Best College Majors

50 best college majors

In search of the best college majors for the future? Our in-depth guide will explore the best college majors with the highest paying salaries after graduation, projected job growth, and employer demand!

Best College Majors – Ultimate Guide for 2019

Our best college majors guide includes a Top 50 list of the highest paid college majors with a bachelor’s degree, along with college majors associated with high growth sectors and job prospects.

We used both entry-level and mid-career salary data to determine these rankings as provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com.

Best College Majors – Our Methodology

Choosing a college major doesn’t have to be a complicated science. The factors that shaped this article are straightforward: entry-level and mid-career salary data and expected job growth.

Salary data has been compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.com based on having earned a bachelor’s degree. Data has been included on both entry-level as well as mid-career (10+ years) salaries to give you an idea of the long-term opportunities in the various field.

An investment as substantial as a college education is not one to be made flippantly. A careful study of potential job growth has been done through the metrics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top 50 Best College Majors

As you consider the college major that is the right fit for you, having an understanding of the majors that produce the highest earning jobs is essential.

The following list highlights 50 of the highest paying majors with a bachelor’s degree in both entry-level and mid-career salaries.

College Major Median Pay
(0-5 years)
Median Pay
(10+ years)
Petroleum Engineering $94,600 $175,500
Actuarial Science $61,200 $130,800
Nuclear Engineering $69,000 $127,500
Chemical Engineering $70,300 $124,500
Marine Engineering $73,900 $123,200
Economics and Mathematics $60,000 $122,900
Electrical Power Engineering $68,600 $119,100
Electrical and Computer Engineering $69,000 $118,800
Aeronautical Engineering $65,300 $118,800
Computer Systems Engineering $72,000 $118,000
Computer Science and Engineering $70,900 $116,800
Bioengineering $61,600 $116,800
Computer Engineering $70,300 $116,000
Electrical Engineering $67,800 $114,800
Industrial and Systems Engineering $65,700 $114,400
Computer Science and Mathematics $62,800 $114,400
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering $68,200 $113,800
Aerospace Engineering $66,300 $113,300
Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering $62,900 $113,200
Engineering Physics $60,400 $112,600
Engineering $63,100 $111,600
Computer Science $65,900 $110,100
Mining Engineering $71,300 $108,500
Physician Assistant Studies $87,800 $107,600
Electrical and Electronics Engineering $66,200 $107,400
Industrial Engineering $64,400 $107,100
Mechanical Engineering $64,000 $106,800
Metallurgical Engineering $75,300 $105,100
Structural Engineering $60,800 $105,100
Accounting and Computer Systems $60,400 $104,900
Statistics $60,000 $104,600
Operations Management and Information Systems $60,100 $104,500
Software Engineering $66,300 $104,300
Electronics Engineering $63,300 $104,300
Materials Science and Engineering $66,300 $104,100
Construction Engineering Management $60,500 $103,700
Biomedical Engineering $62,900 $103,500
Construction Science $60,700 $102,600
Packaging Science $61,400 $102,300
Mechanical $62,800 $101,600
Engineering Management $61,500 $101,600
Plastics Engineering $64,100 $97,100
Manufacturing Engineering $61,900 $96,400
Informatics $60,500 $95,300
Plastics Engineering Technology $61,600 $95,100
Architectural Engineering $61,200 $95,100
Construction Engineering $61,100 $93,700
Electrical Engineering Technology $60,400 $93,400
Information Security $60,400 $90,900
Radiation Therapy $61,800 $84,200

Source: Payscale

Majoring in the STEM fields can be highly advantageous with many of the highest paying majors falling into one of these categories.

Best College Majors with the Highest Job Prospects

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 80% of students in undergraduate studies chose their major based on the potential job prospects. For those of you who are among the 20% that just want get your degree as quickly as possible, we’ve got you covered in this article.

For those of you who are interested in picking a major based on your career prospects, these 8 fields will give you lots of opportunities for advancement.

Mechatronics Engineering

Mechatronics engineering is the best of two worlds, combining electronic and mechanical engineering into one major. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to learn how to build and then control mechanical robots and motors as well as take sensor data and make it into commands.

According to a recent NACE Salary Survey, mechatronics engineers can expect a median starting salary of $75,674. 

Business

A business major is one of the most in-demand majors for both students as well as employers. Courses in this major are comprised of accounting, finance, business law, management and marketing give students a strong foundation for employment in a variety of industries.

Students that major in business can expect a median starting salary of $51,083 according to NACE’s Salary Survey. 

Computer Science

Computer science majors are quickly becoming an essential part of any corporation, with projects ranging from driverless cars, data mining, or cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

The crucial role that computer science majors play in corporations around the world is well-rewarded, with NACE reporting a median starting salary of $84,409 for computer science majors.

Data science

The science of extracting information in a useful format is in high demand. Forbes predicts that by 2020, the number of Data Science and Analytics job listings will swell by nearly 364,000 listings to approximately 2,720,000 job opportunities worldwide in the field of data science. 

With the high demand for data science majors, Forbes reports that data science job listings have an average salary of $80,265.

Cognitive science

Cognitive science is a new interdisciplinary major that effectively combines psychology, computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and linguistics.

There is no shortage of career opportunities, with cognitive science grads going on to careers in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospital administration, neurophysical testing centers, the technology sector, or even as preparation for medical school.

Nursing

According to BLS, the demand for nurses is expected to increase by 15 percent in the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Students interested in nursing will complete a variety of courses that will enable students to balance their real-life experience in healthcare situations with the theoretical knowledge they develop in labs and simulations.

Pharmaceutical Sciences

A major in pharmaceutical sciences prepares undergrads to become pharmaceutical assistants, technicians or even work in sales for drug companies.

In Georgetown’s top 25 list of highest-earning majors, pharmacy majors are the highest earning among health majors, with a median annual salary of $110,000. 

Human resources

With the changing face of the market, the need for HR professionals to hire, train and equip employees within a corporation has increased.

With the unique needs that a human resources manager addresses, many corporations compensate their HR managers well with a median salary of $110,120 according to BLS.

If you are looking for a way to earn college credits faster, check out our guide on how to get college credits fast.

The Best College Majors in High Growth Sectors

There is nothing worse than investing in a college major, only to find out that the job market for that major is rapidly diminishing! Save yourself the trouble by choosing a major in a field that is geared for high growth for a good return on your investment. You may also find our article Quick Degrees that Pay Well helpful.

Healthcare

Healthcare is a booming industry with some of the highest growing jobs according to BLS. The demand for individuals with healthcare training far surpasses almost any other industry with job growth expected in nearly every level of healthcare.

An example of this growth can be seen in the job growth in these roles over the next ten years.

Software & IT

There isn’t a business sector that is not heavily reliant on the support of software and IT. Be a part of the surge with jobs like these that are experiencing exceptional job growth.

Business & Business Support

Business majors are one of the most popular degrees for a reason, they are in high demand across the board! Some of the jobs experiencing the most growth in the business sector include:

Highest Paying Majors for the Future

Investing in your career requires a long-term perspective. By analyzing patterns in the marketplace you can choose a major that is predicted to continue to climb.

Occupation Percent Growth Annual Median Wage
Home health aides 47.3% $23,210
Personal care aides 38.6% $23,100
Software developers, applications 30.7% $101,790
Medical assistants 29% $32,480
Market research analysts and marketing specialists 23.2% $63,230
Medical secretaries 22.5% $34,610
Financial managers 18.7% $125,080
Food preparation and serving 16.8% $20,180
Registered nurses 14.8% $70,000
Management analysts 14.3% $82,450
Construction laborers 12.4% $34,530
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 12.3% $45,030
Cooks, restaurant 11.8% $25,180
Nursing assistants 11.5% $27,520
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 11.3% $27,670
Accountants and auditors 10% $69,350
Janitors and cleaners 9.9% $24,990
Teachers and instructors, all other 9.9% $30,310
Sales representatives, services, all other 9.7% $52,510
General and operations managers 9.1% $100,410
Receptionists and information clerks 9.1% $28,390
Business operations specialists, all other 8.8% $70,010
Teacher assistants 8.4% $26,260
Maintenance and repair workers, general 7.9% $37,670
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers 7.6% $27,040
Elementary school teachers 7.4% $57,160
Waiters and waitresses 7% $20,820
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers 5.8% $42,480
Stock clerks and order fillers 5% $24,470
Customer service representatives 4.9% $32,890

It would appear that the greatest dividends will result from investing in the care and support of others, but the application of that can be unique, whether as a healthcare professional or a software developer.

Conclusion

Choosing the best college majors for the future may seem like a balancing act as you contemplate the job market, your personal interests, and abilities. But as you could see with the up-to-date salary data and projected industry growth rates, there are quite a few great options for bachelor’s degree holders! For a more in-depth look at getting your bachelor’s degree, check out our Degree vs. Major Guide or our guide about finishing college faster.

Accelerated Degree logo
This article is brought to you by
Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins
Author
Joy Miller
Joy Miller
Founder