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Cha-ching! 5 high paying jobs for fresh grads in the US

highest paying jobs in the US
Not all the highest paying jobs in USA are medical related. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

If you search for the highest paying jobs in the US, you’ll notice that the ones ranked in the top nine are careers related to the medical field.

Some of these jobs include anesthesiologist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon and obstetrician and gynecologist.

What you’ll also notice is that these professions require a high level of qualification such as a doctorate degree and a much longer study duration. 

But these aren’t the only positions that pay well. Non-medicine students can secure some of the highest-paying jobs in the US with other degrees, including those in STEM-related fields.

In some roles, you need not even show you have a master’s degree.

The highest paying jobs in the US that aren’t medical-related and don’t require a master’s or PhD degree

1. Pilot

highest paying jobs in usa

One of the highest paying jobs in the US, a pilot’s salary can be sky-high. Source: Joël Saget/Pool/AFP

Median annual salary: US$134,630 (2021)

The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects 5.7% employment growth for pilots between 2021 and 2031. In that period, an estimated 7,700 jobs should open up.

How much pilots get paid depends on factors such as the airline company and the pilot’s level of seniority.

Regional airlines typically pay significantly less than major airlines such as Delta Airlines Inc., American Airlines and United Airlines.

Aviation industry experts note that it isn’t always feasible to switch from a regional airline to a major one.

Same goes for seniority status. Experts discourage pilots from switching between major airlines.

2. IT manager

Median annual salary: US$159,010 (2021)

Information technology (IT) managers help organisations navigate the always-changing labyrinth that is modern technology.

As companies become increasingly digital and with the rise of cyber threats, there is an urgent need for IT managers in all sectors, from hospitals to financial and insurance companies.

Work is abundant in this field with a projected employment growth of 16.2% between 2021 and 2031 by BLS.

Apart from being ranked as one of the highest paying jobs in the US, it is also ranked third under Best Technology Jobs and sixth under Best STEM Jobs, according to US News and World Report.

3. Financial manager 

highest paying jobs in usa

Investing is one of the highest paying jobs in the US. Source: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Median annual salary: US$131,710 (2021)

Considered one of the highest paying jobs in the US, it’s unsurprising why the career prospects for this job are growing, making it a competitive field to join.

It is also ranked second in the Best Business Jobs ranking, according to US News and World Report.

Financial managers have an eye for detail, are great with numbers and have great communication skills.

They have the responsibility of overseeing the finances of major companies, agencies and everything in between.

They also have to work with other members of their organisation to come up with complex reports.

4. Marketing manager

Median annual salary: US$135,030 (2021)

Ranked the #1 Best Sales and Marketing Jobs by US News and World Report, marketing managers are  responsible for a wide variety of strategic and marketing communications projects.

This includes planning and executing campaigns that communicate a brand or organisation’s message to its target audience.

The job scope of a marketing manager varies across the industry but they generally work with a wider pool of stakeholders.

Marketing managers have to communicate with clients, designers and other heads of departments which requires multitasking skills.

Types of work visas in the US

H-1B Visa: Specialty Occupations

The H-1B visa is the most common work visa that US employers use to hire foreign workers.

It’s a non-immigrant visa — meaning that it’s issued on a temporary basis — and is specifically geared towards skilled individuals who show promise in their fields.

Most H-1B visas are issued to STEM-related graduates.

You can’t apply for an H-1B yourself — your employer has to file it for you.

If you’re successful, you’ll be permitted to live in the US for three years, with the possibility of extending to six.

What’s more, it can potentially lead to a green card — find out how here.

L-1 Visa: Intracompany Transferee

The L-1 visa is for you if you’re an employee in a company that has an office in the US, but are currently working from an office in another country.

Through this visa, an employer from your company’s American branch can file an application for you to be brought over for the purposes of working in the US on a temporary basis.

You can also qualify for an L-1 visa if your company hopes to establish an office in the US and wants to send you over for this purpose.

Again, your employer will have to file an application on your behalf.

Green Card: Permanent Resident

If you want to live in the US long-term, your natural course of action should be to work towards a green card.

With this, you’ll count as a lawful permanent resident in the US and have the right to legally live, work, and travel freely in the country.

The great news? All of the visa types mentioned above can count towards a green card application.

The bad news, though, is that a green card is notoriously difficult to obtain, especially because there’s a limited cap on how many are issued each year.