College isn’t cheap. Depending upon what degree you choose and what college you decide to study at, you can be saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs by the time you graduate with just a bachelors degree – at least in the US. That’s a lot of money for say, a liberal arts degree, but what if you start looking at college as more of a numbers game?
Every single career path has an achievable salary range post-graduation. So then, if you forgot about what you wanted to do and just wanted to make the best investment in your financial future, what college degrees will prove to be the most lucrative
Humanities and Communications
The first set of degrees that we’ll look into your potential for maximizing profit are Humanities and Communications. Communications majors have an average starting salary of $51,448 and Humanities a starting salary of $56,688. These salaries are good in their own right, but both these industries salaries have grown by 15% in the last decade and they provide impressive earning potential down the line. Specifically, in the communications sector, people with the right skills and about a decade of experience under their belt can easily get into the 6 figures.
If humanities or communications majors aren’t for you, then a Business major might be the right way to go. It climbs one small rung up the salary ladder to an average starting salary of $56,720. This industry is expected to grow by 10% over the next decade and has some lucrative specialty career paths. While getting a business degree without direction probably isn’t the way to go, if you can get into a niche market like management analysts or market researchers, you can find your way into some lucrative earnings potential down the line. Most CEOs have a business degree of some sort and while it isn’t a surefire or even likely way to become the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a business degree.
Now that we’ve discussed some options for non-math lovers, it’s time to delve into the highest earning potential categories: STEM majors.
Maths and Sciences
A degree in maths and sciences can earn you a starting salary of $61,867. Careers in these paths like statisticians or research scientist are expected to grow by about 33% over the next decade. Median pays for the industry reach close to six figures at around $90,000, with experience of course. While many may you have to be good at these subjects to get a degree or job in them, that isn’t necessarily the case.
Jobs like statisticians, research assistants, accountants, all fill a niche of mathematics that once learned can be fairly repeatable and understandable – after 4 years of college at least.
Vying for the top spots for the most lucrative college majors are computer science and engineering.
Computer Science and Engineering
These two industries are to be expected to be at the top of the most lucrative career paths, and each has different benefits.
Starting with computer science, this industry has an average starting salary of $66,000, though, this number is a little skewed. Experienced coders out of college have opportunities that could net them 6 figures right after – or even before – that last final. Computer science is unique of any degree because coding is a skill that doesn’t require college to learn or master. It’s also incredibly simple to start learning for even people that aren’t good with math. All this means that you can get a coding or computer science job with little college. And once you do get that degree, your job opportunity goes up from there.
Engineering graduates can expect to earn about $66,521 to start and have one of the healthiest job markets in the world right now. Falling into a more niche aspect of Maths and Sciences, engineering jobs are expected to grow by 7% in the next decade. Hot industries right now are infrastructure specific (civil engineering) or robotics (mechanical engineering). While salaries for top engineers usually top out around $150,000, the jobs are incredibly secure if you have business sense, there are always opportunities to move into a leadership role that can net you even more cash.
One industry notably absent from our analysis here is the medical profession. While Doctors are some of the highest paid workers, at least in the US, the amount of schooling needed makes them a harder bargain in getting a good bang for your buck.
So, those are some of the most profitable college degrees you can get today, but there are other important factors at play. Each college will have a different cost and you’ll also need to be a good worker to land and/or keep a good job. The US is currently experiencing a huge tradesman shortage, like machinists, carpenters, factory workers, etc. While these jobs might not be as glamorous, they don’t require massive expenditure with school.
Machinists can easily make 60K a year a few years after high school and the same goes with carpenters or other trades. Not to mention the demand is high in 2019.
Regardless of what career path you pick, make sure you pick one you think you’ll be able to engage with – but also one that will pay off your student loans quickly down the line…