10 Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees | BestColleges (2024)

Engineering and computer science top our list of highest-paying bachelor's degrees. Find out which majors make the cut.

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Updated on June 13, 2024

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By

Jordan Stewart-Rozema, Ph.D.Read Full Bio

Editor & Writer

Jordan Stewart-Rozema writes data-driven education content focusing on higher education trends, student finances, and alternative education pathways such as coding bootcamps. She previously worked to promote online learning and media literacy educati...

Edited by

Danika MillerRead Full Bio

Writer & Editor

Danika Miller is a senior writer at BestColleges and Accredited Schools Online. Her writing has also appeared in Grad School Hub, Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus. Her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple ...

Updated on June 13, 2024

Learn more about our editorial process

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We all know that getting a bachelor's degree can be expensive. So, how do you ensure a good return on investment? By picking a degree that will lead to a high-paying job, of course.

Rest assured, any degree you choose is likely to pay off — the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that bachelor's degree holders earned a median income of about $1,500 per week in 2022, compared to just $900 for those with only a high school diploma.

But while many majors can lead to a comfortable lifestyle down the road, some are more likely to land you the big bucks. Read our list of the top 10 highest-paying bachelor's degrees to find out which majors can help you earn that coveted six-figure paycheck and send student debt packing.

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What Are the Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees?

What's the highest-paying college major? In a word, engineering. As you'll see in the list below, you can hardly go wrong by picking any engineering field that floats your boat.

Unless otherwise noted, all information in the following list is sourced from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's February 2024 release of Labor Market Outcomes of College Graduates by Major, which relies on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey.

1. Chemical Engineering

If you're interested in chemistry, chemical engineering could be the career for you. Chemical engineers focus on the chemistry involved in manufacturing processes and products.

Chemical engineers are some of the highest-earning engineers on the market, with a median mid-career salary of $133,000 and a median early-career salary of $79,000.

In addition to strong wages, these engineering professionals should see strong job growth in the years ahead — the BLS projects a likely job growth of 8% between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than average.

2. Computer Engineering

Computer engineers are a close second to chemical engineers in terms of sheer earning potential, with a mid-career median salary of $125,000. This profession also sees the highest early-career salary of any on this list at $80,000.

Computer engineers help design, develop, and test computer systems and hardware. These professionals need both computer science and engineering expertise, making it the perfect field for those interested in both subjects.

3. Aerospace Engineering

Want to help build planes, rockets, or missiles? Aerospace engineers do just that, helping to design, develop, and test aircraft and spacecraft equipment.

They earn a hearty median salary of $120,000 by mid-career, with a median early-career salary of $74,000. They should also see job growth in the next few years, with a 6% projected growth rate from 2022-2032 according to the BLS.

4. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers design and test electrical equipment and systems. They may work on communications equipment, power generation, or navigation equipment.

Like other engineering fields, electrical engineering typically comes with a high salary right off the bat. Early-career professionals earn a median wage of $72,000 and mid-career electrical engineers bring in $112,000.

5. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering majors study mathematics, physical science, engineering, and design in order to learn how to develop and manipulate mechanical systems such as engines. Mechanical engineers earn a mid-career median salary of $111,000 and a median of $70,000 at the beginning of their career.

This engineering specialty is likely to be in high demand in the near future due to increasing automation in the machine industry. The BLS projects a 10% growth rate for this occupation, which is much higher than the average growth rate of 3% across all professions.

6. Computer Science

With the boom of the tech industry, computer science has become an increasingly popular and lucrative major. With recent advancements in artificial intelligence, this looks unlikely to change anytime soon. Computer science majors may pursue jobs as software or web developers, user experience designers, data scientists, and product managers.

Early-career computer science majors earn a median salary of $78,000, and mid-career professionals earn $110,000.

7. Finance

Finance majors study economics, math, statistics, and financial topics such as banking and trading. Finance majors often become investment bankers, financial advisors, financial analysts, financial planners, financial managers, business analysts, or accountants.

This is one of the highest-paid non-engineering majors, with a mid-career median salary of $104,000. Early-career finance majors earn a more modest median salary of $66,000.

8. Economics

Economics majors often work in the banking, investment, and insurance industries. They may also work on policy in government, corporate, and nonprofit environments. While finance majors focus more on money management and investment topics, economics majors delve into public policy and economic theory.

Majors in this field earn a median income of $65,000 early in their career and $100,000 by mid-career.

9. Civil Engineers

Civil engineers work on infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, tunnels, and sewer systems. Civil engineering students will often study construction, transportation, hydrodynamics, structural engineering, and environmental engineering.

As early-career professionals civil engineers make a median of $65,000 but by mid-career that figure climbs to the six-figure range at $100,000.

10. Business Analytics

For students interested in business, finance, data, statistics, and mathematics, a business analytics major is a great choice. Business analysts conduct research and engage in data analysis to assess how a company is performing, diagnose issues, and propose business solutions.

Like economics and civil engineering majors, business analytics majors earn a median salary of $65,000 during their early career and $100,000 at mid-career.

Frequently Asked Questions About High-Paying College Majors

Can I make $100k a year with a bachelor's degree?

Yes, there are numerous fields where you can earn $100,000 or more with just a bachelor's degree, though it may take some time to earn this amount. Even the most high-paying fields don't usually pay starting salaries in the six figures.

Engineering, computer science, and finance are all good choices for earning $100,000 with just a bachelor's degree.

Computer science and business degrees can both lead to several careers that are likely to see high growth in the years ahead.

According to the BLS, computer science-related jobs that are likely to see more than 50,000 new positions open up between 2032-2032 and require only a bachelor's include software developers, information security analysts, data scientists, computer systems analysts, and information systems managers.

The BLS also projects job openings of a similar size for these business-related roles: operations managers, human resources specialists, management analysts, project management specialists, and marketing specialists.

Computer science, business, finance, and healthcare degrees are great picks for a future-proof degree, as these fields are likely to see much faster-than-average growth and a large number of job openings between 2022-2032, according to the BLS.

Many consider English, education, psychology, criminal justice, and anthropology to be some of the easiest bachelor's degrees to get, though what you consider easy or difficult will depend on your own interests, skills, and background knowledge. STEM majors are generally considered to be more difficult.

The most high-paying fields are typically those that require a BS degree, such as STEM fields. All of the engineering and computer science majors on this list are BS programs and come with the highest pay post-graduation.

There are always exceptions, however. Research your desired careers carefully to see which degree is most likely to lead to a high-paying job in your area of interest.

10 Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees | BestColleges (2024)

FAQs

10 Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees | BestColleges? ›

Some popular college majors in high demand include computer science, nursing, engineering, finance, and data science. These fields offer excellent career prospects and competitive salaries.

Which bachelors degrees make the most money? ›

College majors that pay the most right after college
  • Computer engineering. $80,000.
  • Chemical engineering. $79,000.
  • Computer science. $78,000.
  • Aerospace engineering. $74,000.
  • Electrical engineering. $72,000.
  • Industrial engineering. $71,000.
  • Mechanical engineering. $70,000.
Mar 14, 2024

How can I make 100K a year with a bachelor's degree? ›

Table of Contents
  1. Some bachelor's degree jobs offer a high return.
  2. Construction Managers.
  3. Medical and Health Services Managers.
  4. Art Directors.
  5. Actuaries.
  6. Computer Network Architects.
  7. Medical Dosimetrists.
  8. Human Resources Managers.
Feb 8, 2024

How to make $100,000 a year without college? ›

9 jobs that pay $100K per year without a degree
  1. Information systems manager. ...
  2. Fire chief. ...
  3. Product manager. ...
  4. Senior engagement manager. ...
  5. Radiation therapist. ...
  6. Computer network architect. ...
  7. Senior real estate manager. ...
  8. Technical program manager.
Apr 18, 2024

What jobs pay 6 figures straight out of college? ›

As you start your job search, consider these six-figure jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree:
  • Financial manager. ...
  • Development director. ...
  • Aeronautical engineer. ...
  • Sales engineer. ...
  • Software engineer. ...
  • Architect. ...
  • Actuary. ...
  • Chief executive officer (CEO)
Apr 18, 2024

What bachelor's degree has the most job opportunities? ›

Some popular college majors in high demand include computer science, nursing, engineering, finance, and data science. These fields offer excellent career prospects and competitive salaries.

What 1 year degree makes the most money? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Aviation Maintenance.
  • Respiratory Therapy.
  • Radiologic and MRI Technology.
  • Electrical Engineering Technology.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistance.
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology.
  • Industrial Engineering Technology.
  • Electro-Mechanical Technology.

Which bachelor degree is best for salary? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Bachelor's Degrees?
  • Aerospace Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Finance. ...
  • Economics. ...
  • Civil Engineers. ...
  • Business Analytics. For students interested in business, finance, data, statistics, and mathematics, a business analytics major is a great choice.
Jun 13, 2024

How to make 200k a year without a degree? ›

3 jobs that can pay $200k a year
  1. Real estate associate.
  2. Voice-over artist.
  3. Business owner.
  4. Inspector.
  5. Makeup artist.
  6. Sales representative.
  7. Web developer.
  8. Truck driver.
Apr 18, 2024

What is the most valuable degree? ›

A recent study published in the American Educational Research Journal found that engineering and computer science majors provide the highest returns in lifetime earnings, followed by business, health, and math and science majors.

How much is 100K a year hourly? ›

$100,000 a year is how much an hour? If you make $100,000 a year, your hourly salary would be $48.08.

What is a 7 figure salary? ›

When referring to "seven figures," this typically means an annual salary that falls between $1,000,000 and $9,999,999. This income bracket places individuals and families in a distinct financial category, generally associated with significant wealth accumulation and financial success.

What is the highest paid job without experience? ›

21 high-paying entry-level jobs with no experience jobs
  1. Entry-level laboratory technician. ...
  2. Human resources assistant. ...
  3. Research assistant. ...
  4. Medical assistant. ...
  5. Firefighter. ...
  6. Junior graphic designer. ...
  7. Auditor. ...
  8. Administrative assistant.
Oct 18, 2023

What bachelor's degrees make the most money? ›

List of Highest Paying Bachelor's Degrees
  • Actuarial Science. ...
  • Electronics Engineering. ...
  • Statistics. ...
  • Physics. ...
  • Mathematics. Early career salary: $69,435. ...
  • Civil Engineering. Early career salary: $66,517. ...
  • Information Technology (IT) Early career salary: $67,110. ...
  • Aviation Management. Early career salary: $79,000.

What is the highest paying job with little college? ›

Here are the highest-paying jobs that don't require a degree this year:
  • Police and/or detective. ...
  • Flight attendant. ...
  • Lodging manager. ...
  • Property, real estate, and community association manager. ...
  • Electrician. ...
  • Telecommunications technician. ...
  • Industrial machinery mechanic. ...
  • Computer support specialist. Median annual salary: $59,660.
Jun 4, 2024

What is the least stressful job without a degree? ›

11 other low-stress jobs with no degree required
  • Medical transcriptionist : $32,011 per year.
  • Optician : $35,800 per year.
  • Bookkeeper : $41,123 per year.
  • Travel agent : $43,323 per year.
  • Personal trainer : $42,589 per year.
  • Choreographer : $46,938 per year.
  • Photographer : $51,810 per year.
  • Electrician : $57,245 per year.
Apr 18, 2024

Which degree will earn you the most money? ›

Table of Contents
  • The top 11 degrees with the highest starting salaries in the UK.
  • Dentistry.
  • Medicine.
  • Veterinary Medicine.
  • Economics.
  • General Engineering.
  • Mathematics.
  • Physics & Astronomy.
Jun 27, 2024

What degree is the most profitable? ›

10 college majors that make the most money
  • Accounting.
  • Biomedical engineering.
  • Mathematics or Statistics.
  • Finance.
  • Nursing.
  • Information technology.
  • Engineering.
  • Computer science.

Which BA course has the highest salary? ›

High Paying Jobs After BA Psychology
  • Social Psychologist.
  • Child Psychologist.
  • Career Counsellor.
  • Health Educator.
  • Psychiatric Assistant.
  • Developmental Psychologist.
  • Social Worker.
  • Clinical Psychologist.

What is the lowest paying bachelor degree? ›

Students who major in liberal arts, performing arts, and theology earn the lowest annual median salary ($38,000) five years after graduating college, according to a new study by the New York Federal Reserve. The study looked at median annual income for 75 different majors right after college and mi-career.

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