Careers that pay more than $50 an hour -- roughly $100,000 a year -- with a bachelor’s degree or less, actually defy the statistics. In fact, most graduates with a master’s degree don’t earn that much money, and several occupations that require a doctoral or professional degree fall short of the $50 an hour mark. In fact, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the typical correlation between wages and educational attainment is as follows:
$57,590: Associate’s degree
$67,140: Bachelor’s degree
$63,400: Master’s degree
$96,420: Doctoral or professional degree
And no, that’s not a typographical error: Graduates with a bachelor’s degree tend to earn more than those with a master’s degree. However, $100,000 careers are rare unless you have a legal, medical, or PhD degree, and some college professors with a PhD don’t reach the $100K mark. Neither do most PhDs who are economists, medical scientists, sociologists, psychologists, and historians.
The jobs that made the list of careers that pay more than $100,000 a year with a bachelor’s degree or less include a variety of industries. Also, some of the jobs pay significantly more than $100,000. For example, one career option that pays close to $123,000 accepts either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. The highest paid career choice on the list pays $130,000 a year.
The careers on the list also reflect a variety of skill sets. Some require leadership skills and the ability to manage people, projects, and goals. Other jobs on the list require creativity, organization, and good communication skills. In addition, some of the career choices are technical positions in which math, troubleshooting, concentration, and analytical abilities are the most important traits.
5 Sales Managers
Median Pay: $50.60/hr Or $105,260/yr
Sales managers oversee sales teams and determine the best ways to improve performance and increase profits. This includes forecasting sales and analyzing sales data, in addition to setting sales quotas and offering discount rates to help decrease product inventory. Sale managers also strategize ways to increase the company’s client base, and they handle customer complaints. In addition, they oversee training for the sales staff, assign territories, and set departmental goals.
The position pays well because selling products and services is the backbone of many businesses. Sales managers need a bachelor’s degree, and although no specific major is required, it helps to take courses in finance, accounting, management, and marketing.
4 Financial Managers
Median Pay: $52.76/hour Or $109,740/yr
Financial managers handle an organization’s budgets and other financial matters. There are several types of financial managers, including controllers, who handle income statements, balance sheets, or other financial reports.
Types of financial managers include treasurers and finance officers who are responsible for budgets, investments, and the financial aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Credit managers determine credit ceilings and set the criteria for determining credit ratings. Cash managers project and monitor the organization’s cash flow.
Financial errors and inconsistencies can ruin a company, so organizations are willing to offer lucrative salaries to competent financial managers. The educational requirement for finance managers is usually a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration and economics.
3 Advertising, Promotions, And Marketing Managers
Median Pay: $55.65/hr Or $115,750/yr
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan campaigns designed to increase the sales of a company’s products or services. Advertising managers generate ideas and create budgets for advertising campaigns. Some of them are account executives that serve as a liaison between an advertising firm and its clients, while others place ads on billboards, TV and radio stations, websites, and in newspapers and magazines.
Promotions managers provide advertising services, in addition to handling purchase incentives, such as coupons, discounts, sweepstakes, contests, gifts, and rebates. They also determine if these incentives should take the form of in-store displays, product endorsements, newspaper and magazine inserts, or other types of campaigns.
Marketing managers monitor and forecast buying trends, identify target audiences, and develop pricing strategies. Companies invest a lot of money trying to reach and persuade consumers, and they rely heavily on the expertise of advertising, promotions, and marketing majors. A bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism is the standard educational requirement for advertising and promotions managers, while marketing managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
2 Air Traffic Controllers
Median Pay: $58.91/hr Or $122,530/yr
Air traffic controllers orchestrate the movement of aircraft. They use radars, computers, and other tools to monitor the path and location of aircraft and ensure that the planes are a safe distance from each other.
Air traffic controllers also provide pilots with such vital information as inclement weather notices and runway closures. There are three types of air traffic controllers. Tower controllers handle runways and taxiways. Approach and departure controllers issue clearances to enter controlled airspace. En route controllers guide planes through the air. With thousands of planes in U.S. airspace at any given moment, air traffic controllers command a lucrative salary to ensure safety in the skies and on the ground. Air traffic controllers complete either a two-year or a four-year Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program.
1 Petroleum Engineers
Median Pay: $62.64/hr Or $130,280/yr
Petroleum engineers devise ways to extract deposits of oil and gas from below the earth’s surface. This entails designing equipment to efficiently remove deposits, in addition to formulating plans to drill in oil and gas fields. Petroleum engineers ensure the accuracy of well surveys and tests, and create ways to extract more oil using chemicals, steam, water, and gases.
There are various types of petroleum engineers. Completions engineers ensure that the final construction of a well allows it to safely produce the maximum amount of oil or gas. Drilling engineers determine the most effective and careful way to drill for oil or gas. Production engineers monitor the amount of oil or gas being extracted to ensure the process is working as planned. Finally, reservoir engineers determine how much oil or gas can be extracted from underground deposits.
The educational requirement for petroleum engineers is a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While petroleum engineering is the preferred major, mechanical or chemical engineering degrees are often also acceptable.