May 29, 2022
10 Highest Paying College Degrees

10 Highest Paying College Degrees


The best degree to study will depend on what you want to do, but there are certain degrees that pay far more than others. Salaries can vary by as much as $1 million over the course of your career, so it’s important to consider this when you’re deciding which field to enter. The following 10 highest paying college degrees take into account both starting salary and average salary to help ensure you choose the right one for your needs and long-term goals.

1) Doctoral Degree
A doctorate degree is one of two (sometimes three) graduate degrees awarded to students who have completed a Master’s Degree, and in many cases, several years of research. In some fields it is equivalent to a post-doctoral education or training. The key difference between a PhD and other doctoral degrees is that there are often more formalized requirements for acceptance into a PhD program than there are for other programs – particularly when studying at an elite institution.

2) Master’s Degree
The master’s degree is a sought-after degree for many reasons. For one, it will always be in demand. Second, there are more opportunities for higher pay and promotions at different companies. A master’s degree in education can be used to obtain a job as an instructor or professor at a local college or university.

3) Medical School
With a median salary of $197,950, becoming a doctor is one of America’s most lucrative careers. This career will require you to study for years but, if you make it through medical school and become an MD, you can expect to earn an average annual salary that’s nearly double that of many other college graduates. Earning a medical degree requires taking and passing four years of undergraduate classes as well as four years of medical school.

4) Pharmacy School
Earn a median income of $109,000 per year as a pharmacist. This equates to $54.76 per hour. Employed pharmacists report earning an average of $124,700 per year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). The education you’ll need is four years of school in pharmacy, after which you’ll spend one to two years training at a hospital or retail pharmacy under supervision from more experienced pharmacists before getting your own job and building your career from there.

5) MBA Degree
The list shows that many of these degrees include a heavy academic component. The top ten is rounded out by an MBA, a doctorate in education, and four forms of medical training—any one of which could lead to six-figure salaries upon graduation. But not all high-paying degrees are academic; you can become an engineer with a high-paying salary without ever setting foot on campus. And some of these lucrative job titles require just two years of schooling.

6) Law Degree
In addition to an impressive salary, grads of ABA-accredited law schools are also highly sought after by employers. According to U.S. News and World Report, there were only 58,700 practicing attorneys in 2013 with nine percent expected growth between 2012 and 2022. As a lawyer you’ll get a high salary, but as you can see in our list below, you’ll have plenty of competition in your field when it comes to pay.

7) Dental School
Earning a dental degree is sure to pay off—literally. In fact, it’s projected that most practicing dentists will earn over $200,000 annually by 2020. The professional field of dentistry has been expanding for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. A person studying dentistry can work at private offices or corporations, in addition to hospitals and schools.

8) Masters in Engineering, Technology, Computer Science or Mathematics (STEM)
STEM graduates have an annual starting salary of $64,279 and mid-career salary average of $112,000. While it is possible to major in any subject at these schools (and many students do), a concentration or minor in STEM may open more doors for you once you graduate.

9) J.D. — Juris Doctorate
A JD is a professional degree typically used as a stepping stone to law school and certification as an attorney. According to PayScale, only one law school in their top 10—University of Pennsylvania (U Penn)—is outside of Massachusetts. U Penn comes in at No. 5, with average early career pay of $72,700 (mid-career: $145,200).

10) Bachelors in Engineering, Technology, Computer Science or Mathematics (STEM)
Even with more than 8% unemployment in these fields, STEM majors still rake in some of highest starting salaries. Not only that, but they also lead to better positions down the road—one study found that early-career STEM professionals earn 20% more than non-STEM workers.

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