Average Salary: $149,400
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $6,237,000
We know you aren't going into pharma science for the money—you want to help your fellow humans, right? But in case you're wondering, the money can be very good in the pharmaceutical industry.
At a pharmaceutical company, even the workers on the bottom rung on the corporate ladder—research assistants—make in the $70k range. But those extra years spent toiling away for a few extra letters after your name will pay off. Scientists with a graduate degree could bring in $90k to $110k each year. (It's more money to pay off that huge student loan debt you've amassed along the way.)
Not interested in working for Big Pharma, one of those whimsically named companies that fill the TV airwaves with ads of blissful people running through meadows because some miracle drug has freed them of arthritis or their restless leg syndrome? You're in luck. Similar positions exist at universities or regulatory agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Don't expect to make as much at these locales, but we promise you'll be able to pay your bills like a good, responsible adult.