What degrees make you wealthy?

In today’s competitive job market, choosing the right college major and earning a degree can have a big impact on your future career prospects and earning potential. Some degrees tend to lead to higher-paying jobs than others. If your primary goal in attending college is to maximize your future wealth, these are some of the degrees that may be worth considering.


Engineering degrees, including chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering, consistently rank among the highest paying majors right out of college. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Winter 2022 Salary Survey, the average starting salary for engineering graduates ranges from $69,948 for civil engineers to $78,289 for petroleum engineers. Engineers often work in high demand fields and are compensated accordingly. They can work in a wide range of industries from aerospace and automotive to telecommunications and healthcare. With an engineering degree, your skills will be in demand and opportunities for high salaries abound.

Computer Science

Computer science is another very high paying major. NACE reports the average starting salary for computer science graduates is $76,196. Computer science majors gain skills in coding, analytics, systems design and information technology that are highly sought after by technology companies and many other types of businesses. As our world becomes even more digital, CS graduates will continue to be recruited for lucrative roles designing software, developing apps and devising solutions to complex computing problems.


Earning a degree in finance equips you with knowledge of financial systems, markets, accounting, investments and more. These skills lead to careers as financial analysts, investment bankers, financial managers and loan officers. According to PayScale data reported by U.S. News and World Report, finance majors had an average mid-career salary of $82,000 as of 2022. Financial expertise applies widely, and finance majors enjoy excellent job prospects in corporate, financial and government sectors.

STEM Majors

In general, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) college majors tend to earn higher salaries than many other fields. In addition to engineering and computer science which were already covered, other lucrative STEM majors include:

  • Mathematics: Starting salary $63,449, mid-career salary $101,000
  • Chemistry: Starting salary $53,046, mid-career salary $93,200
  • Physics: Starting salary $61,987, mid-career salary $97,570
  • Information Systems: Starting salary $64,245, mid-career salary $91,000

Strong demand for employees skilled in math and science drives the high salaries for these majors. Graduates develop analytical abilities and technical expertise that qualify them for jobs with excellent compensation.


Many of the fastest growing and highest paying jobs are in healthcare. Degrees leading directly to healthcare careers include:

  • Pharmacy: Starting salary $125,847, mid-career salary $135,842
  • Nursing: Starting salary $63, Decision958, mid-career salary $75,510
  • Physical Therapy: Starting salary $79,964, mid-career salary $91,010
  • Physician Assistant: Starting salary $105,000, mid-career salary $123,000

Demand for quality healthcare continues rising significantly. Earning a degree as a pharmacist, nurse, physical therapist, physician assistant or other medical role qualifies you to earn excellent pay while helping people.


Majoring in economics develops logic, analytics and problem-solving abilities. It provides a thorough understanding of markets, financial flows, labor supply and demand, taxes, trade and other conditions influencing the economy. According to U.S. News and World Report, economics majors earn an average mid-career salary of $102,000. Their skills prepare them for rewarding careers as financial analysts, management consultants, market researchers and more.


Data analytics is one of the most valued and important skills in the 21st century digital economy. Majoring in statistics equips you with the quantitative abilities to collect complex data, analyze trends and make data-driven decisions. PayScale lists a mid-career salary of $89,000 for statistics majors. Banks, corporations, research firms, social media companies and more are eager to hire statisticians to help make sense of data.

Actuarial Science

Actuaries analyze risk and uncertainty to help guide financial planning decisions made by insurance companies, pension funds, banks and other institutions. Actuarial science majors take courses in statistics, finance, economics and business to prepare for this lucrative field. According to NACE, the average starting salary for actuaries is $66,137. With experience, salaries can rise dramatically.

Information Technology

IT continues growing as a critical function for businesses, governments and other organizations. Information technology majors can focus on systems administration, networks, database management, cybersecurity and other concentrations within the field. PayScale lists an average mid-career salary of $89,000 for IT majors. Command of the latest IT tools and trends will be handsomely rewarded.


Majoring in accounting provides recession-proof skills managing finances, inspecting records, preparing taxes and more. NACE reports an average starting salary of $57,493 for accounting graduates entering the workforce. With experience, accountants can rise to positions as auditors, controllers, chief financial officers and other high-level roles. U.S. News and World Report lists the average mid-career salary for accountants as $77,920.

Construction Management

This major teaches the planning, coordination and supervision needed to complete construction projects on time and on budget. Construction managers are in high demand, earning an average starting salary of $63,537 according to NACE. Mid-career salaries can reach even higher levels, averaging $95,610 according to U.S. News and World Report. Professionals with construction management skills will be integral to building our infrastructure.


Majoring in general business, management, marketing, human resources, operations, logistics or other business concentrations leads to well-paying opportunities. NACE reports the following average starting salaries for these sought-after business degrees:

Degree Starting Salary
General Business $58,870
Management $59,918
Marketing $60,412
Finance $61,843
Accounting $57,493
Economics $60,279
Logistics/Supply Chain $63,710
Hospitality Management $56,908
Entrepreneurship $55,861

Business degrees develop versatile leadership, analytical, organizational and communication abilities valued across all industries. These degrees lead to fruitful careers and strong compensation in corporate, startup, government and nonprofit sectors.


Although law school is required to become a licensed, practicing attorney, majoring in pre-law as an undergrad can be very advantageous. Pre-law majors build skills in analytical thinking, reading, writing and speaking that prepare them to excel in law school and as lawyers. According to U.S. News and World Report, the median starting salary for law grads is $72,500. With years of experience, lawyers can make well into six figures.

Specialized Technology and Design

College majors in specialized technology and design skills, such as the examples below, lead to well-paying careers:

  • Video Game Design: Starting salary $55,000, mid-career salary $97,000
  • Interaction Design: Starting salary $61,000, mid-career salary $106,000
  • Industrial Design: Starting salary $60,000, mid-career salary $95,000
  • Software Engineering: Starting salary $72,500, mid-career salary $114,000

Companies seek out graduates skilled in these tech-focused design disciplines. The technical abilities combined with creativity and user focus result in lucrative job prospects.

Nursing Specialties

While nursing in general is a promising degree for pay, specializing as a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner can be especially financially rewarding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these advanced nursing roles earn the following median salaries:

  • Nurse Anesthetist: $174,790
  • Nurse Midwife: $117,670
  • Nurse Practitioner: $120,680

The advanced education and specialization required for these nursing career paths lead to salaries far surpassing those of regular registered nurses.

Data Science

Data scientists make sense of huge volumes of data. This career path generally requires a master’s degree, but majoring in statistics, computer science or mathematics as an undergrad is ideal preparation. According to Glassdoor, the average data scientist earns $120,931. Companies across industries compete for data science skills to help them use big data to guide strategy and operations.


Although “follow your passion” is often good career advice, if your primary goal is to maximize earnings, targeting certain high-paying college majors can make financial sense. Degrees leading to careers in STEM, healthcare, finance, law, specialized technology, data science and business tend to generate the largest salaries, lowest unemployment and most job opportunities. With the right degree choice combined with hard work and perseverance, you can set yourself up for wealth now and down the road.

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