College Majors That Pay the Best Professionally

Most high school seniors still list college as their next step, but selecting a major that will make their future lucrative can be difficult. Trying to project which majors will have lasting power and allow those working in the industry to make a good living can be a bit of a gamble. However, with many reporting agencies tracking the statistics, enough data exists these days that students who are wondering which majors will pay the most professionally are readily evident. Here is a list of the top lucrative majors in the U.S.


Engineering is the king of the most lucrative majors for college students. This is because the demand for advancements, management and repair of technology is only going to increase over the next few decades. Engineering students can specialize in a whole host of occupations from mechanical engineering to electrical or aeronautical engineering. The major is known for its rigorous nature. The unemployment rate for engineers is traditionally low, averaging approximately 3.8 percent. Most graduates enjoy a starting salary that is in the high 80s or above.

Business Information Systems

With this major, the degree holder will be trained to take an organization’s databases, analyze them, oversee various projects and assist in boosting productivity. This field has been growing at least 15 percent each year. New employees often make as much as $56,800.


The job market for mathematicians is booming, with a majority (nearly 95 percent) of graduates obtaining employment. Mathematics, especially within the science industries, command very large paychecks. While the starting pay is approximately $55,800 initially, this figure doubles at the midpoint. Those who move into management or work for large companies can see that number go higher.


Students who major in biomedical sciences (especially engineering) will enjoy high starting pay scales, with the average falling around $58,327 for new employees. Most of the higher paying positions involve research, analysis and project management. The first decade is when the biomedical degree holder will see steep increases in pay, but it tends to level out after that.

Software Engineering

Software engineers develop applications and software for a wide variety of industries. The starting pay begins at approximately $57,605, and increases dramatically over the next couple of decades. Those who specialize in cybersecurity will see the greatest monetary rewards.

Computer Science

With a starting salary averaging at approximately $62,000, those who graduate with a degree in this field can go on to work for large Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft or Apple.

Information Technology

There are few companies today that do not utilize computers and data storage. As such, they need someone dedicated to managing the network technology, create software platforms that increase efficiency and ensure that the company’s computers and technology systems are working at peak performance. Most IT majors can realize a starting pay of approximately $50,488, which will often double after only a few years’ time.


Getting a degree to become a registered nurse can guarantee employment and, depending on where the medical institution is located, many nurses can realize five to six figure incomes. A nursing degree is listed as a lucrative career because of its high demand, benefits and ability to have staying power.


Students who major in finance often use this degree as a gateway to other degrees. However, students with a degree in finance often create or establish their own companies. Finance majors often start (on average) at $51,900, but this more than doubles with a few years’ experience.


Majoring in economics is a good way to secure a future where the money is secure. Most majors in this field end up in business or finance related industries. The degree is also useful as a foundation for other degrees, such as law, nonprofit, research or public policy jobs. The starting pay is, on average $52,100.


The sky can really be the limit with this degree, depending on what a student would like to pursue. Physics degrees enable a person to work in many different industries, from education to laboratories to the military.


A degree in architecture can be lucrative if the worker utilizes the degree to become a project architect. Managing and overseeing a building project can translate into a nice salary. Starting salaries in this field begin at around $50,000, but are often supplemented with bonuses and commissions.


There are many directions in which a major in business might go. Some of the more lucrative areas include working as a Cisco Systems Business Development Manager, with a starting pay of $70,000. Top companies hire from this degree, including Google, Hewlett-Packard and Lockheed Martin.

International Relations

Students who major in international relations often go on to work in the international arena in a variety of capacities. Some become diplomats or serve in some governmental capacity abroad. Some students go on to work with the United Nations, private research groups or work for companies that have overseas operations. Starting salaries are largely dependent on the organization and can range from a starting pay of $44,200 to $70,000.