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College Salary Report: Majors That Pay You Back


If you want to get rich — or at least, comfortable enough not to have to worry about paying off those loans — which major you choose can be even more important than which college or university you decide to attend. PayScale’s latest release of the College Salary Report focuses on the majors that will help you pull in the big bucks.

money grows 

(Photo Credit: Tax Credits/Flickr)

This year, for the first time, PayScale included schools that offer two-year programs in the College Salary Report rankings. So while a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering will still net you the highest salary immediately after graduation and at mid-career, a two-year degree in management information systems will also pay off.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Unsurprisingly, STEM degrees took the top spots for both two- and four-year degrees, with actuarial mathematics majors bringing up the No. 2 spot for bachelor’s degrees, and computer engineering coming in second for an associate degree. In fact, every one of the top five majors for either two- or four-year degrees was in a science, technology, engineering, or math concentration.

This doesn’t mean that a non-STEM major dooms you to a life of low pay and unsatisfying work, however. In Crazy Career Paths, PayScale looks at the strangest routes to success taken by folks, including a sociology major who found his way to banking and a life drawing major who founded a digital publishing platform.

Bottom line: some bets are safer than others, but the most important choice you can make, as a prospective student, is the choice to do your homework before you select a major.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you choose the same major, if you had to do it all again? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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