High Paying Degrees for College Students
Landing a job with a high salary is seen as incredibly important in today’s world. Getting a high-paying college degree is often the door to an opportunity that is sought after by many graduate students. Data shows that a person who goes to college after high school can earn more than someone without a college education.
How much more? According to data from the 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it can be up to $502 a week more. Over the course of a year, that is $26,104! Over the course of a career, that’s a huge payout! It’s easy to see that getting a high paying college degree can put a lot of extra money in your pocket.
What is the best degree to make your earnings go up? According to US News, the 10 college majors with the best median starting salaries are the following:
- Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering ($62,350)
- Mechanical engineering ($62,400)
- Nuclear engineering ($62,550)
- Materials engineering ($63,300)
- Computer science ($64,450)
- Chemical engineering ($64,750)
- Industrial engineering ($65,250)
- Electrical, electronics, and communications engineering ($67,000)
- Petroleum engineering ($67,150)
- Computer engineering ($69,300)
Did you notice a trend? The list of the top 2021 highest paying college degrees all were degrees that were related to engineering. This makes things seem simple, but what if you don’t want to be an engineer? There are other high-paying college degrees that you can obtain that may be better suited for your skills and interests.
According to payscale.com, some of the highest paid non-engineer related degrees include:
- Applied economics and management ($60,900)
- Public accounting ($90,000)
- Quantitative business analysis ($67,900)
- Pharmacy ($66,300)
- Actuarial mathematics ($61,900)
- Operations & Information systems management ($63,800)
- Political economy ($58,200)
- Corporate accounting & finance ($61,200)
The current trend shows STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees packing the biggest bang for the buck. Degrees in performing arts, drama and theater arts, family and consumer science, psychology, criminology, health and physical education, social work, and education were amongst the lowest paying degrees. If you want a high paying degree, it’s still wise to seek out a STEM major.
Why go for a high paying college degree?
College is getting more expensive every year. If you want to earn a lot of money in today’s world, getting a college degree is seen by many as a necessity. In 2019, 69% of college students borrowed money in the form of student loans. Student debt is a huge problem for many, but a high-paying college degree definitely helps to ease that burden.
When choosing a college degree, money isn’t everything (but it sure does help). One should assess their skill set, interests, and ask themselves if they want to spend the next few decades working in their chosen field.
Maybe you are going back to school for a second degree? If this is the case, consider opting for a high-paying degree that supplements your current skills or the degree you already have. For example, if you have a degree in social work, it may pair well with a degree in political economy or applied economics and management.
A degree by itself does not guarantee a high paying job. There are many other factors to take into account. You should also consider the median salaries in the particular region you plan on living in, the quality of the school, the future projected growth in the industry, and the possibility that technology could eventually replace human workers.
College is an investment in your future. Deciding on the degree that is right for you takes time. Many people change their major in college. This only adds to the cost of your education. It’s very important to take stock of your skills and abilities before choosing your major.
However, if you have a few years of college under your belt, not all is lost. It may still be wise for you to change your less lucrative major for one that is likely to pay a lot more over the course of your future career.
If you already have a degree, and want to go back to school, but are not eligible for any more undergrad loans, it’s worth considering capitalizing on your degree and going to graduate school. Getting a graduate-level education opens doors that merely having a bachelor’s degree doesn’t always open.
If you have a degree related to business or finance, it may be worth going back to school to get an MBA. An MBA degree holder’s early take-home salary is around $53,400 at the beginning of their career.
No matter which major you went to school for, you can use your degree as a stepping stone to law school. Even if you have a lower-paying degree such as philosophy or history, you can use the critical thinking skills that you learned in college to reach success in law school. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that lawyers make a median salary of $122,960.
As you can see, there are a ton of options for those who desire a high paying college degree. If you are looking to maximize your earnings potential, you can rest easy knowing that you have a lot of good choices. College, by itself, does not bring financial success in life.
How well you network while in college, your grades, class rank, and internship/externship experience will all have a positive effect on how much you will earn as you begin your post-college career. A college degree alone is a piece of paper. Experience is what makes it worth something.
Remember that you don’t need to go to college for a major you are not interested in just to bring home a big paycheck. It’s more important to take into account what you enjoy doing when choosing the best college degree program for you. If you don’t like doing something, you are likely not going to put in the time and effort to do it well.
Those who are passionate about their majors and career paths are generally those who rise to the top. Choose your degree program wisely and, as they say, the money will come.
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