Six Figure Majors

In College Life on Mar 28, 2016

What are the highest-paying college majors? You may have heard STEM fields are where you want to look if you’re seeking a lucrative degree, but is that always true? We’ve dug into U.S. Census Bureau data to find out what the top-paying majors really are.

Mid-Career Median Salary Above $100,000 Annually
The following careers show the median salaries for mid-career professionals making more than $100,000 each year. That means that of people who have moved up and out of entry-level positions, half are making more than this and half are making less.

  • Petroleum Engineering: Petroleum engineers have a mid-career median salary of $136,000, according to census data. Individuals with this major determine the best ways to locate and extract natural gas from the earth without harming the surrounding environment.
  • Pharmacy: Pharmacists have a mid-career median salary of $113,000 and have an important job to do. They dispense drugs to ill patients and often work in hospitals, pharmacies, care clinics and nursing homes.

Mid-Career 75th Percentile Salary Above $100,000 Annually
The following careers show the salaries for mid-career professionals who earn more than $100,000 annually if they’re in the 75th percentile of earners in their field. That means that of people who have a decent amount of experience, people earning wages in the 75th percentile will make more money than 75 percent of individuals with that major.

  • Mining and Mineral Engineering: Individuals who fall within the 75th percentile with this degree earn $141,000 annually, and that salary comes with big responsibility. Mining and mineral engineers survey potential mining development sites and determine what safety, environmental and mining practices should be used within an area.
  • Chemical Engineering: $130,000 is a fantastic mid-career salary, but to get there you’ll need to have exceptional math and science skills.
  • Metallurgical Engineering: Metallurgical engineering is the study of metals, and mid-career professionals in the 75th percentile find themselves making $128,000 a year.
  • Electrical Engineering: Interested in studying the application of electromagnetism, electricity and electronics? You could earn $123,000 annually.
  • Geological and Geophysical Engineering: An annual salary of $119,000 is attainable if you become a geological and geophysical engineer.
  • Aerospace Engineering: Those of us who never outgrew our astronaut phase or love of space could earn $118,000 a year by majoring in aerospace engineering.
  • Economics: Love your high school economics class? Continue studying the subject and you could bring in $118,000 annually.
  • Mechanical Engineering: Combine your skills in science, math and physics for the opportunity to earn $116,000 at the mid-career level.
  • Computer Engineering: $114,000 is an impressive salary for a mid-career professional who loves to work with computers.
  • Applied Mathematics: If you love solving complicated problems and intend on being an applied math major, $114,000 is an achievable salary.
  • Computer Science: A mid-career professional has the potential to earn $114,000 or more with a computer science degree.
  • Engineering and Industrial Management: Engineering and industrial management professionals are key to most operations – they apply engineering principles to industrial and manufacturing operations. Graduates with this degree can find themselves earning $114,000 annually by the middle of their career.

Not sure which major is right for you? Our Careers and Majors quiz helps you narrow it down based on your skills and interests. 

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