Highest Paying Jobs With a Bachelor’s Degree

Your major can have an even bigger impact on future earnings than choice of school. Find out which majors pay you back, and which make it hard to pay back student loans.

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Rank 
Major 
Degree Type
Early Career Pay
Median salary for alumni w/degrees in this subject; 0-5 years work experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni w/degrees in this subject; 10+ years work experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
1Petroleum EngineeringBachelors$82,700$183,60060%

1Petroleum Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$82,700
Mid-Career Pay$183,600
% High Meaning60%
2Operations Research & Industrial EngineeringBachelors$79,600$166,300N/A

2Operations Research & Industrial Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$79,600
Mid-Career Pay$166,300
% High MeaningN/A
3Actuarial MathematicsBachelors$54,700$158,10046%

3Actuarial Mathematics
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$54,700
Mid-Career Pay$158,100
% High Meaning46%
4Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringBachelors$71,900$138,10042%

4Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$71,900
Mid-Career Pay$138,100
% High Meaning42%
5Public AccountingBachelors$60,700$135,00051%

5Public Accounting
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$60,700
Mid-Career Pay$135,000
% High Meaning51%
5Building ScienceBachelors$50,700$135,00033%

5Building Science
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$50,700
Mid-Career Pay$135,000
% High Meaning33%
7Aeronautics & AstronauticsBachelors$71,400$133,30052%

7Aeronautics & Astronautics
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$71,400
Mid-Career Pay$133,300
% High Meaning52%
8Systems EngineeringBachelors$70,800$131,20052%

8Systems Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$70,800
Mid-Career Pay$131,200
% High Meaning52%
9Business AnalysisBachelors$53,400$129,80049%

9Business Analysis
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$53,400
Mid-Career Pay$129,800
% High Meaning49%
10Economics and MathematicsBachelors$63,200$126,90036%

10Economics and Mathematics
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$63,200
Mid-Career Pay$126,900
% High Meaning36%
10Chemical EngineeringBachelors$71,800$126,90054%

10Chemical Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$71,800
Mid-Career Pay$126,900
% High Meaning54%
12Marine EngineeringBachelors$72,600$126,50073%

12Marine Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$72,600
Mid-Career Pay$126,500
% High Meaning73%
13Actuarial ScienceBachelors$62,700$123,50045%

13Actuarial Science
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$62,700
Mid-Career Pay$123,500
% High Meaning45%
14Aeronautical EngineeringBachelors$67,900$122,50070%

14Aeronautical Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$67,900
Mid-Career Pay$122,500
% High Meaning70%
15Electrical Power EngineeringBachelors$71,300$122,30065%

15Electrical Power Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$71,300
Mid-Career Pay$122,300
% High Meaning65%
16Nuclear EngineeringBachelors$70,700$121,70059%

16Nuclear Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$70,700
Mid-Career Pay$121,700
% High Meaning59%
17Ocean Engineering (OE)Bachelors$68,900$121,200N/A

17Ocean Engineering (OE)
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$68,900
Mid-Career Pay$121,200
% High MeaningN/A
18Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)Bachelors$71,100$120,40051%

18Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$71,100
Mid-Career Pay$120,400
% High Meaning51%
19Computer Science (CS) & EngineeringBachelors$74,000$120,10044%

19Computer Science (CS) & Engineering
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$74,000
Mid-Career Pay$120,100
% High Meaning44%
20Computer Engineering (CE)Bachelors$72,600$120,00045%

20Computer Engineering (CE)
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$72,600
Mid-Career Pay$120,000
% High Meaning45%
21Engineering PhysicsBachelors$65,400$119,10048%

21Engineering Physics
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$65,400
Mid-Career Pay$119,100
% High Meaning48%
22Construction Engineering ManagementBachelors$64,000$118,20045%

22Construction Engineering Management
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$64,000
Mid-Career Pay$118,200
% High Meaning45%
23Electrical Engineering (EE)Bachelors$69,900$118,10052%

23Electrical Engineering (EE)
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$69,900
Mid-Career Pay$118,100
% High Meaning52%
24Engineering ScienceBachelors$63,900$118,00039%

24Engineering Science
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$63,900
Mid-Career Pay$118,000
% High Meaning39%
25Managerial EconomicsBachelors$60,800$117,80038%

25Managerial Economics
Degree TypeBachelors
Early Career Pay$60,800
Mid-Career Pay$117,800
% High Meaning38%
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A bachelor’s degree is a great investment in your future, and one of the most common degrees earned by college students. Some degrees pay you back, but others don’t do much to increase your earning potential. Your course of study influences your earning potential, so in order to plan your financial future, use PayScale’s College Salary Report to rank how different majors for bachelor’s degrees compare based on alumni salaries.

Top Bachelor Degrees In 2018

This year’s College Salary Report shows that the best bachelor degrees are mostly STEM focused, meaning they are focused on science, technology, engineering or math. STEM degrees continue to be some of the highest paying degrees on the College Salary Report year after year. The top five bachelor degrees for 2018 are

Petroleum Engineering – Mid Career Salary: $183,600

A focus in this type of engineering will show you how to oversee production methods for retrieving oil and natural gas from the earth. Common employers of petroleum engineers include Chevron Corporation, British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, and more. Petroleum engineering is a male dominated field, with women representing only 11 percent.

Operations Research & Industrial Engineering – Mid-Career Salary: $166,300

This type of program shows you how to improve and manage engineering processes for a company. You’ll study how to find ways to better utilize resources like employees, machinery and other assets. Common employers for this type of career include Amazon, Comscore and the Aluminum Company of America.

Actuarial MathematicsMid-Career Salary: $158,100

For those who love math, studying actuarial mathematics allows you to use your math skills in the real world. This discipline shows you how to apply statistical and mathematical functions to assess risks in things like insurance and finance. Employers hiring for this type of role include Cigna, Metro United Way, The Hanover Insurance Company and more.

In today’s job market, having a bachelor’s degree is nearly a necessity to land a rewarding, well-paying job with any possibility for advancement; a bachelor’s degree is almost essential for entry into most professional careers. In certain lines of work, like teaching and engineering, you cannot enter the field without holding at least a bachelor’s degree.


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