Which college majors pay the most (and the least)?

Posted on September 11th, 2013

When deciding whether a college’s price tag is worth the investment, it’s important to consider your major and career aspirations. While no major can guarantee financial success, a recent study from Georgetown University found that your college major can significantly impact your future earning potential.

We don’t recommend choosing your college major based on average salary alone, but it’s certainly something you should consider when deciding whether to take out student loans to pay for college and how much debt you can handle.

According to the study, the highest-paid area of study was petroleum engineering, with full-time employees in the field making an average of $120,000 per year. The lowest-paid major counseling psychology, with an average salary of $29,000.

Top 10 highest-paid college majors

1. Petroleum Engineering: $120,000

2. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: $105,000

3. Mathematics and Computer Science: $98,000

4. Aerospace Engineering: $87,000

5. Chemical Engineering: $86,000

6. Electrical Engineering: $85,000

7. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: $82,000

8. Mechanical Engineering: $80,000

9. Metallurgical Engineering: $80,000

10. Mining and Mineral Engineering: $80,000

Top 10 lowest-paid college majors

1. Counseling Psychology: $29,000

2. Early Childhood Education: $36,000

3. Theology and Religious Vocations: $38,000

4. Human Services and Community Organization: $38,000

5. Social Work: $39,000

6. Drama and Theater Arts: $40,000

7. Studio Arts: $40,000

8. Communication Disorders Sciences and Service: $40,000

9. Visual and Performing Arts: $40,000

10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: $40,000

Salary can vary widely by geographic location, experience, and other factors, but be sure to keep your major in mind when deciding whether the college of your choice is really worth the investment.

And If you’re passionate about majoring in a low-paying field or already graduated, don’t be discouraged. Loan forgiveness is available for public service employees, and there are student loan repayment plans that can provide relief for borrowers whose salary is too low to cover their monthly payments.

Check out our student loan repayment strategies to learn more about paying back your student loans, and learn more about affording college here.

Category: Financial Aid

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