Why the Highest Paying Majors?
Chances are, if you’re reading this then you’re just a few months away from starting a new semester of college and you need the answer to one important question. What are the best college majors? The answer to that question tends to be different for different people, right? Right. However, as college students we are all bound by one thing in common. The price of college.
Sure, there are student loans– even ones with deferred interest. But sooner or later, we actually have to pay that +/- $100,000. For that reason, the best college majors for most of us are the highest paying majors. Just keep reading. We’re trying to save you from majoring in Dance and then being in (dreaded) student debt for the rest of your life, OK?
Highest Paying Majors (Bachelor’s Degree)
Petroleum Engineering ***(Click on the College Majors for more information!)***
The most recent data (2018) places Petroleum Engineering as the highest paying major for a Bachelor’s degree. Petroleum Engineering Bachelors can expect to make $83,000 annually in the first 5 years of their career. Once they have 10 years of experience, annual compensation can go up to $184,000!
So what do Petroleum Engineers do? They plan out the most efficient ways to extract crude oil from the Earth. Petroleum Engineers need to understand complex mathematics, physics, geology, and more. Do you think you can handle all of that? Then the big bucks are waiting for you!
Fracking (An extraction technique) is a fairly-recent breakthrough in this field. Whoever developed fracking is not worrying about how they’ll pay off student loans right now. Period.
Industrial Engineering college majors can expect to make $80,000 annually during their first 5 years. Once they have 10 years of experience, they can make $166,000 per year!
Industrial Engineering majors learn how to make complicated processes efficient. An example would be optimizing the production of Coca-Cola. These engineers need to understand complex mathematics, physics, technology, and more.
Once again, if you have what it takes then you can make some bank.
In the first 5 years of their career, Actuarial Math majors can make $55,000 per year. Not bad. But after 10 years, it can triple to $158,000. Really not bad.
Simply put, actuaries assess monetary risk. To be one, you’ll have to pass complex math, business, and finance courses. Financial Managers and Insurance Agencies are usual employers of actuaries.
If you choose this major, you could start out making $72,000 per year. Sound good? Then making just short of $140,000 sounds better! However, you’ll first have to get 10 years of experience.
Complex chemistry and biology courses are obvious obstacles here. Also, you can have a heaping side of math with that.
Ever seen a commercial for FlexSeal? A chemical engineer probably got hired to make that stuff in a lab.
Do you want to be an Accounting Major? Then you can start your career earning $61,000 per year. If you pass your CPA exams and gain experience then you could earn even more. Generally $135,000 after 10 years.
You’ll need to pass complex courses in financial and managerial accounting. In addition to that, you’ll have the CPA exams mentioned above. CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. You will want to be a CPA if you want to get hired.
One big advantage of accounting is that it is part of EVERY business. As an accounting major, you can find a job in any industry.
Building Science Majors can expect to make $51,000 per year early-on. But after 10 years, they can make just as much as a seasoned accountant. $135,000 per year.
Areas of study for this major are specialized. Building Science majors learn about building techniques, materials, and architectural technology.
Any construction project, large or small, will involve a Building Science major. So as long as humans keep building, Building Science majors have jobs.
College majors in either of these fields can make $71,000 per year early in their career. Later on, with experience, they can earn $133,000 per year.
Why are these areas of study grouped? Because they’re both about travel through the air, but astronautics is about traveling in space.
These majors learn to understand complex physics, technology, and aerodynamics. If you want to work for Boeing or NASA, you’re looking in the right place
I know what you’re thinking… can I make good money and not be an engineer?! Well, STEM majors definitely take the compensation cake, but yes. Chill out… these next three are just for you.
* STEM= Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
I’ll call them BLT majors for right now. BLT majors will make $53,000 in their early careers, but will make a lot more later. After 10 years, they can expect to make $117,000 every year. It’s not as much as all of those engineers are making, but they get a pass on the super complex math.
BLT majors will study logistics (Moving things around efficiently) and business alike. If you become a BLT master, then you could work for anyone from Amazon to Zappos!
College majors in International Business Management can make $53,000 early on, but will make closer to $107,000 with the necessary experience. Although, its important to point out that these majors have the potential to make WAY more than that. (Consider c-level executives of international companies.)
Students majoring in this field will take classes about anything and everything business. Commerce, economics, management, advertising, etc.
If you’re hoping to run a business that operates at home and abroad then you might be in the right place.
Finance and Real Estate is similar to International Business Management in the sense that there is a lot of potential to make WAY more than the average bear. On a standard scale though, these majors can expect to make $53,000 right out of the gate. Down the road, they can make $106,000 per year.
Students who study this can expect courses in finance, in-addition to courses about appraising and selling real estate.
Graduates of this major often work for larger real estate firms, or they start their own firms.
Highest Paying Majors (Associate’s Degree)
Not everyone thinks that paying for 4 years of college is in their best interests! I hear you. That’s why the last 5 college majors on our list are Associate’s Degree majors. These are typically less-intense, 2-year degrees, and they don’t have as much overhead cost or take as much time to complete. What’s More? They’re still some of the highest paying majors!
Software Engineering Associates can make $51,000 per year with little experience. Once they’re experienced, they can make double that. $102,000 annually. Not bad considering they can get their degree in only 2 years.
Software engineers learn about computer science, programming, and more. They’re in increasingly high demand and are generally employed by tech giants and startups.
Major in Networks and Telcom, and you could be making $53,000 in your early years. After you gain experience, you could be making $97,000 per year. Moreover, there’s good job security here. As the world becomes more digital and interconnected, demand for this knowledge goes up.
Majors of this study will learn about digital networks, cloud computing, cellular networks, and more. Employers range from rural cooperatives to corporations like Verizon.
I guess STEM came back to claim a spot in the Associate Degree Majors. Associates majoring in ECE can make $44,000 their first year and then $81,000 after gaining the necessary experience.
ECE majors will learn about computer science, electrical infrastructure, programming, and more.
This is a broad major, so if you don’t know exactly what to do with engineering, then this major leaves your employment options open.
Construction Project Management Associates will only make about $42,000 in their early years. However, they can make $79,000 per year once they have experience.
Similarly to Building Science majors, these majors will learn about building methods and materials. And again, as long as we build, these majors will always have jobs.
Every construction project has a manager, so construction companies are their main employers.
Majors in Management Information Systems make about $42,000 per year in the beginning. But once they’re experienced they can make $77,000 per year.
These majors learn about business and how to use technology to improve it. Specifically, they learn how to use technology to inform decision makers.
From a manager’s standpoint, information systems are critical to maintaining a competitive advantage. That means these Associates are in high demand. These majors are being employed by both small and international businesses.
Still Not Satisfied?
Do ALL of these majors sound terrible to you? There’s other ways to pay back those student loans! Check them out below.
For all of the raw Bachelor’s Degree data, click here.
For all of the raw Associate’s Degree data, click here.