These are the highest paying college majors of 2022 (2024)

Landing a job that delivers personal and professional satisfaction is the goal of most college students, but many people also hope they will earn a good salary. As prospective students weigh the cost of attending college with potential post-grad earnings, they may prioritize picking a major that will teach them a highly specialized skill set that could lead to a highly paid job.

So what are today’s highest-paying college majors? Engineering majors take the cake for the highest early-career earnings, according to a tool about labor market outcomes for recent college graduates that’s regularly updated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

ADVERTIsem*nT

Berkeley's Data Science Master's

Master Key Skills in Data Mining, Machine Learning, Research Design & More

GRENo
Part TimeYes

Visit Website

The online Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program is preparing the next generation of experts and leaders in the data science field and providing students with a UC Berkeley education without having to relocate. Students graduate with connections to UC Berkeley’s extensive alumni network in the Bay Area and across the world. All international applicants will be required to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

“There is a growing demand for high-skilled labor,” says Jaison Abel, assistant vice president and head of the regional analysis function at the New York Fed. As a result, students with more specialized, technical majors—like engineering and computer science—see the highest starting salaries of $70,000 and up.

The latest data from the Fed shows that the top 15 college majors with the highest median wages among bachelor’s degree holders graduates 22 to 27 years old are:

  1. Computer Engineering: $74,000
  2. Computer Science: $70,000
  3. Aerospace Engineering: $70,000
  4. Chemical Engineering: $70,000
  5. Electrical Engineering: $70,000
  6. Industrial Engineering: $69,000
  7. Mechanical Engineering: $68,000
  8. Miscellaneous Engineering: $65,000
  9. Civil Engineering: $63,000
  10. General Engineering: $62,000
  11. Economics: $60,000
  12. Construction Services: $60,000
  13. Business Analytics: $60,000
  14. Finance: $60,000
  15. Physics: $55,000

The New York Fed’s labor market outcomes tool includes information about unemployment, underemployment, and the percent of bachelor’s degree holders of each major that go on to pursue a graduate degree. These components help paint a more complete picture of the job trajectory for each college major.

Engineering majors also earn the highest median wages mid-career. Chemical engineering graduates ages 35 to 45 make a median wage of $111,000. However, other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors, like pharmacy and computer science, also see six-figure or higher median wages mid-career.

Putting a major’s salary prospects into context

It’s important to remember that just because a major leads to the highest earnings, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right degree for a student to pursue, Abel says. Work is a key part of life, so career path satisfaction is key.

The five lowest earning majors are anthropology, social services, general social sciences, performing arts, and family and consumer sciences—all of which pay a median salary of $36,000 or less during the early-career stage.

Unemployment rates of specific majors is also a key factor to consider. According to the New York Fed tool, majors like construction services, education, biochemistry and nursing have some of the lowest unemployment rates for graduates.

However, if someone goes to college and pursues a major that is more general, that does not mean their degree won’t pay out, says Richard Deitz, assistant vice president and senior economist for the New York Fed.

Most people are better off earnings-wise if they graduate from college, no matter what major they choose. The National Center for Education Statistics found that in2019, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree holders were 59% higher than those who completed high school.

Additionally, on average, people in all majors see their earnings increase from early to mid-career, Abel and Deitz say.

See how the schools you’re considering landed in Fortune’s rankings of the bestmaster’s in public health programs,business analytics programs,data science programs, andpart-time,executive,full-time, andonlineMBA programs.

Read more

  • Interested in learning more about how AI can help your career? Check out our list of AI bootcamps.
  • Our ranking of the best online data scientist masters programs can help you find the program that best fits your schedule.
  • Choose from our list of the best online masters in computer science programs to help you make your next career move.
  • Explore our collection of the best MBA programs to find the next phase of your educational journey.
  • One of the best data science and analytics bootcamps can boost your professional skillset.
  • Check out some of the best software engineering bootcamps to help you expand your potential career opportunities.
  • These are the highest paying college majors of 2022 (2024)

    FAQs

    What is the number #1 highest paying major? ›

    No surprise, majoring in engineering and finance yields the biggest paydays five years after graduating college, while majoring in liberal arts or performing arts pays the least. But which specific majors result in the highest and lowest paydays? A recent New York Federal Reserve survey takes a look.

    What major ends up making the most money? ›

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

    What college major has the highest paying jobs? ›

    Top 20 College majors with the highest salaries
    • Chemical Engineering. Engineering degrees are a common theme on this list. ...
    • Computer Engineering. ...
    • Aerospace Engineering. ...
    • Electrical Engineering. ...
    • Computer Science. ...
    • Mechanical Engineering. ...
    • Civil Engineering. ...
    • Industrial Engineering.
    May 29, 2024

    What is the highest paying college degree in 2022? ›

    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

    What is the #1 hardest major? ›

    List of the Hardest College Majors
    1. Legal Studies. Average GPA: 3.35. ...
    2. Computer Science. Average GPA: 3.0. ...
    3. Environmental Earth Science. Average GPA: 2.96. ...
    4. Chemistry. Average GPA: 2.77. ...
    5. Environmental Economics and Policy. Average GPA: 2.95. ...
    6. American Studies. Average GPA: 3.12. ...
    7. Nuclear Engineering. Average GPA: 3.14. ...
    8. Energy Engineering.
    May 30, 2024

    What is the #1 major in the US? ›

    Business

    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 major makes you the richest? ›

    Top 7 degrees that make the most millionaires
    • Engineering.
    • Economics/Finance.
    • Politics.
    • Mathematics.
    • Computer Science.
    • Law.
    • MBA.
    May 29, 2024

    What degree is most in demand in the future? ›

    List of the best degrees for the future
    • Engineering degree. Electrical engineering. ...
    • Information technology degree. Computer science. ...
    • Finance / business degree. Finance. ...
    • Medicine / healthcare degree. Pharmacology.

    Which degree is best for a high salary? ›

    Some of the best career options after 12th with high salary include:
    • Medicine/MBBS.
    • Computer Science Engineering.
    • Research.
    • MBA.
    • Data Science.
    • Business Analytics.
    • Chartered Accountancy.
    • Investment Banking.

    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.

    What four year degree makes the most money? ›

    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

    Which field pays the most? ›

    List of Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the World
    • Chief Executive officer.
    • Anesthesiologist.
    • General and Orthopedic Surgeons.
    • Psychiatrists.
    • Data Scientists.
    • Software Engineers.
    • Investment Banker.
    • Petroleum Engineers.

    What is the lowest paying major? ›

    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.

    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 is the #1 highest paid position? ›

    Physicians and surgeons report the highest salaries in the U.S., with pediatric surgeons earning the highest mean wage at nearly $450,000 per year, the BLS reports. Cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons, radiologists and surgeons also rank among the highest-paid occupations in the country.

    What is the richest major? ›

    Top 7 degrees that make the most millionaires
    • Engineering.
    • Economics/Finance.
    • Politics.
    • Mathematics.
    • Computer Science.
    • Law.
    • MBA.
    May 29, 2024

    Which degree earns the highest salary? ›

    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 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.

    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Greg O'Connell

    Last Updated:

    Views: 6229

    Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

    Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Greg O'Connell

    Birthday: 1992-01-10

    Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

    Phone: +2614651609714

    Job: Education Developer

    Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

    Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.