Top Fifteen College Degrees That Guarantee High Starting Salaries!

“I didn’t get into engineering because I don’t like math!” OR “I dropped out of engineering because of math!”  We have heard these remarks hundreds of times.

While parents and mentors guide students to go with what they are passionate about, people who enjoy math are likely to come out winners, going by the current trend.  Math is at the crux of who gets paid.  Math skills earn highest salaries, according to a recent survey.  It was revealed that the top-15 high earning degrees require math skills.

Everyone seems to be running away from math taking the easy way out, but in the end the few that work through their algebra, geometry, trigonometry, complex arithmetic, and differential and integral calculus are those that land the crème de la crème of jobs.

Let’s take a look at a list of the highest paying college degrees, based on a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  This association tracks college graduates’ and jobs on offer.  This data is collected by surveying 200 college career centers.

The figures given below are starting salaries with a scope of going up far higher with a little experience.

  1. Petroleum engineering       – $83,121
  2. Chemical engineering        – $64,902
  3. Mining engineering            – $64,404
  4. Computer engineering        – $61,738
  5. Computer science              – $61,407
  6. Electrical engineering         – $60,125
  7. Mechanical engineering      – $58,766
  8. Industrial engineering        – $58,358
  9. Systems engineering          – $57,438
  10. Engineering technology      – $56,447
  11. Actuarial science                – $56,320
  12. Aeronautical engineering    – $56,311
  13. Agricultural engineering     – $54,352
  14. Biomedical engineering      – $54,158
  15. Construction management – $53,199

According to this list, engineering majors snag 12 of the 15 top spots.  While in college, math majors may not be considered special in any way, their true value surfaces when out of college and looking for jobs.  They can land themselves top jobs with fat post-grad wallets.

Petroleum engineering is the highest-paying degree with the average starting pay being $83,121.  This is a great time to have a newly mined degree in petroleum engineering.  The reason for this is the growing scarcity of petroleum77.  Graduates with these degrees can get to work finding oil and gas reservoirs, or come up with ways to bring these resources to the surface of the Earth.  The industry needs brightest young minds to reach the deepest places for energy resources.

Other engineering majors that pay high include chemical engineers, mining engineering and computer engineers.  Such graduates are considered valuable assets, because there are so few of them, compared to students from other fields, for example, the liberal-arts.  Employers are willing to pay a premium for candidates with math skills as the demand and supply ratio does not match and everyone wants to hire the best from the few there are.

The survey also revealed that the engineering field makes up about 4% of all college graduates; similarly, it is 4% for computer science and 16% each for history and social science.

However, in the United States, the unfortunate scenario is that a large percentage of high school students continue to drop out of colleges or switch to non-engineering majors – because of math.

In comparison, there are so many social work, English, communications majors around, that they command much smaller paychecks, around $29000 to $35,000. This could be the reason students are getting smarter and choosing fields that pay well.  They are picking majors based on the earning power of a particular field.

This is not to say that each and every student with a technology degree may land a plum job but they certainly do have an advantage over students from other fields.  It is a tech driven world and the demand for engineers is growing, which is not so with other fields, especially so in the current economy where finding jobs is not easy.

Out of the 15 top earning degrees, only three are from the non-engineering fields. Even these fields have had good pays all through the past few years, but these fields need math skills too.

The job market pays based on supply and demand.  The less number of graduates there are, the higher the pay.  In the current day, just choosing a major to graduate in is proving to be a challenge in itself. While smartness lies in choosing a field that has high demand and less supply, you, as a student will certainly have to look into where your interest lies.  All the money in the world cannot compensate for the satisfaction and enjoyment you derive from doing what you love. But, don’t give up on math without trying.

Join the discussion

  • Well, Petroleum engineers aren’t really overpaid. They are more underpaid than anything else. You risk your life working for an oil company. You can die out in the ocean. And the petroleum companies do a good job in covering up their “mishaps.” There is only 17 thousand petroleum engineers in the united states, probably even less in the world. They should command starting salaries of at least 150k -200k for what they do. You will almost never be home, you can die at any moment, you work ridiculous hours.

    And now since the companies are paying these journalist’s to shout “shortage” on every web page there is, is only a plan to over saturate the petroleum engineering market so the oil companies have more to choose from, and drive starting salaries lower.

    • You’re describing a field engineer, not necessarily a petroleum engineer, you don’t need an engineering degree to be a field engineer, trust me 😉