Some people talk about getting an education as a way to improve themselves. But in today’s economic environment, such lofty ideals are rather unrealistic. Colleges are expensive, and most students consider their college expenses as investments which they expect will pay off in the future.
If that’s your outlook, then you need to know which college majors on average will get you the highest starting salaries. While your own personal abilities and the school you graduated from are crucial, average starting salaries paint a more accurate picture.
1. Engineering. If we try to specify the type of engineering degree on this list, then the entire list would be filled by some sort of engineer even if we extend this list to 10 entries. The top degree here is actually Petroleum Engineering, which can get you an average starting salary of $103,000. The rest of the top ten, strictly speaking, are Chemical Engineering ($68,200), Nuclear ($67,600), Computer ($65,300), Electrical ($64,300), Aerospace ($62,800), Materials Science & Engineering ($62,700), Industrial ($61,100), Mechanical ($60,900), and Software Engineering ($60,500).
Not far behind and technically part of the top 20 are Biomedical Engineering ($59,000), Electrical Engineering Technology ($57,900), Civil Engineering ($54,300) and Mechanical Engineering Technology ($54,100).
2. Computer Science. Technically, this isn’t engineering at all, so it comes in at second place. The average starting salary is $59,800. Most computer science graduates find jobs that deal with the interaction between computers and people, and that’s broad enough to include software publishing and computer system development.
A related major in this field is Management Information Systems, which offers a starting salary of $53,800.
3. Actuarial Mathematics. This is a field of mathematics that uses financial theories and statistics to make forecasts. Those with a major in this field earn an average salary of $58,700 and they are highly valued by insurance firms, banks, and other businesses which rely heavily on making accurate financial forecasts.
4. Nursing. Finally, a college major that doesn’t rely too heavily on mathematics. Nursing graduates are always highly in demand, and often you won’t have too much trouble finding work. The average starting salary for a 4-year fresh graduate is $55,400 which is even higher than the starting salary of a new civil engineer.
Part of the reason for the high demand for nurses is that the average age of the population is increasing. The surging numbers of senior citizens, along with the high life expectancy rates, are fueling demand for nurses in nursing homes.
5. Physics. There was a time when the majority of physics majors were expected to become physics teachers, but that was when there were few businesses involved in physics research. Nowadays a physics major’s average starting salary is $53,100 and that’s because many tech companies these days need them for their research and development departments. These companies include computer firms, medical labs, and defense contractors along with universities.
When you graduate with a major in any one of these fields, you surely won’t have to wait long before you’ll start earning good money.