These days, it seems like everyone is going to college with one goal in mind: to make money. Everyone has aspiring dreams of graduating college and working right out of school with a six figure salary, but the question is, what majors should people who want to make a lot of money look into?
Well, there is one very interesting trend when it comes to the top ten highest paying majors, nine out of ten of them are all specializing in the engineering field. Shocker. It will be interesting to unveil which major is the only major in the top ten outside the world of engineering.
The top-paying degree is petroleum engineering, according to a new report from The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report used 2013 Census data and concluded that employees who graduate with this degree earn a median annual salary of $136,000 per year. The second-highest earning degrees are ranked as pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical administration. In addition to being the second highest paying college major, this is also one of the most difficult fields to enter simply because of the number of people trying to enter this field. These pharmaceutical graduates earned an average of $113,000 annually. The report broke down earnings for 137 college majors. It found that after a year, the salary difference between the highest- and lowest-paying major is $97,000. Over the course of a career, it turns out to be a difference of $3.4 million. While engineering majors make up the majors that bring in the most money, business management and administration is the most common major, with 8% of the workforce comprising this major. Business majors, science, technology, engineering and math majors make up a vast majortity of the American workforce at 46%.
The list of highest paying college majors is in order, respectively. Petroleum engineering, pharmacy (which includes a wide variety of specialties) metallurgical engineering, mining and mineral engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, geological engineering. The median annual salaries of these jobs is also listed, respectively at $136,000, $113,000, $98,000, $97,000, $96,000, $93,000, $90,000, $87,000, $87,000, $87,000.
Now, to break away from the monotony and statistical data of this topic and to revisit a point I made earlier, I have to be able to interject my personal opinion on this matter. I believe very strongly that one should not only be able to enjoy his or hers job, but they should also be able to make a good living by doing it in order to make enough money to live comfortably and support their families. It is always important to be able to give your kids everything that you never had as a child, and I think that from a philosophical note, one is not going to be able to accomplish these things without the proper funding. But, I am also a big proponent of not just wanting to major in something and take a job in that field because it pays a lot of money. You have to consider things like what you are good at and if you will actually enjoy this job, because if you take a job solely for the money and you end up hating what you do, that puts you in a very bad situation. I am often reminded of something my great uncle once told me when we were discussing what I wanted to do for a job at one family Christmas. He said, “Do what you love and the money will come”. So, I plan to live by this as I choose to major in public relations in college, a major in which I have the opportunity to exercise my people skills and study topics that I enjoy.
The message that I would like to convey to students in high school that are undecided on a major, and to students in college that may be in the same boat is to do what you love and the money will come, eventually. It may take you years of experience in the field of your job to finally make the money that you always dreamed of. But, money is not always the true source of happiness. Doing what you love on a daily basis, no matter what your paycheck says, is the true source of happiness in the workforce.