Top 32 best paying degrees 2021

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Top 32 best paying degrees 2021

Top 32 best paying degrees 2021

Top 32 Paying Best Bachelor’s Degrees to Get 2021

The latest statistics regarding student loan debt in the United States are concerning, to say the least. As of 2020, students in America owe a collective balance of $1.57 trillion, up 12% since the previous year. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that prospective college students are eyeing the best bachelors degrees that promise a good return on investment.

One way to reduce the risk of defaulting on your student loans is to select a college major from among the highest paying bachelor’s degrees available. The following article outlines the best degrees for 2020.

Distance learning formats are a great option for those who cannot attend traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. Most reputable colleges offer excellent distance learning programs, from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. If you’re looking for the highest paying online bachelor’s degree programs, this is the right place for you.

Methodology for Finding the Best Bachelor Degrees 2021

To identify the 20 highest paying bachelor degrees, our editors consulted PayScale’s college salary report to identify undergraduate majors associated with the highest return on investment, according to mid-career pay. This figure refers to the median annual wage for professionals with more than ten years of experience in their respective fields. The 20 highest paying college majors are ranked in descending order below.

Top 32 best paying degrees 2021

1. Petroleum Engineering

If you’re looking for a lucrative bachelor’s degree, look no further than petroleum engineering. This field may sound intimidating to break into, but all that’s required to become a professional petroleum engineer is a four-year degree. Some positions may also require prior work experience in addition to a bachelor’s degree.

Upon being hired, you will work with other engineers who specialize in oil and gas extraction in order to generate new methods for procuring the energy that is essential for the world to function. Your duties and responsibilities may differ based on the type of petroleum engineering you are contracted to perform. There are various types of petroleum engineers, such as reservoir engineers, drilling engineers, completions engineers, and production engineers.

The duties petroleum engineers perform and the sub-industry they work in largely determine where they are employed, though a considerable proportion of these engineers work in oil and gas extraction.

Petroleum engineering is a field with a strong job market outlook and competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for petroleum engineering is just over $137,000. PayScale reports mid-career wages to be much higher. Job growth predictions are good too with forecasts showing faster-than-average growth through the year 2030.

Mid-Career Salary: $182,000

2. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) is a unique and top-ranked bachelor degree that covers skills and concepts in both electrical engineering and computer science. This difficult major is incredibly rewarding and in-demand.

A professional with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science can expect to make a starting salary of $100,000 per year, according to PayScale’s college salary report. Ten years in, this salary will likely increase by 50% or even more.

Mid-Career Salary: $152,300

3. Applied Economics and Management (TIE)

Students who are interested in working in the business field may be pleased to learn that one of the highest paying bachelor’s degrees is in Applied Economics and Management. After studying basic topics in micro and macroeconomics, and management theory, students who choose this major will be able to enjoy rewarding careers such as business analysts, marketing specialists, account executives, auditors, and more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for management positions will steadily grow through the end of the decade. This growth is likely due to the increasing complexity of organizations and the globalization of business. As a result, entry-level applied economics and management professionals can expect to see their salaries nearly double within 10 years of starting their careers.

Mid-Career Salary: $139,600

3. Operations Research (TIE)

Operations research is a rapidly growing field with high earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for operations research analysts with the best bachelor degrees are expected to grow by 25% over the next eight years. Operations research professionals research market trends and systems and are sought-after by companies (as well as some government agencies) who want to increase their efficiency and save money by improving their business processes.

As an operations research major, you can study topics such as data analytics, supply chain management, forensic accounting and inventory planning. Operations research majors may become employed as production planners, distribution managers, quality assurance analysts and supply chain planners.

Mid-Career Salary: $139,600

4. Public Accounting

Among the highest-paying bachelor degrees available is an undergraduate major in public accounting. This major prepares students to work as certified public accountants who serve individuals, non-profit organizations, and corporations with their advanced knowledge of finance and tax law. Once enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program, students will study a wide range of topics such as auditing, business law, finance, business computing, and managerial accounting.

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Many public accounting programs offer specific preparation for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensing examination. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the median annual salary for accountants is well over $73,000, but experienced public accountants can expect to make much more. Job growth in this field is also expected to be steady through 2030.

Mid-Career Salary: $138,800

5. Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Engineering

The engineering industry is currently experiencing a high demand for engineers with a bachelor’s degree who are knowledgeable in chemical engineering and materials science. In response to this demand, more schools are offering undergraduate majors that combine these two fields of study. For example, students enrolled in this highest paying bachelor degree program will explore high-level engineering principles such as chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, materials production, and reaction engineering.

Among the best college majors for the future is chemical engineering/materials science and engineering, preparing students for fast-growing careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for chemists and material scientists are currently growing faster than average, making this an impressive field of study.

Mid-Career Salary: $137,800

6. Quantitative Business Analysis

Mathematically-inclined students looking to pursue one of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees available may want to consider a major in quantitative business analysis. This bachelor’s degree major prepares students for applying knowledge of mathematical and statistical concepts to solving real-world business problems.

Topics covered through such a degree plan may include data analysis, business strategy, project management, and information technology. This course of study will qualify students for jobs in data analytics, risk management, market research, and related areas experiencing high job growth.

Mid-Career Salary: $136,200

7. Pharmacy

Many undergraduate students are interested in entering a profitable subfield of the healthcare industry. A major in pharmacy is one option to consider. While an advanced degree is required to become a licensed pharmacist, there are many other related positions for those who hold a four-year degree. In fact, some of the highest-paid bachelor degree jobs are those in the pharmaceutical industry.

This paragraph lists some of the most common jobs for those with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, as well as some other important information. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for healthcare professionals continues to climb at a steady pace as the baby boomer population ages. This makes a degree in pharmacy a safe bet in terms of job security.

Mid-Career Salary: $133,200

8. Aeronautics & Astronautics

Aeronautics & astronautics is an undergraduate degree designed to prepare students for careers in aerospace engineering, though graduates may also decide to pursue careers in teaching, research, or consulting. The bachelor’s degree plan covers basic topics in mathematics and engineering and more major-specific courses in applied aerodynamics, autonomy, and spacecraft design, for example.

The field of aeronautics and astronautics is a small, but it is still considered one of the best college majors for future due to its job growth potential and impressive return on investment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for engineers working in the aerospace industry is nearly $120,000, but experience in the field will earn more.

Mid-Career Salary: $133,100

9. Systems Engineering

A bachelor’s degree in engineering is one of the best degrees for highest-paying careers. Systems engineering is one of the highest-paying majors for undergraduates. Entry-level systems engineers make almost $75,000 per year post-graduation, while experienced professionals routinely earn over $130,000 each year.

Systems engineers work on big-picture problems to improve an organization’s efficiency and workflow. Often, this requires a high-level grasp of technological processes and systems. A bachelor’s degree in system engineering is needed in a wide range of industries, including transportation and health care, so job growth for this occupation is on the rise.

Mid-Career Salary: $132,900

10. Electrical Power Engineering

As an electrical power engineer, you would be responsible for improving existing systems that harness and manage electric energy, as well as developing new energy solutions. To prepare for this role, you would need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program that covers complex topics such as circuitry, electromagnetics, and signal analysis.

Even as more renewable energy sources become widespread, electrical power engineering remains one of the best college majors for the future, with job growth projected to continue to rise steadily over the next decade.

Mid-Career Salary: $130,700

11. Actuarial Mathematics

One of the best bachelor degrees on our list, a major in actuarial mathematics, prepares students for a career as an actuary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for actuaries are currently growing much faster than average. These professionals must manage risks, primarily for insurance companies and private corporations.

The role of an actuary requires a course of study that addresses topics such as econometrics, financial accounting, probability theory, and numerical computing. Mid-career professionals can expect to make roughly $130,000 per year; however, entry-level actuaries with a bachelor’s degree should anticipate making less than half of that salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some actuaries make less than $66,000 per year.

Mid-Career Salary: $130,500

12. Aerospace Studies

Aerospace studies is a broad major that is available for students interested in aerospace science. Students who pursue this bachelor’s degree may elect specializations such as aerospace engineering, aerospace administration, and even professional pilot.

Assuming you choose a concentration, you will study subjects like aerospace resource management, flight physiology, and aircraft systems. Your track may also affect your pay upon graduation, but you can expect to start with a salary of $50,000 per year and advance to wages of six figures after ten years of work experience.

Mid-Career Salary: $130,300

13. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is another engineering major that has won attention as one of the best bachelor degrees. Chemical engineers enjoy one of the better starting salaries in our ranking at just under $75,000 per year on average. Mid-career, these professionals are rewarded with wages of around $130,000 annually. Of course, their duties and responsibilities are in line with these high earnings. Chemical engineers rely on their knowledge of chemical materials and processes to solve real-world problems for manufacturers, private corporations, and government and non-profit agencies.

Bachelor’s degree programs in chemical engineering typically include advanced topics such as thermodynamics, organic chemistry, biochemical engineering, and transport processes. The field of chemical engineering is projected to experience steady job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Mid-Career Salary: $128,900

14. Actuarial Science

An actuarial science major prepares graduates to work as actuaries, like actuarial mathematics. While there is little actual difference between a four-year degree in actuarial mathematics and actuarial science, the annual wage may be slightly higher with the former credential.

The degree plans for both degrees will likely be similar, covering advanced topics in mathematics and statistics and more specialized concepts like risk management, data mining, and probability theory. Many programs also prepare bachelor’s degree students to sit for the necessary licensing examinations to become a certified actuary. The job of an actuary is one of the best college majors for the future due to the lucrative salary and high demand for qualified professionals in the field.

Mid-Career Salary: $128,700

15. Information and Computer Science

An information and computer science degree can prepare you for many high-tech careers, including database administrator, computer programmer, information security analyst, computer network architect, and software developer.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer science and information science professionals are among the highest-paid bachelor degree jobs, and these positions are projected to grow 11% between 2019 and 2029.

Mid-Career Salary: $127,600

16. Aeronautical Engineering

If you’re interested in designing aircraft and aircraft components, you may want to consider studying aeronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineering is one of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees available. It’s similar to other lucrative degrees like aeronautics and astronautics, aerospace engineering and studies, but it focuses specifically on the design and development of aircraft that fly inside the Earth’s atmosphere.

A bachelor’s degree program in aerospace engineering may include courses on topics such as structural analysis, propulsion system design, gas dynamics, and aerodynamics.

Mid-Career Salary: $125,900

17. Operations and Information Systems Management (OISM) (TIE)

Operations and information systems management is an excellent choice of major for those looking to enter a rapidly-growing field with high earning potential. Job growth in this field is expected to be strong in the coming years, and mid-career salaries are typically very high, averaging over $125,000.

Students who enroll in an OISM degree plan will take courses addressing business and tech topics, such as information security, systems analysis, business information systems and database management. Graduates of this bachelor’s degree program are qualified for roles as operations research analysts, industrial production managers, management analysts and logisticians.

Mid-Career Salary: $125,100

17. Political Economy (TIE)

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political economy allows students to examine the complex relationship between the government and the economy. This high-paying degree covers topics such as economic policy, globalization, social inequality, and international finance.

A political economy degree provides many opportunities for students in government, education, and law. It is one of the best college degrees for job growth and many students pursue advanced degrees in related fields.

Mid-Career Salary: $125,100

18. Marine Engineering

As with aerospace engineering, marine engineering focuses on the design and construction of water vessels. However, marine engineering may also specialize in specific parts of a vessel such as the propulsion or steering system. A bachelor’s degree in marine engineering covers not only fundamental engineering concepts, but also major-specific topics like diesel power, thermodynamics, engine maintenance, and machine tool operations.

While the average mid-career salary for those with a marine engineering degree is high, currently the job growth in this field is below average, so securing a position could be difficult.

Mid-Career Salary: $125,000

19. Computer Systems Engineering

A computer systems engineering degree is a great way to prepare for a career in fields such as database management, software development, or computer architecture. This degree is also one of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees, making it a great investment for your future.

Once enrolled in this bachelor’s degree program, these students will study high-tech topics such as digital logic, machine learning, and computer hardware systems. It is important to note that some of the jobs associated with this specific major are struggling in terms of job growth, according to latest reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mid-Career Salary: $124,800

20. Nuclear Engineering

While a nuclear engineering degree may not be one of the best for employment, it is still one of the highest paying bachelor degree options. Nuclear engineers work in a variety of industries, developing techniques for applying nuclear energy and radiation effectively. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, positions for nuclear engineering are currently on a sharp downward slope.

Decreasing nuclear energy usage has resulted in a decrease of job positions for nuclear engineers. However, those with a four-year degree in nuclear engineering may qualify for other positions in the industry that are unrelated to nuclear engineering. Some of these positions include power systems operator, reliability engineer, or critical facilities control technician. Positions that are unrelated to nuclear engineering but still use nuclear engineering principles are currently experiencing better job growth.

21. Mid-Career Salary: $124,500

Many college hopefuls have heard the advice to “follow their passion.” While well-meaning, this guidance could lead to taking on a large amount of student loan debt if one is not careful.

While it is important to follow your passions, it is also important to be mindful of practical considerations, such as being able to support yourself financially. Therefore, when choosing a college major, it is wise to research which fields tend to be the most lucrative. Fortunately, there are many high-paying majors to choose from, whether you are interested in online or traditional programs.

22. Materials engineering

A materials engineer earns an average salary of $93,000 per year, making it the 12th highest paying degree in 2021. The study of materials engineering involves analyzing the strength, heat resistance, and other properties of materials. It also includes understanding the diverse applications of materials in our daily lives.

Metallurgy and manufacturing are two common industries that materials engineers work in. However, there are also opportunities in the weaponry section of defence and armed forces, as well as the automobile industry.

23. Biomedical engineering

A booming industry, biomedical engineering opens up the gate for abundant opportunities. The study majorly focuses on devising and optimising medical instruments that solve diverse issues related to diagnostics in medicine and biology.

If you have excellent technical knowledge in biology and medicine, you can do well in the workplace. You can also enter the research field and work on social issues that are unresolved in medicine.

24. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

This major takes tenth place with an average yearly personal income of $128,000 for graduates. According to the data, approximately 19,000 people in the U.S. have at least a bachelor’s degree in this area. Studying encompasses everything from the mechanics of a ship to the engineering and building of major vessels. It is not only a niche and interesting field of study, but also has practical application in the world today with a healthy wage!

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Naval architects can find employment with private companies and governments all over the world, such as BAE Systems in the U.K., the U.S. Navy, and Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.

25. Engineering Mechanics, Physics and Science

Higher education in the United States has a strong reputation in the sciences, especially Physics. Three of the top institutions in the Times’ Higher Education Guide for Physics are located in the United States. Princeton University is widely recognised as the best college in the United States to major in Physics, but students can study the subject at a majority of institutions across the country.

There are many job prospects available to those with a degree in chemical engineering, such as teaching, research, working as a lab technician, technical specialist, or design engineer. According to the average income of a graduate, which is $129,000 per year, chemical engineering ranks number nine.

26. Engineering and Industrial Management

Majoring in Engineering and Industrial Management can be a lucrative decision when you reach your second (also known as sophomore) year at a U.S. college. This major is designed to prepare you to manage in the engineering sector and is broad.

Some of the jobs that graduates with a degree in engineering end up in are construction manager, quality assurance control manager, and industry production manager. These roles often involve the application of science, economics, and social study, as well as practical skills.

With an average yearly salary of $129,000, it pays to pick Engineering!

27. Actuarial Science

Although Actuarial Science is not known to be the most exciting of majors, it is nevertheless extremely important. Data and model creation using computing makes actuaries a valuable asset in the workplace for those juggling large amounts of cash.

Graduating with a degree in this field can lead to a great career, with an average yearly salary of $129,500.

28. Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics is a strong choice for those with a passion for figures and a desire for a healthy bank balance. It ranks sixth in our ranking, with an average graduate salary of $130,000.

The jobs that most commonly hired our students are actuarial assistant, data analyst, and underwriter

The jobs that graduates of this major go into are quite diverse, ranging from a Data Processing Specialist to a Global Pricing Analyst, Statistician or Quantitative Analyst. Picking this major will place you towards the top of graduates in terms of their earnings. The jobs that most commonly hired our students are actuarial assistant, data analyst, and underwriter.

29. Economics

A degree in Economics is a popular choice for students hoping to secure their financial future after graduation. Approximately one million students graduate with this degree in the United States each year.

This major is favored by some of the world’s most powerful people in business and politics, including former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, entrepreneur Elon Musk, and top-CEO Meg Whitman. Other potential jobs for graduates of this major include Economic Consultant, Credit Analyst, Business Reporter, or Banker. Graduates in this major have an average yearly salary of around $133,000.

30. Pharmacology

Building upon the U.S.’s reputation in the pharmaceutical industry, many colleges offer majors in Pharmacology and the closely linked field of Toxicology. Pharmacology graduates go into jobs such as becoming an Analytical Chemist, a Clinical Research Associate or a Medicinal Chemist.

Ivy League member Harvard University is considered to be the best college to study this discipline. Their course offers everything from Pharmacology and Therapeutics, through to Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics and Drug Discovery and Development.

With only 13,000 graduates and an average salary of hitting around $136,000, it comes in at number four.

31. Zoology

I believe that majoring in Zoology would be an excellent choice for anyone interested in studying animals and their environments. Zoologists go on to work in a variety of fields, such as nature reserve management, veterinary medicine, environmental consulting, and gamekeeping.

The average salary for graduates of this discipline in the U.S. is $142,000, making it a lucrative field of study. Over 40 colleges offer it as a major, so students have plenty of choice when it comes to selecting a school. Around 110,000 U.S. graduates majored in this field, indicating its popularity among students.

32. Health and Medical Preparatory (Pre-Med)

Health and Medical Preparatory, or “Pre-Med,” is the most popular major for those planning to enter the professional world of medicine. Pre-Med students take a variety of courses including biology, physics, anatomy, and physiology.

Many students who major in this discipline go on to become doctors, surgeons, or healthcare professionals. According to data, the average salary of graduates in this field is $165,000 a year.


What degrees make the most money 2021?

Saving money during and after collegeRankDeclared degreeMedian income1Architectural Engineering$90,0002Construction Services$80,0003Computer Engineering$101,0004Aerospace Engineering$100,000The most valuable college majors in 2021, ranked – › Loans › Student LoansAbout Featured Snippets

What is the most useful degree?

Here is a list of the most useful college majors based on post-graduate employment and median annual wage as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:Biomedical engineering. … Computer science. … Marine engineering. … Pharmaceutical sciences. … Computer engineering. … Electrical engineering. … Finance. … Software engineering.25 of the Most Useful College Majors To Pursue Today | › Career Guide › Career developmentAbout Featured Snippets

What major makes most money 2022?

Top majors with highest median wagesComputer Engineering: $74,000.Computer Science: $70,000.Aerospace Engineering: $70,000.Chemical Engineering: $70,000.Electrical Engineering: $70,000.Industrial Engineering: $69,000.Mechanical Engineering: $68,000.Miscellaneous Engineering: $65,000.These are the highest paying college majors of 2022 – › education › business › articles › 2022/04/26 › these-are-the-…About Featured Snippets

Which degree is best for high salary?

50 Highest-paying College MajorsComputer Science. Median Base Salary: $70,000. … Electrical Engineering. Median Base Salary: $68,438. … Mechanical Engineering. Median Base Salary: $68,000. … Chemical Engineering. Median Base Salary: $65,000. … Industrial Engineering. … Information Technology. … Civil Engineering. … Statistics.50 Highest-paying College Majors | › salaryAbout Featured Snippets

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