee in these industries.

To help you envision your career path, I used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to include similar jobs and salaries you could get without experience — eventually working up to the killer salaries on Glassdoor’s list.

So, while your friends in med and law school are paying out the nose, you’ll be earning a boatload and climbing the career ladder.

The 6 Highest-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require Grad School

Here are six jobs from Glassdoor’s list of the highest-paying jobs in America… no grad school required.

1. Software Development Manager

No big news here: Software jobs are hot. Really hot.

You’ll need several years of experience to become a software development manager and earn a median salary of $132,000, but pay for software developers (the stepping stone) isn’t too shabby.

The median salary is $97,990, with openings predicted to grow by 17% in the next eight years.

2. Integrated Circuit Designer Engineer

This career is pretty specific — with a whopping $127,500 median salary to match — but a broader field of study to consider is electrical and electronics engineering.

Openings aren’t expected to grow much between now and 2024, but the median pay is $93,260.

So if you love tinkering with motors and other equipment, it’s definitely worth a look!

3. IT Manager

Again, tech is king. Too bad that side of my brain doesn’t exist.

You’ll need at least five years of experience to become an IT manager. To get there, start as a computer systems analyst.

These jobs pay a pretty penny: $82,710. Even better, jobs openings are expected to grow by a whopping 21%!

4. Finance Manager

Love numbers? Finance managers oversee the financial health of various organizations.

To become a manager, you’ll need at least five years of experience — and you could earn a whopping $115,230 per year.

But fresh out of college, you could land a job as a financial analyst. The median salary for this position is $78,620.

5. Actuary

Remember Ben Stiller’s character in “Along Came Polly”? As an actuary, you’ll provide risk analysis for the insurance industry.

You’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree and pass a series of exams to get licensed.

And although you probably won’t get to date Jennifer Aniston like Stiller’s character, I still have good news: You could earn a median salary of $96,700, with openings expected to grow by 18% in the next decade.  

6. Computer Network Architect

You don’t need a graduate degree to land a job as a computer network architect, but you do need experience.

Start as a network and computer system administrator, and move up the ladder.

The median salary for this position is $75,790, and if you gain enough experience to become a computer network architect, it jumps to $98,430.

Want more? Check out these 12 majors that pretty much guarantee you’ll land a baller job.

Your Turn: Do any of these jobs interest you?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

by Susan Shain
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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