Top 20 highest paying jobs with bachelor’s degree in 2021

highest paying jobs with bachelor's degree

We bring you Top 20 Highest Paying Bachelor Degree Jobs in 2021.


A bachelor’s degree is the classic next step after high school. Yes, you an obtain an associate’s degree, which certainly has its advantages, but many people prefer the four-year bachelor’s degree, which can take the form of virtually any disciple, from liberal arts to hard sciences. With a bachelor’s degree, your potential earning are much higher, and you have the chance to enjoy many stable, growing careers.

FAQ & Benefits

How much will you earn if you have a bachelor’s degree? Does a bachelor’s degree really make a difference, and, if seeking an education, why not just get an associate’s degree, which is often cheaper and faster? 

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll make a large leap in your overall earnings, statistically speaking. Not only that, you’ll also have a much lower chance of being unemployed. The following numbers come from unemployment and earnings statistics for 2021 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Higher Earnings

According to the BLS, people with a high school diploma make a median weekly income of $712. Assuming you are paid for 52 weeks a year, this would equal a total of $37,024. Now, what if you have an associate’s degree? In this case, the median weekly income is $836, a strong boost of over $120 a week. This means you would have an annual salary of $43,472. Certainly not a bad salary, but with a bachelor’s degree you are likely to do better.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, your earnings can make a significant leap. The BLS says the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $1,173, well over $300 more than the median for associate’s and $461 more than someone with only a high school diploma. Annually, a holder of a bachelor’s degree stands to earn $60,996 a year. That’s over $17,524 more than someone with an associate’s degree and $23,975 than the potential earnings of someone with only a high school diploma. 

Better Employment Chances

Sometimes the mere fact that you are employable, regardless of earnings, is just as important as salary. In this case, bachelor degree jobs brings a higher level of stability and employability to your career, at least from a statistical perspective. The BLS says that for December 2018 the unemployment rate for all people over the age of 25 was 3.1%, while people with high school degrees and no college had a 5.8% unemployment rate. If you have an associate’s degree, the numbers improve, dropping the unemployment rate to 3.3%.

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However, if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, your unemployment rate is down to 2.1%. Clearly the chances of being employed are far better if you have, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree. 

Bachelor of Arts vs Bachelor of Science: What’s the Difference? 

For most people, pursuing a bachelor’s degree is the first step in their post-high-school education. As a culture, we are familiar with a bachelor’s degree, but we may not be familiar with the two common types: the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science. These two types of bachelor degrees offer unique educational opportunities, and while both hold a high level of regard among employers, they are different in both the educational process and the results. Understanding which one is right for you is essential when selecting a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor of Arts

A Bachelor of Arts(BA) is the more classically-themed education, touching on a wide range of subjects to develop a student’s communication, writing, and (above all) critical thinking skills. Broadly focused, a BA will have fewer classes that tie directly to the major, and more classes that touch on sweeping topics like the humanities, social issues, and language. Electives tend to be more flexible. Generally, you will find BA degrees in arts, history, literature, philosophy, and languages.

Bachelor of Science

Dealing with specific, usually scientific, mathematical, or technical, subjects, a Bachelor of Science(BS) is a far more focused and direct education. You will find that there are fewer options with a BS degree when it comes to electives, as the goal is not to develop a broad range of theoretical and classical knowledge, but to make a student into an expert on one specific area, such as microbiology or mechanical engineering. Generally, there are fewer theories and more right-or-wrong answers with a bachelor of science, as you’ll be studying subjects such as engineering, science, biology, and mathematics. 

Top 20 Highest Paying Bachelor Degree Jobs in 2021.

20. Systems Manager

Salary: $139,220
Job Growth: 12%

Also known as IT managers and IT project managers, these professionals earn a median income of almost $140,000 a year, making it the highest-paying bachelor degree jobs on our list. While you only need a bachelor’s degree for this career, you will need at least five years of experience.

19. Engineering Manager

Salary: $137,720
Job Growth: 6%

These are the professionals who oversee engineering projects, with tasks that include hiring staff, developing plans, and coordinating work. Once again, because this is a management position you will need lots of experience, usually at least five years of experience to land one of these jobs.

18. Petroleum Engineer

Salary: $132,280
Job Growth: 15%

While some feel oil and natural gas are on their way out, making room for other energy sources, there is still a hearty demand for this resource. Engineers in this field are as important as ever. With a higher focus on safety and responsible practices, the need for engineers to create and use extracting equipment, as well as develop innovative new methods remains strong.

17. Marketing Manager

Salary: $125,080
Job Growth: 19%

With so many avenues for advertising products and services, effective marketing managers are needed to develop strategies and garner attention for manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses. The best marketing managers are well paid, and a bachelor’s degree, as well as work experience in the career, is usually required for this bachelor degree job.

16. Financial Manager

Salary: $125,080
Job Growth: 19%

Large organizations need someone to plan, coordinate, and organize their finances, and they turn to financial managers to oversee these efforts. Most financial managers will have a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, although some companies will require a master’s degree as well. At over $125,000 a year for median income, financial education is one of the highest paid bachelor degrees.

15. Sales Manager

Salary: $121,060
Job Growth: 7%

Sales teams are often the most important unit for a company’s success, and good sales managers are needed to hire, train, and oversee an effective group. These professionals are well paid, with median salaries over $120,000, and a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum required education, although on-the-job experience is often required as well.  

14. Benefits Manager

Salary: $119,120
Job Growth: 5%

A benefits manager is the professional who coordinates and administers company compensation and benefits packages. They generally need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or management, and at least five years of experience is usually required for these positions.

13. Natural Science Manager

Salary: $118,970
Job Growth: 10%

A natural science manager needs to supervise and direct the activities of various scientists, which can include chemists, physicists, or biologists, depending on the position. This career only requires a bachelor’s degree, usually in the applicable scientific discipline, although many will find that advanced management and business degrees are also useful. At least five years of professional experience is also required to land one of these bachelor’s degree jobs.

12. Computer Hardware Engineer

Salary: $115,120
Job Growth: 5%

While many professionals dedicate their careers to creating and refining software, somebody actually has to create the devices and equipment that make computing possible. Computer hardware engineers literally engineer computer components, and while they have a median salary over $115,000, only a bachelor’s degree is needed (for most positions) and no job experience or on-the-job training is required.

11. Aerospace Engineer

Salary: $113,030
Job Growth: 6%

Aerospace technology is constantly changing to be more efficient, effective, and safe. Aerospace engineers are responsible for developing new innovations in this field. They work on aircraft, spacecraft, and even missile systems, making them important for national defense as well as business and exploration. They only need a bachelor’s degree in mechanics, aerodynamics, or a related field, and no experience nor training is needed for these bachelor degree jobs.  

10. Airline Pilot

Salary: $111,930
Job Growth: 4%

While some pilots only need a high school diploma or equivalent, in addition to pilot training, airline pilots will need a bachelor’s degree. There will also be advanced certificates to land this job, including the Air Transport Pilot certificate, which is issued by the FAA. Airline pilots can have bachelor’s degrees in “any subject” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

9. Human Resources Manager

Salary: $110,120
Job Growth: 9%

These highly knowledgeable professionals plan and coordinate the hiring, training, and employee-assessments of large companies. They need a wide variety of skills, and most of these jobs can be landed with a bachelor’s degree, although some may require a master’s. There will be experience requirements, as this is a leadership and management role.

8. Training & Development Manager

Salary: $105,830
Job Growth: 10%

The training of employees at large companies and organizations can be such a major task that they often hire someone completely dedicated to this responsibility. Basically, their job is to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees, which should result in a stronger, more productive organization. No training is required, but experience will be needed to be a training manager.

7. Nuclear Engineer

Salary: $105,810
Job Growth: 4%

At 4% growth, the career of nuclear engineers is not keeping pace with the overall job market, but by 2016 there will still be over 18,000 jobs for nuclear engineers. A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering or a related field is needed, which calls for an intelligent mind that can handle advanced mathematical and scientific principles.  

6. Corporate Executive

Salary: $104,700
Job Growth: 8%

Executives have an important role in many companies, and while years of on-the-job experience is required to work up to the ranks of CEOs and company presidents, the formal education you need is surprisingly short, as many top executives only need a bachelor’s degree. Business and administration are common degrees for these high-ranking professionals, and some may have MBAs or other advanced degrees.

Course: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

5. Computer Network Architect

Salary: $104,650
Job Growth: 6%

Building and designing data communication networks, these highly trained professionals help keep businesses and organizations internally connected, and also help with the organization and utilization of data. Most people holding this type of position have a degree in a tech-related field, including computer science, information systems, or network engineering. No on-the-job training is required, but some industry experience is.

Course: Bachelor of Science in Network Operations and Security.

4. Software Developer

Salary: $103,560
Job Growth: 24%

Behind every computer program and application, there is at least one software developer. Some developers create applications that allow users to perform a direct task, while others work on the systems that run computers. The pay for this career is excellent, and one of the most attractive aspects is that you can enter into these jobs without work experience or training beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Course: Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming.

3. Chemical Engineer

Salary: $101,560
Job Growth: 22%

From drugs to fuels to foods, chemistry is everywhere, and in a world of efficiency and regulation, the need for chemical engineers is crucial. Working in offices and labs, chemical engineers solve problems that address manufacturing, usually with the purpose of enhancing large-scale production in a safe manner. This career requires a science-related bachelor’s degree but no training or previous experience.

Course: Bachelor of Science in Energy Management.

2. Actuary

Salary: $101,560
Job Growth: 22%

If you are good with numbers, specifically percentages, odds, and statistics, you may enjoy a career as an actuary. These professionals help businesses make decisions by analyzing the potential risk and benefit of any decision. No previous experience is required, but “long-term” training will be needed for these jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

Course: Bachelor of Arts in Accounting.

1. Accountants and auditors

  • Annual median wage: $73,560 (75.4% higher than U.S. median income)
  • Employment: 1,274,620
  • Projected change in employment 2019-2029: +4.3%

Accountants are experts in examining and analyzing financial records as well as tax regulations and preparation, and auditors specialize in monitoring for potential fiscal mismanagement or noncompliance. Job skills include being an analytical thinker, with an eye to detail and a knack for being organized. Depending upon their specialities and expertise, accountants and auditors might move on to become budget directors, controllers, treasurers, or chief financial officers.

High-Growth Areas for Bachelor’s Degree

In the list above, we largely discussed the highest-paying jobs available to people with bachelor’s degrees. But it’s not always about money, and often the type of work that you do can be just as important, if not more so, as money you make. Another important factor is job security. After all, you want to enter a career that will bring steady work and consistent opportunities; regardless of median pay, if the jobs are disappearing, it may not be a good path. For holders of bachelor’s degrees, the available jobs are largely tied to the growth (or decline) of specific industries, so if you want to have a sustained career, you have to find a growing industry. 

Financial Sector

The financial sector is expected to experience a large growth, driven largely by a growth in the overall economy, which means more people have more money to manage. Companies accumulating more cash will also play a role in this growth, which means an emphasis on capital management and organization will be increased. In response to the recent economic troubles, there will also be a focus on risk management, which will further increase the demand for people with economic educations.Growing financial-related jobs include:

  • Financial manager: 19%
  • Accountants: 10%
  • Loan officer: 11%

Information Technology & Software

It’s no secret that information use and technology are increasing at a rapid pace, and with this increase comes a growth in available jobs. The need for new applications and software will stoke the demand for software developers, while threats to data will increase the need for information security analysts. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a computer or technology-related field, you can expect a strong income and a steady career. 

  • Software developer: 24%
  • Info security analyst: 28%
  • Database Admin: 11%
  • Computer research scientist: 19%

Certain Engineering Degrees

While not all engineering degrees are created equal, many of the most rapidly-increasing degrees do come from the engineering discipline. The job prospects for these degrees are driven by changes in their respective technologies, as well as changes in the priorities and needs of our society. Petroleum engineers, for example, will be needed to create safer and more efficient ways to extract oil and gas. Civil engineers will be needed to develop water systems, roadways, and communities that address a growing population. Be sure to research your specific discipline first, as some areas are not experiencing rapid growth and may even decline in comparison to the overall job market. 

  • Petroleum engineer: 15%
  • Civil engineer: 11%
  • Health and safety engineers: 9%
  • Marine engineers: 12%
  • Industrial engineers: 10% 

Choose Your Degree with Confidence!