10 College Majors That Practically Guarantee a Fat Salary

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For most young people, a college degree remains the ticket to a life of prosperity. That is especially true for those who choose the right field of study.

Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York identified the college majors that result in the highest salaries for students who graduate with those degrees.

These rankings focus on the median wage that graduates can expect to earn during the early part of their career. In addition, all wage data applies to those who earn a bachelor’s degree but do not pursue higher levels of education.

With those factors in mind, here are the college majors that practically guarantee a fat salary.

10. Finance

Woman accountant or tax expert or businesswoman using a laptop and a calculator to do finances or tax paperwork
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $66,000
  • Mid-career: $104,000

A finance major prepares students to work within the financial services sector. Examples of job titles tied to this area of study include finance director and financial analyst. Students need to have strong analytical and math skills and enjoy working with money.

8. General engineering (tie)

Engineer or technician checking a water supply valve
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $68,000
  • Mid-career: $100,000

General engineering is an umbrella term that encompasses all of engineering, from design to build and maintenance. Unlike other engineering majors — in which the student specializes in one type of engineering — general engineering is an interdisciplinary course of study.

8. Miscellaneous engineering (tie)

Woman statistician
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $68,000
  • Mid-career: $100,000

Some types of engineering majors escape easy classification, and they end up in the miscellaneous engineering category. One example might be renewable energy engineering.

7. Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineer
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $70,000
  • Mid-career: $111,000

Students who pursue a mechanical engineering major study all types of movement, from particles and machines to bodies in motion. Graduates work in industries ranging from energy and health care to defense and transportation.

6. Industrial engineering

Industrial engineer
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $71,000
  • Mid-career: $100,000

Majoring in industrial engineering prepares students to design, install and operate systems that are more efficient in producing a product or providing a service. Students need a firm grasp of the math, physical and social sciences.

5. Electrical engineering

Electrical engineer
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $72,000
  • Mid-career: $112,000

Students who pursue a degree in electrical engineering prepare for a career in which they design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. Courses focus on devices and systems that involve electronics and electromagnetics.

4. Aerospace engineering

Worker near airplane
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $74,000
  • Mid-career: $120,000

A major in aerospace engineering readies students to work in careers where they solve issues related to aircraft design, propulsion and spacecraft systems. Some graduates work in the private sector while others work for governmental agencies such as NASA.

3. Computer science

Computer scientist
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Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $78,000
  • Mid-career: $110,000

A degree in computer science opens opportunities for a wide array of jobs in computer and information technology. That includes roles such as computer programmer, information security analyst and software developer.

2. Chemical engineering

Chemical engineer
Khakimullin Aleksandr / Shutterstock.com

Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $79,000
  • Mid-career: $133,000

Majoring in chemical engineering prepares students to develop, design and implement chemical products and processes. Graduates might work in the chemical, petroleum or nuclear industries, among others.

1. Computer engineering

Computer engineer
Stock-Asso / Shutterstock.com

Median wage among graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in this major and are in their:

  • Early career: $80,000
  • Mid-career: $125,000

A computer engineering major combines two major fields of study — computer science and engineering. Students learn to spot problems in digital systems and fix them. This prepares them for a career as a computer scientist, software developer or other role.

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