25 college majors that earn the most money
We’re getting close to graduation season and many high school students are readying for the next chapter — college.
Choosing a major is a huge decision and, while it is not the only factor, the potential for future earnings is one of the things students consider. Along those lines, ranking site Stacker used data from a 2020 PayScale report to rank the top college majors that alumni make the most money from in their respective professional careers.
The rankings are based on the highest average mid-career salary based on only a bachelor’s degree.
Here are the top 25:
1. Petroleum Engineering
Early career pay: $93,200
Mid-career pay: $187,300
Finding and removing oil and natural gas from the Earth falls under the well-paid direction of petroleum engineers.
2. Operations Research and Industrial Engineering
Early career pay: $84,800
Mid-career pay: $170,400
Utilizing an operations research and industrial engineering degree means using mathematical models, statistical analysis, and real-time observations to design, optimize, and modify complex systems.
3. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Early career pay: $108,500
Mid-career pay: $159,300
There are a wide range of careers for a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science that all involve knowing the workings of both software and hardware for electronic devices.
4. Interaction Design
Early career pay: $68,300
Mid-career pay: $155,800
The very best interaction design—the process of anticipating and facilitating behaviors between users and technology— is undetectable to the user.
5. Public Accounting
Early career pay: $59,800
Mid-career pay: $147,700
Public accountants offer financial services to businesses and people, like preparing tax documents, auditing financial statements, and providing consulting services.
6. Operations Research
Early career pay: $83,500
Mid-career pay: $147,400
Students in the program will learn how to apply practical solutions to complex business problems, using math and statistical analysis to make informed decisions.
7. Applied Economics and Management
Early career pay: $66,100
Mid-career pay: $146,400
Applied economics and management majors use economic models to predict financial outcomes based on the decisions of a business or individual.
8. Business Computing
Early career pay: $73,000
Mid-career pay: $143,600
A business computing degree prepares graduates to manage and leverage information systems to support a business.
9. Actuarial Mathematics
Early career pay: $64,300
Mid-career pay: $143,400
Actuaries use math and statistics to analyze and assess financial risk for a business, usually in the finance or insurance fields.
10. Electrical Power Engineering
Early career pay: $76,100
Mid-career pay: $142,600
Designing, manufacturing, and maintaining electrical equipment are the fields of expertise for graduates with electrical power engineering degrees.
11. Information and Computer Science
Early career pay: $58,600
Mid-career pay: $140,900
Using both concrete and abstract principles, information and computer science majors learn to solve problems and explore new areas using computers.
12. Aeronautics and Astronautics
Early career pay: $77,600
Mid-career pay: $139,600
Aeronautics and astronautics involve learning the design, manufacturing, and testing of everything that flies in the skies (aeronautics), and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere (astronautics).
13. Systems Engineering
Early career pay: $77,700
Mid-career pay: $139,200
Systems engineers will finish their four-year degree with the ability to build and manage complex systems, including people, equipment, and software for a variety of businesses.
Early career pay: $64,200
Mid-career pay: $139,000
Econometrics entails using existing financial data to either test existing economic hypotheses or predict future performance.
Early career pay: $68,600
Mid-career pay: $138,700
Becoming a full-fledged pharmacist requires a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in pharmacy. Four-year grads undertake an intensive study of biology and chemistry, while learning about the production and manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
16. Aerospace Studies
Early career pay: $55,800
Mid-career pay: $136,600
Outside of recruiting or teaching, graduates learn about military planning, from developing national security policy to using air and spacecraft for strategic purposes.
17. Chemical Engineering (tie)
Early career pay: $76,900
Mid-career pay: $135,900
Skills in math and multiple scientific disciplines are required for a career as a chemical engineer, and graduates will be prepared to tackle issues related to chemical manufacturing.
17. Building Science (tie)
Early career pay: $53,800
Mid-career pay: $135,900
Designing the next generation of buildings that meet the needs of safety, human comfort, and environmental demands is the goal of a building science major.
19. Cognitive Science
Early career pay: $68,700
Mid-career pay: $135,200
Cognitive science involves studying how the brain processes information, learns, and behaves.
20. Actuarial Science
Early career pay: $67,700
Mid-career pay: $134,400
Assessing risk within a particular industry falls under the purview of an actuarial science graduate, who uses math and statistics.
21. Political Economy
Early career pay: $65,100
Mid-career pay: $133,500
A political economy degree program focuses on the intersection of politics, the economy, and how public policy is formed at that intersection.
22. Computer Systems Engineering
Early career pay: $79,000
Mid-career pay: $133,200
How computers integrate into business and personal lives is the most important function of a computer systems engineer.
23. Electrical and Computer Engineering
Early career pay: $78,100
Mid-career pay: $131,600
Working on updated power grids, chemical sensors, and implantable devices are all tasks electrical and computer engineering majors perform.
24. Marine Engineering (tie)
Early career pay: $79,900
Mid-career pay: $131,300
Marine engineering majors learn about all the internal components of a ship, from steering and power, to refrigeration and lighting.
24. Computer Science and Engineering (tie)
Early career pay: $79,400 Mid-career pay: $131,300
Combining computer science and engineering gets students ready for all aspects of building computer hardware and software.