Not all degrees created equal: Top 5 highest paying college degrees

(AP Images)
(AP Images)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – College is often considered the surest path to a money making career, but not all college degrees are created equal.

To determine which majors typically come with the best hiring prospects and pay, Kiplinger, the publisher of business and finance forecasts, analyzed data for 215 popular college majors. They looked for courses of study that tend to lead to fat paychecks – both right out of school and farther along the career path – and sought out majors that are in high demand based on recent online job postings as well as long-term growth expectations.

The number five job involved cyber-heroes. It turns out government agencies and private companies are hiring more and more information security analysts to combat the rise of hacker attacks and protect their customers’ data. The starting salary is more than $57,000. Employers are frequently seeking out job candidates with this particular expertise with the projected growth at 31 percent.

Computer science majors focus on the fundamentals of today’s technology in order to devise what tomorrow will bring. The starting salary for computer science majors is $63,000 and a median salary of nearly $107,000 a year. A computer science degree where you find people with equal parts imagination and mathematical logic, makes you a viable candidate as a software developer, systems analyst and network administrator.

Job growth is strong with either federal government, computer systems design firms and scientific research companies. The need for nurses is as persistent as the common cold. In terms of demand, most health care professionals, in general, benefit from the aging population and an increasing number of insured people. Prospects for registered nurses, RNs, whose starting salaries are $56,600, are particularly promising with the projected job growth of more than 15 percent.

There’s even more job growth for nurse practitioners whose ranks are expected to grow nearly 26 percent by 2025.

The increasing overlap between biology and technology is expanding the field of biomedical engineering which is the second best college major. It helps to have a creative mind and an ability to problem-solve, as well as an interest in medicine, to succeed in this field which has a starting salary at nearly $61,000, a mid-career salary of more than $96,000 and quite a healthy job growth at nearly 26 percent.

Kiplinger says the best college major that gives you the most money is that of a civil engineer. A number of engineering fields are well known for paying well. Petroleum engineering, for example, turns out the top earners. Civil engineers, who design and supervise large construction, like airports or sewer systems, have a starting salary of $55,600 a year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a worker with a bachelor’s degree typically earns nearly 68 percent more than someone with just a high school diploma.


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