While you're toiling away, spending those three to four years at an institution of higher learning, you want to believe that your undergrad degree will lead to a well-paying job someday. As more and more people realize the importance of an education, many employers are now looking for applicants with graduate degrees in order to even qualify for an interview. Thankfully, there are still a few jobs that pay well and only require an undergrad degree. We took a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Highest Paying Jobs, and found the ones in which you only have to go college once.

IN PICTURES: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs
Natural Sciences Manager
This job involves managing a highly-trained staff, and communicating the technical data from their work to higher-ups and sometimes stockholders. These managers need at least an undergrad in the science area that they manage, and usually some experience in their field so that they are able to effectively manage and communicate. This job pays a median salary of $127,000, and is expected to grow at 15% over the next 10 years.

Engineering Manager
This job is similar to natural science manager, as the managers need at least an undergrad to get started. This position requires experience as an engineer and usually some as a manager, in order to translate the highly technical information into everyday language. Most engineering managers have at least an undergrad in some specialty of engineering. The good news for this position is that it pays $122,810 and is expected to grow 6% in the next 10 years. The bad news for this position is that firms sometimes look for a graduate degree or a combination of undergrad degrees.

Computer and Information Systems Manager
For this job, prospective employees need to have an undergrad in a computer-related field, and some experience in that field, as well. Sometimes, employers will also want an MBA to show that employees are business-savvy and know what they're doing as managers, not just as computer scientists. This degree can be a Bachelor of Arts, Science or Mathematics, with a focus in computers, and the position has a mean annual salary of $120,640. Positions in this field are supposed to grow by 17% by 2018. If you are still planning on getting that philosophy degree, it's going to be a bit harder to get a high-paying job.

Marketing Manager
Are you seeing a pattern yet? Managerial positions offer the best wage when you have an undergrad degree. Marketing managers need to have a B.Com degree with a focus in marketing and significant experience as a marketer before becoming a manager. They work to develop marketing strategies, and even price setting for a company. Marketing managers make a mean annual salary of $120,070 and prospects for growth are 12% by 2018.

Petroleum Engineer
A bachelor of engineering is required for this job, but a master's degree won't do you any harm. Alternatively, sometimes a mathematics degree can qualify you for an engineering job. This job involves exactly what you think: evaluating and creating ways to get that black gold from the ground and into upgrading plants and refineries, but in a much more technical way. The mean annual salary for these engineers is $119,960, and the job is expected to grow by 18% over the next decade.

Political Scientist
If you were in an arts program, how many people did you meet taking a political science degree and think that it would do them as much good as taking a degree in performing arts? Well, look who's laughing now. A bachelor's degree in political science (a Bachelor of Arts degree) will get you into the field, and experience and proven performance will get you to a high-paying, high-profile gig. The mean salary for this position is $101,050, and the position is expected to grow by 19% over the next 10 years.

The Bottom Line
There are still jobs out there that only require you to go to college for four years, and with the right experience, many of them pay six-figure salaries. Going back to school will always improve your chances in getting a more senior position, but it's not always necessary. So, that undergrad you're pursuing doesn't have to be the first step in a series of degrees; it can be the last schooling that you ever have to do. (There are many ways to fund a child's education including loans, scholarships, grants and protecting your investments. To learn more, see Paying For College In An Economic Downturn.)

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Ups And Downs Of A Double-Dip Recession.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    6 Ways to Save Money on College Supplies

    Tuition and room and board are big expenses, yes, but the cost of textbooks and supplies can add up, too, unless you strategize.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    Elon Musk Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Read more about Elon Musk, the South African immigrant turned technology and engineering entrepreneur and inventor worth $13.6 billion.
  3. Retirement

    Why are 401(k) contributions limited?

    Find out why contributions to 401(k) retirement plans are limited, including what the current contribution limits are and how limits encourage participation.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Why Walmart Raised Its Minimum Wage

    Read about the potential pros and cons of Walmart's promise to increase its minimum starting salary to $10 an hour.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Millennials Guide: Freelancer vs. Employee

    How to decide if joining the gig economy is right for you.
  6. Savings

    All About Income

    Income is the money you or a business earns by providing goods or services, or through investments.
  7. Insurance

    Healthcare Premiums Keep Rising, But Salaries Aren’t

    Learn how college and health insurance costs have skyrocketed while wages have stagnated, and how, given the necessity of these services, consumers are stuck.
  8. Professionals

    Career Advice: Management Consulting Vs. Law

    Compare the career opportunities between management and law using such criteria as skills needed, starting salary and work-life balance.
  9. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
  10. Professionals

    8 Justifications For Sky-high CEO Salaries

    Why are CEO salaries so astronomically high? There may be more to the story than you think.
  1. Good Student Discount

    An auto insurance policy discount available to young drivers ...
  2. Whartonite

    A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University ...
  3. Back Pay

    The amount of salary and other benefits that an employee claims ...
  4. Payroll Card

    A prepaid card onto which an employer loads an employee’s wages ...
  5. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    A federal law designed to ensure equal pay for all workers, regardless ...
  6. Cash Bonus

    A lump sum of money awarded to an employee, either occasionally ...
  1. What is the difference between AGI (adjusted gross income) and gross income?

    In the United States, individuals pay taxes based on their adjusted gross income, or AGI, rather than their gross income. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the relationship between research and development and innovation?

    Although it's possible to achieve innovation without research and development and it's possible to conduct research and development ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How is marginal propensity to save calculated?

    Marginal propensity to save is used in Keynesian macroeconomics to quantify the relationship between changes in income and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can minimum wages contribute to a market failure?

    The minimum wage acts like a price floor on labor, reducing the supply of jobs available to a level below the market-clearing ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does the always be closing (ABC) strategy benefit a salesperson's sales funnel?

    It is good practice in sales to always be closing, because it's common for a salesperson's sales funnel to be leaky. When ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some common functions of business intelligence technologies?

    Although business intelligence technologies have some common functions, their main function is to support a company's decision-making ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!