What College Majors Pay the Best?

Whatever major you choose, it should be a well-informed decision. Apart from interest and skills, you should also consider the job market and salary trends. Don’t pick your major based on the courses that come easiest to you, or what your friends are studying. That way, you’ll be cheating yourself out of some great opportunities and self-discovery! In this post, we have aggregated the best-paying college majors; and also the worst-paying ones.

Top Paying College Majors

Good news for our engineering students…according to the New York Federal Reserve’s latest study of salaries of recent graduates, engineering degrees offer the biggest payday.

The top 10 majors earning the most five years from graduation are all related to engineering — except for computer science, which ranks fifth out of all majors. Of that top 10, the average yearly salary is just over $68,000, with computer engineering paying $74,000 in median wages — the most of all majors.

Highest Paying College Majors
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Highest Paying College Majors as per Glassdoor and PayScale

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Worst-Paying College Majors

The bottom 10 majors after five years are mostly liberal arts degrees, and they all pay less than $40,000 in wages right after college. In some cases, the lower-ranked majors pay almost less than half of what the best-paying majors earn.

worst paying college majors
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

To keep this in perspective, the median salary for full-time workers in the United States regardless of education is $35,805, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The good news is that most college majors still offer greater earning potential compared to a high school degree. The median wage for college grads ages 22-27 is $52,000, compared to a median wage of $30,000 for workers with no college degrees.

Plus, all college graduates’ salaries improve over time, regardless of major. The study tracked “mid-career” ages for graduates between 35-45 and found that the average pay for all majors goes from $46,891 to $74,123 in that time.

However, the top and bottom rankings remain consistent for both early and mid-career college graduates, with engineers at the top and liberal arts and education majors at the bottom. The gap in wages also increases over time, as top mid-career earners make about $100,000 while bottom-ranked earners make less than $60,000. This includes family and consumer sciences majors, who earn a median mid-career salary of $51,000.

Related Articles:

Pros and Cons of Applying to College with Undecided Major

Top Unconventional College Majors – Part 1

Best Unconventional College Majors – Part 2

How to Choose the Right Career Path

Featured Image Source: Own Your Own Future

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

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