The Top 10 Majors that Pay


Photo Credit: stnorbert

College teaches you to find yourself, do your own laundry, and, hopefully, how to pick a career. Want to pick a major that will ensure a big paycheck after you graduate? PayScale ran the numbers and determined that grads who choose these 10 majors tend to earn the highest salaries after graduation. Choose from this list and you could be eating steak instead of Ramen.

Number 10: Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
 
Median Mid-Career Pay
$99,700

Mechanical engineering is all about creating tools, machines, and engines. If you are interested in the way parts work together, or designing a new machine for industrial use, this major could have your name on it.

Famous Grad: Henry Ford, Father of the Automobile
"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

Number 9: Physics

Physics made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
 
Median Mid-Career Pay
$101,000

If your favorite high school memory involved saving eggs from perilous falls off rooftops, you might want to turn that into a career and major in physics. Physics majors spend time learning how to plan, analyze, experiment, and research. These skills have real world applications, and can also lead to a high salary.

Famous Grad: Benjamin Franklin, the first American physicist
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Number 8: Computer Science

Computer Science made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
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Median Mid-Career Pay
$102,000

In our increasingly technology-driven world, computer science grads are top choices for recruiters at companies big and small. Understanding the science of computers is a highly-profitable skill to have. If you can handle the rigorous course load, the post-graduation job possibilities are endless, and lucrative, for comp sci majors.

Famous Grad: Masi Oka, Actor
"I love both acting and programming equally. I think it enriches me and enhances me as an artist."

Number 7: Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
Photo Credit: Marcin Mycielski
Median Mid-Career Pay
$106,000

Think it would be cool to build the next HAL? Consider majoring in computer engineering. Computer engineering majors study hard to learn how to build hardware and devices that change the way we live our lives. Major in this, create something amazing, and watch your bank account grow.

Famous Grad: Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google
"If you're changing the world, you're working on important things. You're excited to get up in the morning."

Number 6: Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
Photo Credit: MTAPhotos
Median Mid-Career Pay
$106,000

Electrical engineers study magnetic theory, analog circuits and other highly technical subjects that allow them to help build electronic devices and study new technologies and energy sources. If you want to build tomorrow’s technology, and earn a sweet paycheck while doing so, look into majoring in electrical engineering.

Famous Grad: Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
"You are ultimately responsible for your success and failure, but you only succeed if you share the reward with others."

Number 5: Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
Photo Credit: Kanijoman
Median Mid-Career Pay
$109,000

If you dream of flying or, more specifically, designing and building the machines that do the flying, this major will give you your wings. Test flight equipment, design new machines for the military or commercial airlines, or work on the software used by pilots. The sky is the limit and the paycheck is large.

Famous Grad: Neil Armstrong
"I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer."

Number 4: Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
 
Median Mid-Career Pay
$115,000

Throw in a dash of problem-solving, a mole of physics, a milliliter of math and you’ve just created a chemical engineering major. Chemical engineers are hot stuff in biotech, pharmacology and many engineering fields. This major could be the catalyst that leads to a full wallet.

Famous Grad: Marie Curie
"Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas."

Number 3: Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
 
Median Mid-Career Pay
$117,000

Forget what Homer Simpson taught you about nuclear engineering. This major can lead to a job that involves more than sleeping in a chair, drooling donut crumbs. Learn all about nuclear energy and design new equipment to get the most benefit from this energy source, while earning a nice salary.

Famous Grad: Jimmy Carter, Former President
"We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles."

Number 2: Actuarial Mathematics

Actuarial Mathematics made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
Photo Credit: trainman74
Median Mid-Career Pay
$120,000
Typical Jobs
Actuary, Data Analyst

If long division makes you leap for joy, it may be a sine that you should major in math. Your love of numbers could lead to some large numbers in your bank account? Math majors can go on to a number of well-paid jobs after college because math skills are always in high demand.

Famous Grad: Danica McKellar, Actress (The Wonder Years)
"Believe it or not, lots of people change their majors and abandon their dreams just to avoid a couple of math classes in college."

Number 1: Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering made PayScale's list of highest earning majors
 
Median Mid-Career Pay
$160,000

Thar’s oil in them thar hills and and money in this major, especially if you are business-savvy as well. Petroleum engineering majors learn how to find and extract oil, and since that’s what keeps our cars driving and our airplanes flying, there’s no shortage of work for graduates with degrees in this field.

Famous Grad: John D. Rockefeller
"I have ways of making money that you know nothing of."

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