How to Make a Six Figure Salary Right Out of College

Seth Marsh, CUED-IN Seth Marsh, CUED-IN Jun 03, 2016

How does one earn money?


Through a job.


So, how do you set yourself up for the salary of your dreams upon graduation? Evaluate the job market prior to picking your major… and then choose wisely.


Most likely one of your reasons for investing in a college education is so that you come out more qualified on the other side. This will, in turn, make you eligible for a higher salary, right? Absolutely!


At the very least, just having a college degree means that you will likely earn more than someone with only a high school diploma. But if you put a little time into researching the job market before making a decision on your major, you could set yourself up for a big payout upon graduation. Check out this very cool tool from the Department of Labor. Not only can you find out what various occupations make on average, you can also search the highest paying jobs, the fastest growing jobs, and the fields with the newest jobs.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of possible dream jobs, try to get internships or jobs within that field before you even get to college (or as early in your college career as possible). You may find that even though you could make well over six figures as an air traffic controller, that particular job just isn’t for you.


Tip: If you’re planning on entering a field that will require additional schooling (like the medical field), make sure you find out what kind of acceptance rate the college you’re considering has to graduate programs in that particular field.


Another Tip: It’s often beneficial to make your dream job as specific as possible. For instance, I graduated with a general business degree. Did this major give me an excellent overview of the field of business? Yes. Would I do things differently if I could do college over again? Yes, slightly. I would have decided on a concentration (accounting, management, etc.), which would have made me a bit more marketable to employers.


Sidenote: If your dream job doesn’t pay well, no sweat! In the least cheesy way possible, I would suggest that you follow your dreams. Not even a six figure salary can make you happy when you’re not doing what you love. But if you’re headed toward a lower paying job, it’s even more essential that you make informed choices about where you go to college and how much you invest in your college education. It goes without saying, but debt takes longer to pay off if you have less money coming in.



Photo Credit: Pictures of Money