Majors that Pay Well Right Out of College

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When it comes to choosing your major, some people want to know the various college degrees that pay well after graduation.

College Degrees That Pay Well

As you look into career options, money is going to play a role in some way, even if it’s just in regard to paying back your student loans or the total cost of your tuition. Although it’s not always a good idea to choose a career solely on money and it may be tough to find a quick degree that pays well, it’s always nice to have a general idea of which fields pay right out of college.

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Going to college is worth it for many students who do their research on majors with high-paying career paths. And these majors are often available at both accredited online colleges as well as on-campus ones.

College Degrees That Pay Well

It is essential for many prospective students that they spend their precious time earning a degree that is sure to be worthwhile upon graduation. Here are some of the highest-paying degrees and their related careers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

Actuarial Mathematics

Actuaries working in their office

  • Actuaries – Annual Median Salary: $105,900
  • Logisticians – Annual Median Salary: $77,030
  • Market research analysts – Annual Median Salary: $63,920

An actuarial mathematics degree prepares students to take different positions in heavily math-focused fields. The program itself will teach you how to use advanced mathematics to account for potential financial risks in an organization. Some of the subjects that you’ll study in an actuarial mathematics program are economics, statistics, and business.

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Actuarial mathematics graduates tend to become actuaries, and they may enter the health insurance field or work independently for business executives. This degree doesn’t relegate you to working as an actuary, it’s just the most common career path with this degree. Some graduates use their skills to become analysts for a variety of industries.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineers testing the turbines

  • Aerospace Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $122,270
  • Mechanical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $95,300
  • Aircraft Mechanics – Annual Median Salary: $65,380

Aerospace engineering is a program that will teach you how to design and construct both aircraft and spacecraft. These programs are ideal for people who have technical and critical thinking skills.

You can expect to take courses in subjects like physics, math, and computer programing as an aerospace engineering major. Many of your courses will be science-based for the purpose of teaching you the processes involved in managing air and space crafts.

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As can be expected, many of these graduates become aerospace engineers. That said, your education may also allow you to become an engineer or mechanic in various fields.

Biology

Biologist conducting a case study

  • Biology Teachers – Annual Median Salary: $81,440
  • Wildlife Biologists – Annual Median Salary: $64,650
  • Biological Technicians – Annual Median Salary: $48,140

Biology can be a good choice if you’re a student who’s interested in understanding living organisms or gaining a foundation for future study. In a biology program, you will choose a specialty and then learn how those living organisms work.

Biology programs may introduce you to subjects like botany, marine biology, and molecular biology. These are likely to be specific disciplines within a biology major that you study alongside your required general courses. The jobs you can get with a biology degree are generally limited to science-based fields, but not necessarily as a biologist.

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Some graduates work as a researcher or in laboratory management, but many also go on to study further and become professors.

Biochemistry

Biochemists working together in the lab

  • Chemical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $105,550
  • Biologists – Annual Median Salary: $82,530
  • Forensic Science Technicians – Annual Median Salary: $61,930

In addition to paying well, biochemistry is a field that offers a variety of career paths. Environmental activists, for example, may spend their days looking for alternative fuel sources.

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Graduates interested in health-related fields may choose to work in a hospital lab clinic or pharmaceutical company. There’s also work available in refinery manufacturing plants, research facilities, and agricultural organizations.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineer inspecting gas meters

  • Petroleum Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $130,850
  • Chemical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $105,550
  • Environmental Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $96,820

Chemical engineering majors study a variety of math and science courses during their education. Many of the industries these graduates typically go on to join require them to conduct research and use physics, math, and chemistry to find solutions to manufacturing problems.

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Many chemical engineering programs allow you to take on a specialty. As such, you may be able to take courses in biotechnology, textile technology, chemistry, and more. Many graduates go on to become chemical engineers, but it isn’t uncommon for chemical engineering majors to become engineers in other fields. Some graduates even take jobs in pharmaceuticals or fibers and polymers.

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineers discussing about the new project

  • Construction Managers – Annual Median Salary: $98,890
  • Civil Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $88,050
  • Surveyors – Annual Median Salary: $61,600

A civil engineering program is designed to teach students about the scientific and mathematical concepts behind the creation of public infrastructure. Civil engineers are an essential part of society because they help build everything from brides to water supply systems.

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To prepare you for this field and similar fields, you’ll study science, math, and computation, and choose from various specialties like structural and construction management. With a civil engineering major, you can obviously become a civil engineer and work within your specialty. That said, some graduates become geotechnical engineers, urban planners, or construction managers.

Computer Engineering

Computer Engineers working together

  • Database Administrators – Annual Median Salary: $101,000
  • Computer Systems Analysts – Annual Median Salary: $99,270
  • Computer Programmers – Annual Median Salary: $93,000

Computer engineering is a popular degree and has even been the major of many successful executives. If you have an interest in technology research, then computer engineering could be great for you.

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Computer engineers design, develop, and ultimately create new technologies, making them in-demand professionals. Like many other engineering programs, computer engineers study math, science, chemistry, and physics. Computer engineering graduates are likely to enter the tech field and can work in computers, digital systems, robotics, and more.

Computer Science

Computer Science students working on a project

  • Software Developers – Annual Median Salary: $120,730
  • Software Quality Assurance Analysts – Annual Median Salary: $98,220
  • Network Administrators – Annual Median Salary: $80,600

Majoring in computer science could be ideal if you enjoy technology and developing new programs. Computer science is defined as the study of computer programming and logic.

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When studying computer science, you will likely have courses that focus on computer systems and the development of software. You will also learn about algorithms, data management, computer theory, and data logic. Once you finish your computer science degree, you may be able to find a job as a software developer, software programmer, network administrator, or app developer.

Construction and Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Manager discussing with a staff

  • Purchasing Managers – Annual Median Salary: $127,150
  • Construction Coordinators – Annual Median Salary: $98,890
  • Logistics Managers – Annual Median Salary: $98,230

Construction and supply chain management degrees prepare you for a world of management within the construction fields. Those with a degree in this field typically manage a project from start to finish while ensuring all materials and logistical factors are taken care of.

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When choosing this degree, you can expect to learn the technical skills needed for electrical and construction projects but also various skills needed to manage a successful project, like how to submit bids and inventory management. Once completing this degree program, graduates could choose to work as general contractors, purchasing managers, logistics managers, or construction cost estimators.

Economics

Economists having a meeting

  • Economists – Annual Median Salary: $105,630
  • Statisticians – Annual Median Salary: $95,570
  • Personal Financial Advisors – Annual Median Salary: $94,170

If you’re interested in math, supply and demand, and other factors of the economy, an economics degree may be a good fit for you. The study of economics is defined as the study of the production and allocation of scarce goods. This is one of the many well paying majors math-centric individuals can choose from.

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With an economics degree program, you can expect to learn the various factors that go into economics, such as micro and macroeconomics, international economics, and economic theory. Graduates of an economics program go on to become economists, statisticians, and personal financial advisors. This is a good degree path if you are strong in math but prefer non-science-based careers.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineer testing the controllers

  • Engineering Managers – Annual Median Salary: $152,350
  • Computer Hardware Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $128,170
  • Electrical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $101,780

Electrical engineers differ from other engineers because they specialize in electricity itself. Their job is to ensure that enough energy is produced to support human needs and that this energy is safely and effectively distributed.

An electrical engineering major will introduce students to courses like sensor networks, systems programming, and mathematics. That said, if you were to become an electrical engineer you could expect to receive on-the-job training since daily work involves certain dangers.

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An electrical engineering major prepares you to become an electrical engineer, but graduates can also become electricians, electrical designers, and test engineers.

Finance

Financial Analyst discussing about funds and budget

  • Financial Analysts – Annual Median Salary: $95,570
  • Budget Analysts – Annual Median Salary: $79,940
  • Accountants – Annual Median Salary: $77,250

Finance programs prepare students for many occupations in business, which tend to lead to lucrative careers. As such, a finance major is a very popular degree for undergraduate students.

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A finance program is likely to give students a foundation in finance through the study of accounting, asset and debt management, and portfolio management. Many graduates enter the business as accountants, budget analysts, or financial analysts. That said, a finance degree can also prepare you for a successful career as an investment banker or broker.

Human Resources

Human Resources Specialist congratulating a new hire

  • Human Resources Managers – Annual Median Salary: $126,230
  • Compensation Analysis Specialists – Annual Median Salary: $64,120
  • Human Resources Specialists – Annual Median Salary: $62,290

Human resources majors are great for those who have people skills and want a versatile degree that can lead them to success in many industries. Becoming a human resources major may be a good alternative to high-paying degrees that are predominantly math and science-focused.

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If you were to become a human resources major, you would study subjects like management communication, personnel training, and personnel management. These subjects prepare you for tasks like reading resumes, training new employees, and interviewing potential employees.

Many graduates become human resources representatives across a variety of industries. These fields may include law, government, and business.

Industrial Engineering

Industrial Engineer and Project Manager discussing

  • Industrial Production Managers – Annual Median Salary: $103,150
  • Health and Safety Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $99,040
  • Industrial Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $95,300

An industrial engineering major teaches students to use math, science, and engineering methodologies to solve complex problems. As an industrial engineer, you will learn many skills that are useful across engineering fields.

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As an industrial engineer, you will study similar subjects across engineering disciplines. These subjects include math, science, and engineering. After receiving a degree in industrial engineering, you may go on to become an operations analyst, industrial production manager, or industrial engineer.

Management Information Systems

Systems Analyst working in her office

  • Systems Analysts – Annual Median Salary: $99,270
  • Database Administrators – Annual Median Salary: $96,710
  • Programmers – Annual Median Salary: $93,000

The more technology evolves the more data there is to collect, analyze, and protect. Graduates with a degree in management information systems learn the skills to manage data for companies, schools, hospitals, and more.

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When studying in this degree program, you can expect to learn how to store data properly, manage computer databases, protect data with proper security protocols, and how to create systems for data management. Graduates with a management information systems degree can choose to become system analysts, database managers, network administrators, or software developers.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineer running some test

  • Materials Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $98,300
  • Mathematicians – Annual Median Salary: $96,280
  • Mechanical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $95,300

Mechanical engineering is one of the most popular routes for prospective engineers because of its many uses in the labor force. The field of mechanical engineering allows professionals to work on everything from combustion engines to batteries.

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In a mechanical engineering program, students are taught how generators, turbines, and combustion engines function. Their education also extends into the study of how household appliances work. Many mechanical engineering graduates become mechanical engineers, but it is also common for them to become materials engineers or nuclear engineers.

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineer working in the lab

  • Nuclear Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $120,380
  • Health and Safety Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $99,040
  • Mechanical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $95,300

Nuclear engineering is one of the most profitable disciplines in the engineering field. Nuclear engineers have the responsibility of maintaining and working on nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, medical equipment, and more.

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Many of the courses you take in a nuclear engineering program are similar to that of other engineering programs, like math and science. That said you may also study computer applications, radiation imaging, or fission systems. These graduates may work in the medical field, industrial field, for government institutions, or in the military. Their responsibilities typically include creating nuclear reactors and disposing of nuclear waste.

Nursing

Nurse taking patient's vital signs

  • Dental Hygienists – Annual Median Salary: $77,810
  • Nurses – Annual Median Salary: $77,600
  • Medical Sonographers – Annual Median Salary: $75,380

Nursing is a popular profession for many students who want a reliable, high-earning career because these professionals are consistently in-demand with a low unemployment rate. Nursing may be a great option for people with good people skills and a passion for helping others.

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As a nursing major, you will take courses in chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Your program may also allow for specifications that will allow you to take additional courses related to this specialty. Many nursing majors go on to become nurses, but many also pursue the role of dental hygienist or sonographer.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineers analyzing reports

  • Petroleum Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $130,850
  • Chemical Engineers – Annual Median Salary: $105,550
  • Geoscientists – Annual Median Salary: $83,680

Petroleum engineering graduates are among the highest-paying graduates due to the demand for these professionals. Petroleum engineers have the responsibility of creating methods and equipment to gather oil and gas from beneath the Earth’s surface.

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As can be expected, studying petroleum engineering will mean taking a variety of math and science courses. That said, it also involves studying heat transfer, chemistry, physics, and more. These graduates may go on to chemical engineers or geoscientists, but most become petroleum engineers in fields like well building, drilling, and production.

Physics

Physicists analyzing data on computer

  • Physicists – Annual Median Salary: $152,430
  • Astronomers – Annual Median Salary: $128,160
  • Clinical Scientists – Annual Median Salary: $95,310

If the world of matter and energy fascinates you a degree in physics may be of interest to you. Physics focus on the specialty topics of science, like energy, mechanics, magnetics, nuclear processes, quantum theory, and more. This degree program will train you in the core principles of physics.

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You will learn about matter’s properties, behavior in time and space, Newton’s laws of motion, and more. Graduates with a physics degree can look for work as physicists, astronomers, acoustical engineers, and clinical scientists. Physics can be one of the highest paying bachelor degrees you can choose from.

Accreditation

University offering Majors that Pay Well Right Out of College

If you’re already in the process of pursuing higher education to increase your knowledge, skills, and earning potential, then you may want to consider joining an accredited university.

Accreditation is the process by which a college or university passes a series of exams administered by an accrediting agency. Passing these exams means that the institution offers a high standard of education. Joining an accredited university proves that you are highly educated and that you come from a reputable institution. If this interests you, then you can begin researching an accredited university with your desired program.

What Are Easy Degrees That Pay Well?

Easy degrees that pay well

Easy is a subjective term when it comes to a college education. For some, easy means not having to take more technical classes like math or science. For others, this means fewer tests and more projects or it may mean choosing among the fastest degrees that pay well.

Below is a list of “easy” college majors that make the most money, as well as some occupations that have been compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Business Administration. A business administration program is attractive to many students because of its practicality and versatility in the workforce.
    • Chief Executives – $179,520
    • Industrial Production Managers – $103,150
    • Construction Managers – $98,890
  • English. As you might expect, people who choose English programs can expect to do plenty of reading and writing, which will comprise the majority of their education.
    • Technical Writers – $78,060
    • Content Writers – $69,510
    • Editors – $63,350
  • Criminal Justice. Criminal justice majors may be driven to do good through their sense of right and wrong, and studying this major could lead to multiple careers in policing.
    • Detectives – $66,020
    • Probation Officers – $60,250
    • Correctional Officers – $47,920
  • Psychology. Undergraduate psychology programs provide a great foundation in psychology while giving students a stepping-stone into an advanced field of study.
    • Human Resources Managers – $126,230
    • Human Resources Specialists- $62,290
    • Social Workers – $50,390
  • Marketing. Marketing is a great choice for those with an interest in advertising and related fields since it often provides the flexibility to branch off into numerous careers.
    • Marketing Managesr – $133,380
    • Sales Managers – $127,490
    • Advertising and Promotions Managers – $127,150

Of course, easy is relative. Before picking a field of study, make sure to assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you can choose the best major for you.

What Are the Highest Paying Business Jobs?

Highest paying business jobs

If you’re exclusively considering a career in business, then here are some of business’ top-paying college majors and their annual median salaries compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Financial Managers – $131,710
  • Actuaries – $105,900
  • Medical and Health Services Managers – $101,340
  • Statisticians – $96,280
  • Management Analysts – $93,000

While these careers may be attainable with a business degree, you must remember that many factors influence the hiring process. As such, a business degree may open the door for these jobs but it can’t guarantee them.

Getting Your College Degree Online

Woman pursuing her college degree online

Getting a college education is still the most common, and best, way for people to increase their knowledge and earning potential. Receiving a college education shows a great degree of discipline and a good work ethic.

Though planning for college takes time and effort, with the cost of education continually rising, it’s essential to many people that they choose a degree that’s among the highest-paying majors out of college. Doing so will ensure you pay back any loans you may have needed to fund your education.

If these majors and the jobs that accompany them interest you, then consider researching an accredited university today.

Ready to start your journey?
David Garcia
WRITTEN BY David Garcia

David has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Film from Syracuse University. While in school, much of his time was dedicated to Syracuse’s literary magazine, both as a writer and editor. David’s current interests include literary and film studies as well as social justice.