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These Are the 10 Most Meaningful College Majors

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Salary is important; no matter how much you love your job, you're probably not going to be happy if you're stressed about paying the bills. Beyond a certain point, however, more money doesn't necessarily equal more happiness. For this reason, it's a good idea for entering college students to consider meaning as well as money when choosing a major.

Salary is important; no matter how much you love your job, you’re probably not going to be happy if you’re stressed about paying the bills. Beyond a certain point, however, more money doesn’t necessarily equal more happiness. For this reason, it’s a good idea for entering college students to consider meaning as well as money when choosing a major.

Medical_Laboratory_Scientist_US_NIH 

(Photo Credit: National Institutes of Health, via Wikipedia)

PayScale’s College Salary Report ranks 319 majors by the percentage of graduates who said yes when asked if their job made the world a better place. These are the top 10 majors on the list:

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1. Medical Laboratory Science

Mid-Career Median Pay: $61,500

% High Meaning: 97 percent

2. Pastoral Ministry

Mid-Career Median Pay: $49,600

% High Meaning: 91 percent

3. (tie) Clinical Laboratory Science

Mid-Career Median Pay: $60,100

% High Meaning: 84 percent

3. (tie) Community Health Education

Mid-Career Median Pay: $56,500

% High Meaning: 84 percent

3. (tie) Respiratory Care

Mid-Career Median Pay: $64,000

% High Meaning: 84 percent

6. Nursing

Mid-Career Median Pay: $73,600

% High Meaning: 83 percent

7. Dental Hygiene

Mid-Career Median Pay: $72,800

% High Meaning: 82 percent

8. (tie) Counseling

Mid-Career Median Pay: $40,900

% High Meaning: 81 percent

8. (tie) Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Mid-Career Median Pay: $70,800

% High Meaning: 81 percent

8. (tie) Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Mid-Career Median Pay: $42,300

% High Meaning: 81 percent

The biggest surprise? Creative majors often had low rank for job meaning, with Communication Design (21 percent), Film Production (24 percent), and Graphic Communication (25 percent) coming in dead last for job meaning.

The good news is that pursuing a high-meaning career doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing pay. Six out of 10 of the top majors for meaning offer median salaries greater than $60,000 a year. For prospective students who want a meaningful career that pays, the key might be to look in healthcare. All six of those high-paying, high-meaning jobs are in health-related fields.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think your major should have made the list? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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