While college and university tuition costs may be skyrocketing, many still believe a bachelor’s degree is essential to landing a well-paying job in the United States. Stacker mined 2019 data, released in 2020, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and compiled a list of the highest-paying jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.
Many of the top-paying jobs are highly technical or scientific, calling for a sophisticated understanding of thermodynamics, nuclear power, or forensic chemistry. Others are engineering jobs with civil, industrial, environmental, mechanical, or biomedical specializations. Jobs for accountants, budget analysts, and financial managers need an understanding of the intricacies of finance and numbers. Computer skills feature in most of the well-paying jobs, particularly those of programmers, systems analysts, and software designers and developers.
While some positions require creativity and artistry, such as the producers and directors who create hit movies, television shows, theatrical productions, and successful commercials, most demand a combination of these valuable skills. Landscape architects must be creative and computer-savvy; technical writers are wordsmiths who interpret complex data, and animators use computer-generated imagery to bring their artistic visions to life. The highest-paying job on the list calls for a complex mix of “all of the above.” All the jobs require keeping up to date with the latest developments, whether in fashion trends, cybersecurity, or tax policy.
Stacker considered 166 jobs listed by the BLS Occupational Handbook, with a bachelor’s degree as the typical education needed for an entry-level position. Jobs are ranked by 2019 median annual income. Employment projections are also from the BLS. Jobs with “all other” in the name were excluded, as these were aggregates of several jobs, and the wage data was not accurate to one specific job.
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