5 College Degrees With the Highest ROI


The first two things people usually want to know when you tell them you're making preparations for college are your intended school and major. Sure, they're curious to learn more about what you're interested in studying. But it's also because these are two of the main factors in determining your earning potential beyond college.

Most of us sacrifice years of our time and make a significant financial investment in order to obtain an undergraduate degree. If you want your future earnings to reflect these commitments, focus on high-earning majors, such as these.

1. Science

There are several high-paying careers within the three major areas of science — biology and life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemistry, biology, geology, climatology, and hydrology majors, to name a few, are in high demand and graduates in these fields earn upwards of $100,000 at mid-career level. In particular, says Salary.com, biology majors from public colleges can see an ROI of over 100% on their degrees.

2. Technology

Many of our recent advances in society are due to technology majors — making them highly sought after and crucial to employers. According to Salary.com, BI specialists and IT managers can expect mid-career earnings in excess of $100,000 and a degree ROI of approximately 170%. Some in-demand technology fields include computer information systems, computer science, management information systems, developers, and network security.

3. Engineering

Engineering graduates are also among top paid new hires. For 2015, undergraduates earning their degree in engineering can expect to earn an entry level salary of between $55,000–$57,000 per year. Competitive industrial engineering majors include, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering. Biomedical, software, environmental, and petroleum engineers are also among the highly paid fields.

4. Math

Whether you enjoy math or not, you might want to consider a degree in a math-related field because math majors remain at the cornerstone of being some of the most lucrative careers. A math major can expect mid-career earnings of over $70,000 in roles such as an actuary, or over $140,000 as an operations research analysis manager, according to Salary.com. That's an ROI of over 200% on public college degrees, in some cases.

5. Business

Business majors account for 26% of graduates. For those looking for a bit more flexibility in their careers, business might be just the right fit. For instance, you can specialize in business management, global business, or market research. An entry level salary for business majors is upwards of $50,000 per year and varies by geographic locale.

What did you major in?

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