highest paying college majors

Top 5 Highest Paying College Majors You Should Check Out!

Small talk for most people means talking about the weather, last night’s sports game, or insert-some–pop-culture-event-here, for example: “Can you BELIEVE it took Leonardo DiCaprio 20 years to get an Oscar??” But when you’re a junior or senior in high school, you’ll soon notice that the easiest thing for people to talk to you about is — you guessed it — the highest paying college majors.

While some may argue that it is wrong to choose a college major by much money you will make after graduating through that degree, we think the best reality is that you should find a way to utilize your talents in a way that pays for your lifestyle.

It’s no secret that some majors make more money than others and we know you are curious to see exactly what majors make the most. So here are the 11 highest paying college majors according to their median salary:

1. Petroleum Engineering

highest paying college majors

Early Career Pay: $92,300

Mid-Career Pay: $182,000


Petroleum Engineering currently ranks first in the list of highest paying degrees according to Payscale. Students who focus on this course can oversee the production and retrieval of natural oil and gas on the earth. Sounds incredibly cool, right?

Petroleum Engineers can be categorized into four types and they are:

  • Reservoir engineers: Figure out the best technique to recover oil or gas from the earth
  • Drilling engineers: Think of an effective way to drill in a well without greatly impacting the environment
  • Completions engineers: Make sure that the gas flows upward from the well created
  • Production engineers: Oversee production and think of ways to get more oil or gas from under-producing wells.

This is primarily a male-dominated field, but females are definitely welcome to be part of it. We hope that you get into your dream college who offers this course.

2. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

highest paying college majors

Early Career Pay: $101,200

Mid-Career Pay: $152,300

The general description of electrical engineers and computer science graduates is that they make things or upgrade the existing ones. They come second in our list of highest paying degrees. For electronic engineers, their main focus is on:

  • Generating electricity
  • Transmitting electricity

Meanwhile, computer science graduates can become either of the following:

  • Software engineer
  • Data scientist
  • Web developer
  • Network architect

There are some other careers that I haven’t listed here, but there sure are a lot of high paying job opportunities for students who will major in this. Again, this is just one of the top highest paying degrees you can choose from, so don’t be pressured if you are not interested in this one. There’s always another option for you.

3. Applied Economics and Management

Early Career Pay: $60,900

Mid-Career Pay: $139,600

A degree in this major is another great idea since it ranks 3rd in the highest-paying majors by Payscale. When you decide to enrol, you will learn how all economic principles are applied in the real world. Often, the course work covers the following:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Econometrics

Here are the possible careers that you can embark on when you major in this:

  • Agricultural manager
  • Financial manager
  • Budget analyst
  • Statistician
  • Mathematician
  • Research analyst and director
  • Program analyst
  • Economics professor
  • Purchasing manager
  • Transportation manager

To make sure that you get admitted to this degree, check out these articles:

How to Raise Your GPA in High School in 5 Easy Steps

Best Extracurricular Activities for Ivy League Admissions

4. Operations Research

Early Career Pay: $78,400

Mid-Career Pay: $139,600

Generally, operations research analysts use analytical and mathematical methods to solve various problems. 

If you to choose to major in this, you can land the following jobs after graduation:

  • Economic Research analyst
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Equity Research Analyst

5. Public Accounting

highest paying college majors

Early Career Pay: $60,000

Mid-Career Pay: $138,800

What will you get when you choose to major in accounting? Well, according to Pace University, it will prepare you to be an accountant in various businesses, in the government, and even non-profit sectors. This is a pretty cool choice among the highest paying degrees we have listed.

Here are the specific job descriptions of public accountants that may sway you to choose this over other majors:

  • Document financial data of clients and create reports.
  • Calculate the client’s income taxes.
  • Give advice on topics related to costs and financial practices.
  • Use accounting software and management systems.

Conclusion: Highest Paying College Majors

Getting IN to college is one thing — but where do you want to go from there? The college of your dreams is one big step in the direction of your bright future, and another step is landing the career you want most. 

If you are a bit lost, you might want to check out these blogs:

Believe in Yourself: 6 Self-Development Tips for Today’s Students

Dual Enrollment: Reasons Why You Should Consider This Program

Make sure you make the right decisions by always being updated regarding the highest paying college majors in your state. We will also update this list regularly to help you in choosing. Until the next one!

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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