7 College Majors with the Highest Starting Salaries

Getting a bachelor’s degree is a great way to invest in your future. It is also one of the most common degrees that college students earn today.

Some college majors will pay you back whereas others will not help you have a high earning salary post-graduation.

The course of study you decide on will influence your earning potential, so it’s essential you choose wisely.

Use the 7 college majors we cover in this article as a starting point to rank how various majors compare based on alumni salaries.

Aerospace engineering

If your dream is to design rockets, airplanes, and satellites, then perhaps studying aerospace engineering is a good fit.

The median salary for an aerospace engineer is $90,141.

Aerospace engineering programs will train you in many areas such as:

  • Structural analysis
  • Flight mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Airframe design

Some programs offer separate focused studies on aircraft or spacecraft.


Many people who major in business can make an excellent living after they graduate.

The starting pay for people who graduate with a business degree is over $50,000 annually.

Many companies are looking to hire newly graduated business majors, so it’s a smart major to select.

Business is a versatile major, which gives students many job opportunities.

A student who graduates with a business degree may also want to branch out in the future and start their own business. They certainly have the skillset to do so!

Consider focusing on one of these specific business majors for a higher-earning job:

  • Business management
  • Accounting
  • Finance

Petroleum engineering

Another type of specialized engineering degree is becoming a petroleum engineer.

The median salary for a petroleum engineer is $135,754.

You might be wondering what a petroleum engineer does for a living.

Engineers focus on advancing safe and systematic ways of finding and extracting natural gas and oil.

Topics of study include:

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Geology
  • Well drilling

Engineers who major in petroleum engineering can work all around in the world for:

  • Research labs
  • Energy companies
  • Consulting firms


Nurses have excellent salaries after they graduate. Salary reports show a new registered nurse makes around $40,250.

Nurses generally enjoy helping patients through challenging times.

At a hospital, they apply everything they learned during their time in school.

Besides a hospital, below are a few other places a nurse can work:

  • Physician’s office
  • Nursing care facility
  • Healthcare services

A nurses’ main job is to offer assistance to patients, but many nurses believe it’s just as important to practice compassion as well.

Entry level jobs include:

  • Case manager
  • Registered Nurse

If you’re considering switching careers but would like to continue working while going to school, you can get a certificate or associates as a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

A Licensed Vocational Nurses’ salary is $45,000.

Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) majors have an average base salary of $64,008.

As an IT major, you’ll study business, communications, and computer science.

You may also focus on one specialty such as:

  • Network and System Administration
  • LAN/WAN Management
  • IS and Computer Security
  • IT Project Management
  • Computer Support

Popular entry-level jobs include:

  • Web Developer
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Network and Computer System Administrator
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Programmer Analyst
  • Systems Engineer
  • Technical Support

If you select Information Technology as your major, you should be confident working on a team or independently.

You should also have good knowledge of applied mathematics and computer systems.

Other skills you need and will learn are:

  • Multitasking
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving

Having this expertise will allow you as a professional to improve technology and make sure that it fits a business’s needs.


The median base salary for professionals who graduate with an Accounting degree is $48,993.

Why major in accounting? The demand for people who excel in math and statistics continues to rise.

Also, if you would like the perks of only working four months a year while still earning a year’s salary, this could be you someday.

Unlike getting an MD in medical school, which takes 7-9 years, you can get an accounting degree in just four years, and less in accelerated programs.

Here are a few popular entry-level jobs:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Financial Analyst


Are you wondering what the difference is between studying Informatics versus Information Technology?

Informatics is the study or process of designing solutions for information problems. It is the first step in creating user interfaces, mobile apps, and new technologies in general.

Information Technology focuses on the software and hardware on individual units.

The median pay for an Informatics major after 0-5 years is $60,500. After 10+ years the median wage is $95,300.

After four years in an Informatics program, you can venture into any number of careers. Here are a few examples:

  • Application Developers
  • Digital Media Professional\
  • IT Business Analyst
  • Web Developer
  • SAP ERP Administrator

Many college students go to school to pursue their passion, which is an extraordinary thing.

However, it’s also important to carefully consider what major to focus on because it’ll help open the door to promising career opportunities, connections, and future friends.

However, majors take careful consideration. Even when you’re pursuing a passion, you can channel that passion into a related degree plan. Which majors will give you more opportunities and future connections in your intended career?

Even further, the major you choose will also dictate how much you earn in the future.

If jobs in your major are in high demand, securing the right position can help you maintain longterm success.

Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over 10 years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Retreat at Tucson on a daily basis to help them with their marketing efforts.


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