Top 10 degrees that will get you the big bucks

Pulling all-nighters for your physics exams? It could pay off!

You’ll never make fun of nerds again. Turns out those who can put up with four years of math and science homework will see the biggest rewards. According to a survey by Payscale.com the top 10 majors that lead to the highest paying starting jobs are all in the realm of engineering, science and math. Additionally, those jobs have a firm grasp on the highest paying mid-career salaries, too. Scared of making too little? Jobs in education and social work, while noble, will not have you seeing the dollar signs.

Top 10 degrees that lead to high paying jobs

1. If hydrocarbons are your passion, you’re in luck. A degree in petroleum engineering firmly tops off the list with a starting pay average of $97,900. The mid-career salary average is $155,000.

2. Coming in at a distant second is chemical engineering with a starting pay average of $64,500 but it will light up your mid-career salary with $109,000.

3. With a similar pay average is electrical engineering, starting off with an average salary of $61,300 and jumping to $103,00 by mid-career.

4. Materials science and engineering will get you an average of  $60,400 to start and $103,000 down the road.

5. A degree in aerospace engineering will have your career taking off at $60,700 but by mid-career, you’ll be making a touch less than #4 at $102,000.

6. Computer engineering will earn you an average of $61,800 to begin your career and $101,000 by the middle of it.

7. A degree in physics will put your starting salary into motion at an average of $49,800 and increase to $101,000 mid-career.

8. In addition to a keen knowledge of differential equations and probability applied mathematics will get you an average starting salary of  $52,600 and a mid-career pay of $98,600.

9. If computers are your language, you’ll be raking in $56,600 to start with a degree in computer science and your salary could jump to an average of $97,900 by the middle of your career.

10. While a degree in nuclear engineering will have you starting off higher with an average of $65,100, your mid-career salary may not surpass #9 with an average of $97,800.

Numbers aren’t your thing? Rounding out the bottom of the list are child and family studies, elementary education and social work. But hey, it’s not about the money, right? 


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