“Best Paying Degrees” is a commonly searched for term in America today. I find more and more that high school and early college students ask this question with regularity, and understandably so. Everybody wants to make a lot of money, or, atleast most people do. Of course there are those who are content to live a simpler life and could care less about their ability to keep up with Jones’ if you will. To each his own. If you are reading this today however, be prepared to find out which degrees yield the most income on an average basis. These are averages of course so please adjust up or down accordingly based on your geographic region. E.g. New York, NY, UP, Alamogordo, NM, DOWN.
Let’s get started. I hope you like engineering…which is featured in 70% of Payscale.com’s list below.
Nuclear Engineering – Median-Starting Salary: $65,000 Mid-Career: $98,000
This is a degree for those who love math and science a lot more than they liked recess. Expect heavy math courses combined with a science laden schedule if you want to get into the nuclear engineering world. A degree will take you places, but make sure you enjoy what you are getting into. It is certainly one of the best paying degrees out there, but are nukes really your cup of tea?
Computer Science - Median-Starting Salary: $56,600 Mid-Career: $98,000
Let’s do ourselves a favor, combine a love for computing, and puzzles with a love for math. Great! Computer science is in your future. With mid career earnings in the $98k range, this makes our best paying degrees list with ease.
Applied Mathematics - Median-Starting Salary: $52,600 Mid-Career: $98,600
I know what you’re thinking. Math? Yes. Math. Companies across the country spend big dollars on people who can effectively analyze numbers in an organized fashion. If you love math and have the ability to easily plow through mounds of data, get into the Math world and aim for a degree in Applied Math.
Physics - Median-Starting Salary: $49,800 Mid-Career: $101,000
No, not a physician, Physics. Physics combines a love for mathematics with a gravitation towards learning how the world works. A physics degree doesn’t put you on the road to riches from day one, but the average starting salary doubles come mid-career time.
Computer Engineering - Median-Starting Salary: $61,800 Mid-Career: $101,000
Now this is an in demand field. Given the fact that this discipline is fairly young, computer engineers reap the benefits of a high demand for their services and supply that doesn’t quite stack up. Look for an easy road to a high paying job with this option.
Aerospace Engineering – Median-Starting Salary: $60,700 Mid-Career: $102,000
Just as the name implies, you will be handling the engineering of machines purpose built for air travel, gravity optional. Do your homework. If anything goes wrong, it will definitely be on the news. Don’t end up on the news, ok?
Materials Science & Engineering - Median-Starting Salary: $60,700 Mid-Career: $102,000
This is a considerably less popular field in the engineering world than any of the others included here. As usual, you’ll need a keen math mind coupled with a knack for innovation. You will be expected to improve products in various high tech industries. Smaller is better! Usually.
Electrical Engineering - Median-Starting Salary: $61,300 Mid-Career: $103,000
Everybody knows about electrical engineering. It has been around since the dawn of electricity, which was far before the dawn of any of the other engineering disciplines included in the best paying degrees list. It may be an oldie, but it sure is a goodie. Expect competition to be high in this field however, given its overall maturity.
Chemical Engineering - Median-Starting Salary: $64,500 Mid-Career: $109,000
Science and Math, Science and Math. If you’re a parent reading this, you should know by now which subjects you should push your child to excel in. Science and Math. Just driving the point home now.
And the winner is…
Petroleum Engineering - Median-Starting Salary: $97,900 Mid-Career: $155,000
In case you haven’t noticed, gas prices are outrageously expensive. The cost of energy is rising, and so is the demand for the people who can manipulate these energy sources. Become one of the chosen few and reap the benefits of a fantastic salary.