The 12 Highest Paying College Majors

The 12 Highest Paying College Majors

Reviewed by Josianne Campbell

Choosing a major is a big decision that can affect your income for the rest of your life. Doing career research is key to such an important choice. Not only should you consider what you like to do as well as your skillset, things like starting salary and median salary are important as well. It’s important to consider that some careers may start at a lower salary yet have bigger salary growth over time. Take a look at our list of the 12 highest paying college majors—some may surprise you!


Starting salary: $70,000 – 95,000 depending on specialty

Median salary: $144,000 – 176,900 depending on specialty

With focus areas including electrical, mechanical, petroleum, chemical, civil, computer, and aerospace, these majors pay well upon graduation and increase at a high rate as you gain experience over time.

Computer Science

Starting salary: $67,000

Median salary: $140,000

Encompassing both hardware and software know-how, careers range from design and development for tech companies like Google to creating systems for NASA.


Starting salary: $62,000

Median salary: $138,000

Mathematics can play into many careers, including actuarial, mathematician, and operations analyst. Additionally, annual salary increases more on average than many other careers.

Business Operations Research

Starting salary: $77,900

Median salary: $137,100

Jobs designed to increase business efficiency means graduates will be in high demand.

Political Economics

Starting salary: $57,600

Median salary: $136,200

How political and economic variables combine to influence public policy can lead to a variety of well-paying careers in and around public policy and financial planning.

Business Analytics

Starting salary: $57,200

Median salary: $133,200

Business analysts use data to streamline processes and procedures to make the company more efficient. Big growth is expected inside IT and healthcare in the next few years.


Starting salary: $79,600

Median salary: $132,500

The need for pharmacists is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade, as the growing elderly population increases and creates more health care demand.


Starting salary: $73,100

Median salary: $131,600

These careers focus on the design, manufacturing, and testing of everything that flies in the skies and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Be aware salary growth may be slower than other careers.


Starting salary: $60,100

Median salary: $131,000

Economics majors working in econometrics, banking, investment, government, and academia can expect higher than average salary growth over the next ten years.


Starting salary: $56,400

Median salary: $130,800

Certified public accountants can find work in the areas of tax documentation, auditing and preparing financial statements, and consulting. Passing your state CPA exam is required.

Business Management

Starting salary: $61,000

Median salary: $115,000

Management careers include human resource management, production management, sales management, and training managers, to name just a few.

If you are considering pursuing a career in one of these high paying majors, you can increase the ROI (return on investment) of your degree by taking some of your general education courses online. The lower your cost of college -- and the faster you earn your degree -- the quicker you can get into one of these higher paying careers that you want.

Have Questions? Speak to an Enrollment Counselor

If you have questions around taking college courses for your major and earning college credit at StraighterLine, our enrollment counselors can help you get started. Give us a call today at 877-787-8375.

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