The 50 best college majors for finding the highest-paying jobs after graduation

COD Newsroom/FlickrThe highest-paying jobs after graduation tend to be in STEM fields.
  • The best college majors for finding the highest-paying jobs after graduation tend to be in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Engineering, in particular, is one of the highest-paying college majors after graduation.
  • 50 college majors have an early career salary of at least $US60,000, and many have a mid-career pay over $US100,000.

It’s the time of the year when high school seniors are deciding where to attend college and university students are preparing for their own graduation.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most important questions facing young people: Which college major to choose?

How much money you earn after graduation depends a lot on your major. While future salary should not be the only criteria when selecting a major, it can be an important one for college students to consider.

PayScale’s College Salary Report breaks down how much graduates of every degree type get paid. The report used data from nonprofit and public schools and measured profiles of 2.3 million college graduates with full-time jobs in the US. PayScale’s report included 489 bachelor’s majors of college degrees. Salary figures are from June 2017.

These numbers only reflect students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in each field. Associate’s, master’s, and other degrees are not considered.

The lucrative STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have plenty of representation on the list of highest-paying jobs after graduation. Engineering, in particular, is a college major that leads to strong future earning potential. All but two of the 20 highest-paying college degrees are some kind of study in engineering. Science, technology, and maths majors are also present.

The 50 best college majors for the highest-paying jobs are listed in order of median salary early in their career, what PayScale considers zero to five years. The median pay at least 10 years after graduation, considered mid-career pay, is also included below.


50. Statistics

Matthew Lloyd/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,600


49. Economics and mathematics

Alex Wong/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US122,900


48. Operations management & information systems

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,500


47. Information security

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US90,900


46. Engineering physics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US112,600


45. Electrical engineering technology

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US93,400


44. Accounting & computer systems

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,900


43. Informatics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $US95,300


42. Construction engineering management

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $US103,700


41. Construction science

Theodore Kaye/Getty Images

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,700

Median pay after 10+ years: $US102,600


40. Structural engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US60,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US105,100


39. Construction engineering

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/flickr

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $US93,700


38. Architectural engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $US95,100


37. Actuarial science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $US130,800


36. Packaging science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US102,300


35. Engineering management

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $US101,600


34. Plastics engineering technology

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $US95,100


33. Bioengineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $US116,800


32. Radiation therapy

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US84,200


31. Manufacturing engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US61,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US96,400


30. Mechanical

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US62,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US101,600


29. Computer science & mathematics

Spencer Platt/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US62,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US114,400


28. Mechanical & aeronautical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US62,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US113,200


27. Biomedical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US62,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US103,500


26. Engineering

Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US63,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $US111,600


25. Electronics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US63,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,300


24. Mechanical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US64,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US106,800


23. Plastics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US64,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $US97,100


22. Industrial engineering

Worldsteel/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US64,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $US107,100


21. Aeronautical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US65,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US118,800


20. Industrial & systems engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US65,700

Median pay after 10+ years: $US114,400


19. Computer science

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US65,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US110,100


18. Electrical & electronics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US66,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $US107,400


17. Software engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,300


16. Materials science & engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US104,100


15. Aerospace engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US113,300


14. Electrical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US67,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US114,800


13. Naval architecture & marine engineering

US Navy/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US68,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $US113,800


12. Electrical power engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US68,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $US119,100


11. Nuclear engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US69,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US127,500


10. Electrical & computer engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US69,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US118,800


9. Computer engineering

nikitabuida/Shutterstock

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US70,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US116,000


8. Chemical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US70,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US124,500


7. Computer science & engineering

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US70,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US116,800


6. Mining engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US71,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US108.500


5. Computer systems engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US72,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $US118,000


4. Marine engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US73,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $US123,200


3. Metallurgical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US75,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $US105,100


2. Physician assistant studies

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US87,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $US107,600


1. Petroleum engineering

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District/Flickr

Median pay after 0-5 years: $US94,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $US175,500

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