Acquire a good education

Go to college or university and earn a degree

To earn a lot of money it helps to have a college degree, since so many employers use it as a screening mechanism. The highest-paying field for college graduates in 2013 was computer engineering, with an average salary of around $60,000 for workers with fewer than five years of experience. Ten to twenty years of experience gets you into the low six figures. Economics, finance, and math majors should see even more meaningful percentage increases in earnings with work experience. Average salaries range from $57,290 (for ship engineers) to $105,820 (for air-traffic controllers). But the second-highest-paying of these jobs, real estate broker averages  $76,930.

On average the typical new college graduates of 2013, according to the latest salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which releases reports on the earnings of new graduates three times a year.

The average starting salary for a member of the class of 2013 is $44,928, up 5.3% from the previous year, driven by big gains in fields such as health sciences and business.

Engineers took seven of the top ten spots in NACE’s April survey, with petroleum engineers–a category added this year–earning the most, with average starting salaries of $93,500.

The survey is based on data from 400,000 employers, gathered from government and private sources. The data reflects actual starting salaries, not offers.

Other than engineering majors, the list of highly paid grads includes computer science majors, management information systems/business majors and finance majors.

Engineering salaries rose, on average, 4% over the previous year to $62,535, but other industries saw larger increases. Those majoring in health sciences will see a 9.4% increase over last year, while business majors’ salaries will rise 7.1%.

The grads seeing the smallest pay bump are humanities and social-science majors, whose starting salaries inched up 1.9%, to $37,058.

In the industry with the most hiring – educational services, which includes teaching and special education, among other professions – employers pay average salaries of $39,992 to the 455,000 new graduates they hire.

Here’s the list of top 10 professions, with starting salaries:

Petroleum Engineering: $93,500

Computer Engineering: $71,700

Chemical Engineering: $67,600

Computer Science: $64,800

Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering: $64,400

Mechanical Engineering: $64,000

Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering: $63,400

Management Information Systems/Business: $63,100

Engineering Technology: $62,200

Finance: $57,400

For those not fortunate enough to have a college degree:

Average Factory Worker salaries for job postings in New York are 20% higher than average Factory Worker salaries for job postings nationwide at $47,000 and in Los Angelis $39,000.

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