If you’re considering enrolling in school to expand your career options and to position yourself for a higher salary, you are going to want to choose a college major that will help you reach these goals.
Chances are you are going to opt for a college major that is current, related to the 21st century, and one that will provide you with an education that is marketable in today’s competitive working world. But before we explore today’s most popular and highest-paying college majors, let’s look at some examples of the lowest paying college majors currently available at schools around the nation.
According to CBSNews.com, the worst paying college degree list includes majors such as art history, religious studies and special education.
The website Monster.com published a list of the worst paying college degrees of 2011, which contains majors such as recreation and leisure studies and also child and family studies.
UniversityLanguage.com reports that some of the lowest paying college degrees include music and horticulture.
Lowest Paying Does Not Necessarily Equal a Bad Career Choice
Besides the examples of “low paying” college majors listed above, there are many other majors that provide graduating students with the potential of earning salaries that fall at the lower end of the salary spectrum. However, many people who choose these majors are not as concerned about their earning power as they are with pursuing their true professional interests and their desire to enter a career that sparks a passion in them.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing a career in a field that makes you happy and makes you feel as though you will be able to make a difference in the world – even if it means a lower salary. Many of the lower paying college majors are in the “helping others” industries, and these industries are notorious for paying lower wages to workers. Nonetheless, people with college majors that lead to jobs on the low paying list always have the opportunity to obtain a post-graduate degree in a subject related to their chosen professional field in the future and perhaps increase their earnings.
Now… on to popular college majors and high paying degrees…
Popular College Majors
The job market is competitive and there are certain college majors that have consistently topped the list of the most popular choices. Three of the reasons these majors are prevalent include the fact that (a) they are offered at most colleges and universities around the country, (b) they tend to provide graduates with the potential to earn higher-than-average salaries, and (c) they provide the opportunity to work in interesting and challenging careers.
According to JobTrainingPlace.com, the top ten most common college majors are:
1. Business Administration
2. Criminal Justice
7. Health Administration
8. Computer Sciences
10. Human Services
All of these college majors provide graduates with the skills to obtain jobs that pay respectable salaries. These majors also provide students with the ability to gain essential work experience and then go back to school for a more advanced degree including a bachelor’s degree (if you originally graduated with an associate’s degree), a master’s degree, an MBA, or a PhD.
A potential problem associated with these popular majors is that each year, thousands of students graduate from colleges and universities around the country having majored in these subjects. With such large numbers of graduates, the competition for entry-level positions that require these majors is extremely competitive. This does not necessarily mean that jobs are not available; it simply means that students graduating with these majors must be top-notch, dedicated, and determined to find employment once they have earned their degrees.
Common Online Majors
Many people are choosing to attend college online rather than in-person. While many schools offer a multitude of choices for online majors, there are a few that stand out as most popular.
According to the website OnlineDegrees.org, the most common online majors are those related to business, health care, education, and engineering. The reasons behind these four selections have a lot to do with the current trends in today’s job market and the need for people with college degrees to work in these fields.
Online colleges and universities offer business, health care, education, and engineering degrees at all levels: Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees and PhDs.
Highest Paying College Majors
It’s not surprising that many of the highest paying college majors are related to engineering. According to HuffingtonPost.com, the top five college majors that lead to the highest median starting salaries include: aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and economics. People with these specific bachelor’s degrees have the potential to earn even higher salaries once they have gained a few years of work experience.
A report recently published by PayScale.com lists similar findings for the highest paid college majors. The top five high salary majors on Payscale’s list are: petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, and aerospace engineering.
Is Engineering the Only Option?
The bottom line is that according to most polls and studies, people graduating with undergraduate degrees in engineering have the best potential to earn the highest salaries right out of school. However, the field of engineering is not for everyone, and there are plenty of other college majors that will allow graduates to earn sizeable salaries. The following list contains additional examples of high paying degrees:
Written by Melanie Fischer, Career & Job Expert who has been writing professionally for over 10 years.