The Best Choices For College Majors, Ranked By How Much Money They'll Make You

The total outstanding student loan debt in the US is $1.2 trillion—chances are that after you graduate college, you'll have to pay a decent amount in student loans. That's why it's important to choose one of these college majors that make the most money so that you'll earn enough to afford said bills. You'll want to choose a college major wisely to avoid being stuck with a useless degree in today's competitive job market. These highest-earning college majors are sure to score you a job with a decent salary post-graduation.


  • Actuarial Science: $110,090

    Actuarial Science: $110,090
    Photo: The Big Short / Paramount Pictures

    Actuarial science is the field of study that uses statistics to assess risk. Actuaries typically work for insurance companies or financial investment companies. Basically, anyone with an actuarial science degree is a bit of a Magic 8 Ball, as they predict how likely someone is to die, default on their mortgage, or how likely a stock investment is to pay out. Because they are able to guide others to better investments and decisions, they are extremely valuable in industries that operate on an element of risk.

    The median salary for someone working as an actuary is $110,090, and that salary only increases with more education.

  • Petroleum Engineering: $98,250

    Petroleum Engineering: $98,250
    Photo: There Will Be Blood / Paramount Vantage Miramax Films

    Currently, petroleum engineering stands as the highest-paid sector of engineering. This major leads to jobs in the discovery, extraction, and production of crude oil or natural gas. A petroleum engineer finds the best way to drill and extract oil or natural gas, oversees operations, and solves any problems with underperforming wells. Because humans will continue to rely on petroleum-generated energy for the foreseeable future, petroleum engineers have a high degree of career stability.

    Graduates with a petroleum engineering degree make an average of $98,250.

  • Electrical Engineering: $94,210

    Electrical engineering became a viable career path during the latter part of the 19th century, though it shows no signs of slowing down. Electrical engineers study, learn from, and develop new ways to use electricity. It's a valuable degree in our increasingly electronics-reliant world. Finding a job may require a move; just six states—California, Texas, Maryland, New York, Georgia, and New Jersey—employ 40% of the electrical engineers in the US.

    Electrical engineers make an average of $94,210, and that salary only increases with education and experience.

  • Computer Engineering: $84,068

    Computer Engineering: $84,068
    Photo: Silicon Valley / HBO

    Computer engineering is a field that combines electrical engineering with computer science. People who are educated in this field possess the skills to create software and hardware. We live in a world dependent on computers, tablets, and smart phones, and more and more products are becoming computerized. Computers are found in toys, watches, glasses, and even clothing. With the expansion of “smart” products, job opportunities for computer engineers will only grow.

    Right now, computer engineers make an average of $84,068, but it's likely that the demand for these professionals will rise in the near future, and so too will their salaries.

  • Civil Engineering: $83,540

    Civil Engineering: $83,540
    Photo: The Fountainhead / Warner Bros.

    Civil engineering is a field that has existed for longer than there have been college degree programs for it. Civil engineering involves the planning and building of major elements of cities. Civil engineers are responsible for designing stable roads, bridges, airports, railways, and sewage systems. This job has been around for quite some time, and it will never be obsolete.

    Civil engineers make an average of $83,540. As long as people need infrastructure, civil engineers will be able to demand high salaries.

  • Economics: $79,355

    Economics: $79,355
    Photo: The Newsroom / HBO

    Economics is the science that studies human behavior in relation to the production, distribution, and consumption of products. Economists are able to create theories about spending, saving, and investing patterns. Their understanding of societal spending makes economists valuable and flexible in terms of jobs. They can work as financial analysts, data analysts, accountants, or simply economists.

    People with a degree in economics earn an average of $79,355. It's a secure job field because of how many economists the United States government employs.