The 50 best college majors for finding the highest-paying jobs after graduation

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  • The best college majors for finding the highest-paying jobs after graduation tend to be in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Engineering, in particular, is one of the highest-paying college majors after graduation.
  • 50 college majors have an early career salary of at least $60,000, and many have a mid-career pay over $100,000.

It's the time of the year when high school seniors are deciding where to attend college and university students are preparing for their own graduation.

With that in mind, let's take a look at one of the most important questions facing young people: Which college major to choose?

How much money you earn after graduation depends a lot on your major. While future salary should not be the only criteria when selecting a major, it can be an important one for college students to consider.

PayScale's College Salary Report breaks down how much graduates of every degree type get paid. The report used data from nonprofit and public schools and measured profiles of 2.3 million college graduates with full-time jobs in the US. PayScale's report included 489 bachelor's majors of college degrees. Salary figures are from June 2017.

These numbers only reflect students who graduated with a bachelor's degree in each field. Associate's, master's, and other degrees are not considered.

The lucrative STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have plenty of representation on the list of highest-paying jobs after graduation. Engineering, in particular, is a college major that leads to strong future earning potential. All but two of the 20 highest-paying college degrees are some kind of study in engineering. Science, technology, and math majors are also present.

The 50 best college majors for the highest-paying jobs are listed in order of median salary early in their career, what PayScale considers zero to five years. The median pay at least 10 years after graduation, considered mid-career pay, is also included below.

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50. Statistics

50. Statistics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,600

49. Economics and mathematics

49. Economics and mathematics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $122,900

48. Operations management & information systems

48. Operations management & information systems

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,500

47. Information security

47. Information security

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $90,900

46. Engineering physics

46. Engineering physics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $112,600

45. Electrical engineering technology

45. Electrical engineering technology

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $93,400

44. Accounting & computer systems

44. Accounting & computer systems

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,900

43. Informatics

43. Informatics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $95,300

42. Construction engineering management

42. Construction engineering management

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $103,700

41. Construction science

41. Construction science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,700

Median pay after 10+ years: $102,600

40. Structural engineering

40. Structural engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $60,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $105,100

39. Construction engineering

39. Construction engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $93,700

38. Architectural engineering

38. Architectural engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $95,100

37. Actuarial science

37. Actuarial science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $130,800

36. Packaging science

36. Packaging science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $102,300

35. Engineering management

35. Engineering management

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,500

Median pay after 10+ years: $101,600

34. Plastics engineering technology

34. Plastics engineering technology

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $95,100

33. Bioengineering

33. Bioengineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $116,800

32. Radiation therapy

32. Radiation therapy

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $84,200

31. Manufacturing engineering

31. Manufacturing engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $61,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $96,400

30. Mechanical

30. Mechanical

Median pay after 0-5 years: $62,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $101,600

29. Computer science & mathematics

29. Computer science & mathematics

Median pay after 0-5 years: $62,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $114,400

28. Mechanical & aeronautical engineering

28. Mechanical & aeronautical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $62,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $113,200

27. Biomedical engineering

27. Biomedical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $62,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $103,500

26. Engineering

26. Engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $63,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $111,600

25. Electronics engineering

25. Electronics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $63,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,300

24. Mechanical engineering

24. Mechanical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $64,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $106,800

23. Plastics engineering

23. Plastics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $64,100

Median pay after 10+ years: $97,100

22. Industrial engineering

22. Industrial engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $64,400

Median pay after 10+ years: $107,100

21. Aeronautical engineering

21. Aeronautical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $65,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $118,800

20. Industrial & systems engineering

20. Industrial & systems engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $65,700

Median pay after 10+ years: $114,400

19. Computer science

19. Computer science

Median pay after 0-5 years: $65,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $110,100

18. Electrical & electronics engineering

18. Electrical & electronics engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $66,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $107,400

17. Software engineering

17. Software engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,300

16. Materials science & engineering

16. Materials science & engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $104,100

15. Aerospace engineering

15. Aerospace engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $66,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $113,300

14. Electrical engineering

14. Electrical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $67,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $114,800

13. Naval architecture & marine engineering

13. Naval architecture & marine engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $68,200

Median pay after 10+ years: $113,800

12. Electrical power engineering

12. Electrical power engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $68,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $119,100

11. Nuclear engineering

11. Nuclear engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $69,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $127,500

10. Electrical & computer engineering

10. Electrical & computer engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $69,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $118,800

9. Computer engineering

9. Computer engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $70,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $116,000

8. Chemical engineering

8. Chemical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $70,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $124,500

7. Computer science & engineering

7. Computer science & engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $70,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $116,800

6. Mining engineering

6. Mining engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $71,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $108.500

5. Computer systems engineering

5. Computer systems engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $72,000

Median pay after 10+ years: $118,000

4. Marine engineering

4. Marine engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $73,900

Median pay after 10+ years: $123,200

3. Metallurgical engineering

3. Metallurgical engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $75,300

Median pay after 10+ years: $105,100

2. Physician assistant studies

2. Physician assistant studies

Median pay after 0-5 years: $87,800

Median pay after 10+ years: $107,600

1. Petroleum engineering

1. Petroleum engineering

Median pay after 0-5 years: $94,600

Median pay after 10+ years: $175,500

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