Any objective look at the best-paying jobs for college graduates has to begin with the understanding that STEM jobs offer the highest salaries, on average, for college graduates in the near term . . . and ultimately career-wise.

STEM, of course, refers to science, technology, engineering, and math.

While STEM majors dominate the list of top-earning college majors, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good living if you aren’t a computer whiz or future electrical engineer. Humanities majors can make a solid living, especially when we compare mid-career salaries. If you start in business management and rise to C.E.O. you would obviously have the highest salary of all . . . but that’s another story you need to look into.

In terms of pure earning potential, engineering majors reign supreme. That shouldn’t surprise anyone—our current economy has created a great need for skilled engineers and rewards them handsomely, especially petroleum engineering majors, who earn a median early career salary of $102,300 and a median mid-career salary of $176,300. To put things in perspective, compare those stats to other high earners on our list. Chemical engineering majors have an early career salary at $69,600, and actuarial mathematics majors have the second-highest mid-career salary at $119,600.

One further note: as should be obvious to all, salaries for the same job can vary by state, and within a state’s borders, by municipalities. Private sector job salaries differ from public sector salaries, even for the same job.

Below find average starting salaries followed by average mid-to-late career compensation. The rankings are based on the late-career salary potential. All of these careers assume a relevant bachelor’s degree in the area of specialization. Those degrees, however, can be earned at both residential and online colleges, which offers more options for those of you in the job field and looking for a new career path.


Petroleum Engineering

Average Salary: $102,300 to $176,300

Petroleum engineers help locate natural reservoirs of petroleum deposits. They work with teams of specialists to develop more effective, cost-efficient methods of petroleum recovery through the application of principles from chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and geology. There are three types of petroleum engineers who differ only by the stage of the drilling process that they are involved in. Reservoir engineers monitor the geological formation for the best strategic method of extraction.

Drilling engineers generate computer-simulated models of the drilling formation and equipment to ensure they use the best tools for the most effective method of extraction. Production engineers manage the interface between drilling and extraction by managing machinery and production costs.


Actuarial Mathematics

Average Salary: $60,800 to $119,600

An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs.

Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, government, employee benefits departments of large corporations, hospitals, banks and investment firms, or, more generally, in businesses that need to manage financial risk. A career as an Actuary is better described as a “business” career with a mathematical basis than as a “technical” mathematical career.

Featured Degree Program: Purdue University Global’s BA in Risk Management


Nuclear Engineering

Average Salary: $67,000 to $118,000

Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.

Typically, they work in offices; however, their work setting varies with the industry in which they are employed. Most nuclear engineers work full time.


Chemical Engineering

Average Salary: $69,600 to $116,700

A chemical engineer is involved in the design, development, construction and operation of industrial processes for the production of a diverse range of products, as well as in commodity and specialty chemicals.

Relevant industries include oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, energy, water treatment, food and drink, plastics and toiletries.

Modern chemical engineering is also concerned with pioneering valuable new materials and techniques, such as nanotechnology, fuel cells, and biomedical engineering.

The role may focus on one or more of the following: researching new products from trial through to commercialization; managing scale-up processes from plant to full industrial-scale manufacturing; improving product lines; modifying the processing plant that produces the products; and designing and commissioning new plants.


Electronics and Communications Engineering

Average Salary: $64,100 to $113,200

Electronics is the technology associated with electronic circuits and systems. It is one of the major branches of electrical engineering.

Electronics engineers use scientific knowledge of the behavior and effects of electrons to design, develop and test components, devices, systems or equipment that use electricity as part of their source of power. These components include capacitors, diodes, resistors, and transistors.

Electronics engineers usually work in cross-functional project teams with colleagues in other branches of engineering.

Work can be found in a variety of areas as electronics are used in many things including:

• acoustics;

• defense;

• medical instruments;

• mobile phones;

• nanotechnology;

• radio and satellite communication


Computer Science Engineer

Average Salary: $66,700 to $112,600

A computer engineer, also called a software engineer, is responsible for developing, testing, and evaluating the software that makes our computers work. They may help in the development of new computer games, business applications, or even in the design of entirely new operating systems.

A computer engineer may also be responsible for constructing and managing an organization’s computer system and supplying technical support. A computer engineer typically works in an office or laboratory environment as part of a team and enjoys a traditional work schedule.


Aerospace Engineer

Average Salary:$64,700 to $107,900

Aerospace engineers design components of spacecraft, aircraft, satellites, missiles, and other types of aerospace products. Each type of aerospace product has very different requirements, so engineers normally focus on building one type of product. For example, some specialize in designing military aircraft, while others choose to focus on designing rockets.

Every component and system within an aircraft is different and requires a specialized set of knowledge to effectively design. For this reason, most aerospace engineers choose to specialize in designing a particular component or system.

There are many different specializations that an aerospace engineer may choose to focus on. Flight mechanics, propulsion, control systems, thermodynamics, navigation, control systems, and structural design are just a few specialties.

Aerospace engineers are divided into two main types: astronautical engineering, and aeronautical engineer. Astronautical engineers focus on designing spacecraft. They study the behavior of spacecraft both inside and outside of our atmosphere, and design systems that will support a spacecraft’s mission. Aeronautical engineers design aircraft that flies only within our atmosphere.


Electrical Engineer

Average Salary: $65,900 to $107,900

Electrical engineers are responsible for implementing electrical components into any number of devices that use electricity. They help to design and manufacture electrical products of all shapes and sizes, making it a career constantly on the cutting edge.

Due to the job’s complexities, Electrical engineers frequently work with computers; many of these professionals also work in team settings. While there is overlap with electronics areas, electrical engineers generally focus on supply and generation of power.


Materials Science and Engineering

Average Salary: $64,000 to $109,100

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products, from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and snow skis. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and other substances to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements.

Materials engineers generally work in offices where they have access to computers and design equipment. Others work in supervisory roles either in a factory or in research and development laboratories.



Average Salary: $57,200 to $105,100

Physicists study the laws and properties that govern matter, space, time, and energy. Because physics applies to everything in the universe and nobody can ever hope to understand all of it, physicists normally specialize in a subfield. Here are some examples of popular specializations:

Atomic, molecular, and optical physicists study the behavior of electrons, light, atoms, and simple molecules. Each of these areas are highly specialized, but there is unavoidable overlap between the specialties.

Astrophysicists study the physical properties of the universe — and yes, this is just as expansive of a field as it sounds. Their work largely overlaps with the work of astronomers, so astrophysics is a subfield of both physics and astronomy.

Particle and nuclear physicists study electrons, nuclei, quarks, and other subatomic and atomic particles. These physicists often work with nuclear power generation, nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Medical physicists apply their knowledge of physics to the creation of new medical technologies and treatments. Without medical physicists, we wouldn’t have ultrasounds, MRIs, or radiation-based cancer treatments.

Condensed matter physicists study phenomena of condensed phases of matter. If you’re not a physicist, you are probably most familiar with liquid and solid phases, but the superconducting phase, ferromagnetic phase, and antiferromagnetic phase are examples of other condensed phases that are often studied. Presently, most physicists have condensed matter physicists.



Average Salary: $54,900 to $103,100

Statisticians use mathematical techniques to analyze and draw conclusions from large amounts of data. Some statisticians (such as those who work for the US census) develop methods to collect and tabulate the data that they need to work with. Others use proprietary information (such as insurance claims) or work with data that’s been collected by third party sources.

Because they work with such large volumes of data, many statisticians choose to specialize in a particular industry or topic where they can become an expert at working with one type of data.

Though there are many opportunities for employment, many statisticians find work in one of the following industries:

Healthcare. Statisticians who work in healthcare are commonly referred to as biostatisticians. Some are employed by pharmaceutical companies to determine the effectiveness of medicines. Others work for hospitals and health agencies where they try to identify commonalities between sick patients.

Manufacturing. Manufacturing companies often employ statisticians to help with quality control and product testing. For instance, they may devise tests to determine the success rate of a product in different weather conditions.

Government. Just about every government agency has a team of statisticians. As an example, the Department of Labor employs many statisticians to help them develop and analyze changes to the unemployment rate and wages of American workers.


Mechanical Engineer

Average Salary: $62,100 to $101,600

Mechanical engineers provide efficient solutions to the development of processes and products, ranging from small component designs to extremely large plant, machinery or vehicles.

They can work on all stages of a product, from research and development to design and manufacture, through to installation and final commissioning.

Most industries rely on a form of mechanical systems and mechanical engineering is thought to be one of the most diverse of all engineering disciplines. Due to this, there are employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including:

• manufacturing;

• power;

• construction; and

• medical.

Mechanical engineers can be involved in the management of people and resources, as well as the development and use of new materials and technologies.


Software Engineer

Average Salary: $61,700 to $99,800

Systems developers maintain, audit and improve organizational support systems by working on the internal operations of computers, using existing systems or incorporating new technologies to meet particular needs, often as advised by a systems analyst or architect. They test both hard and software systems and diagnose and resolve system faults.

The role also covers writing diagnostic programs and designing and writing code for operating systems and software to ensure efficiency. When required, they make recommendations for future developments. Depending on the type of organization, developers can become either systems or applications specialists.

The work undertaken by systems developers is generally of a highly complex and technical nature and involves the application of computer science and mathematics in an environment which is constantly evolving due to technological advances and the strategic direction of their organization.

Job titles and descriptions in IT are not standardized. Systems developers may be called systems programmers, engineers, or web developers. Alternatively, the programming language they use may become part of their job title, such as Java or C# developer. The work of a systems developer can also form part of a software engineer or multimedia programmer’s role.

Depending on the firm, a systems developer may have a more defined role and work within a group of IT specialists, which can include systems analysts and systems designers, or they may work solely on testing systems. Nevertheless, as systems developers often manage the support systems required by an organization to effectively run, the role can also require an employee to communicate effectively and translate the needs of different teams into systems developments.

Recommended: American InterContinental University’s BS in Information Technology: Software Analysis and Development


Business and Information Technology

Average Salary: $56,900 to $99,100

An IT consultant works in partnership with clients, advising them how to use information technology in order to meet their business objectives or overcome problems. They work to improve the structure and efficiency of IT systems in various organizations.

IT consultants may be used to provide strategic guidance to clients with regard to technology, IT infrastructures and enabling major business processes through enhancements to IT. They can also be used to provide guidance during selection and procurement as well as providing highly expert technical assistance, and may be responsible for user training and feedback.

IT consultants may be involved in sales and business development, as well as technical duties.

Recommended: Colorado State University-Global Campus’s BS in Information Technology



Average Salary: $51,400 to $97,700

Economists study how societies and markets distribute resources, such as raw materials, land, human labor and capital in order to create goods and services. Economists are employed by a wide variety of entities, including government agencies, investment houses, banks, think tanks, non-profit groups and large corporations.

Common duties of economists include collecting data, analyzing reports, utilizing modeling techniques, studying forecasts and producing reports.


Industrial Engineer

Average Salary: $61,900 to $97,200

Industrial engineers help businesses determine the most effective ways to use their machines, people, and energy to make products.

Normally, industrial engineers are hired to increase the productivity of a manufacturing facility while reducing wasted materials. They start their work by studying the product specifications, and then use mathematical models to design systems and methods that will help the business meet their production goals.

Many businesses consult with industrial engineers before they open a new factory or plant. Because industrial engineers are so good at logistics, they can help businesses identify the most cost-effective location for their production facilities. To make their recommendations, they take the cost of real estate, nearby shipping and transportation options, the geographic location, and other variables into account.

Industrial engineers have to be good problem solvers, with the ability to turn real-world problems into mathematical equations. If you love math and want a job where you will be able to see the true impact of your work, then a career as an industrial engineer might be right for you.


Applied Mathematician

Average Salary: $54,300 to $96,500

Although the job descriptions vary widely, applied mathematicians are primarily involved in problem-solving, either using existing mathematical techniques, or designing and creating new mathematical tools. The demand for professionals with a deep mathematical knowledge is growing in many industries, and particularly in some emerging fields, such as:

• Systems Biology and Computational Pharmacology

• Data Mining and Data Privacy

• Computer Animation and Digital Imaging

• Finance and Economics

• Ecology, Epidemiology, Environment

• Climatology

In many of these fields, the demand for skilled mathematicians is especially high in developing countries.

To have a successful career as an applied mathematician, it is important to have a solid foundation in mathematical tools such as differential equations, linear algebra, matrices, probability, and statistics, as well as computing and programming skills.


Civil Engineer

Average Salary: $55,100 to $93,400

Civil engineers create, improve and protect the environment in which we live. They plan, design and oversee construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railways, airports, bridges, harbors, dams, irrigation projects, power plants, water and sewerage systems. They also design and build tall buildings and large structures that they can last for hundreds of years and withstand all weather conditions.

Civil engineers can either be consulting engineers who advise on projects and design them, or contracting engineers who turn their plans into reality and maintain the structures once they are built. Typical civil engineering work activities include:

• undertaking technical and feasibility studies including site investigations

• using a range of computer packages for developing detailed designs

• undertaking complex and repetitive calculations

• liaising with clients and a variety of professionals including architects and subcontractors

• compiling job specs and supervising tendering procedures

• resolving design and development problems



Average Salary: $50,300 to $92,900

Mathematicians solve problems in many different fields using mathematical methods and techniques.  Common responsibilities for mathematician jobs include:

• Developing computational methods for solving problems.

• Applying mathematical theories to business, science, engineering, and other fields.

• Conducting research to extend mathematical knowledge.


Biomedical Engineer

Average Salary: $59,600 to $92,200

Biomedical engineering is a sub-specialty of engineering that concentrates on solving biological and medical problems. Biomedical engineers work for engineering companies, hospitals, medical supply companies, and medical technology firms.

Common duties of biomedical engineers include designing and evaluating devices and procedures, performing research, and evaluating treatment techniques. Many biomedical engineers can specialize in related areas like medical imaging and biomaterials.


Architectural Engineer

Average Salary: $57,000 to $90,400

Architectural engineers apply mathematical and scientific principles to building design, concentrating on structural demands and functionality while taking into account economic and safety factors. They may design systems within a building pertaining to, for instance, heating and air conditioning, lighting and plumbing. Architectural engineers need to be able to diagram designs manually as well as through computer-aided drafting (CAD). Since they often work in teams, good communication skills are necessary. Architectural engineers must also be comfortable in different work environments; they often divide their time between offices and construction sites.


Aviation Management

Average Salary: $48,100 to $90,000

An aviation manager handles all the operations of the aviation department. They are responsible for assuring that the department complies with FAA regulations as well as oversees the maintenance, scheduling and safety procedure of the aviation department are done efficiently. 

An aviation manager’s typical duties include: the selection and assignment of staff to ensure equal employment opportunities in hiring and promotions; coordination of all activities of the aviation department such as work assignments, and directing of aviation staff subordinates; evaluation and verification of employee performance through thorough reviews of completed work assignments and techniques; identification of staff development and training needs of aviation personnel; assurance that proper labor relations and conditions are followed; maintenance of records and reports relative to the aviation department; assurance that the aviation departments confer with federal, state and local government laws; provides advisory service to governing bodies if necessary; direction and participation of public information programs concerning aviation programs; reviewing of aircraft accident reports and addressing the problems related to them; and determination of aviation safety and enforcement needs.


Computer Information Systems Manager

Average Salary: $52,400 to $89,900

Considering that almost every business in the country runs on computer systems, the role of a computer and information systems manager in any given company is arguably as important – if not more so – than the CEO. Computer and information systems managers, sometimes called information technology managers or IT project managers, are responsible for planning, coordinating, and overseeing all computer-related activities within a company.

A computer and information systems manager career includes evaluating the cost and benefits of a new project in order to justify the expense of a new project to top executives.

An information systems manager career involves determining a company’s computer needs and recommending to executives upgrades or new materials. The information technology manager plans and oversees the installing of all new hardware and software. Information technology managers are responsible for their company’s network and electronic documents’ security. To remain up-to-date on security options, information systems managers continually study technological advances and determine if and how they can improve security for their company.

Recommended: Saint Leo University’s Online BS in Computer Information Systems


Construction Management

Average Salary: $54,000 to $89,900

Construction managers are often the lynchpin of construction projects. They are responsible for construction sites 24 hours a day. Common duties of construction managers include planning, directing, and coordinating activity on construction sites, overseeing project design, hiring and supervising workers, choosing contractors, and monitoring supplies.

They are also responsible for preparing budgets and estimates, reporting progress to clients, and complying with legal requirements. Construction managers do not typically do any of the actual construction.



Average Salary: $48,300 to $89,000

Biotechnologists develop products from living systems. Biotechnology commonly refers to genetically derived materials, but can also refer to developments based in microbiology, molecular biology, and cell biology. Biotechnologists work within several different industries including agriculture, food manufacturing, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.

Biotechnology professionals may specialize in one or more subfields. Specialties include genomics, the comparative study of gene structures; proteomics, which is the study of protein structures; and bioinformatics, which combines biology, computer science, and information technology. Products developed by biotechnologists include high-yield crops, disease-resistant farm animals, gene therapy treatments, drugs, and biofuels.


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Average Salary: $51,300 to $88,900

Supply chain managers have a tremendous impact on the success of an organization. These managers are engaged in every facet of the business process—planning, purchasing, production, transportation, storage and distribution, customer service, and more! In short, these managers are the “glue” that connects the different parts of the organization. Their performance helps organizations control expenses, boost sales, and maximize profits.

Two additional roles focus on facilitation and collaboration. Because supply chain managers touch so many different parts of the business, they are in a unique position to help other functions execute their strategies. They are also called upon to diagnose and support the needs of external supply chain partners. Here are just a few examples of these cross-functional roles:

• Effective selection and management of suppliers support lean manufacturing processes.

• Efficient transportation & distribution practices bolster marketing campaigns.

• Timely customer communication and technology-enabled visibility allows companies to monitor product flows and collaboratively respond to potential delivery problems.

Recommended: Colorado Technical University’s BS in Business Administration: Logistics and Supply Chain Management



Average Salary: $44,700 to $88,800

Biochemists work with the chemical composition of living organisms and perform studies of the chemical processes involved in all basic life functions. Through research, experimentation and study, these professionals provide us with much of the background knowledge on topics like genetics and heredity.

Biochemists also collect data for other researchers and scientists, enabling them to make improvements to existing drugs, systems or products. For example, biochemists in the agricultural industry may help develop new and better pesticides to kill insects without harming humans.



Average Salary: $46,600 to $88,400

According to the BLS, telecommunications technicians work in a variety of settings. Those who install wireless, satellite, cable and telephone equipment may travel to homes and businesses. Some telecommunications technicians work outside and must climb telephone poles and rooftops or go down manholes and into basements to reach wires, cables, and other equipment. A 40-hour week is common in the telecommunications industry, but storms, fires, and other occurrences sometimes necessitate emergency response to equipment failure.

Experienced telecommunications technicians can advance to positions working on more complicated equipment. Advanced positions for telecommunications technicians include teaching, team leader or engineer. About 20% of telecommunications workers belong to a collective bargaining union.


Electrical Engineering Technology Technician

Average Salary: $58,900 to $88,200

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment. They often work in product evaluation and testing, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment.



Average Salary: $46,200 to $86,200

Geologists are scientists who study the overall matter of the earth on its surface as well as in its crust and research about the processes happened in the past that formed the matter. Geologists apply the knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology and other applied sciences in their overall research. They are also involved in the exploration of minerals, metals and crude oil from the earth’s crust.

Geologists work closely in studying the causes and proximity of natural calamities like earthquake, tsunamis, storms, volcanic eruptions, etc., and their studies are presented as warning signs to the general population about the occurrence of such natural calamities. They keep on studying the patterns in climate changes on earth and the surrounding universe to understand the hazards of it for all the living and non-living elements on earth.


Industrial Designer

Average Salary: $47,700 to $85,900

Industrial designers are responsible for the look of many of the products bought, used and consumed every day. It is the job of an industrial designer to create, plan and style manufactured goods, including automobiles, household products, food packaging, consumer electronics and medical equipment.

An industrial designer considers the usability, ergonomics and aesthetics of common mass-produced items and works to improve the design, function, engineering and marketing of these items. Industrial designers are responsible for the familiar look of brands and products like Jeep, iPods, and the Coke bottle.


Informational Security Specialist (Network Security)

Average Salary: $53,400 to $85,800

Network security specialists monitor computer networks for security threats or unauthorized users. They may identify compromised machines and report on security measures taken to address threats. Network security specialists also analyze security risks and develop response procedures. Additional duties may include developing and testing software deployment tools, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.

Some network security workers research, evaluate, recommend and implement other security devices as well. This may include installing computer security software, conducting regular security audits, preparing security status reports, educating users on computer security, creating security documentation for users, assisting in disaster recovery and gathering evidence regarding cyber crimes.

Recommended: Capella University’s BS in Information Assurance and Security


International Business

Average Salary: $46,100 to $85,400

An international manager is a broad title for a manager who oversees a company’s global operations. In some instances, an international manager is responsible for all of a company’s foreign business. Large companies may employ multiple departmental global managers, such as those in charge of international sales, cultural marketing, or overseas manufacturing.

An international manager must have a keen understanding of the company’s needs abroad as well as the cultural, political and operational challenges of foreign markets, as well as available opportunities. In addition to employee relations and business direction, budgetary and economic outlooks are key concerns of management staff. As such, an international manager should be extremely knowledgeable in finance, foreign currency, and the overall global market.

Recommended: Colorado Technical University’s BS in Business Administration: International Business


Mechanical Engineering Technology

Average Salary: $56,600 to $85,400

Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including tools, engines, and machines. They may make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, make calculations and estimates, and report their findings.


Financial Accountant

Average Salary: $51,400 to $85,300

An accountant’s primary goal is to maintain a company’s financial records. Due to the broad range of a business’s financial responsibilities, many companies hire several types of accountants. Two main types of accountants include financial and managerial accountants. Financial accountants perform accounting tasks that benefit external users, while managerial accountants perform accounting tasks that benefit internal managers. Understanding the key differences in job duties of financial and managerial accountants can help you make a decision on which path you’d like to take in an accounting career.

Financial accountants prepare records eventually reviewed by people outside of the organization. Financial statements commonly prepared by financial accountants include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. In many companies, financial accountants oversee financial transactions made by other employees within the accounting department. For example, a financial accountant may review all transactions made by staff working in the accounts payable and accounts receivable departments. Other job duties may include inspecting account books for accuracy, reviewing accounting systems to determine efficiency and suggesting ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue.

Recommended: Colorado State University-Global Campus’s BS in Accounting


Business Information Systems Specialist

Average Salary: $59,800 to $85,100

An information systems manager is responsible for the computer systems within a company. They:

• oversee installation;

• ensure backup systems operate effectively;

• purchase hardware and software;

• provide the ICT technology infrastructures for an organization; and

• contribute to organizational policy regarding quality standards and strategic planning.

Information systems managers work in every size of organization in the industry and the service sector, usually with a staff of technicians, programmers and database administrators reporting to them. You’ll need experience in the sector, in areas like technical support or operations, before becoming a manager.

Although the title of information systems manager is becoming more common, job titles may vary. For example, you might be a:

• service delivery manager;

• functional manager; or

• systems manager.

Recommended: Colorado State University-Global Campus’s BS in Management Information Systems and Business Analytics


Sales and Marketing

Average Salary: $44,300 to $84,100

A sales and marketing manager is usually a sales manager who also handles the few marketing duties a business needs. He might help create, proofread and approve ads and decide which magazines the company uses to advertise. He’ll choose which trade shows the company attends, which gifts to pass out at the booth, decide if the company hosts a cocktail party or sponsors a golf tournament and develops other promotions to keep the company in front of its specific audience.

This person doesn’t need marketing, advertising, promotions, social media or a public relations background, instead using contractors or internal staff to execute these functions.

Recommended: Brandman University’s BBA in Business Administration: Marketing


Philosopher (Teaching)

Average Salary: $40,700 to $84,000

Conducts college-level courses in the field of philosophy. Areas of instruction include ethics, logic, metaphysics, aesthetics, and political philosophy. May be responsible for preparing and delivering lectures and leading classroom discussions. As teachers, may administer and grade examinations or delegate the task to others; conducts research and case studies in a field of interest and may publish findings in trade journals or textbooks. May offer independent study opportunities to students.

Eventually, you will need to work for a higher degree, master’s or doctorate, which means you’ll need to be published. In the field, a wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected.



Average Salary: $44,200 to $81,800

A wide open field. But in general, a chemist searches for and uses new knowledge about chemicals to improve the way we live. He or she may develop products such as synthetic fibers, drugs, and cosmetics. A chemist also creates processes, including oil refining and petrochemical processing that reduce energy use and pollution. Chemists specialize in areas such as analytical, organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical, macromolecular, medical, and materials chemistry.

In 2012, 96,200 people were employed as chemists and materials scientists* in the United States. Chemists primarily worked in research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences. Many others worked for pharmaceutical and testing laboratories. The U.S. government, as well as state and some local governments, employed others.


Occupational Health and Safety Advisers

Average Salary: $51,600 to $81,800

Health and safety officers use their knowledge and skills to promote a positive health and safety culture in the workplace. They are responsible for ensuring that employers and workers comply with safety legislation and that safety policies and practices are adopted and adhered to.

Health and safety officers are based in a wide range of organizations, from multinationals to small consultancies, and help to plan, implement, monitor and review protective and preventative safety measures.

They work in partnership with employers, employees, directors and trade unions to minimize:

• operational losses;

• occupational health problems;

• accidents;

• injuries.


Molecular Biologists

Average Salary: $44,100 to $81,700

Whether studying cell processes and codes in humans, animals, plants or other living organisms, molecular biologists are needed in a spectrum of career fields. They utilize their knowledge of chemistry, cell physiology, genetics, physics and other sciences in their career studies.

These professionals must experiment to gain results and push the boundaries of their research areas. Biotech companies might need molecular biologists to genetically engineer new crops to improve their health and consumption rate. Other molecular biologists may develop a new way to test the validity of drugs used to stimulate safe gene growth and fight off disease.

Molecular biologists need to understand gene sequencing, cell signaling, and gene expression, as well as organize and differentiate cells. They need to accurately record information and interpret results, which are to be passed on and communicated with others for non-scientific consumption.


Project Manager

Average Salary: $52,500 to $80,900

These are the people in charge of a specific project or projects within a company. As the project manager, your job is to plan, budget, oversee and document all aspects of the specific project you are working on. Project managers may work closely with upper management to make sure that the scope and direction of each project is on schedule, as well as other departments for support. Or . . . project managers might work by themselves, or be in charge of a team to get the job done.

Project managers can work in a variety of fields, from technical/IT to human resources, to advertising/marketing to construction and more. Quite often you see project managers working hand in hand with architectural firms who are building school projects.

Recommended: Colorado Technical University’s BS in Project Management


Fashion Designer

Average Salary: $41,100 to $79,500

Fashion designers work on the design of items of clothing and fashion ranges. Some may focus completely on one specialist area, such as sportswear, children’s wear, footwear or accessories.

They produce designs for the haute couture, designer ready-to-wear and high street fashion markets. Developments in technology mean that a design can be on sale as a finished product within weeks. Of course, if you become a star designer, all bets are off as concerns your upside in pay compensation.

Depending on their level of responsibility and the company you will work for, designers may work to their own brief or be given a brief to work towards, with specifications relating to color, fabric, and budget. It’s a very creative field.



Average Salary: $41,800 to $79,300

Linguistic specialists perform a variety of language-based studies, experiments and consultations. This might include tracing the history of a word or sound or searching for relationships between ancient, foreign and modern languages.

While duties can vary greatly depending on what a linguistic specialist is trying to achieve, all jobs in this field revolve around extensively studying words and sounds and trying to develop an overall understanding of language.


Political Scientist

Average Salary: $42,800 to $78,500

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. They research political ideas and analyze governments, policies, political trends, and related issues.

Poli Sci graduates might also be asked by an employer to study topics, such as public opinion, political decision making, and ideology. They might analyze the structure and operation of governments, as well as various political entities; or conduct public opinion surveys, analyze election results, and analyze public documents.


Food Scientist

Average Salary: $45,400 to $78,400

Food scientists apply their knowledge of biology, chemistry, and engineering to develop and improve foods. They may alter a food product’s nutritional value, flavor, texture or appearance, as well as its packaging and production processes. Food scientists generally work for federal government agencies, food processing companies and academic institutions.

Food scientists might hold an undergraduate or graduate degree, depending on the type of work they do.



Average Salary: $46,500 to $76,300

This is a huge field. But in general for the recent college graduate, job duties for “Accountant” include preparing, examining, and analyzing accounting records, financial statements, and other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards. Other tasks might include: 

1) Compute taxes owed and prepare tax returns, ensuring compliance with payment, reporting, and other tax requirements. 

2) Analyze business operations, trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations, to project future revenues and expenses or to provide advice.

 3) Report to management regarding the finances of establishment.

 4) Establish tables of accounts, and assign entries to proper accounts. 

5) Develop, maintain, and analyze budgets, preparing periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs.

Recommended: Saint Leo University Online’s BA in Accounting


Communication Specialist

Average Salary: $43,100 to $74,500

A communications specialist manages a company’s internal and external communications. Internal communications may include memos, job descriptions, and notes from management; external communications may include designing and editing press releases and marketing materials. Other responsibilities include coordinating media and marketing events, informal meetings for employees, and press conferences.

They also answer inquiries and manage online content. Although communications specialists work in a business setting during regular business hours, overtime may be required to meet deadlines or deal with rapidly emerging or changing situations.

Recommended: Brandman University’s BA in Communications and Media



Average Salary: $56,900 to $73,600

Nurses plan and provide medical and nursing care to patients in the hospital, at home or in other settings who are suffering from both chronic and acute physical or mental ill health. But the jobs require not only treating patients who are sick and injured, but also offering advice and emotional support to patients and their families, taking care of paperwork (lots and lots of paperwork), helping doctors diagnose patients and providing advice and follow-up care.

That’s right, there’s a lot more to nursing than meets the eye. It’s one of the hardest and most emotionally draining jobs out there, but it can be incredibly rewarding. There aren’t many jobs out there where you can actually save someone’s life, but this is one of them. Note that nursing specialties (covered elsewhere), offer higher salaries to college grads.


Hotel Management

Average Salary: $42,500 to $73,200

This is a wide open field. Hospitality managers run the day-to-day operations of a restaurant or hotel, including overseeing personnel, ensuring that the facilities are properly maintained, taking steps to ensure customer satisfaction and overseeing the upkeep of administrative and financial records.

Specific duties often vary based on the actual job title type of establishment. For instance, food service managers, who may work in sit-down or takeout restaurants, are typically responsible for hiring, training and scheduling employees and ensuring that food is properly prepared and delivered. They often investigate customer complaints and may also deal with the legal and financial aspects of the business.

Lodging managers, who work in the hotel industry, often coordinate front-office activities, set room prices, keep track of budgets and interview, hire and fire staff. They also monitor overall customer comfort pertaining to rooms, dining experiences, recreation facilities, security, and maintenance.