According to the latest study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average college graduate can expect to earn $45,478 after graduation. Some majors pay more than others though. For example, the average salary for an engineering graduate is $64,367. That’s a 42% higher salary simply because of a degree – a prime example of why calculating your college ROI matters.
But what about earning “good” money right out of college. I’m talking making over $100,000 per year. Is it possible? How have others done it?
Today I wanted to share several stories of “regular people” who make good money. These aren’t celebrities. You probably haven’t heard of any of them until today. Yet they are making good money through hard work. Let’s look at how it’s possible to make six figures a year right out of college.
Working In High Paying Industries
It’s possible to make good money after graduation by going into high paying industries. The most common fields are medicine, pharmacy, and law. However, these fields also require more education, which can cost more and lead to more student loan debt. So plan your ROI appropriately.
Veronica Kaslewicz, Pharmacist
My name is Veronica Kaslewicz, and I am a Pharmacist. I graduated college in May of 2011 at age 23. After passing all of my boards, by August of 2011, I was making a yearly salary of around $110,000.
I went to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA where I went into the pharmacy program straight out of high school and earned my Doctor of Pharmacy. It is a 6-year doctorate program that doesn’t require a full 4-year undergrad degree. In pharmacy school, your 2 years of ‘undergrad’ are prerequisite courses needed for the 4 years of graduate school.
It is highly typical for pharmacy majors to be recruited by companies and have multiple job offers 6 months or more before graduation. It is also very likely that pharmacy graduates make over $100,000, depending on the geographical location and specialty they choose to work in. I chose this major because I was always interested in healthcare as well as science, and the job security, career options, and paycheck can’t be beat for the amount of school and time invested.
As a result of me pulling in a 6 figure paycheck for most of my 20’s, my husband and I have been able to pay off our combined $96,000 in student loans and over $80,000 in mortgage and other debts in the past 3 years! Our new goal is to pay off the remaining $64,000 on our mortgage by October of 2016 and finally be completely free of debt before my husband turns 30.
We started a blog called Second Hand Millionaires to detail our journey out of debt by extreme saving, living below our means, and flipping second-hand items for profit to pay off our debts faster. We are seekers of financial independence and are now buying our lives back, one ‘second’ at a time.
Starting A Business After Graduation
One of the most common ways people started earning $100,000 or more after college was to start their own business. Being an entrepreneur is a big risk, but it has a high reward potential as well.
Leighton Taylor, Envision.io
After graduating from college, I started a web agency, and my income [in the first year after graduation] was $105,000. For 2015, it will be about $130k.
My major in college was Graphic Design, and I started my business soon after graduating. My business is now a team of 7 people, and we do web design, development, and marketing for small businesses.
Brandon Harvey, Social Media Expert
I graduated Spring of 2015 and by the end of the year I will have made more than $100,000. I studied marketing and advertising at Portland State University and currently work as a photographer and social media influencer. In a lot of ways, I’m just professional Snapchatter. Crazy, I know.
Side Hustling To Success
I’m a big believer that anyone can boost their income by developing side incomes streams. There are so many potential ways to earn a side income, from investing, to creating a small business, to doing odd-job tasks. Here’s how you can boost your income over six figures with a side hustle.
Andrew Tjernlund, Director of Marketing & Side Hustler
I started and operated a ping pong paddle business on the side in addition to my normal job in marketing and sales at a manufacturing company. My side hustle has had sales of over $300k and could be done in only a couple hours per week. I did this after graduation from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
My current main salary is $100,000 and my side hustle earns me about $30,000 per year currently.
There’s No “Right Way” To Make Money
The bottom line is that there is no right way to make money and get over the six figure mark. We’ve covered how these 25 year olds were making millions, but that’s not the case with most people. Most people graduate college, get a good paying job, and create income streams to help them make six figures.
What’s your path to creating a six figure income?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.