20 Highest-Paying Bachelor’s Degree Jobs

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Not all bachelor's degrees are equal when it comes to salary expectation and job outlook.

[Featured image] A bachelor's degree student works on a laptop computer in a library.

Earning your bachelor’s degree tends to lead to higher salaries and lower unemployment rates than high school graduates experience, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [1]. However, some bachelor’s degrees can lead to more high-paying jobs than others, either at the outset of your career or by the midpoint of it. 

For example, the most popular majors, which include business, health professions, engineering, and biomedical sciences, all tend to lead to high-paying jobs after graduation [2]. But liberal arts majors typically achieve a comparable salary by the mid-point of their career. In other words, they may make less to start, but will eventually earn as much as their STEM counterparts thanks to the transferable nature of their skill set, according to New York Times [3]. 

In this article, we’ll go over 14 high-paying jobs that require less than five years of experience, and the six high-paying management tracks you can typically explore after gaining at least five years of experience. 

14 high-paying jobs with less than five years of experience

We’ve compiled a list of 14 jobs that span majors and tend to pay above-average salaries [4]. It’s worth noting, however, that entry-level jobs all have different requirements. The jobs listed below require a bachelor’s degree and little to no experience, according to BLS, though you may find that different companies have different expectations when it comes to minimum experience. The type of salary you can earn for each of the jobs listed below, which we’ve collected from both BLS and Glassdoor, will also likely depend on your experience, the seniority of the job title, and where you live. 


The increasingly global nature of business requires working with companies, clients, and customers in different languages. Translators work in numerous industries, communicating information and ideas from one language to another. As such, they typically need to be fluent in at least two languages.

  • Typical majors: Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Arabic   

  • Median annual salary: $52,330

  • Job outlook: 24 percent

Human resources specialist 

Companies require talent in order to be successful, and human resources teams identify new talent and ensure their continued success. Human resource specialists may recruit talent, onboard and situate new hires in their roles, or oversee compensation packages. They often need to understand aspects of human behavior and effective communication.   

  • Typical majors: Human resources management, psychology, sociology, communication studies

  • Median annual salary: $63,490

  • Job outlook: 10 percent


Businesses need to understand risk in order to evaluate and make the best decisions. Actuaries typically work for insurance companies, applying their knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and finance to assess risk and provide guidance to businesses so they can minimize it. They need to have strong math skills as well as a keen understanding of business.

  • Typical majors: Mathematics, statistics, actuarial science  

  • Median annual salary: $111,030 

  • Job outlook: 24 percent 

UX writer (content designer) 

Companies need to have a web presence—and even an app—to connect with customers and stay competitive. UX writers, sometimes called content designers, research users’ needs and think about the best language to help them navigate a website or product. They typically need to be strong researchers and writers, with some knowledge of design. 

  • Typical majors: English, communication studies   

  • Average annual salary: $61,392

  • Job outlook: 12 percent


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Graphic designer

Companies require visuals for many different aspects of their business, including their marketing, branding, and products. Graphic designers produce digital and print visuals, such as logos, images, or interfaces. The work requires a combination of creativity and technical design skills.    

  • Typical majors: Graphic design, programming, marketing, fine arts, art history, creative studies  

  • Median annual salary: $53,380

  • Job outlook: 3 percent 

Web designer

Web designers also balance creativity with technical know-how when creating engaging web pages. They can work in a number of different industries, and they typically need to know a programming language, such as Python, JavaScript, or CSS, alongside basic design principles.  

  • Typical majors: Web design and development, computer science, computer programming  

  • Median annual salary: $77,200

  • Job outlook: 13 percent 

Financial analyst

Financial analysts review data in order to help guide a business’ financial decisions. They often look at a company’s financial information in light of business news and market trends to yield useful insights about expenditures, profits, and more. They may also compile written reports and support budget efforts as well.  

  • Typical majors: Business, finance, statistics, economics  

  • Median annual salary: $83,660

  • Job outlook: 6 percent 

Social media manager 

Social media helps attract customers, build engagement with a company’s brand, and highlight new products or services. Social media managers often set content strategies, which can include text, visuals, and video. They typically need to have a knack for creativity alongside the job’s technical requirements, such as monitoring engagement and tracking analytics.  

  • Typical majors: Marketing, communications, English, journalism, audio & video production   

  • Average annual salary: $49,111

  • Job outlook: 10 percent 

Civil engineer

Civil engineers focus on building and improving infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, railroads, and other such resources. “Civil engineer” can be a large term that describes a few different specialties, and many civil engineer graduates concentrate on an area of civil engineering, such as stormwater management or transportation, based on their interests. 

  • Typical majors: Civil engineering, environmental engineering, construction engineering   

  • Median annual salary: $88,570

  • Job outlook: 8 percent 

Software developer

Software developers apply their knowledge of computer science to developing new programs and updating existing ones. The role typically requires knowing a programming language and being aware of basic design elements in order to write code and effectively design and develop useful software tools. 

  • Typical majors: Software engineering, computer science, information technology (IT)  

  • Median annual salary: $110,140

  • Job outlook: 22 percent 

Market research analyst

When a company has a product or service it wants to launch, market research analysts spend time understanding the market, competitors, and other elements that will help a company’s offerings succeed. They often need to understand data collection processes as well as data analyses in order to conduct useful research and guide a business’s marketing decisions.  

  • Typical majors: Marketing, communications, business, psychology, sociology   

  • Median annual salary: $65,810

  • Job outlook: 22 percent 

Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers research, design, and develop mechanical devices and systems, as well as machines and tools. They often have to build and test their designs to ensure proper working order. As with civil engineers, “mechanical engineer” is a large term that can be applied to work in a number of different industries, such as robotics, health care, energy, and defense.  

  • Typical majors: Mechanical engineering   

  • Median annual salary: $90,160

  • Job outlook: 7 percent 

Information security analyst

With the vast amount of personal information being traded across network systems, information security analysts play a vital role in making sure a company’s information, as well as its customers’, remains safe from bad actors. They often establish best security practices for a company’s needs, in addition to monitoring information systems, detecting issues, and working quickly to troubleshoot. 

  • Typical majors: Information technology (IT), computer science, engineering  

  • Median annual salary: $103,590

  • Job outlook: 33 percent 


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Network engineer

Network engineers work directly with a company’s computer network to plan, implement, and monitor its operations. Thanks to the prevalence of network systems, network engineers can apply their skills to a number of different industries. They also typically know a programming language, are familiar with cloud computing, and have experience in network security. 

  • Typical majors: Information technology (IT), computer science, engineering  

  • Median annual salary: $84,810

  • Job outlook: 5 percent 

Learn more: 12 Jobs in High Demand

6 high-paying jobs with five or more years of experience 

The more experience you acquire, the more you may qualify for managerial roles—many of which boast a high salary. 

Job titleMedian US salaryJob growth rate
Human resources manager$121,2209%
Sales manager$132,2907%
Financial manager$134,18017%
Marketing manager$141,49010%
Engineering manager$149,5304%
Computer and information systems manager$151,15011%

Explore further

Earn your bachelor’s degree in lucrative areas like business administration, marketing, and computer science from the University of London on Coursera. Or explore degrees in general business and applied arts and science from the University of North Texas. Each program takes place entirely online so you can learn at your pace from anywhere with internet access. 

If you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree, consider strengthening your skill set and experience with a Professional Certificate in project management, UX design, social media management, or data analysis. These skills are in high demand and programs are designed to help get you job ready. 

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Education Pays, https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm.” Accessed April 14, 2022.

2. National Center for Education Statistics. “Most Popular Majors,  https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp.” Accessed April 14, 2022.

3. The New York Times. “In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure,    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/business/liberal-arts-stem-salaries.html.” Accessed April 14, 2022.

4. Indeed. “What is the Average Salary in the U.S,  https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/average-salary-in-us.” Accessed April 14, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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