What are the highest paying bachelor degrees? Do you know? Well, if you’re shopping around for an undergraduate major, you’ll want to know. To help you along in your query, we’ve compiled a list of the best paying bachelor degrees.
According to the April 2013 Salary Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), technical majors head the list of the highest-paid for the Class of 2013. In fact, the survey revealed seven engineering majors are among the 10 top-paid. Beyond engineering, the non-engineering majors drawing top salaries are computer-science-related e.g. computer science, computer information, information systems. Other highly compensated degrees include government, finance and mathematics.
Check out this compilation of undergraduate majors (placed in alphabetical order) which currently lead to the highest paying bachelor degrees:
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Actuarial Mathematics; Mid-Career Salary: $120,000
Students of actuarial mathematics study mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries and professions. They develop probability tables used by life insurance companies to determine what customers will pay. In the U.S., actuaries must pass a series of challenging professional examinations to qualify to work in this field.
Sample job titles: Actuary, Actuarial Analyst, Actuarial Manager, Actuarial Consultant.
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Aerospace Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $109,000
Aerospace engineers utilize scientific and technological skills to design, develop, test, and maintain military and civilian aircraft, weapons systems, space vehicles and satellites. They also work on different apparatus that make up aircraft, satellites and other systems.
Aerospace engineers often work as part of a specialist team in areas such as thrust, systems and avionics.
Sample job titles: Systems Safety Engineering Director, Aeronautics Mechanical Engineer, Senior Payload Engineer, Flight Test Engineer- Avionics, Aerodynamicist
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Applied Mathematics; Mid-Career Salary: $96,200
Mathematicians solve problems. They often work, from a mathematical perspective, on problems in physics, chemistry, geology, and engineering. They have seemingly endless possibilities for arenas of work, including many computer-related jobs. Cryptography, an area with an increasing need for mathematicians, involves constructing and deconstructing codes for security issues from business databases to terrorism.
Sample job titles: Quantitative Equity Portfolio Analyst, Threat Analyst, Cost Estimator Director, Mergers & Acquisitions Operations Manager, Forensic Analyst
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Biomedical Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $91,700
Graduates, using both biology and engineering skills, generate medical and health solutions. They design prosthetic limbs and artificial organs or help regenerate tissue; they may also design drug formulations, develop pharmaceuticals or collect/analyze biological data.
The biomedical engineering filed includes the intersection of biology and engineering skills to help crack tough problems in medicine and health.
Sample job titles: Biomedical Manager, Prosthesis Designer, Biomedical Engineer, Biomedical Technician
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Chemical Engineering & Biochemistry; Mid-Career Salary: $115,000
Chemical engineers study biology, chemistry, physics and math. They work with processing gases, liquids and solids. They’re often researchers, designers and inventors and involved in all sorts of projects from nanotechnology to energy alternatives.
Biochemistry majors work in research facilities, agriculture, refineries, biotech firms, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, labs, clinics, and manufacturing.
Sample job titles: Quality Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Research Scientist, Product Development Manager, Regulatory Specialist, Medical/Clinical Lab Technologist, Validation Engineer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Civil Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $91,100
Civil engineers transform blueprints into buildings; they plan construction projects and direct workers at the work site. As construction gets underway, civil engineers troubleshoot design and technical issues and solve them.
Sample job titles: Vice President/Construction Management Operations, Civil Engineer, Building Project Manager, Structural Designer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Computer Engineering (CE); Mid-Career Salary: $106,000 and Computer Science (CS); Mid-Career salary: $102,000
A degree in computer engineering prepares graduates to design, construct and maintain computer hardware and software. Computer engineering graduates usually become computer programmers or software developers or engineers.
Sample job titles: Senior Application Developer, Management Consultant, Storage Engineer.
Graduates of computer science degree programs are involved with managing information creation/transformation, storage, retrieval, analysis and display.
Areas of specialty may include artificial intelligence, networking and graphics.
Sample job titles: Network or Systems Architect, Systems Administrator, Database Administrator, Quality Assurance Analyst, User Interface Engineer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Computer Information (CI) & Information Systems (IS); Mid-Career Salary: $87,200 – $87,400
These professionals administer the installation of newer, more advanced computer upgrades, as well as troubleshoot day-to-day technical problems which may occur. They also implement computer, database, network and systems programs.
Sample job titles: IS Consultant, Network Engineer, Applications Engineer, Database Developer, Mobile Applications Developer, Senior Technical Analyst, Computer Programmer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Construction Management & Supply Chain Management; Mid-Career Salary: $88,800
Graduates of a Construction Management degree program plan, coordinate and manage construction projects from start to finish. Construction managers estimate the completion time, manpower needs and the risks involved. A construction manager supervises and train the staff, work with engineers and monitor costs.
Supply Chain management degree program graduates manage inventories, warehouses and other internal systems, with an eye to efficiency, risks, costs, etc.
Sample job titles: Construction Manager, Construction Management Engineer, Supply Chain Director, Global Supply Chain Director
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Economics; Mid-Career Salary: $96,700
Economics majors often pursue business and finance-related fields, e.g. banking and finance. However, according to the American Economic Association (AEA), the economics degree is also a stepping-stone to a career in law, education, research, consulting, nonprofit, public policy work and government.
Sample job titles: Inventory Control Manager, Loan Officer, Benefits Analyst, Certified Financial Planner, Senior Professional Services Consultant, Executive Director or President of a non-profit organization
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Electrical Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $106,000
Electrical engineers design, develop, maintain and test electrical equipment. A degree in electrical engineering often overlaps with computer engineering, so it can lead to a technical career in a variety of industries.
Electrical engineers are in high demand because of the ever-increasing advancements in cyber-technology and the needs in growing sectors such as telecommunications, new media, wireless and mobile.
Sample job titles: Chief Architect/IT, Principal Electrical Engineer, Senior Operations Manager, IT Director, Hardware Design Engineer, Implementation Consultant, Illuminating Engineer, Power-distribution Engineer, Instrumentation Technician
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Electrical Engineering Technology (EET); Mid-Career Salary: $87,600
As with electrical engineering graduates, EET graduates apply electrical engineering concepts to design, install, manufacture, operate and maintain electrical/electronic systems. Generally, EET focuses on practical application and implementation, while electrical engineering puts more emphasis on theory and conceptual design.
Sub-fields of EET include electronics, embedded systems, control systems, instrumentation, telecommunications, and power systems.
Sample job titles: Electrical Estimator, Electrical Project Managers, Electrical Contractor, Building & Code Compliance Inspector
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Environmental Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $89,800
With increasing demand for quality control and environmental standards, environmental engineers help analyze and design treatment systems for water, soil and air.
Graduates of environmental engineering degree programs may work as consultants or within one enterprise; they may specialize in a particular aspect of the environment; they may tackle global issues or local site problems.
Sample job titles: Environmental Consultant, Environment Engineer, Environmental Specialist
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Finance; Mid-Career Salary: $87,100
Finance majors master the art of financial management in a wide range of operational arenas – from sales to supplies, from corporations to non-profits.
Many colleges offer specialized programs of study i.e. real estate, investments, banking, etc.
Sample job titles: Finance Manager, Finance Consultant, Chief Finance Officer, Financial Advisor, Bank Examiner, Branch Manager, Investment Officer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Government/Political Science; Mid-Career Salary: $97,100
A Bachelor in Government degree and a Bachelor in Political Science degree are adaptable and desirable to a range of career areas. Graduates land in local/state/federal government, business, finance, public policy, marketing and law.
All arenas and levels of U.S. government hire graduates with a Bachelor degree in Government or a Bachelor degree in Political Science, but so do corporations, think tanks, lobbying groups, political campaigns, nonprofits, contracting firms, human aid organizations and other nongovernmental enterprises.
Sample job titles: Government Affairs Director, Government Relations Manager, Program Officer/Foundation, Grant Writer, Legislative Assistant, Manager of International Relations, Regional Director of Volunteers/American Red Cross
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Industrial Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $94,400
Graduates of industrial engineering degree programs have traditionally managed the development and operations of product-generating factories.
Industrial engineers design and install the stations, equipment and robotics all along the production process. While some industrial engineers still deal in these areas, more and more industrial engineering majors use their skills to design or improve the quality and costs of both goods and services. Industrial engineers are also concerned with employee and workplace safety.
Sample job titles: Senior Industrial Engineer, Safety Engineer, Director of Manufacturing Operations
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Management Information Systems (MIS); Mid-Career Salary: $92,200
What business or enterprise can successfully exist today without a database of information? MIS professionals build and sustain the link between technology and people: They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and then implement the computer systems to meet those goals, making the internal systems accessible and easy to use.
Sample job titles: MIS Security Consultant, Senior Technical Support Manager, Senior Network Administrator, Systems Manager
Highest Paying Bachelor degrees: Materials Science & Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $99,500
Materials Science & Engineering, a relatively new area of study, is an inter-disciplinary subject area utilizing properties of matter to science and engineering; it blends applied physics and chemistry. Graduates explore the structure of materials at atomic or molecular levels.
Materials scientists and engineers find employment in a range of areas, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals or electronics. Their work often focuses on developing or refining materials to make products cheaper, safer or better.
Sample job titles: Materials Scientist, Materials Engineer, Forensic Engineer
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Mathematics; Mid-Career Salary: $88,800
Mathematics deals with abstract issues, proving theorems for the sake of mathematics with no applications necessary; applied math is the application of math to real world processes, finding ways to solve such equations.
Pure math and applied math majors often have the same core courses such as real analysis, complex analysis, abstract algebra, etc.; however, pure math majors typically take courses such as logic and set theory, geometry, etc., while applied math typically includes a concentration in an area of application e.g. actuarial science.
A degree in mathematics has broad relevance to many businesses and industries and graduates are in demand for a variety of career jobs.
Sample job titles: Math Professor, Mathematician, Actuary, Economist, Financial Analyst, Statistician
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Mechanical Engineering (ME); Mid-Career Salary: $99,700
If it deals with any kind of machine or engine – robotics, manufacturing, elevators, machinery — mechanical engineers are probably involved.
Professionals need to graduate from a program accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) to obtain licensing in most states.
Sample job titles: Computer Aided Design (CAD) Developer, Energy Engineer, HVAC Engineer, Product Engineer, Process Engineer, Supplier Quality Engineer (SQE)
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Nuclear Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $117,000
Nuclear engineers research and design processes, instruments, and systems to derive benefits from nuclear power and radiation. Nuclear engineers design, operate and monitor the control and release of nuclear energy. They manage nuclear waste disposal.
Sample job titles: Nuclear Engineer, Manager of Reactor Methods and Programming, Director of Inertial Fusion Technology, Director of Nuclear Control
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Petroleum Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $160,000
Petroleum engineer salaries vary greatly depending on location, roles and other factors.
Petroleum engineering deals with the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas so graduates mostly work in the oil and gas producing industries. Petroleum engineers can have a vital role in the drilling process, ensuring smooth operations and no accidents.
Sample job titles: Petroleum Engineer, Petroleum Geologist, Petroleum Site Manager
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Physics; Mid-Career Salary: $101,000
Physic majors study matter, its motion through space and time, and related issues such as energy, force and the physical impact on the matter.
According to The American Institute of Physics, graduates with a physics degree find work in organizations ranging from the U.S. military, publishing firms to museums, laboratories and hospitals to foreign and domestic governments.
Research shows more than 60% of physics majors go on to obtain a graduate degree.
Sample job titles: Health Physicist, Research Physicist, Biophysics Scientist Geophysicist, Data Analyst, Computational Physicist
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Software Engineering; Mid-Career Salary: $99,300
Software engineer majors apply engineering concepts to software; they utilize a discipline approach to the design, development, testing, evaluation, operation, and maintenance of software and systems which make computers.
Software engineers are vital to the technological advancements people have enjoyed in recent years. They’re in demand in many industries.
Sample job titles: Software Engineer, Software Architect, Software Developer, Software Tester, Middleware Analyst
Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees: Statistics; Mid-Career Salary: $98,900
Statistics professionals utilize mathematical theory or applied statistical methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data into usable information.
Statisticians invent new statistical methods and specialize in areas such as bio-statistics, consumer statistics and geo-economic statistics.
Sample job titles: Statistician, Research Analyst, Statistical Consultant
Before you commit to a major or complete your degree, take the time to check out where the long-term earnings potential of your degree is likely to land on a compilation like this. Salary shouldn’t be the only factor driving your decision about a major/career but it should be on your need-to-know list.
* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by