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These college degrees pay you back

Want a high-paying job after you earn your bachelor's degree? Take more technology, business or finance classes. Students who graduate with these degrees draw the highest starting salaries because they have skills in short supply and are entering fields where jobs are plentiful. Take a look at our list of high-paying jobs you can get with a four-year degree, with salary data from Monster's Salary Wizard:

Business process consultant

Landing this high-paying job takes a great GPA from a competitive school, a winning personality and analytical chops. In exchange for entry-level pay in the $70Ks, you could spend up to 90 percent of your time traveling, says Jon Mazzocchi, partner and general manager at Winter, Wyman & Co., a New York City staffing firm. If the long hours energize you, head back to school for an MBA in two years at the company's expense.

ERP analyst

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) analyst is a high-paying job because knowing how to extract and use data from companywide systems to do forward planning, find cost savings and make quick decisions can positively influence the bottom line. Make yourself a hot hire by snagging an internship where you get experience with SAP or Oracle before you graduate, says Josh Warborg, district president for Robert Half International in Menlo Park, Calif.

Web security administrator

Given the constant drumbeat of regulation, compliance and intrusion attempts, security administration is the most promising entry-level job for IT grads right now, says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, a Vero Beach IT analyst firm. It's a great option for techies who are very technical, tenacious, suspicious and never satisfied. Do an internship leading to a security clearance to boost your salary even higher.

IT auditor

Information technology auditors make sure computer systems do what they're supposed to do in the way they're supposed to do it, like manage orders or track shipments. Get a dual major (or a major and emphasis) in accounting and IT to set yourself up for this high-paying job, Warborg says.

Environmental engineer

Use math to make the world a greener place, as well as chemistry and biology to clean up environmental damage. You can also work helping companies prevent environmental hazards. Having a military background or security clearance can add 15 percent to virtually any engineer's salary, says Elaine Varelas, managing partner of Keystone Partners, a Boston career-management firm.

Financial reporting accountant

Complying with the ever-growing demands of the Securities and Exchange Commission, talking to the external auditors and making sure your employer is following accounting rules will all be on your to-do list when you work as a financial reporting accountant.

Web software developer

By working internships before you finish your four-year degree, you can get the one year of experience you need in Web-based development to win this high-paying job. Experience with .Net and object-oriented applications is especially valuable, Foote says.

© 2011 — Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online global network for careers. To see other career-related articles, visit: career-advice.monster.com.

These college degrees pay you back 11/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:30am]
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