Can you have a job with high satisfaction that also pays six figures? What about first-time job hunters? The answer to both questions is, “Yes.”
If you choose wisely.
The jobs environment is getting rosier, at least judging by the latest jobs figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5% in November and remained near a 50-year low. The labor force participation rate was 63.2% in November, up slightly from 63% in October, helped by an increase in women aged 25 to 34 looking for work and/or getting jobs.
The 2019 best job for college graduates that pays over $100,000
Jeff Gillis and Mike Simpson, who operate TheInterviewGuys.com, a site that offers career and resume advice, analyzed the Occupational Requirements Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which gives information on physical demands, environmental conditions, education, training, and experience, as well as cognitive and mental requirements for jobs in the U.S. economy.
Approximately 64% of pharmacists require no previous work experience in that field, and have a median salary of $126,000 per year, more than twice the national average, and 60% of nurse practitioners, which have a median salary of $114,000 per year, also require no work experience, according to the analysis by Gillis and Simpson and the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures.
They looked for jobs in the “sweet spot,” positions not requiring experience and still paying well. “Gaining more experience in a given field can definitely give you the upper hand at your place of employment, especially when it comes to negotiating salary,” Gillis and Simpson said. “Employees could expect to make an average of 66% more when they crossed the four-plus-year threshold.”
A closer look at what it takes for graduates to earn six-figures
But those high median salaries and low experience requirements come after a hard slog in college and, in some cases, graduate school. “Pharmacists, for example, must obtain a doctoral degree in pharmacy to enter the workforce, plus have passing grades on the Pharmacy College Admission Test, and other benchmarks even to be considered,” Gillis and Simpson said.
High-school teachers and special education teachers were the top jobs that most often required no previous experience (91% of those jobs, respectively). But annual salaries for both jobs hover at just over $60,000, according to the BLS. Police patrol officers were No. 3 on the list of jobs requiring no previous experience and have a median annual salary of $65,400.
But there is generally no premium on a lack of experience. “In many cases, employees don’t need ample work experience to earn a fair wage; however, low-experience jobs with high supply tend to stay toward the bottom of the earnings scale,” they added. They cited fast-food cooks (some 94% of these jobs required no experience), but they earn just $22,650 per year.
The 2019 best job by salary, openings and employee satisfaction
Data scientists were No. 1 on Glassdoor’s “50 Best Jobs in America” for 2019 — for the fourth consecutive year with a median base annual salary of $118,000, according to the BLS (or $108,000 per Glassdoor’s own analysis). They were followed by nursing managers ($83,000), marketing managers ($82,000), occupational therapists ($74,000) and product managers ($115,000).
The score is determined by weighing three factors equally: Earning potential (median annual base salary), overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings. For a job title to be considered, it must receive at least 100 salary reports and at least 100 job satisfaction ratings shared by U.S.-based employees in one year. C-suite and intern level jobs were excluded from the data.
There were other six-figure jobs among Glassdoor’s top 20 list, including devops engineers at No. 6 ($106,000 a year) who work with developers and the IT staff to oversee code releases, data engineers ($100,000), software engineers ($104,000), physician assistant ($105,000), strategy manager ($140,000) and security engineers ($102,000).
A closer look at other six-figure jobs highly rated by employees
Data scientists and software developers use programming language such as Python, R, SQL, Hadoop and the more well-known Java, according to careers site Glassdoor. A mid-level data scientist is likely to be proficient in Python, R and SQL, and make close to $130,000 a year. Google
typically hire these roles.
Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced its annual “Emerging Jobs” list, which identifies the roles that have seen the largest rate of hiring growth from 2015 through this year. Artificial intelligence specialist was top of the list. Demand for this job has grown 74% annually in the past 4 years, the site said, and the annual salary for AI specialists hovers at $140,000 per year.
However, a separate report by the U.S. News & World Report on the best jobs of the year lists software developers as No. 1. The position offers flexible hours and remote work opportunities, while investing in individuals’ personal and professional development. Like data scientists, software developers have a median annual salary of over $100,000.