The 20 College Majors That Lead To The Most Satisfying Careers

TeacherGrant Halverson/Getty ImagesTeaching careers are rich in meaning, the data says.

Though many college students choose their major based on how much money they will be able to earn in the real world, it’s important to consider whether your future job will be one you feel good about doing.

The salary information website PayScale.com decided to figure out which majors lead to the most emotionally fulfilling careers.

To do this, PayScale used data people submitted about their jobs, and ranked 207 college majors based on what percentage of degree-holders responded “yes” or “very much so” to the question, “Does your work make the world a better place?”

In several instances where two majors had the same percentage of “meaningful” responses, we gave deference to the major that had a higher starting salary.

Many of them are the “helping professions,” as you’ll see.

19. Nuclear Engineering

View of the cooling towers at the Golfech nuclear plant on the edge of the Garonne river between Agen and Toulouse, southwestern France.

Grads who find their job meaningful: 71%

Average starting salary: $US67,000

Average mid-career salary: $US118,800

Potential careers: Nuclear engineer, director of engineering, engineering technician.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

17. Dietetics

Grads who find their job meaningful: 73%

Average starting salary: $US44,000

Average mid-career salary: $US59,100

Potential careers: Certified dietary manager, high school teacher, social work coordinator.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

15. Theology

Grads who find their job meaningful: 75%

Average starting salary: $US36,800

Average mid-career salary: $US51,600

Potential careers: Teacher, doctor, clergy.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

14. Early Childhood & Elementary Education

Grads who find their job meaningful: 75%

Average starting salary: $US32,300

Average mid-career salary: $US40,400

Potential careers: Elementary school teacher.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

12. Human Services

Grads who find their job meaningful: 75%

Average starting salary: $US33,800

Average mid-career salary: $US41,300

Potential careers: Sociologist, career counselor, health care assistant.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

11. Biblical studies

Grads who find their job meaningful: 76%

Average starting salary: $US34,900

Average mid-career salary: $US48,500

Potential careers: Teacher, doctor, clergy.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

10. Therapeutic Recreation

Grads who find their job meaningful: 77%

Average starting salary: $US34,500

Average mid-career salary: $US46,900

Potential careers: Therapeutic recreation specialist, recreation director, recreation coordinator.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

8. Medical Technology

Grads who find their job meaningful: 78%

Average starting salary: $US47,800

Average mid-career salary: $US60,200

Potential careers: Information technology manager, medical assistant.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

7. Sports Medicine

Grads who find their job meaningful: 78%

Average starting salary: $US37,300

Average mid-career salary: $US62,700

Potential careers: Trainer, physical therapist.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

6. Early Childhood Education

Grads who find their job meaningful: 78%

Average starting salary: $US29,700

Average mid-career salary: $US38,000

Potential careers: Early childhood educator, special education teacher.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

5. Athletic Training

Grads who find their job meaningful: 78%

Average starting salary: $US35,000

Average mid-career salary: $US45,900

Potential careers: Training manager, physical trainer.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

4. Child Development

Grads who find their job meaningful: 80%

Average starting salary: $US32,200

Average mid-career salary: $US36,400

Potential careers: Teacher, counselor.

Source: Payscale 2014-2015 College Salary Report

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