Breakdown: Which College Majors Lead to the Biggest Paychecks? | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

Breakdown: Which College Majors Lead to the Biggest Paychecks?

/ 09:16 AM March 03, 2023

As millions of Americans face financial inadequacy before retirement, recent data has revealed the college majors that lead to higher and lower salaries.

Many students consider their interests and future earning potential when choosing a college major.

Data collected from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that majors in areas such as early childhood education, elementary education, theology and religion, general education, and social services are associated with the lowest salaries.

Conversely, majors in STEM disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and math, are typically the most financially rewarding.

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Opting for a higher-paying college major could prevent older Americans from facing financial unpreparedness for retirement, affecting a significant proportion of the population.

Data collected from the US Census Bureau shows that approximately 50% of women and 47% of men aged 55 to 66 do not have any retirement savings.

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While some may consider these statistics when selecting college majors, others forego higher education entirely.

According to the Pew Research Center, college enrollment has recently decreased, and the number of individuals pursuing bachelor’s degrees in the US has fallen by 19% between the 2000-2001 and 2019-2020 school years.

While earning a high salary should not be the sole motivator for selecting a major, it is an important consideration. Here are some college majors that typically lead to the biggest paychecks.

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Engineering

Engineering is a lucrative major with many fields of study, including civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that the average starting salary for an engineering major is $70,000.

Computer Science

Computer Science

Computer science majors are in high demand as technology advances and new industries emerge. The standard starting salary for computer science majors is $67,000.

Business

A degree in business can lead to many different career paths, including finance, marketing, and management. The average starting salary for business majors is $58,000.

Economics

Economics majors study the production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services, which can lead to careers in government, finance, and consulting. The NACE reports that the average starting salary for economics majors is $58,000.

Nursing

Nursing

The nursing field is increasing, and there is a high demand for qualified nurses. Nursing majors can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and schools.

The NACE reports that the average starting salary for nursing majors is $57,000. There is also a projected growth rate of 7% for registered nurse occupations from 2019 to 2029.

Mathematics

Mathematics majors develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which employers highly value in many industries.

This major can lead to finance, data analysis, and research careers. The average starting salary for mathematics majors is $55,000.

Physics

Physics majors study the fundamental laws of nature and their applications. This major can lead to careers in research, engineering, and education. The average starting salary for physics majors is $53,000.

Students should also consider their interests, skills, and career goals when making this decision. A major that leads to a high-paying job but is not a good fit for the student may not lead to long-term career satisfaction.

Balancing financial considerations with personal passions is essential when choosing a college major.

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