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 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.