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The 10 Highest Paying College Majors

Updated on December 29, 2016

Computers Are Essential To Just About Any College Major

While Computer Engineering is a Hot College Degree, Having Computer Competency Is Essential For Just About Any College Major
While Computer Engineering is a Hot College Degree, Having Computer Competency Is Essential For Just About Any College Major | Source

With the cost of a college education soaring and student debt exploding, it is important to consider the highest paying college majors, so you can weigh the financial cost-benefit of choosing a college major and eventually a career. Of course, the expected compensation that can be earned is not the only consideration when choosing a college major and career path. It is also important to choose a college major and career that you actually want to do. However, if you do not want to be one of those adults who decides later in life that they made a mistake and should have chosen a college major that affords one an opportunity to earn a comfortable living, then it is well worth the effort to examine which are the highest paying college majors to see if there is one that you feel is worth pursuing. It is not easy to go back to school to get another degree and start a new career, once you are well beyond college age and have many responsibilities and time pressures.

What Careers Are Hot Right Now

Before delving into the highest paying college majors, it is worth mentioning which careers are hot right now. The three big ones are healthcare, engineering and computer science. These career categories can be further broken down into hot sectors, such as biotechnology and computer technology in healthcare, civil and environmental engineering, and anything related to cyber security in computer science.

The great thing for college graduates now is that with the Baby Boom generation retiring by the millions each year, millions of new job opportunities are opening up for them further down the employment ladder. This not only makes it easier to obtain an entry-level job, but it also makes it easier to advance in your career, as long as you are committed to excellence and does well with their job performance. Choosing college degree and career with strong growth can help springboard you into a career that not only has good earnings potential, but also has healthy career advancement opportunities.

Electrical Engineering is One of the Ten Hottest College Degrees

Electrical Engineering Is #2 on the List of Ten Hottest College Degrees
Electrical Engineering Is #2 on the List of Ten Hottest College Degrees | Source

The 10 Highest Paying College Majors

The following is a list of the highest-paying college majors, per a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (salaries are median salaries).

  1. Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration ($108,000)
  2. Electrical Engineering ($104,000)
  3. Civil Engineering ($97,000)
  4. Mechanical Engineering ($96,000)
  5. Computer Engineering ($93,000)
  6. Computer Science ($92,000)
  7. Chemical Engineering ($92,000)
  8. Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering ($91,000)
  9. Economics ($88,000)
  10. Management Information Systems and Statistics ($87,000)

Of course, the highest-paying college majors will vary over time, as new careers come into demand, while others fade. However, the college majors listed above or some variation of these majors offer good prospects to pay well in the future, as the 21st Century economy needs workers in these fields to meet growing demand.

Do you notice a pattern in the highest-paying college majors? The word “engineering” is in more than half of the majors. Even though the word “computer” only appears in two of the majors, it is critically important for college graduates to have a high level of computer competency to perform many of the careers associated with the majors above.

Why Care About Choosing a Well Paying College Major?

College is often a time when people explore their career options and often focus on their dream career, whether or not it has prospects to pay well when they are working. While it is laudable and rewarding to follow your heart and pursue a career in a field you find compelling, reality may someday set in, as the bills pile up and the financial demands of adult life add stress. One of the largest monthly bills for many college graduates will be paying off loans they took out to pay for their college degree. Think of college as an investment. If you cannot pay off your investment in a college degree with your post-college salary, then perhaps it is worthwhile to consider whether your current degree is a good investment of your time and in your future.

The reality for many adults that have college decades in their rear view mirrors is that whether they like it or not, they eventually have to change careers from the field they were passionate about in college to a more lucrative field that pays the bills. Keep that in mind, as you chose a college major. You can always pursue your life’s passions as a hobby or in some other capacity if you chose a different college major.

Choosing a College Degree Poll

Do You Think Cost-Benefit Should Be Considered When Choosing a College Degree To Pursue?

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Is a college degree worth the cost? You decide.


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