The Bachelor’s Degrees With The Highest Salary Potential

The Bachelor’s Degrees With The Highest Salary Potential

by Kathryn Dill

Last week, Forbes reported on The 25 Most Meaningful College Majors, many of which provided serious paychecks along with a strong sense of purpose.

But which majors all but guarantee a healthy starting salary that will only continue to grow?

As part of their 2014 – 2015 College Salary Report,  asked survey respondents whose culminating degree is a bachelor’s, and who graduated from schools in the U.S., work full-time in the U.S., and are not on active military duty to answer questions about their current employment and compensation.

Engineering dominates the list, which is top-heavy with STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees.

At the top of the list of bachelor’s degrees with the highest salary potential is petroleum engineering, which provides a median mid-career salary of $176,300. Actuarial mathematics comes in second, with mid-career salary potential of $119,600.

Nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, and electronics and communications engineering round out the top five, with mid-career median salaries that all top $113,000.

A few non-STEM degrees lurk much further down the 207 degree ranking. Philosophy ranks 49th on the list with a respectable mid-career median salary of $84,000. Marketing management follows close behind in spot 50, bringing in mid-career pay of $83,700.

Degrees as varied as forestry, urban planning, geography, and religious studies all populate the spots just above 100, with mid-career earnings in the $70,000s.

At the other end of the spectrum, education degrees populate many of the lowest-paid spots on the ranking, with child development coming in 207th with a mid-career salary of $36,400.

The runner up, early childhood education, promises a mid-career salary of $38,000. Child and family studies, early childhood and elementary education, and human services fill out the bottom five.

Athletic training and pastoral ministry are among the only non-education degrees at the lowest-paid end of the ranking. Each promises a $45,000 – $46,000 mid-career median salary.

The 10 Bachelor’s Degrees With The Highest Salary Potential

1. Petroleum Engineering

2. Actuarial Mathematics

3. Nuclear Engineering

4. Chemical Engineering

5. Electronics & Communications Engineering

6. Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)

7. Computer Science (CS) & Engineering

8. Computer Engineering (CE)

9. (tied) Aerospace Engineering

9. (tied) Electrical Engineering


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