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5 College Degrees with Above Average Salaries  

Attaining a college education increases your chances of earning a healthy compensation for your time. The truth is, you do not have to be a doctor or a lawyer to earn a healthy living. As expected in this age of technology, the computer "geeks" seem to be taking home the biggest paychecks.

Consider pursuing a degree in one of these fields:

1. Petroleum engineering. Engineering is well known for being a high paying industry, and the growing sector of petroleum engineering is no different. With just five to nine years of experience, you can earn a satisfying six-figure salary of $120,000.

  • According to Payscale.com, the average entry-level salary for graduates that hold a degree in petroleum engineering falls in the range of $66,000 to $91,000. And, after just 10 years of experience, an annual salary of $100,000 to $152,000 is common.
  • Petroleum engineers employed by private organizations earn between $99,000 and $205,000 per year, while the earnings of federal government employees are capped at $106,000 regardless of experience.

2. Statistics. If you have a love for analyzing data and you're good with numbers, you could find a handsomely paying career in Statistics. With five to nine years of experience under your belt, you can earn $93,000.

  • As a fresh college grad, you can expect to take home in the range of $42,000 to $66,000. And, after gaining 10 years of experience, the average salary is between $77,000 and $112,000.
  • Company employees earn between $62,000 and $100,000, while government employees earn on average $10,000 less per year.

3. Computer science. With technology being one of today's most popular career fields, it's no wonder computer science majors take home over $53,000 during their first year in the workforce.

  • According to Payscale.com, those with five to nine years of experience can expect to earn $73,000. And, after 10 years on the job, an annual salary of over $90,000 is considered to be standard practice.
  • Company employees are compensated the greatest at an average salary of about $73,000, while employees of the federal government usually average $71,000.

4 Geology. When it comes to making the big bucks as a geologist, location is the most crucial factor. While some states, such as Florida and Georgia, often pay an average salary of less than $40,000 for an experienced geologist, states such as California and Texas are willing to pay a premium.

  • Texas geologists earn in the range of $49,000 and $92,000. California also offers a healthy salary, ranging from $46,000 to $65,000. Salary is proportionate with experience.
  • Nationally, geologists with less than a year of experience earn between $35,000 and $52,000. However, after five to nine years on the job, a $62,000 salary can be attained. A geologist with over 10 years of experience can expect to earn an annual salary between $52,000 and $73,000.
  • Self-employed geologists have the highest earning potential tiptoeing in around $35,000 and upwards of $93,000.
  • The highest earning potential for government employees is around $64,000.

5. Economics. Though the current economy may be undeniably depressed, those with a degree in economics can safely expect to earn a sizeable salary, even throughout the beginning years of their careers.

  • According to Payscale.com, fresh college graduates take home $36,000 to $58,000 in their first year on the job. After just five to nine years of experience, the average salary boosts to between $63,000 and $100,000. Highly experienced economists earn a respectable $82,000 to $122,000 annual salary.
  • Government employees are compensated at a higher level than company employees. On average, the government pays between $60,000 and $110,000, as opposed to the average $44,000 to $88,000 offered to company employees.

As you can see, even with a sour economy, it's still possible to earn an impressive salary with a standard Bachelor's degree. If you can focus in on a time-tested profitable degree, you'll be able to live large, whether the economy is sinking or thriving.