If you or your child is college-bound, you’ve probably thought once or twice about what type of degree will be the most financially beneficial by the time graduation rolls around. Of course, everyone who wants a bachelor’s degree wants to study something they feel passionate about. But it’s also important to earn a bachelor’s degree in a discipline that leads to a well-paying and secure job as you embark on your career post graduation.
To help you evaluate the different types of bachelor’s degrees, we’ve updated our annual College Salary Report to give you the most current information on the best bachelor’s degrees in 2017. We define these degrees as “best” based on the median mid-career salary of college graduates who have earned them.
9) Electrical Power Engineering
Mid-Career Salary: $119,100 per year
By studying electrical power engineering, you’ll be heading towards a career path where you generate, distribute and utilize electrical power. As it stands, there will always be a need for electricity in some form or another. Whether that’s powering eco-friendly vehicles or powering homes, majoring in electrical power engineering will provide you with an exciting career and job sustainability.
8) Cognitive Science
Mid-Career Salary: $121,900 per year
Are you fascinated by the way people receive and translate information? Then a degree in cognitive science might be for you. Cognitive Science pulls from different areas of science, including linguistics, neuropsychology and philosophy. Most people who study cognitive science go on to earn a graduate degree. But if graduate school isn’t on your radar, a bachelors degree in cognitive science can lead you to a variety of careers, from college admissions counseling to a mental health clinician.
Mid-Career Salary: $122,200 per year
A degree in geophysics is perfect for those who enjoy natural science and want to use their career and education to prevent environmental hazards. By majoring in geophysics, you could make a real impact on the earth — no pun intended — by finding innovative solutions to problems like earthquakes and climate change. And as these issues become more intense and pronounced, so will the need for geophysics majors.
6) Economics and Mathematics
Mid-Career Salary: $122,900 per year
If you gravitate towards problem-solving, data and math, you might already be considering a degree in economics and mathematics. As the world has become more technical and data has become more valuable than gold, we’ll need more and more advanced mathematicians. Careers in these fields could lead you down a lucrative career path in data science, or even to a job within a financial institution.
5) Marine Engineering
Mid-Career Salary: $123,200 per year
What does it mean to study marine engineering? Marine engineering opens the doors for you to build and maintain ships, aircraft carriers, tankers and more. As a marine engineer, you’ll work on the water, maintaining vessel parts and operations related to ship equipment. In this capacity, you directly deal with the ins and outs of what makes a ship work.
4) Chemical Engineering
Mid-Career Salary: $124,500
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that includes both physical science and life science. It’s a challenging major, but chemical engineering careers are lucrative and can be highly meaningful for those who like to experiment and want to be continually learning throughout their career.
3) Nuclear Engineering
Mid-Career Salary: $127,500
If words like “atomic nuclei” make your ears perk up, you’re probably a really great fit for a career in nuclear engineering. Nuclear engineering majors have a career path that leads to a variety of work settings. For example, you could use your degree to work in an industrial or even a medical setting. Nuclear engineering is by all accounts a high-paying career path.
2) Actuarial Science
Mid-Career Salary: $130,800 per year
In order to be successful in this major and career, you need to be well-versed in mathematics and statistics. People who major in actuarial science tend to work in business or for insurance organizations. Their main role is to use their skills in math and statistics to assess and determine financial risk. While it may not be glamorous, it a secure career path that certainly pays well.
1) Petroleum Engineering
Mid-Career Salary: $175,500
Petroleum engineering is the highest paying major on our 2017 College Salary Report. Petroleum Engineers, in practice, are responsible for the drilling, extraction and production of oil. Your office can range from an office desk to an oil field, and you’ll likely work for oil, gas and other energy companies.
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