Top 5 College Majors that Offer High Economic Value

Is your college major valuable?

Today’s college students need to put a lot of thought into their college major. With rising tuition rates, increased student loan interest and a changing job market, a student’s college major is crucial in terms of finding a lucrative job after graduation. Once you graduate, your college major can either be a stepping stone or a roadblock to securing a good job in a thriving industry. So which college majors are most likely to land you a well-paying job right out of school? Analysts at PayScale have determined the top most valuable major in the current marketplace. Is yours on the list?

1. Biomedical engineering: A biomedical engineer earns a median starting salary of $53,800, which grows an average of 82% to $97,800 by mid-career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 61.7% job growth is projected in this field. Biomedical engineers are employed in hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device and testing companies, government agencies, universities, and medical schools. The emphasis on biomedical engineering is on finding solutions by researching, testing, and applying medical, biological, chemical, electrical, and materials information.

2. Biochemistry: A biochemist earns a median starting salary of $43,200, which grows to $88,500 by mid-career. With a degree in biochemistry, you could become a research assistant after graduation on a career path toward bigger jobs and double the salary by mid-career. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical composition of living cells. A biochemist examines the chemical and physical processes of cells and organisms, identifies strains of diseases, and develops new medicines. Biochemists play an important role in contributing to advances in a wide variety of areas, including health, agriculture and the environment.

3.  Computer science: With a computer science degree, you can earn a median starting salary of $50,000, which grows to $93,000 by mid-career. There are many jobs that a degree in computer science can get you, including software engineer, software developer, programmer analyst, information technology (IT) manager, and software engineer. The field of computer science is constantly changing and evolving, and offers many opportunities in various fields such as programming, systems development, consulting, education, and network technology.

4. Software engineering: Software engineers earn a median starting salary of $55,000 and a median of $87,800 after 10 years on the job. Software engineering is an approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software. Software engineer employment is expected to increase much faster than the average for most non-engineering and all engineering occupations, as companies continue to adopt and integrate new technologies requiring more complex software to keep their products competitive. Software engineers are needed in telecommunications, networking, instrumentation, biomedical, defense, and other settings. A major growth sector will be defense sector companies subcontracting to the federal government.

5. Environmental engineering: Environmental engineers earn a median starting salary of $48,000 and a median of $88,600 after 10 years. Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment (air, water, and/or land resources), to provide healthy water, air, and land. These types of engineers are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste, disposal, public health, and control of water and air pollution. Environmental engineers work in a variety of settings because of the nature of the tasks they do.

According to the research conducted, engineering concentrations comprise one third of the most valuable majors. Competition for new science, technology, engineering and math talent is steep, which means that these students will likely receive multiple job offers after graduation. Engineering, physics, computer science, and mathematics boast strong earning potential and low employment rates, which can help you reap the highest return on your education investment.

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