See which degrees can lead to high-income jobs.
When it comes to making money, education can really pay.
In fact, according to PayScale’s 2010-2011 College Salary Report, $100,000 in annual income separates a petroleum engineering major ($157,000) from the average music major ($57,000) at the mid-career mark.
Don’t like engineering? Don’t despair. There are plenty of high-paying degrees to choose from.
Using PayScale’s 2010-2011 College Salary Report, we’ve identified 8 money-making college degrees:
- Business Administration
- Health Care Administration
- Information Systems
- Paralegal Studies
- Criminal Justice
- Information Technology
Keep reading to see how these degrees can lead to big bucks…
Degree #1: Bachelor’s in Business Administration
Mid-Career Salary: $70,600
As a whole, business-related majors enjoyed the biggest salary bumps over the past year, according to Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Current business administration majors are seeing an average starting salary offer of $44,171. Typical jobs include market research analyst and advertising sales agents. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, research analysts earned $67,500 in 2009, while sales agents earned $53,190.
Degree #2: Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration
Mid-Career Salary: $60,800
Why do health care administration grads find high-paying jobs? For starters, health care is the biggest and fastest growing sector of the economy. While you might start out as an office manager in a doctor’s office, earning roughly $40,000, some grads use work experience and sometimes a master’s to become medical services managers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job paid $90,970 in 2009.
Degree #3: Bachelor’s in Finance
Mid-Career Salary: $91,500
Want to make money? It helps to study it. According to NACE’s Winter 2011 Salary Survey report, starting salary offers for finance grads rose nearly two percent this year to $50,535. Typical jobs for finance grads include personal financial advisors and budget analysts. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, financial advisors typically earned $94,180 in 2009, while budget analysts earned $69,240.
Degree #4: Bachelor’s in Information Systems
Mid-Career Salary: $87,100
Many information systems majors find jobs in business and technology, two high-paying options to say the least. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top ten percent of computer systems analysts earned $119,170 in 2009. The agency lists a bachelor’s degree as the most common qualification for the job.
Degree #5: Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies
Mid-Career Salary: $51,300
Salaries are growing for paralegals, who are taking on many responsibilities that lawyers used to handle. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top ten percent of paralegals earned $75,700 in 2009. For an even quicker entry into the profession, consider earning an associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Degree #6: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
Mid-Career Salary: $58,000
The war on terror has increased our need for criminal justice majors to fill positions at home and abroad. This includes everyone from private security guards to U.S. customs agents. To use just one high-paying example, the top ten percent of police supervisors earned $116,340 in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Degree #7: Bachelor’s in Accounting
Mid-Career Salary: $77,500
What recession? In the past year alone, accounting majors have seen their average starting salary offer rise 2.2 percent to $49,022, according to NACE’s Winter 2011 Salary Survey report. What’s more, 47 percent of accounting majors received a job offer prior to graduation in 2010, according to a separate NACE study. Getting an accounting degree is a great first step to becoming a financial manager. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, finance managers typically earned $113,730 in 2009.
Degree #8: Bachelor’s in Information Technology (IT)
Mid-Career Salary: $79,300
Studying IT is a great way to graduate with the cutting edge skills you need to get a high-paying salary in today’s digital age. Typical jobs include computer programmers and database administrators. Computer programmers earned $74,690 in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, while database administrators earned $74,290.
By Chris Kyle