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Home / Loans / The Best And Worst Paying College Majors



One of the first steps that many young people make toward financial stability is completing their post-secondary education. Unfortunately, some students not do enough research into how much money they can expect to make after graduation. It can be quite disappointing to find that you have just taken on $50,000 in student loans to qualify for a job that only pays $28,000 per year, or less.

We thought it might be helpful to look through some of the stats published by the Department of Labor and a recent report published by Georgetown University to cull out a few of the best paying jobs and some of the worst. The pay is quoted for someone who has a few years under their belt, not at entry level.

One proviso needs to be mentioned:  these jobs are listed by base salary, so jobs that offer large portions of their pay based on commission may not appear.

Top Paying College Degrees

  • Petroleum Engineer…$243,000
  • Mining and Mineral Engineer…$142,000
  • Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences…$138,000
  • Chemical Engineer…$135,000
  • Metallurgical Engineer…$128,000
  • Electrical Engineer…$123,000
  • Geological and Geophysical Engineering…$118,000
  • Engineering and Industrial Management…$115,000
  • Actuary Sciences…$106,000
  • Computer Engineering or Applied Mathematics…$105,000

Lowest Paying College Degrees

  • Early Childhood Development…$30,000
  • Elementary Education…$50,000
  • Special Needs Education…$55,000
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies…$58,000
  • Human Services and Community Organization…$58,000
  • Social Work…$59,000
  • Family and Consumer Sciences…$60,000
  • Theology and Religious Vocations…$60,000
  • Communication Disorders Sciences and Services…$62,000
  • Social Sciences or History Teacher Education…$63,000

There are many factors that will determine the exact wage a person is paid within a field. One determining factor is geography, another is your willingness to travel. A person practicing within a field, but living in a rural area, will be paid less. A person who works from the home office may make less than a field operative. A teacher who chooses to work in an underserved area is going to make less, because most underserved areas in the U.S are poverty stricken as well.

One point of light for teachers is that there are federal loan forgiveness programs for those working in education. You can get more information about student loan forgiveness for teachers at this link.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey spent many years in a debt-riddled gray area somewhere between broke and desperately broke. His seemingly endless need for more and more cash led him to payday loans, repossessions, bankruptcy, and depression. After years of the same financial style, he heard a piece of advice that inspired him to find a way to change. The advice: ''The very definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same things, but expects different results.'' This led him to a much more frugal lifestyle that sees all of his bills paid on time and a growing savings account. Even the seed of a retirement account has begun to sprout.


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