How Much Should You Expect To Earn Based On Your Major?

How Much Should You Expect To Earn Based On Your Major?

Earning potential is a big factor to consider when choosing a college major. After all, you don’t want to spend four years (and a lot of money) studying for a degree that won’t pay off in the long run. But what are the most and least lucrative majors out there?

To get a sense of which majors typically bring in the highest salaries, we looked at data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on early career salaries by major. Here are the 10 highest-paying majors for new grads, along with the median starting salary for each:

Petroleum Engineering: $86,220

Electrical Engineering: $69,188

Applied Economics and Management: $67,564

Operations Research and Statistics: $67,139

Computer Science: $66,005

Industrial Engineering: $64,488

Information Sciences and Systems: $64,008

Cognitive Science: $63,304

Economics: $62,843

Mathematics and Statistics: $61,676

As you can see, engineering majors dominate the list of highest-paying majors for new grads. If you’re interested in engineering but not sure which specific field to go into, petroleum engineering is a good bet. It’s the most lucrative major on this list, with a median starting salary of $86,220.

But it’s worth noting that not all engineering majors are created equal. The median starting salary for electrical engineering graduates is $69,188, which is nearly $17,000 less than what petroleum engineering majors earn. So if you’re set on an engineering career, do your research to find out which field is the best fit for you.

Outside of engineering, the highest-paying majors for new grads are applied economics and management, operations research and statistics, computer science, industrial engineering, and information sciences and systems. These are all well-paying fields, with median starting salaries ranging from $67,564 to $64,008.

If you’re not sure which major to choose, you may want to consider one of these 10 fields. But keep in mind that salary is just one factor to consider when picking a college major. You should also think about your interests, skills and the job market in your desired field.

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