Top 10 Highest Earning College Majors

(STACKER) — Choosing a university major is an important decision. Do you stick to what you are good at? Do you prefer to take the time to study a subject that interests you? Or do you prefer to choose a major that could potentially earn you a lot of money in the job market?

With student loan debt on the rise, a good salary after college plays a key role in achieving financial stability. Read on to find out the top ten college majors that pay the highest salaries among college graduates.

#ten. electrical engineering

1 credit
  • Starting salary: $76,100
  • Mid-career salary: $142,600
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 68%

The design, manufacture and maintenance of electrical equipment are areas of expertise for electrical engineering graduates. A downturn in manufacturing and telecommunications will have a negative effect on job prospects over the next decade, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting only 3% growth. Students can progress by doing internships and will have to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam become a trainee engineer, while additional work experience is required before becoming a professional engineer.

#9. Actuarial Mathematics

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  • Starting salary: $64,300
  • Mid-career salary: $143,400
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 51%

Actuaries use mathematics and statistics to analyze and assess a company’s financial risk, usually in the fields of finance or insurance. The field is relatively small, but competitive, and is expected to explode over the next decade at a rate of 20%. Successful graduates two actuarial examinations and won valuable internship experience in college in addition to possessing exceptional business skills, will stand out in their job search.

#8. Business computing

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  • Starting salary: $73,000
  • Mid-career salary: $143,600
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: data not available

A degree in business computing prepares graduates to manage and operate information systems to support a business. It may even require building new technology systems to maximize efficiency. Alumni of this degree program most often work in information technology roles.

#7. Applied Economics and Management

1 credit
  • Starting salary: $66,100
  • Mid-career salary: $146,400
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 67%

Applied economics and management majors use economic models to predict financial outcomes based on the decisions of a business or individual. Micro and macroeconomics, statistics, advanced algebra and finance are some of the skills needed to succeed in the field, which is expected to experience solid growth over the next decade. Graduates can find work in public policy, private business and as financial planners, among others.

#6. Operational research

1 credit
  • Starting salary: $83,500
  • Mid-career salary: $147,400
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 54%

The need to increased business efficiency a demand for operations research analysts is expected to grow by 25% over the next decade. Students in the program will learn to apply practical solutions to complex business problems, using mathematics and statistical analysis to make informed decisions. Since these analysts are needed in various business settings, add additional specializationssuch as computer programming, political science or economics can improve job prospects.

#5. Public accounting

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  • Starting salary: $59,800
  • Mid-career salary: $147,700
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 47%

Public accountants provide financial services to businesses and individuals, such as preparing tax documents, auditing financial statements, and providing consulting services. Getting a bachelor’s degree is not enough to find a employment in this booming field, because becoming a CPA requires passing an industry exam, an ethics exam, and being supervised by a CPA for six months to two years.

#4. Interaction design

1 credit
  • Starting salary: $68,300
  • Mid-career salary: $155,800
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 55%

The best of the best interaction design— the process of anticipating and facilitating behaviors between users and technology — is undetectable to the user. When you engage with technology through the click of a mouse or the touch of a finger, that’s the result of interaction design. When a website feels intuitive or responds to your natural behaviors, it is also an interaction design. While Interaction design is an essential part of UX design, or user experience, small businesses can only hire a UX designer, a more all-encompassing title. Conversely, large companies often divide user experience components into distinct roles, including interaction designers, visual designers, and information architects.

#3. Electrical and computer engineering

1 credit
  • Starting salary: $108,500
  • Mid-career salary: $159,300
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 46%

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 how software and hardware work for electronic devices. Jobs with this degree vary, from software design for large companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google, to create systems for the aeronautical field. A solid understanding of computer languages, mathematics and logic are essential for success, while continuing education and certifications can advance job prospects.

#2. Operational research and industrial engineering

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  • Starting salary: $84,800
  • Mid-career salary: $170,400
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 28%

Using a degree in operational research and industrial engineering means using mathematical models, statistical analysis and real-time observations to design, optimize and modify complex systems. Managing the flow of guests in an amusement park or scheduling city bus routes are two examples of large-scale and highly complex operational systems. As a graduate in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, you can find work in a wide range of industries that require safety, optimization and efficiency decisions, including transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, finance and entertainment.

#1. Petroleum engineering

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  • Starting salary: $93,200
  • Mid-career salary: $187,300
  • Share of graduates who say their work makes the world a better place: 67%

Finding and removing oil and natural gas from the earth falls under the well-paid management of petroleum engineers. They analyze, design and implement extraction plans when a reservoir is discovered, requiring skills in math, science, mechanical engineering and physics. The push towards renewable and clean energy can have a negative effect on job prospects for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, although additional certifications and co-op programs may boost job prospects.

*The information above is current to 2021 and was compiled using data from a 2020 report Wage scale Bureau of Labor Statistics report and projections of the likelihood of finding employment after earning a bachelor’s degree.

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