Top Paying Career Ideas That Only Require a Bachelor’s Degree

It can be difficult to know which career path to take when you are still in college. So many of the best paying jobs require advanced training, graduate degrees, or years of law and medical school. By the time you are ready to start your career, you have spent nearly a decade in school and are often facing a mountain of student loan debt. It’s important to consider some top paying career ideas that won’t leave you living on a steady diet of ramen.

Fortunately, finding a career with a great salary, benefits, and growth potential does not mean you are forced to spend years earning advanced degrees. Here are five promising jobs for graduates with a bachelor’s degree (or less), and all with a median starting salary over $70,000.

Software Developer

Median salary: $70,390

Job Outlook: 22% increase by 2029

The first of these top paying career ideas is a Software Developer. As a software developer and engineer, you will largely be responsible for designing and testing software for computer programs. It requires a degree in computer science, although most of what you will be doing on a daily basis will be learned on the job.

If you enjoy working with computers, coding, and developing compelling software that will be used by your company, then this is a great career to pursue. It is also one of the fastest growing fields according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Data Scientist

Median salary: $71,463

Job Outlook: 28% increase by 2029

Another rapidly growing field is that of a data scientist. If you enjoy working with large batches of information and are good at making mathematical inferences based on that data, then you will be happy with this career path.

A background in mathematics is essential, with degrees in either math or computer science being your best option for finding a job out of college. With how in-demand this career field is, however, there are opportunities for recent graduates and mid-career professionals looking to make a career switch. Online certification is available through Coursera and Udacity, giving you the requisite background and training to get started as an entry-level data scientist.

This is a great career field if you like drawing conclusions and finding patterns from data, and if you are comfortable working with and turning large amounts of information into actionable insights for the company.


Median salary: $71,990

Job Outlook: 18% increase by 2029

If you love mathematics and numbers, but don’t necessarily want to enter the computer or technology fields, a great career choice is to become an actuary. This is a career that consistently provides steady employment, healthy work-life balance, and rewarding work.

Actuaries work closely with insurance companies to assess risks and make recommendations to companies and individual clients. This career relies heavily on your understanding of statistics and probability, so a bachelor’s degree in mathematics is the best way to get started.

If your idea of an ideal workday is computing numbers and analyzing risk, then you will be happy every day in this career field.

Dental Hygienist

Median salary: $75,472

Job Outlook: 6% increase by 2029

If there is one career field that will always be in demand, it is dentistry. And as a dental hygienist, you are the first person your patient sees. Working under a dentist’s supervision, you are responsible for teeth cleaning, taking x-rays, recommending treatments, and overall helping your patients maintain good oral health and hygiene.

One of the best aspects of this career is that you can begin with an associate’s degree – allowing you to start your career after just two years. 

Radiation Therapist

Median salary: $84,048

Job Outlook: 7% increase by 2029

The last job on this list of top paying career ideas is Radiation Therapist. Like a dental hygienist, a radiation therapist works directly with patients and assists doctors and specialists with patient care. As a radiation therapist, you are responsible for advising your patients, explaining their treatments, and administering the radiation treatment.

Radiation therapists earn over $80,000 a year, but the rewards go beyond the salary. You will build lasting bonds with your patients, helping them through one of the most difficult periods of their lives. It can be a challenging career – but if you are searching for a job that pays well and allows you to help others, this could be the right one for you.