Want a high-paying job? It helps to have one of the best college degrees/majors. In this article, I’m going to take you through the best college degrees to land a high-paying job in 2023.
As a new academic year begins, many students are heading to college. Some just recently graduated from high school, while others are returning to school later in life. As students weigh their options related to what to study, they will undoubtedly be concerned with whether the investment will be worth it.
Would you believe that when asked if they regretted their college education, 75% of humanities majors said yes? You do not want to invest a significant amount of time and money in an endeavor that you’ll ultimately regret! So what should you do?
Not all majors are created equal, as some will lead to more lucrative careers than others. If you’re looking for the best college major to increase your chances of securing a high-paying job, look no further! Here are the best degrees that will land you the highest-paying jobs.
Table of Contents
14 best college degrees for a high-paying job
1. Computer Science degree (Average salary: $72,256)
Are you skilled at thinking logically and problem-solving? Do you enjoy computers and understanding how they work? If so, a degree in computer science may be a good fit for you.
There are a variety of types of jobs available to computer science majors, and many have a salary range in the six figures! If you enjoy software, consider a job as a software architect or software developer. If mobile is more your thing, you can work as a mobile app developer or Android software developer.
Additionally, there are also jobs related to cybersecurity and ensuring there are systems in place to protect the organization’s data and equipment. Cybercrimes are costly and organizations don’t want to experience any downtime or loss of data or revenue as a result of security breaches. In the days of ransomware attacks and phishing attempts, data security is paramount.
All in all, there are a wide array of jobs available to tech-savvy individuals who major in computer science. These jobs are crucial to businesses and help keep operations going. Without technology, many businesses would be severely crippled or completely stalled.
A computer science degree is not only one of the best degrees, but also one of the most lucrative. According to ZipRecruiter, you can earn over $6,000 per month ($72k/year) as a computer scientist.
2. Business Administration degree (Average salary: $58,623)
If you want to pursue a career that has something to do with finance or marketing, consider a business admin degree. These degrees can offer you a career managing staff, leading a company, or even negotiating a business merger.
Business is a wide field and includes numerous high-paying jobs. A degree in this area of study can prepare you for a job as an operations manager, marketing director, business analyst, or anything in between. Other careers you can get with a business administration degree are sales, corporate marketing, and even public relations.
While the skills you need will vary based on the area of business you desire to work in, a business degree will lay the foundation for many of them.
Some of the fastest-growing jobs in business are market research analyst, human resource specialist, project manager, and management consultant. If you choose to study business, consider specializing in a specific area or at least taking multiple classes in the discipline so you can show recruiters or hiring managers that you’re knowledgeable of business in a wider sense, as well as more specialized too.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary will get you nearly $60,000 per year. With that said, high-earners will make over six-figures with this degree, making it one of the best college degrees to get.
3. Accounting degree (Average salary: $79,520)
If you are detail-oriented and like numbers, accounting may be a good career field for you. Accountants collect, analyze, and organize their client’s financial records. Depending on the type of accountant, they can also file taxes, analyze organizational financial performance, and keep accounting records.
There is a nice career path for accountants to progress through as they gain experience. While someone fresh out of college may start as an Accounts Payable Specialist or Tax Accountant, there are also more advanced jobs that utilize an accounting degree. Examples include Finance Managers, Accounting Directors, or Controllers.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants can earn $79,520 per year with a bachelor’s degree.
4. Law degree (Average salary: $109,630)
Law degrees are popular among college students because they’re always in demand. Plus, many people enjoy working in the legal field, making it an excellent choice for students who want to make six figures.
A law degree will prepare you for various careers, including becoming a criminal defense attorney or working as a paralegal.
Degrees usually include courses in criminology, ethics and social responsibility, contract law, and legal research. Other courses that may be taken are corporate law, commercial law, environmental law, and real estate law.
So, money time. Just how much can you make with a law degree? In 2019, the average annual salary in the legal sector was $109,630.
5. Education majors (Average salary: $82,746)
Education degrees are one of the most affordable degrees you could earn, making them very popular. They’re also one of the most rewarding because you’ll be teaching and helping to shape young lives.
Teaching is always a great choice because there’s always a high demand for it. While you’re teaching, you’ll constantly be creating lesson plans which require creativity and intelligence.
If this degree interests you, know that there are many sub-fields within education, including preschools and after-school programs. You could also choose to teach high school and/or in college.
How much you earn as a teacher depends on where you work, largely. In California, for example, the average teachers’ salary was $82,746 in the ’19-’20 school year.
6. Engineering degree (Average salary: $140,000)
Engineering degrees are great for students who love math and science because they teach physics to chemistry. With this degree, you’ll learn how to build and create things, making it a popular choice among students. If you’ve been interested in creating cars or airplanes, then an engineering degree is necessary.
You can choose to study petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, electrical engineering, or computer engineering, among other types. While the pay range will differ based on the type of engineering chosen, all of them pay well.
If you have a knack for problem-solving and enjoy STEM classes, this may be a great career option for you. Many engineering jobs allow you to work with your hands and conduct experiments, so if you want a job that does not just involve pushing paper, this is a field to investigate. You can work in the industry or for the government with an engineering degree.
Some of the top engineering majors include chemical, mechanical, industrial, and aerospace engineering. The classes you take will depend on your chosen major but, in general, include courses like computer-aided design and fluid mechanics.
This degree is among the highest paying degrees out there, so if you’re looking for a high-paying job after graduation, this might be the way to go.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010 and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of nearly 140,000 new jobs over the next decade.
7. Health Sciences degree (Average salary: $70,025)
Health science majors learn about different kinds of medicine like nursing and occupational therapy. These programs focus on helping students develop the skills they’ll need to treat patients. Some classes include anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.
This degree is growing in popularity at colleges today because it offers so many different opportunities. Some of them include working as a nurse, doctor, or physical therapist.
Degrees in health sciences show students how to keep up with medical advances and inventions while also learning about the human body. Studying this degree takes a lot of dedication, but it’s one of the best degrees you could have because there’s a lot of demand for it in today’s job market.
The average annual salary in the US stands at $70,025 ($34/hour) as of 2021.
8. Nursing degree (Average salary: $83,471)
Nursing degrees are among the most popular degrees at colleges today because of how many different jobs you can do with them.
Nurses help patients and give them medicine while also learning how to develop their care plans.
Some people choose to study for this degree because they want to work as a registered nurse. Others choose to work as respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians, pharmacy technicians, or even with something like cardiovascular technology.
How much can you earn with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree? In California, the average annual salary is $83,471 in 2021.
9. Actuarial Mathematics (Average salary: $111,030)
Actuaries use a variety of mathematics and statistical skills to analyze risk and uncertainty. Working for a health insurance or life insurance company is the most common type of employer for actuaries. You need to be skilled in data analysis and compiling information to perform well in this type of job.
While many people will first think of the insurance industry when thinking of actuaries, job prospects are no longer limited to that field. Instead, many businesses are hiring actuaries to help them solve problems related to financial risk. People with a strong background in math and statistics, combined with a knowledge of financial theory in order to mitigate risk, may enjoy a career in this high-paying field.
How much do they earn? You could take home a cool $111,030 yearly salary.
10. Physics degree (Average salary: $89,000)
Physics involves the interactions between time, energy, space, and matter. Physicists conduct experiments to better understand the natural world. With a degree in Physics, you can work in industry, the government, or academia.
Career prospects in the area of physics include being a lab manager, test engineer, or research scientist. You should enjoy your STEM classes and conducting experiments if you are interested in pursuing a career in physics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that STEM occupations will grow by 8% in the decade between 2019-2029, compared to 3.7% for all occupations. Salaries for physics degrees vary, but you can expect to earn $89,000 as your average base salary.
11. Statistics degree (Average salary: $91,160)
If you like math, consider studying statistics. The field of statistics uses mathematical principles to analyze numerical data. You can work in the public or private sector as a statistician.
The role of a statistician varies. You could work to design surveys or experiments. You could also analyze data gathered in research and present findings in a logical way.
As a statistician, you can know that your work matters. You will be contributing to business decisions, policy guidelines, or research findings. Math skills are in high demand in a variety of jobs.
How much does a statistician earn? Expect a salary of $91,160 per year.
12. Information Technology (Average salary: $112,690)
Technology is here to stay. As it continues to grow in pervasiveness, more organizations will be looking to hire employees with a background in Information Technology. This is a great field to enter with a variety of job prospects available.
The field of Big Data is continuing to grow. Working as a Big Data Engineer is just one option available to those with a good foundational knowledge of Information Technology.
If you prefer to work with keeping data safe, consider a job as an Information Systems Security Manager. People in this type of role will need excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as communication skills.
If working with data is preferred, being a Database Manager may be a good fit. In such a role, a person maintains and supports the company’s data and helps the organization use the information strategically in an effort to achieve the desired business goals.
With an information technology degree, you can work as a network architect and earn $112,690 yearly.
13. Construction Management (Average salary: $114,835)
If you’re looking for a high-paying job that doesn’t require you to sit in an office all day, construction management may be a field worth looking into.
As a project manager, you will oversee a construction project from the beginning to the end. You will need some business savvy as you will have to prepare estimated costs, a project budget, and a timetable for the work to be done.
You will also need excellent interpersonal communication skills to successfully do this job. Construction managers interact with the client, as well as subcontractors, architects, engineers, and others.
According to salary.com, expect to earn $114,835 as a construction manager.
14. Finance major (Average salary: $109,384)
Put your analytical and mathematical skills to work with a career in finance. This field is very broad and includes a variety of types of jobs. You can choose from corporate careers to advising, investing, fintech, and more.
If you’re seeking traditional work hours and an office work environment, check out corporate careers in finance. There are Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), as well as analyst jobs available.
If you prefer working one-on-one with clients, a job as a financial advisor may be a good fit for you. Such a position would require financial expertise as well as business or sales skills. In this role, you would advise individuals on financial products like insurance, banking, or investments.
Investment professionals put money into portfolios to help people or companies build wealth. Think of stock market investors. This job is often high-stress, but with a higher risk level comes the potential for a greater reward.
Fintech, or financial technology, is an area where finance and technology overlap to better serve the business or the client. There are options available to work for a Fintech company, whether a start-up or an established organization or to work in a Fintech role within an existing company.
Some of the top-paying finance jobs include investment banker, compliance analyst, financial advisor, financial software developer, and CFO. If you like math and numbers and seek to help people or organizations grow their wealth, a career in finance may be a great fit for you.
For example, an investment banker can earn a salary of $109,384 per year.
High-paying best college degrees: The bottom line
This may not be the most glamorous list of degrees you’ve seen, but they are some of the best college degrees you can earn.
In conclusion, if you want to pick a major that will increase your chances of getting a high-paying job, you should consider a STEM or business degree. As you analyze your strengths and interests, be sure to check out the career prospects for the major you’re thinking about.