The average total cost of a four-year college education at a public institution in America (including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and room and board), according to the Education Data Initiative, is $103,456 for an in-state student, $174,885 for one from out of state, and $215,796 for students who choose a private college or university. And only 39% of students earn a BA in four years; the majority take six.
If that sounds daunting, consider the upside: The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities reports that holders of BAs earn an average of $32,000 more per year than those with only a high school degree — amounting to about $1 million more over the course of their working life. In addition, many potentially lucrative job classifications are closed to those who don’t have at least a BA. (Without a degree, don’t even bother thinking about getting one of the highest paying jobs in America.)
To find the highest paying jobs in the Huntsville, Alabama, metro area that require a bachelor’s degree, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data at the metro area level. Data on median annual wage nationwide and in Huntsville for all occupations as well as per occupation comes from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics as of May 2020. BLS employment growth projections are for 2020 to 2030.
Note that for many of these positions, a bachelor’s degree would be the absolute minimum requirement but not necessarily sufficient in itself. For instance, many financial management and marketing jobs would require an MBA, while many kinds of engineers would need a master’s degree or doctorate.
Located in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama, and the second-largest city in the state after Birmingham, Huntsville is the center for rocket-propulsion research in the United States. (The Marshall Space Flight Center develops launch systems for NASA and missile delivery systems for the armed forces.) In addition, it is a major automotive hub, with a new $2.3 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant that will ultimately employ some 4,000 workers. No wonder Huntsville is one of the 25 cities best positioned for growth and recovery.
Not surprisingly, many of the key jobs on this list involve technology and engineering. No matter the particulars, though, any position among these high-paying jobs could lead to a career that more than pays back an investment in higher education.