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Best Paying College Degrees

When I was in college, I concentrated on getting in and out as quickly as possible. I barely thought about the true marketability of a Marketing degree. For those in search of the best career fields to select, here is a list of the best paying college degrees in the United States right now.

Engineering

There is a lack of engineering majors in the United States which is why companies are so desperate for engineers. Eight of the top ten highest paying jobs in the United States have to do with engineering. Petroleum engineers make over $90,000 per year while aerospace, electrical, and chemical engineers all make an average $60,000 per year as a starting salary. The majority of engineers make over six figures by the time they are in the middle of their careers.

My dad was a civil engineer for more than 25 years and ended doing very well. Engineering is a fantastic place to make good money if you have a head for any of its branches. I personally don’t enjoy Math above Algebra or Science, so engineering wasn’t the field for me.

Mathematics

Upper level mathematics is a good field that is needed by a number of different firms for help with their statistical analysis. Applied mathematics is a major that you do not hear about everyday but it is one that pays very well. Applied mathematicians make an average starting salary of $56,400 and a salary of over $100,000 by the time that they are in the middle of their careers. Statistics majors enjoy average starting salaries of $50,000 and mid career pay of $93,400.

Business

The capitalistic structure of the United States economy continues to make business a needed major. Finance and economics majors enter the job market making $47,000 to $48,500 in salary. Those average salaries rise to the mid $90,000’s by the time that professionals are at the mid-point of their careers.

I knew marketing wasn’t a big money maker unless you advance, but I didn’t know an economics major could start off so well. Finance jobs paying well makes sense though since they do work directly with big bucks.

Technology

Computer science has continued to be an emerging field over the past twenty years. Companies are continuously searching for computer science and information systems majors. The starting salary for an information systems major is just shy of $50,000 and computer science majors start at $56,200. By mid-career both majors pay an average from $87,100 to $97,900 annually. Technology is the place to be.

Medical

Americans on average are getting older year after year and the healthcare sector is the biggest beneficiary of the aging population. Graduate degrees in medicine, health, and veterinary sciences are in high demand and have very low unemployment rates. Medicine remains a lucrative field with the average salary after completing a graduate program in these fields being above six figures. The only drawback is the huge malpractice insurance premiums and the higher cost of the degrees.

What other high paying degrees have I missed?

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3 comments… add one

  • No Debt MBA July 11, 2011, 8:56 am

    I got a degree in one of these fields and it made a huge difference in my job search at graduation compared to some of my friends who had liberal arts majors. Just getting a job was great for me, the extra compensation was just icing.

  • Jeffrey Trull July 12, 2011, 11:46 am

    I’m always happy to see engineering at or near the top. I have 2 degrees in engineering, and, although I’m not currently using them, I know the earning potential is high.

    What about legal degrees? They are still high-paying, although it’s on the decline.

  • JT July 12, 2011, 11:56 am

    Woot, finance is still on the list. ;)

    The high starting pay for economics grads isn’t for work in economics (usually) but instead in risk management and actuarial science. If you stick around as an actuary, you can really advance quickly on the payscale.

    That said, a lot of econ grads go on to do a masters, which is almost a necessity for broader economics jobs. This is one of the reasons I didn’t go for economics; I don’t want to be a student forever.

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