While choosing your degree is a very personal decision, there are a number of factors you should consider before finalizing your choice, like income. No matter what major you choose, you should have an idea of the income you can expect once you graduate to help you make decisions about where to go to school and what you can afford.
Those with bachelor’s degrees do tend to make more money than those without, but that isn’t a sure bet. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the highest paying college majors are in STEM fields, particularly engineering. According to the NSHSS 2018 Career Interest Survey, “STEM-related jobs have grown at three times the rate and earned an average of 12-30% more than non-STEM jobs in the past decade.”
Keep in mind that some of these highest paying majors do require more advanced degrees like a master’s or doctorate, so you should also do research on what sort of education you will need to help you decide if this is the right major for you.
What Are the Highest Paying Majors?
According to research done by Glassdoor, here are some of the highest paying majors:
1. Computer Science
- Median Base Salary: $70,000
- Computer science is one of the highest paying science majors because it focuses on using technology to solve problems, a skill that is highly in-demand. Careers in computer science are expected to continue to grow and there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement. Entry-level jobs for this major include software engineer, systems engineer, and web developer, but computer science majors can move into software or IT management and leadership roles.
2. Electrical Engineering
- Median Base Salary: $68,438
- Engineers are needed in a broad range of industries and almost always command a high salary. Electrical engineers design and develop electrical systems as well as solve problems and test equipment. This major is very versatile allowing you to work in a wide variety of technology industries from aircraft controls to mobile devices and satellite communications. Entry-level jobs for this major include electrical engineer, systems engineer, and software developer.
3. Mechanical Engineering
- Median Base Salary: $68,000
- An analytical and problem-solving major, mechanical engineers will have a number of opportunities to choose from when they graduate. Entry level jobs for this major can include design engineer, project engineer, and mechanical engineer. Mechanical engineers design machines that produce power like gas turbines or electric generators and machines that use power like refrigerators or air conditioning systems.
4. Chemical Engineering
- Median Base Salary: $65,000
- Chemical engineers come up with solutions for producing things like medicine, food, clothing, and fuel and can find careers in a number of industries. They spend much of their time conducting research and testing new manufacturing processes. Entry level positions for this major include chemical engineer, process engineer, and project engineer.
5. Industrial Engineering
- Median Base Salary: $64,381
- Industrial engineers focus on eliminating wastefulness in production processes and can work in almost every industry from healthcare to manufacturing. Their main goal is to increase productivity and efficiency by managing numerous aspects of production. Entry level jobs include industrial engineer, quality engineer, and production planner.
6. Information Technology
- Median Base Salary: $64,008
- Information technologists keep computer systems running and can manage anything involved with computers, software, networks, intranets, websites, servers, databases, and telecommunications. Entry level jobs in information technology include programmer analyst, technical support, and systems engineer.
7. Civil Engineering
- Median Base Salary: $61,500
- When you walk outside you see the work of civil engineers: bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, and so much more. They conceive, design, help build, and maintain infrastructure projects all over the world. Entry level jobs for this major include civil engineer, structural engineer, and field engineer.
You shouldn’t make a decision about what to study in college based solely on future income, but it is a factor that you should take into consideration. Think about where you see yourself and what will make you happy. If you’re still struggling, check out our article on choosing a major to help you narrow down your choices and lead you to a decision.