Career Planning

College Majors with Highest Salary Jobs

Money isn't everything, but it's nice when your college major aligns with one of the highest paying jobs.

College Majors with Highest Salary Jobs
Discover the top 10 college majors for high-paying jobs after graduation.
You’ve heard the old saying: do what you love; love what you do. But, unfortunately, doing what you love doesn’t always lead to a lucrative career. Given that more students are graduating with debt than not, money may lead to financial freedom – which could “buy” a degree of happiness. On average, a college student graduates with roughly $29,900 in debt, according to Student Loan Hero. That may lead some potential college students to wonder if going to a four-year university is even worth it. Last year, however, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, stated that college graduates make at least $22,000 more per year than a high school graduate, as reported by Money. Essentially, a college degree is worth it if your career path requires it and you’re the type of student that would thrive on a college campus. At the same time, if you want to get more bang for your buck, you may want to consider a college major that will provide a higher income after graduating in order to pay off student loan debt.
Or – you could always choose a college major that you love. It’s up to you. But to help you make a well-rounded decision, you don't need a salary calculator. Just check out the highest paid college majors below, according to Payscale. Maybe you’ll find one that you love and can provide you with financial freedom.
  1. Petroleum Engineering

    Petroleum engineers work closely with either crude oil or natural gas. Within the first five years of working in the industry, petroleum engineers can make an average entry level salary of $93,200. Those with 10+ years of experience can expect to make $187,300.
  2. Industrial Engineering

    Industrial engineering is central to manufacturing. Individuals in these roles optimize processors or systems by leveraging the power of people, information, and equipment. On average, recent graduates can make an average of $84,800. Those with 10+ years of experience can expect to make around $170,400.
  3. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

    These fields of study focus on computers and electronics over a wide range of products, from software for smartphones to huge power station generators. Recent graduates can make an average of $108,500, and those with 10+ years of experience make $159,300.
  4. Interaction Design

    Interaction Designers enhance the relationship between people and the interactive systems that they use. Graduates of interaction design can expect to make an average entry level salary of $68,300 after graduation, and after 10+ years in the field can make upwards of $155,800.
  5. Public Accounting

    Public accounting majors learn how to create, maintain, and audit a system that details the finances of an individual, business, or organization. After graduation, public accounting majors will perform audits, taxes, consultations, and accounting services, for individuals or businesses. Recent graduates can make $59,800 per year and will eventually make an average of $147,700 in their mid-career.
  6. Operations Research

    This major essentially makes you an expert-level problem-solver. Using theory, mathematics, and simulations, operations researchers work toward improved decision-making across a variety of fields and platforms. On average, recent graduates can make an average of $84,800. Those with 10+ years of experience can expect to make around $170,400.
  7. Applied Economics and Management

    Applied Economics is applying the theories and practices of economics to the real world in order to improve people’s lives. Payscale reports that the average income for a recent graduate is $66,100 and $146,400 for an individual with 10+ years of experience.
  8. Business Computing

    Business computing is the development of IT technologies to drive a company’s enterprise. Those recent graduates with less than five years of experience can expect to make $73,000 and an average of $143,600 with 10+ years of experience.
  9. Actuarial Mathematics

    Actuarial Mathematics is an interdisciplinary major that combines business, economics, mathematics, and statistics. Upon graduation, these majors make an average entry level salary of $64,300 annually and eventually $143,400 per year.
  10. Electrical Power Engineering

    Electrical power engineering is the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. Upon graduation, these majors make an average of $76,100 annually and eventually $142,600 per year.
Given the rising cost of college and the fact that most students graduate with a great deal of student debt, these college choices definitely make sense. Hopefully, though, these majors are combining both a passion and a practicality, and we haven’t seen the end of doing what you love; loving what you do.

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