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Which college majors translate into the highest-paying jobs?


There’s a joke that goes: To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

graduation cap on money

But when it comes to salary compared to other professions, there’s no joke. The engineer’s glass is definitely full.

In a new study by on The Bachelor’s Degrees with the Highest Salary Potential, nine of the top 10 are engineering degrees.

What students decide to major in has a huge impact on their future earnings. In general, those majors in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are rewarded the most monetarily. Conversely, those majors with the lowest future salary potential are those dealing with education and child development.

Major Early Career Salary Mid-Career Salary
1. Petroleum Engineering
2. Actuarial Mathematics
3. Nuclear Engineering
4. Chemical Engineering
5. Electronics & Communication Engineering
6. Electrical & Computer Engineering
7. Computer Science (CS) & Engineering
8. Computer Engineering (CE)
9. Electrical Engineering
10. Materials Science & Engineering

Engineers who go on to earn master’s or doctorate degrees, make considerably higher salaries. Petroleum engineering is still No. 1 on the list of earners with graduate degrees, and four other engineering degrees are in the top 10. Attorneys are No. 10 on the list, with early career salary averaging $66,100 growing to $139,000 at mid-career.

Other graduate degrees that bring the highest earning power are nurse anesthesia (No. 2 with $140,900 average starting salary), MBA’s in both strategy and strategic management, and computer science.

The earning power of other popular undergraduate majors, according to the Payscale study, are:

Major Early Career Salary Mid-Career Salary
13. Computer Science
33. Finance
40. Information Technology
44. International Business
55. Marketing and Management
74. Advertising
78. English Literature
89. Nursing
93. Business Administration
97. History
100. Journalism
126. Public Relations
139. Psychology
148. Sociology
164. Criminal Justice
170. Art
186. Education
202. Elementary Education
206. Early Childhood Education

The most underemployed college major, according to Payscale studies, based on low compensation or “having part-time work but wanting full-time or holding a job that doesn’t require or utilize the person’s education, experience or training” is criminal justice, with 62 percent of graduates feeling underemployed.

Criminal justice majors are followed by business management and administration majors at 60 percent and health care administration, with 58 percent feeling underemployed.

Other college majors that currently have more trouble translating into meaningful jobs for the graduates are general studies, sociology, English, graphic design, liberal arts, education and psychology.

Learn more and apply for available job in Canton, Ohio: Career Opportunities for Accountants, Auditors, and Tax Professionals

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