30 Best Paying College Majors: 2017

ThinkAdvisor whittled down PayScale’s starting salary rankings of 336 majors, which show science and math dominating

Any major that’s attached to science or engineering promises to be a boon for graduates entering the job world, according to findings of PayScale.com in its 2016-2017 College Salary Report.

Science and math majors dominate the top college starting salaries and mid-career earners, and are largely made up of male graduates. In fact, 80% of those who graduate with the top degree on this list are men, according to PayScale data. Worse yet, only 8% of physics majors and 7% of engineering majors are women.

(Related: 15 Best Paying Jobs for College Business Majors and 31 Worst Paying College Majors)

The rankings below are based on data collected by PayScale from 983 universities and includes graduates with bachelor’s degrees in 336 disciplines. The universities surveyed include 85% of U.S. schools with an enrollment of more than 5,000 and 62% of schools with enrollment over 1,000, using a sample size of 1.4 million “degree holding, full-time, civilian employees working in the U.S.” The number in parentheses provides the overall ranking (of the 336 majors) for mid-career pay.

Here, then, are the best paying college majors for 2017:

Best Paying College Majors

Packaging Science

30. Actuarial Science

Starting Salary: $60,800

Mid-Career Pay: $119,000 (3rd best)

29. Packaging Science

Starting Salary: $61,100

Mid-Career Pay: $94,600 (47th best)

28. Electronics Engineering

Starting Pay: $61,300

Mid-Career Pay: $99,600 (33rd best)

Best Paying College Majors

Architectural Engineering

27. Architectural Engineering

Starting Salary:  $61,700

Mid-Career Pay: $89,800 (64th best)

26. Manufacturing Engineering

Starting Salary: $62,000

Mid-Career Pay: $93,200 (50th best)

(Related: 15 Best Paying Jobs for College Business Majors)

Best Paying College Majors

Biomedical Engineering

25. Engineering

Starting Salary: $62,600

Mid-Career Pay: $107,000 (19th best)

24. Biomedical Engineering

Starting Pay: $62,700

Mid-Career Pay: $104,000 (25th best)

(Related: 16 Best & Worst 529 College Savings Plans: Morningstar)

Best Paying College Majors

Aeronautical Engineering

23. Engineering Management

Starting Pay: $62,800

Mid-Career Pay: $98, 400 (34th best)

22. Aeronautical Engineering

Starting Salary: $63,000

Mid-Career Pay: $113,000 (9th best)

(Related: College Majors May Not Be as Important as You Think)

Best Paying College Majors

Computer Science & Mathematics

21.  (tie)  Mechanical Engineering

Starting Salary: $63,500

Mid-Career Pay: $103,000 (28th best)

21. (tie) Computer Science & Mathematics

Starting Salary: $63,500

Mid-Career Salary: $111,000 (11th best)

Best Paying College Majors

Industrial Engineering 

19. (tie) Industrial Engineering

Starting Pay: $63,800

Mid-Career Pay: $104,000 (25th best)

19. (tie) Industrial & Systems Engineering

Starting Salary: $63,800

Mid-Career Pay: $108,000 (15th best)

(Related: 31 Worst Paying College Majors: 2017)

Best Paying College Majors

Electrical & Electronics Engineering

17. Electrical & Electronics Engineering

Starting Salary: $64,000

Mid-Career Pay: $108,000 (15th best)

16. Software Engineering

Starting Salary: $64,700

Mid-Career Pay: $98,100 (36th best)

(Related: 16 Best & Worst 529 College Savings Plans: Morningstar)

Best Paying College Majors

Dental Hygiene

15. Computer Science

Starting Salary: $65,300

Mid-Career Pay: $107,000 (19th best)

14. (tie) Dental Hygiene

Starting Salary: $65,400

Mid-Career Pay: $74,900 (142nd best)

(Related: College Majors May Not Be as Important as You Think)

Best Paying College Majors

Aerospace Engineering

14. (tie) Aerospace Engineering

Starting salary: $65,400

Mid-Career Pay: $106,000 (23rd best)

12. Materials Science & Engineering

Starting Salary: $65,800

Mid-Career Pay: $108,000 (15th best)

Best Paying College Majors

Systems Engineering

11. Systems Engineering

Starting Salary: $66,400

Mid-Career Pay: $121,000 (2nd)

10. Electrical Engineering

Starting Salary: $67,000

Mid-Career Pay: $110,000 (13th)

(Related: 31 Worst Paying College Majors: 2017)

Best Paying College Majors

Electrical & Computer Engineering

9. Electronics & Communications Engineering

Staring Salary: $68,000

Mid-Career Pay: $115,000 (7th best)

8. Electrical & Computer Engineering

Starting Salary: $68,100

Mid-Career Pay: $114,000 (8th best)

(Related: 16 Best & Worst 529 College Savings Plans: Morningstar)

Best Paying College Majors

Nuclear Engineering

7. Nuclear Engineering

Starting Salary: $68,500

Mid-Career Pay: $116,000 (5th best)

6. Computer Engineering

Starting Salary: $69,600

Mid-Career Pay: $113,000 (9th best)

(Related: 15 Best Paying Jobs for College Business Majors)

Best Paying College Majors

Mining Engineering

5. Chemical Engineering

Starting Salary: $69,800

Mid-Career Pay: $119,000 (3rd)

4. Mining Engineering

Starting Salary: $70,200

Mid-Career Pay: $107,000 (19th)

Best Paying College Majors

Physician Assistant

3. Computer Science & Engineering

Starting Salary: $71,200

Mid-Career Pay: $116,000 (5th best)

2. Physician Assistant Studies

Starting Salary: $85,200

Mid-Career Pay: $103,000 (28th best)

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