A guide to the top-earning degrees


Jul 30 • 3 minute read

This blog was first published on schoolapply.com

Want to study something that will guarantee you a high-paying job in the future? Read on for our guide to the degrees that lead to the highest salaries..

There’s no getting around the fact that attaining a college education is expensive. Plus, attending a college is not only an investment in money but also in valuable time! That’s why more and more students are taking extra time to choose their degree or major in order to ensure that their future earnings will make up for the initial debt they may have to take on. As we all know, some jobs have far greater earning potential than others, and to get a high-paying job, you need a relevant degree. So, before you decide on what you’re going to study, it’s worthwhile researching what the highest earning degrees are.

Before we get into our specific list, it’s worth mentioning that as a rule of thumb, degrees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to lead to high salaries upon graduation and beyond. This is because in today’s world, STEM jobs are both valued and growing in number, meaning that there are more and more exciting employment opportunities for graduates in these fields. However, that’s not to say that you can’t make a good living if you go in another direction. Humanities majors can also lead to careers with good earning potential and there are always multiple ways to rise to the top of any organization.

Figuring out which degrees will earn you the most money in the future can be confusing. To help you along the way, we’ve put together a list of some of the degrees and majors that will be most likely to pay you back. Here’s our list of the top 5 degrees based on earning potential.


In terms of earning potential, engineering degrees are at the very top of the list. Whether you major in chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, petroleum engineering, or any other engineering degree for that matter, you’re sure to end up with a well-paying job and a promising career path. Engineering skills are sought after in most economies, which is why they are rewarded with some of the highest paying salaries. Have your heart set on becoming a successful CEO? Well, engineering is a good bet for that too, as many CEOs (even those in Fortune 500 companies) tend to have an engineering background.

Actuarial Science and Actuarial Mathematics

Are you a whizz with numbers and passionate about business? Then actuarial science or mathematics may be right up your alley. For the most part, actuary scientists work in the fields of finance and accounting and rely heavily on principles from mathematics, statistics and finance. Their main role is to help their clients understand the risks associated with a transaction so that better business decisions can be made. Actuary mathematicians deal more with risk associated with events and are often employed by insurance companies or large banks. The high level of skill and strategic thinking that is required makes careers in actuarial science and actuarial mathematics some of the most lucrative. So, if you’re looking for an interesting job that will quickly pay back your student loans, this is a great choice!

Business and Economics

Economists will always play a crucial role in society, which also means that studying in this field has reliably good earning potential. As an economist, you’ll need to study how a country, market or business distributes its resources to create goods and services, and then make recommendations on how this process can be streamlined or optimized for better results. Although often employed in government roles, economists can also find high-paying opportunities at investment firms, banks and large corporations.


No matter where you live, there is always a need for good architects, which is why architectural engineers tend to earn top salaries. Architectural engineers need to apply math and science principles to building design, considering among other things, functionality, economics and safety. This type of degree is great for someone who wants to earn good money and excels in STEM subjects, but also wants an outlet for their artistic creativity.

Computer Science and Information Technology

In our fast-paced world of computer technology, IT professionals are becoming increasingly more valuable and well-paid. IT consultants advise their clients on how best to use information technology to meet their business objectives or overcome problems. Whether you’re a software engineer or a systems manager, you’re bound to earn a good salary for making a worthwhile contribution to a business.

Thinking of signing up for one of these degrees? Here are a few great recommendations for schools who specialize in these qualifications:

  1. London South Bank University - Business and Economics
  2. Woodbury University - School of Architecture
  3. St. Mary's College of California - Engineering
  4. Florida State University - Medicine and Veterinary Sciences
  5. Springfield College - Mathematics and Computer Science

If you want to know more about some amazing and innovative educational courses, then get in touch with us.