Majors for the Highest Paid Jobs by Industry

There are many things to consider when choosing a major that will lead to your career such as, work life balance, advancement opportunities, location, fulfillment, and pay. These factors will play distinct roles for different individuals. While the basis of pay is not a good factor to base your entire decision off of, it certainly plays a major role for many individuals. Knowing that certain industries are paid higher than others, we’ve broken down the highest paid jobs in each industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor.   

If you are unsure of where to begin on your college search, consider trying to figure out your area of study, or major. Once you have done some research on this, you can begin looking at schools who are renowned for your chosen field of study and find colleges that are suitable matches for you by using College Raptor’s match tool.    

Business and Financial Operations

Highest paid jobs - Business and Financial Operations

Flickr User: Rog b

Personal Financial Advisor

  • Salary:  $118,050
  • Duties: Advise clients on their financial plan while assessing client’s current picture based on assets, liabilities, securities, insurance, taxes, and goals.
  • Outlook: 30% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Business Administration, Finance

Financial Analyst

  • Salary: $99,730
  • Duties: Conduct quantitative analyses for private or public companies.
  • Outlook: 12% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Finance, Business

Celebrity Agent

  • Salary: $95,810
  • Duties: Prospect for and represent clients to potential employers and possibly handle contract negotiations.
  • Outlook: 4.4% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Media

Credit Analyst

  • Salary: $79,720
  • Duties: Responsible for analyzing the credit of people or companies.
  • Outlook: 1.9% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Finance, Accounting, Business, Economics, Statistics

Computer and Math

Computer and Information Research Scientist

  • Salary: $115,580
  • Duties: Conduct research, invent, and design innovative solutions for business’s technology needs.
  • Outlook: 11% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Computer Science, Information Systems, Mathematics


  • Salary: $112,560
  • Duties: Conduct research to understand and develop mathematical theories and apply knowledge to solve real world problems.
  • Outlook: 21% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Mathematics, Statistics


  • Salary: $110,560
  • Duties: Research and analyze potential consequences of events that involve risk, often as it pertain to the insurance industry.
  • Outlook: 18% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Statistics, Mathematics

Software Developer

  • Salary: $108,760
  • Duties: Responsible for software development from beginning to end including research, design, programming, and testing.
  • Outlook: 17% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Computer Science, Information Technology, Software Engineering

Engineering & Architecture

Petroleum Engineer

  • Salary: $149,590
  • Duties: Design and develop mechanisms to extract gas and oil from the Earth.
  • Outlook: 10% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering

Aerospace Engineer

  • Salary: $110,570
  • Duties: Design and test new models of aircraft, satellite, missiles, and spacecraft.
  • Outlook: 2% Decline
  • Possible Major: Aerospace Engineering 

Nuclear Engineer

  • Salary: $106,060
  • Duties: Research and develop techniques, processes, and and systems to extract benefits from nuclear power and radiation.
  • Outlook: 4% Decline
  • Possible Majors: Engineering, Nuclear Engineering

Chemical Engineer

  • Salary: $97,340
  • Duties: Apply knowledge of several sciences including, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and math to solve problems involving production of chemicals, treatments, drugs, and food.
  • Outlook: 2% Growth
  • Possible Major: Chemical Engineering

Life, Physical, & Social Science

Highest paid jobs - life, physical, and social science

Flickr User: Jean-Pierre Bovin


  • Salary: $118,500
  • Duties: Perform research on the physical anomalies of the world and develop theories.
  • Outlook: 4.3% Growth
  • Possible Major: Physics 


  • Salary: $110,220
  • Duties: In order to solve practical problems, astronomers must observe and research astronomical phenomenon.
  • Outlook: 6.1% Growth
  • Possible Major: Astronomy


  • Salary: $109,230
  • Duties: Analyze data on the production and allocation of resources to predict and evaluate economic issues.
  • Outlook: 6% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Economics, Business

Political Scientist

  • Salary: $103,210
  • Duties: Research the origin of political systems, ideas, and analyze governments.
  • Outlook: 2% Decline
  • Possible Majors: Political Science, Public Administration

Community & Social Service

Social Worker

  • Salary: $57,970
  • Duties: Consult with people to help them cope or solve problems that affect their daily lives.
  • Outlook: 12% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Social Work, Psychology

Health Educator

  • Salary: $56,690
  • Duties: Create and manage health curriculum and programs to aid the public in obtaining and living healthy lifestyles.
  • Outlook: 1.6% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Education, Health

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor

  • Salary: $56,490
  • Duties: Counsel individuals and provide group guidance services.
  • Outlook: 0.9% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Counseling, Psychology, Education, Social Work

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

  • Salary: $54,080
  • Duties: Provide services including, but not limited to, formulating rehabilitation plan for law offender, create conditions for release, and implement stipulations for work and education.
  • Outlook: .8% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Social Work, Psychology, Criminal Justice


Highest paid jobs - legal

Flickr User: Maryland GovPics


  • Salary: $136,260
  • Duties: Represent and advise individuals, businesses, and governments involving legal disputes.
  • Outlook: 6% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Economics, Political Science, English, Psychology, History, Business (Must get JD)

Judge, Magistrate Judge, and Magistrate

  • Salary: $116,100
  • Duties: Administer lawful justice in a court of law by sentencing, determine liability, and perform wedding ceremonies.
  • Outlook: 0.9% Growth
  • Possible Major: Economics, Political Science, English, Psychology, History, Business (Must get JD)

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

  • Salary: $69,060
  • Duties: Resolve disputes by facilitating negotiation and resolving conflict through use of conversation. These conflicts are settled outside of court.
  • Outlook: 5.9% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Political Science, English, Psychology, Communications


Highest paid jobs - education

Flickr User: Krissy Venosdale

School Principal

  • Salary: $90,410
  • Duties: Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage all school administration which involves coordinating curriculum, supervising teachers, and providing excellent learning environment for students.
  • Outlook: 6% Growth
  • Possible Major: Education

Post-Secondary Teacher

  • Salary: $77,480
  • Duties: Instruct students on subject beyond high school. Typically post-secondary teachers also perform research and publish their findings.
  • Outlook: 13% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Education and degree of your subject choice

Secondary School Teacher

  • Salary: $60,270
  • Duties: Instruct students on specific subject within high school. Typically must be designated in this subject.
  • Outlook: 1% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Education and degree of your subject choice

Elementary Teacher

  • Salary: $58,060
  • Duties:  Instruct students on basic academic and social subjects at an elementary level.
  • Outlook: 0.7% Growth
  • Possible Major: Elementary Education

Art, Design, & Media

Highest paid jobs - art, design, and media

Flickr User: Bart

Art Director

  • Salary: $101,990
  • Duties: Responsible for overall design and style for magazines, movies, product labeling, and newspapers.
  • Outlook: 2% Growth
  • Possible Major: Art, Cinema, Graphic Design, Design

Producer and Director

  • Salary: $89,670
  • Duties: Direct or produce productions for entertainment or educational uses. Responsible for decision making involving the script, actors, set design, and various other components of a production.
  • Outlook: 2.6% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Cinematography, Multimedia Production, Journalism

Broadcast News Analyst

  • Salary: $89,240
  • Duties: Disseminate broadcast news received from various sources.
  • Outlook: 6.5% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Journalism, Public Relations, Communications


Highest paid jobs - healthcare

Flickr User: Sara Star NS


  • Salary: $258,100
  • Duties: Doctor responsible for administering anesthesia to patients prior, during, or after medical procedure.
  • Outlook: 4.9% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology (Must get MD)


  • Salary: $247,520
  • Duties: Treat medical condition by performing non-invasive and invasive surgeries using instruments or manual manipulation.
  • Outlook: 3% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Human Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Biology (Must get MD)

Obstetrician and Gynecologist

  • Salary: $222,400
  • Duties: Physician responsible for caring and treating conditions relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive health for women.
  • Outlook: 4.1%
  • Possible Majors: Biology, Chemistry, Human Anatomy (Must get MD)


  • Salary: $221,390
  • Duties: Responsible for diagnosing and treating complicated dental conditions. Design instruments to realign teeth and jaw to support normal function and appearance.
  • Outlook: 8.6% Growth
  • Possible Majors: Biology, Chemistry (Must get DDS or MDS)

Inspired by any careers or majors you see here? Use College Raptor’s match tool to see which colleges offer certain majors!


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