College Majors for the Highest Paid Jobs by Industry

There are plenty of factors that should play a role in your major and jobs/career choice. While choosing one of the highest paying college majors might be your first choice, you’ll also want to consider life balance and your passions.

If you’re considering any of these majors, you may want to consider one of the careers that is known for its high pay within that field! However, note that the salaries listed are the “median” pay for the career and that your level of education can absolutely affect how much you’re paid.

That doesn’t mean you should rule out a career that you don’t see on this list – we only covered some of the highest paying college majors out there in a few fields. Using our Career Finder can help you uncover even more information about your major and job options.

Business and Financial Operations

If you love the idea of owning your own business or want to crunch the numbers for another company, a degree in business and/or finance might be right up your alley.

Top Business and Financial Operations Majors

Finance, General

Highest paid jobs - Business and Financial Operations

Flickr User: Rog b

Finance degrees are geared towards helping students understand how to properly plan, manage, and analyze a company’s assets. Individuals will learn about

  • Accounting
  • Financial instruments
  • Capital planning
  • Debt management
  • Budgeting
  • Financial analysis
  • Investing
  • And more

Students with a degree in finance can become financial managers, personal finance advisers, accountants, and more.


Those in accounting will learn the principles and theory behind financial accounting, cost accounting, budget control, taxes, auditing, and planning. Students will also be expected to study professional standards, ethics, research methods, and more.

Most in accounting go on to become accountants, but individuals can also become auditors, bookkeepers, or credit analysts.

Business Administration and Management

Business administration and management majors can expect to learn about

  • Management theory
  • Human resources
  • Logistics
  • Marketing
  • Decision-making related to business.

This area of study opens a lot of doors! You can enter marketing, logistics, business management, or even become an entrepreneur.


Those in economics will study

  • Production, conservation, and allocation of resources
  • Banking systems
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Theory
  • Public policy issues

Many in this area of study will go on to become economists, but others will become actuaries, statisticians, policy analysts, and accountants.

Highest Paying Jobs in Business and Financial Operations

Personal Financial Advisor

  • Salary: $95,390
  • Duties: Advise clients on their financial plan while assessing client’s current picture based on assets, liabilities, securities, insurance, taxes, and goals.
  • Outlook: 5% Growth
  • Level of Education: At least a bachelor’s
  • Possible Majors: Finance

Financial Analyst

  • Salary: $95,000
  • Duties: Conduct quantitative analyses for private or public companies.
  • Outlook: No growth or decline
  • Level of Education: At least a bachelor’s, but a Master’s is desirable
  • Possible Majors: Finance, Accounting

Credit Analyst

  • Salary: $78,850
  • Duties: Responsible for analyzing the credit of people or companies.
  • Outlook: -6% Growth
  • Level of Education: Most credit analysts have at least a bachelor’s
  • Possible Majors: Finance, Accounting


  • Salary: $113,940
  • Duties: Analyze data on the production and allocation of resources to predict and evaluate economic issues.
  • Outlook: 13% Growth
  • Level of Education: Master’s or higher
  • Possible Majors: Economics, Business Administration and Management

Computer and Math

Computer and math related degrees are always in demand. Whether you’re interested in statistics or you want to work with computers, here are a few majors and careers that may be great for you.

Top Computer and Math Majors

Computer Science

Highest paid jobs - computer and math

Flickr User: AJC

In some schools, this major may be called Computer and Information Sciences. Students in these programs will learn about

  • User interfaces
  • Computer systems
  • Computer theory
  • Development
  • Programming

Individuals who graduate with a computer science degree have plenty of options career-wise. They can enter the IT field, become a web developer, or take security specific classes if they’re interested in a career as an information security analyst or cybersecurity professional.


Those in mathematics will study

  • Calculus
  • Algebra
  • Logic
  • Number theory
  • Functional analysis
  • And more

For students who graduate with a mathematics degree, there are more careers available than many realize. You could become a financial analyst, market research analyst, teacher, college professor, or a statistician.


Statistics courses usually cover

  • Standard deviation
  • Probability theory and techniques
  • Regression Analysts
  • Sampling theory
  • Bayesian statistics
  • and more

Those with statistics degrees can enter the career field as stock traders, business analysts, data scientists, and, of course, statisticians.

Computer Software Engineering

Computer software engineering courses usually cover computer languages, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and complex computer systems. Two of the most in demand careers for this particular major are architectural and engineering managers and post secondary engineering teachers.

 Highest Paying Jobs in Computer and Math

Computer and Information Research Scientist

  • Salary: $136,620
  • Duties: Conduct research, invent, and design innovative solutions for business’s technology needs.
  • Outlook: 22% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Possible Majors: Computer and Information Sciences, Mathematics


  • Salary: $112,110
  • Duties: Conduct research to understand and develop mathematical theories and apply knowledge to solve real world problems.
  • Outlook: 4% Growth
  • Level of Education: Most have a Bachelor’s or Master’s
  • Possible Majors: Mathematics


  • Salary: $113,990
  • Duties: Research and analyze potential consequences of events that involve risk, often as it pertains to the insurance industry.
  • Outlook: 24.5% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Majors: Statistics, Mathematics

Software Developer

  • Salary: $120,730
  • Duties: Responsible for software development from beginning to end including research, design, programming, and testing.
  • Outlook: 27% Growth
  • Level of Education: At least a bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Majors: Computer Science, Information Technology, Software Engineering


Engineering courses are no easy feat, but these areas of study can lead to lucrative career fields! Note though: these are usually very competitive programs to get into!

Top Engineering Majors

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering programs focus on the study of math and scientific principles to help aid the design and development of physical systems. Those pursuing a degree can go on to become architectural and engineering managers, aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers, and post secondary engineering teachers.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers also use math and scientific principles but, instead of physical systems, they are used for chemical processes. In addition to becoming a chemical engineer, you could find a position as an architectural and engineering manager or a post secondary engineering teacher.

Petroleum Engineering

Those studying this major will learn to design, develop, and evaluate systems that locate, process, and refine crude petroleum and natural gas. With a degree, students can go on to work in production, reservoirs, oil drilling, and more.

Nuclear Engineering

If you’re interested in nuclear energy, this may be a great field of study for you. Students will learn about nuclear power plant design, fusion reactor design, safety systems, power transfer systems, construction, and more.

Highest paid jobs - engineering and architecture

Flickr User: Marquette University

Highest Paying Jobs in Engineering

Petroleum Engineer

  • Salary:$131,800
  • Duties: Design and develop mechanisms to extract gas and oil from the Earth.
  • Outlook: 8% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Possible Majors: Petroleum Engineering

Aerospace Engineer

  • Salary: $126,880
  • Duties: Design and test new models of aircraft, satellite, missiles, and spacecraft.
  • Outlook: 6% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Possible Majors: Mechanical Engineering

Nuclear Engineer

  • Salary: $122,480
  • Duties: Research and develop techniques, processes, and systems to extract benefits from nuclear power and radiation.
  • Outlook: -8% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Possible Majors: Nuclear Engineering

Chemical Engineer

  • Salary: $106,260
  • 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: 9% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Possible Major: Chemical Engineering

Life, Physical, & Social Science

Top Life, Physical, and Social Science Majors


Physics programs usually entail study on matter, energy, electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, and related fields. Individuals in this field can go on to become physicists, but other career options are available, too, including natural science management and teaching.


Highest paid jobs - life, physical, and social science

Flickr User: Jean-Pierre Bovin

Those who are interested in astronomy will learn about the formation of the universe, planets, black holes, dark matter, math, stars, and more. Those with degrees can enter the career field as astronomers, meteorologists, climatologists, professors, teachers, and more.


Political Science

Political science majors can expect to study

  • Political institutions
  • Philosophy
  • Theory
  • Government
  • Politics
  • Political parties
  • Interest groups
  • Public opinion
  • and more

With a degree in this subject, you can absolutely go on to become a political scientist, but others may enter teaching or research.

Public Administration

Highest paid jobs - community and social service

Flickr User: University of the Fraser Valley

Public administration is the study of management in government. You can expect to learn about laws, the principles of public administration, relations between bodies of government, budgeting, financial management, and more. Top paying careers include chief executives, operations managers, transportation managers, political scientists, and postmasters.

Highest Paying jobs in Life, Physical and Social Science


  • Salary: $142,850
  • Duties: Perform research on the physical anomalies of the world and develop theories.
  • Outlook: 9% Growth
  • Level of Education: Most have a doctorate
  • Possible Major: Physics


  • Salary: $128,330
  • Duties: In order to solve practical problems, astronomers must observe and research astronomical phenomena.
  • Outlook: 5% Growth
  • Level of Education: Most have a doctorate
  • Possible Major: Astronomy

Political Scientist

  • Salary: $128,020
  • Duties: Research the origin of political systems, ideas, and analyze governments.
  • Outlook: 9% Growth
  • Level of Education: Most have a bachelor’s or master’s
  • Possible Majors: Political Science, Public Administration

Community & Social Service

If you want to give back to your community or help individuals in need, you should definitely consider a career in community and social service. While these jobs may not pay as much as other career fields, they can be particularly rewarding.

Top Community and Social Service Majors

Social Work

Those studying social work will learn about

  • Social welfare administration
  • Counseling
  • Basic support services
  • Social welfare policy
  • Case work
  • Interventions strategies
  • Family and child services
  • and more

Graduating with a degree in social work means you can work as a social and community service manager, healthcare social worker, probation officer, marriage therapist, and more.

Public Health

Public health programs cover health care services, public agencies, epidemiology, public health principles, preventative medicine, health economics, and ethics. Top careers include teaching, health service management, health education, and community health work.


Psychology includes the study of individual as well as collective behavior. Students will also learn about treatment, behavior problems, disorders, assessments, and more. With a master’s or doctorate, you can go on to become a psychologist or post secondary psychology teacher.

Highest Paying Jobs in Community and Social Service

Healthcare Social Worker

  • Salary: $60,280
  • Duties: Consult with people to help them cope with illnesses, manage their care, and offer psycho-social support
  • Outlook: 13% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s or Master’s
  • Possible Majors: Social Work

Health Education Specialist

  • Salary: $59,990
  • Duties: Create and manage health curriculum and programs to aid the public in obtaining and living healthy lifestyles.
  • Outlook: 12% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s or higher
  • Possible Majors: Public Health

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

  • Salary: $59,860
  • 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: 4% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Majors: Social Work


  • Salary: $106,420
  • Duties: Study emotional, cognitive, and social processes and behaviors, treat mental health issues, and diagnose patients.
  • Outlook: 2% Growth
  • Level of Education: Master’s degree or doctorate
  • Possible Majors: Psychology


Those entering the legal field often go on to become lawyers. However, you do have a few options when it comes to your area of study.

Top Legal Majors

Law and Pre-Law

Those studying law are usually aiming to become a lawyer, judge, or mediator. Students in this field learn about theory, practice, the legal system, criminal law, civil law, and more.

Your Area of Interest

For your bachelor’s degree and classes in later years, you are not restricted to solely law and pre-law classes. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions. A bachelor’s degree in another area of study is not frowned upon. Those who have degrees in English, History, Communication, Political Science, and more can enter law school with the right grades and test results. These can also help if you’re aiming to work in a particular field of law.

Highest Paying Jobs in Legal


  • Salary: $135,740
  • Duties: Represent and advise individuals, businesses, and governments involving legal disputes.
  • Outlook: 9% Growth
  • Level of Education: Juris doctor
  • Possible Majors: Law

Judge, Magistrate Judge, and Magistrate

  • Salary: $151,030
  • Duties: Administer lawful justice in a court of law by sentencing, determine liability, and perform wedding ceremonies.
  • Outlook: 3% Growth
  • Level of Education: Juris doctor
  • Possible Major: Law

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

  • Salary: $64,030
  • Duties: Resolve disputes by facilitating negotiation and resolving conflict through use of conversation. These conflicts are settled outside of court.
  • Outlook: 10%
  • Level of Education: Doctorate or professional degree
  • Possible Majors: Law


Most students studying education are working to become teachers. With additional programs, teachers can also enter administrative positions which includes the principal and vice principal.

Top Education Majors

Education, General

Education majors will learn about planning, teaching, educational activities, school safety, health, and social education. Teachers can choose a general approach to their education or a specific area of study (if they’d like to teach science, for example).

Elementary Education

For teachers wishing to work in an elementary school, elementary education is recommended as a major. These courses will cover teaching methods specific to younger students and a range of subject matters.

Your Area of Interests

Those wishing to become teachers can study a particular topic and major in education. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, you should work with a counselor to determine what your state requires for your education.

Highest Paying Jobs in Education

Post-Secondary Teacher

  • Salary: $66,030 but varies widely depending on the field
  • Duties: Instruct students on subject(s) beyond high school. Typically post-secondary teachers also perform research and publish their findings.
  • Outlook: Varies depending on the field
  • Level of Education: Master’s or higher is usually requested
  • Possible Majors: Education, your field of interest

Secondary School Teacher

  • Salary: $62,360
  • Duties: Instruct students on specific subject(s) within high school. Typically must be designated in this subject.
  • Outlook: 7.8% Growth
  • Level of Education: Requirements depend on state; most have a bachelor’s or master’s
  • Possible Majors: Education, your field of interest

Elementary Teacher

  • Salary: $61,400
  • Highest paid jobs - education

    Flickr User: Krissy Venosdale

    Duties: Instruct students on basic academic and social subjects at an elementary level.

  • Outlook: 5% Growth
  • Level of Education: Requirements depend on state; most have a bachelor’s or master’s
  • Possible Major: Elementary Education and Teaching

Preschool Special Education Teacher

  • Salary: $62,240
  • Duties: Assists preschool aged students with learning, emotional, or physical disabilities
  • Outlook: 12.5% Growth
  • Level of Education: Master’s degree
  • Possible Major: Special Education and Teaching

Art, Design, & Media

Art, design, and media can include everything from artwork to journalism and film to TV news. Here are just a few majors and careers in this field.

Top Art, Design, and Media Majors

Graphic Design

Graphic design majors focus on using artistic and computer techniques to create concepts. Students will learn about printmaking, technical drawing, imaging, color theory, multimedia applications, and more. Common careers for graphic designers include art director, special effects artists, and teaching.

Cinematography and Film/Video Production

For those wishing to study cinematography and film/video production, a number of careers are available including: producer, director, teaching, video editing, and camera operation. Classes will cover theory, film technology, production, directing, art, audio, media technologies, and more.


Journalism majors study the processes of gathering and delivering news, writing, editing, reporting, photojournalism, graphic design, and ethics. Journalists can go on to work for newspapers, magazines, and news stations.

Marketing/Marketing Management

Marketers study research, analysis, pricing theories, marketing campaigns, planning, advertising, sales operation, and similar subjects in their courses. With a degree, individuals can go on to become reporters, marketing managers, sales managers, and advertisers.

Public Relations/Image Management

Public relations and image management classes focus on communication, theory, advertising, marketing, journalism, event management, and media relations. Common careers include news analyst, market research analyst, PR specialist, and marketing coordinator.

Highest Paying Jobs in Art, Design, and Media

Art Director

  • Highest paid jobs - art, design, and media

    Flickr User: Bart

    Salary: $105,180

  • Duties: Responsible for overall design and style for magazines, movies, product labeling, and newspapers.
  • Outlook: 11.1% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Major: Graphic Design

Producer and Director

  • Salary: $85,320
  • 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: 24% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Majors: Cinematography, Journalism, Marketing, Communications

News Analysts, Reports, and Journalists

  • Salary: $55,960
  • Duties: Disseminate broadcast news received from various sources.
  • Outlook: 6% Growth
  • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Possible Majors: Journalism, Public Relations


A majority of healthcare professions require specific education. For doctors, medical school is required, and for nurses, nursing school is required.

Top Healthcare Majors


Pharmacy is a common major for those wishing to become an anesthesiologist, pharmacist, or doctor. Classes will cover chemistry, math, physics, biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacy practice, ethics, and other areas of study.


Orthodontics majors will learn about dental structures, disease, genetics, injuries, treatment planning, and similar topics. This is a professional degree and is designed for individuals who want to become orthodontists.

Pre-Med Majors

There are a number of pre-med majors students interested in the healthcare field can study. Common choices include biology, biochemistry, exercise science, and psychology. Some schools even offer specific pre-med as a program.

Highest Paying Jobs in Healthcare


  • Salary: $208,000
  • Duties: Doctor responsible for administering anesthesia to patients prior, during, or after medical procedure.
  • Outlook: 11% Growth
  • Level of Education: MD required
  • Possible Majors: Pharmacy

Family Medicine Physician

  • Salary: $207,770
  • Duties: Treat medical condition by performing non-invasive and invasive surgeries using instruments or manual manipulation.
  • Outlook: 16% Growth
  • Level of Education: MD required
  • Possible Majors: Pre-med, pharmacy, medical school required

Obstetrician and Gynecologist

  • Highest paid jobs - healthcare

    Flickr User: Sara Star NS

    Salary: $208,000

  • Duties: Physician responsible for caring and treating conditions relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive health for women.
  • Outlook: -1.9%
  • Level of Education: MD required
  • Possible Majors: pre-med, pharmacy, medical school required


  • Salary: $174,360
  • Duties: Responsible for diagnosing and treating complicated dental conditions. Design instruments to realign teeth and jaw to support normal function and appearance.
  • Outlook: 8% Growth
  • Level of Education: MD Required
  • Possible Majors: Orthodontics

Don’t see your desired job here? Use our Career Finder Tool to find the most accurate data on in-demand jobs, top careers at particular colleges and top colleges for particular careers.

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