College can be expensive, and most who are fortunate enough to graduate are left bearing substantial debt in the form of student loans. If you want to be able to pay off those debts and start saving for early retirement after you graduate, consider these four post-college career paths that offer relatively high initial earnings.

Software Engineer

With giant tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, competing for top talent, computer science and software engineering majors are headhunted aggressively, regardless of field experience. Software engineers can get offered a median annual wage of $84,000, far higher than what other engineering fields would be willing to bet on fresh college grads.

Real Estate Agent

You'll have to meet your state's minimum age and pass the state exam to work as a real estate agent. While it takes a serious amount of work, real estate agents can make a killing financially, especially if you are working around an economically thriving city or neighborhood. The average real estate agent earns roughly $36,000-40,000/year. This figure, however, can vary based on how much you can earn from commissions and bonuses. Another perk is that many agents work part-time and from their home, giving you flexibility and freedom. And because many agents work part-time, the national average income may be misleading and most likely higher.

Investment Banker

It's no secret that finance people rake in ridiculous amounts of money. It's not impossible for a junior level trader to take home as much as $150,000 during their first year working in an investment bank. Of course, it does come with its trade-offs, as the work hours for investment bankers are notoriously long.


If you enjoy helping people as a profession, then nursing may be a fulfilling career path to take. Not only is it spiritually fulfilling, but with a starting salary of $47,000, it's also financially rewarding. Depending on what company you work for and what department you specialize in, you could make more. For instance, nurse trainers can make upward of $60,000 per year.

High initial earnings are seldom factored in when people are scoping out college courses and majors they are interested in pursuing. But, having a high starting salary at a young age allows you to save and invest more, which compounds to more money over time. If you're looking for post-college career paths that pay right away, start with the four options mentioned in this article.

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