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Top 10 highest-paying college majors ranked by median salary, four years after graduation



Top 10 highest paying college majors ranked by median salary, four years after graduation

Your college major can significantly affect your income. According to a new report from The HEA Group, a research, and higher education consulting firm, within four years of graduation, some majors stand to earn as much as $256,539 annually, while others earn less than $10,000.

STEM majors, or degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are the top-earning majors. Engineering subsets make up half of the top 10 majors with the highest earnings among graduates.

The Founder and President of The HEA Group, Michael Itzkowitz, analyzed data from over two million students who received federal financial aid and graduated in 2015 or 2016. In 2019 and 2020, their earnings were measured.

Here are the 10 highest-paying college majors, four years after graduation:

College majors that pay the most four years after graduation

Top 10 majors ranked by median salary

Nuclear engineering$131,454.00
Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology$116,918.00
Operations Research$112,097.00
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering$109,121.00
Computer Science$104,799.00
Marine Transportation$103,626.00
Computer Engineering$99,063.00
Veterinary Medicine$97,533.00
Petroleum Engineering$96,957.00
Systems Engineering$95,224.00

According to Itzkowitz, the majors with the highest earning potential typically offer specialized, technical training in a field that is in high demand, such as technology or health care.

Majors in nuclear engineering earn the most, with a median salary of $131,454 per year. Despite difficulties with wind and solar power, there has been an increase in demand for nuclear engineers due to growing calls for clean, renewable energy.

Engineers, in general, are required in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, cybersecurity, construction, and agriculture, says Itzkowitz. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial engineers and chemical engineers, which have consistently been two of the highest-paying college majors over the past few years, are also two of the occupations that are expected to grow the most by 2031.

Biology is another major that can open ways to a great many high-paying opportunities, and not simply in the medical field, Itzkowitz says.

“While many biology majors may have ambitions to go to medical school, some do not, and have no trouble finding jobs with competitive salaries, like a biotechnologist or research scientist, right after college,” says Itzkowtiz.

Similarly, the field of veterinary medicine encompasses a diverse array of majors, ranging from veterinary technicians to “pre-vet” programs for veterinarians, a job that necessitates a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree. The U.S. Department of Education’s information does exclude the salaries for people who are right now signed up for postgraduate education programs, similar to medical and business schools.

Biomathematics, marine transportation, veterinary medicine, computer science, and operations research are the non-engineering majors in the top 10. Operations research typically focuses on the development and application of mathematical or simulation models to solve operating system issues.

Jeff Duty, an independent educational consultant in Santa Monica, warns students not to pick a significant exclusively in view of its potential salary. “There’s no way of knowing, with 100% certainty, which professions will pay the best in 5, 10 years,” he previously stated to CNBC Make It.

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