When you’re in college, graduation and the prospect of entering the job market seems like a long way off. But you shouldn’t wait to start heading down the right career path – college is your best opportunity to set yourself up for future success. And since you’ll likely have student loans to pay off, finding a job with a good starting salary is key.
If you’re still weighing your options and trying to decide where to focus your studies, take a look at this list of some of the highest paying college majors of 2017 to help you make an informed decision.
- Petroleum Engineering
You would be working with oil and gas companies, some of the biggest companies in the world, to design, test, and implement efficient and effective techniques to extract hydrocarbons from the earth and the sea floor. To start, you can expect a salary of $96,700, with a mid-career pay of around $172,000.
- Physician Assistant Studies
Under the supervision of a physician, a PA provides health care services by taking patient histories, performing physical examinations, diagnosing and treating illnesses, and even assisting in surgeries. You’ll earn a starting salary of $85,200, and can anticipate a mid-career pay of $103,000.
- Computer Science & Engineering
Whether you pursue hardware, software, theory, or electronics, you’ll be helping to design, build, and improve the technology that we rely on in contemporary culture – everything from home video game systems to hospital monitoring equipment. Your salary will start at $71,200, and will increase to $116,000 midway through your career.
- Mining Engineering
You’ll be responsible for designing both surface and underground mines, supervising the construction of mine shafts and tunnels, and developing efficient methods for transporting materials to processing plants. You’ll earn a starting salary of $70,200, with an expected mid-career pay of $107,000.
- Chemical Engineering
As a chemical engineer, you would take chemical reactions from the laboratory to the real world, blending physical and life sciences with applied mathematics and economics. Working in fields like biomedicine, biotechnology, and scientific research, you’ll be producing, transforming, and transporting chemical materials and energy. To start, you’ll earn a salary of $69,800, with a mid-career increase to $119,000.
- Computer Engineering
You’ll graduate this program with skills in software development, digital/analog device interfacing, and digital/analog electronics, with a broad knowledge of various hardware and software technologies. This growing field pays a starting salary of $69,600, with an anticipated mid-career pay of $113,000.
- Nuclear Engineering
If you’re interested in finding industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials, this is a perfect major. Nuclear engineers research and develop the instruments, processes, and systems that take advantage of nuclear energy and radiation, with a salary of $68,500 to start and a mid-career pay of $116,000.
- Electrical & Computer Engineering
You can find career opportunities in many engineering fields with this major – business, biomedical engineering, computer hardware, aerospace, computer software, photonics, nanoengineering, robotics, and solar energy harvesting. You’ll start out earning a salary of $68,100, with a mid-career pay of $114,000.