Highest-Paid Majors Out Of College

Engineering and technology dominate the highest-paid majors in 2011, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Bethlehem PA.

Chemical engineering majors are at the top, with an average salary offer of $66,886. Computer science majors are at #2, with an average offer of $63,017. Information sciences majors were offered an average $56,868.

Engineering majors hold seven of the top-10 salary offers:

Chemical engineering – $66,886

Computer science – $63,017

Mechanical engineering – $60,739

Electrical/electronics & communications engineering – $60,646

Computer engineering – $60,112

Industrial/manufacturing engineering – $58,549

Systems engineering – $57,497

Engineering technology – $57,176

Information sciences & systems – $56,868

Business systems networking/telecommunications – $56,808

This is GREAT news for students like myself who are in a STEM (science, technology,engineering,mathematics) majors.  Since I knew that my first major was not going to provide the kind of lifestyle that I have become used to thanks to my parents, I knew I had to find a course of study that would give me some financial stability and security.  

There are so many majors in STEM to choose from and if you really love a subject that you know isn’t going to pay well, then double major like I am.  It may take you a bit longer to graduate, but at least you know you are almost guaranteed a job when you graduate.  Plus employees or grad schools will know it took you longer to graduate because you were juggling to majors plus extracurricular, a job, etc.  It CAN be done. 🙂

Are you in college, planning on going to college, or already graduated?  What do you think about students picking majors for financial stability?  Should we just choose majors that make us happy or should we find some sort of middle ground?  Coming from a household with African parents, there are A TON of discussions arguments about what one should study at university. I’m curious to know what have your experiences been with this.

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10 thoughts on “Highest-Paid Majors Out Of College

  1. Great info.

    Coming from a household with African parents, there are A TON of discussions arguments about what one should study at university. I’m curious to know what have your experiences been with this.

    Seeing how none my family had ever been in a university before me, people were just happy I got an education and never knew what things would mean in terms of salary. Kinda funny how my brothers went to school after me even though they are older.

    • Seeing how none my family had ever been in a university before me, people were just happy I got an education and never knew what things would mean in terms of salary

      I’m going off topic, but I see this a lot with students who are the first in their families to go to college. I had a pt job awhile back where I worked with Freshman students who were minorities (mostly Mexican-Americans) and they had more to deal with than other students in terms of coming from lower income backgrounds, first to go to college, and having parents who were totally clueless about college life and all the pressures that go along with it.

      It’s why I shake my head when universities flaunt their “record-breaking” diversity numbers each year because they had more minority students. Meanwhile the students that were dropping out after their 1st semester or 1st year were those same minority students. A lot still needs to be done to retain them, especially on the home front. In my opinion, it’s crucial for students to have supportive and informative parents or family members.

  2. I just found your blog/tumblr and I love what you’re doing.
    I’m a senior in college and I’ll be graduating with a history degree soon. For me choosing a major was about finding what I loved more so than what would make me money. I have friends who are doing chemical engineering for the future job stability and pay. I also have friends who graduated with liberal arts degree who haven’t been able to find jobs. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not worried about my prospects but I could never see myself pouring four years of my life into something I didn’t like. Perhaps in this new economy you have to shoot for the middle ground…
    My parents are a bit more focused to the the money/job thing and ask me all the time how I plan on making a living with a history degree.

    • ~long reply~

      I’m glad you found my blog 🙂

      I’m a senior in college and I’ll be graduating with a history degree soon.

      Congrats! I’m a bit behind you, but I’m getting there :/ Do you have any plans after college? I’m excited for you! My dad always says once you get that degree in your hand, you’ll feel like you can do anything 🙂

      Perhaps in this new economy you have to shoot for the middle ground…

      And yes, I think I have had to shoot for the middle ground with my parents. It’s going to be different for everyone, so it’s important for people to do what works best for them. With my “STEM” major, I’ll be able to go into certain industries that I wanted to explore. 4-6 years of study in order to be qualified for highly-skilled jobs that I’ll have until I decide to stop working doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal.

      Ex: I have a classmate who is a Chemical Engineer major who has a love for cosmetics, perfume, etc. She could have been a makeup artist or something similar to that. Instead, she wants to be behind the scenes creating these products. Last I heard, she had an interview as an intern with Lancome having to do with researching/testing. I’m just guessing it is very competitive to get an internship with a company like Lancome, but with her program of study PLUS her knowledge of cosmetics and beauty, she already has an edge over the competition.

      I can live with that kind of compromise. I know the lifestyle I want and I have to put in the work now to see the results I want. Of course there are no guarantees in life, but we can certainly increase our chances or odds of getting what we want.

      • Thanks 🙂
        The plan is grad school for in the next few years. But for what? I’m not sure. The goal was always to earn a Phd in history with an emphasis on African American’s Women’s history and teach at the college level. Recently though I’ve been drawn to the idea of doing a dual masters in media studies and public policy. That would probabaly lead to a career in advocacy or a think tank or something. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of teaching english abroad or interning after I graduate until figure it out. My lack of certainty at this point is really worrisome to me.

        When I see lists like these, with their heavy math and science slant, I just chuckle because that is not my strong suit at all and I could never do a STEM major if I wanted to. haha I’m sure the relative stability of these majors/careers is reassuring.

        My parents talk about lifestyle a lot too and finding a career that will let me live the lifestyle I want. At a earlier time that was a big concern for me too and I wanted to go into law for a while pretty much solely for the money. Where I’m going now I’m probabaly not going to be able to vacation in the Hamptoms lol but I’m ok for living a comfortably modest life.

        …and yes, whatever you do it’s all about putting in the work.

        • Oooo I like the dual masters in media studies and public policy. Your history major seems like a great fit for the media studies. Would you get to research something you want like something personal having to do w/ the history of black women in media or entertainment?

          I’ve also been toying around with the idea of teaching english abroad or interning after I graduate until figure it out

          I’m definitely thinking about doing something like teaching abroad to take a break from school. I could also work and slowly get my masters at the same time, since there are some employers out there who encourage their employees to gain more education in their field….some even compensate for it, but it of course depends on the industry 🙂

          My lack of certainty at this point is really worrisome to me.

          You aren’t alone. Sometimes I worry too much about post-undergrad life.You can have a major that is considered “acceptable” or enjoy studying something, but you still worry about the future and all the unknowns. But it appears that most of us go through this, so I feel a bit better that other people are freaking out as well 🙂

          I love that you are already thinking about what you’ll do for your Ph D. Why stop at a Bachelors or Masters?

  3. I’m surprised at computer science and engineering so low on the list, even though science is 2nd. Where in blazes is accountancy or maths?. I earn more than all those majors, albeit it’s more because of the country I live/work in…….

  4. @noirwallflower –
    Career counselor stepping in!

    Don’t worry about your major. What you need to worry about is your GPA and getting EXPERIENCE.

    Please get as much research experience as you can and build relationships with your professors!

    Trust me, that lifestyle does exist for history majors – you just gotta earn it! (My best friend is studying History at Stanford for free AND getting $60,000/year to do so!)

    • I agree!

      Experience in a professional environment and relationships you make with professors and people in whatever industry you are pursuing are important when you are on the job hunt.

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