When selecting a major, students would be wise to choose something they love. That way, the subject will hold their interest not only through their four years of study, but throughout their career. However, many individuals take earning potential and job security into consideration, especially in today’s tough economy. After all, who wants to emerge from college with a heavy student loan debt, but little chance of finding a decent-paying job?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the most sought-after degrees among today’s employers include anything business-related: management, marketing, and finance, for example. Popular career options for business majors include marketing manager or human resources professional. If a top-notch salary is your key motivator, you should look to highly technical fields – specifically, anything engineering-related.
Using data from Payscale.com, Money College compiled the following list of the highest-paying college degrees:
1. Engineering – From aerospace, chemical, and civil to computer, electrical, mechanical, industrial, and environmental, fields of study within the engineering discipline are seemingly endless. With an average first year salary of $59,000 and average mid-career earnings of $101,000, they are also quite lucrative.
2. Economics – Many students steer clear of economics because they are concerned they would be bored to tears with statistics and math. While econ majors spend a great deal of time studying those two subjects, they also learn about a wide range of subjects, including social science, psychology, political science, and history. Average starting salary stands at $50,000 with a mid-career salary rivaling that of engineers at $101,000.
3. Physics – Many students use physics as a “springboard major” into careers in science, engineering, or education. Career options include high school science teacher, lab technician, computer programmer, or meteorologist. Physics grads typically start out earning $51,000 with a mid-career potential of $98,800.
4. Computer Science – A degree in computer science puts a new grad in a great position to move into a high-paying IT career. Their options don’t end there, however. They can also work as software designers, start-up company partners, or freelance computer programmers. Average starting salary is $56,400 with mid-career earnings of $97,400.
5. Statistics – If crunching numbers and analyzing data is your forte, a degree in statistics may be ideal for you. Statisticians work on everything from business applications to marketing campaigns to political strategies. No need to analyze their paychecks. They are great, with entry-level positions averaging $48,600. They have the potential to earn $94,500 by mid-career.
6. Biochemistry – Work as lab technicians, analytical chemists, and research assistants awaits biochemistry grads. Some students choose to continue their students and earn medical degrees. Average starting salary is $41,700 with mid-career earnings of $94,200.
7. Mathematics – A degree in mathematics opens the door to a wide range of fields, such as banking, finance, computing services, insurance, industry, or education. First-year paychecks typically add up to $47,000 with a mid-career average of $93,600.
8. Construction Management – If you’ve always longer to oversee a construction project from beginning to end, a degree in construction management may be for you. You can expect to start out earning $53,400 and reach $89,600 by mid-career.
9. Information Systems – This major is perfect for those students who feel a connection to both business practices and the world of computer science. Your earning potential would be strong, starting at $51,400 and reaching $87,000 by mid-career.
10. Geology – Students of geology learn about the physical and chemical processes of the earth’s atmospheric, oceanic, and land systems. After graduation, they are well-positioned to help organizations and governments make smart environmental choices, while pocketing a respected salary: $45,000 to start and $84,200 at mid-career.