And the salary you could be earning as soon as you get it.
The 10 best college degrees to get a job
What happens when you combine a list of the hottest careers with a list of the highest-paying jobs? Theoretically, you discover the best majors to seek in college.
With college costs skyrocketing, you need some assurances you’ll graduate into a career that’s hiring – and one that will pay you enough to handle the $32,731 in student loans. (Yup, that’s the national average these days, according to the Federal Reserve.)
We cross-referenced two sets of data to figure out how much you’ll earn if you get a job through one of the top 10 degrees for job-seekers. Sources include research from jobs site CareerCast, which calculated college degrees with the best job prospects, and degree-specific earnings data from compensation research site PayScale.
Nurses will earn the highest starting salary on this list. However, they will also see the lowest average salary growth in the first decade of their career: 12 percent, the only growth rate under 30 percent. That means your experience will get you to around $76,722 10 years after graduation.
- Average beginning salary: $68,348
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from nurse to chief nursing officer.
Nursing is one profession that may qualify for student loan forgiveness. Check out if you meet the requirements for a Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
2. Computer science
It's not entirely surprising that the app creating people come in second highest in initial salaries. And with this degree, you’re looking at a 35 percent salary growth over time. Computer science majors will see the highest salary for experienced practitioners: $85,273.
- Average beginning salary: $63,335
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from software engineer to application developer.
3. Mechanical engineering
This is the third highest initial salary. And that should grow just 34 percent over 10 years to give you around $79,451. The average pay is higher than the national average, according to Census data. The return on investment beats out most other degrees except mathematics or computer science.
- Average beginning salary: $59,338
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from project engineer to manufacturing engineer to design engineer, and obviously, mechanical engineer.
Reserved for those who are numbers-savvy. This type of degree holder earns a solid entry salary and also an average raise bringing their annual pay to about $80,437 within a decade. This is just one of two degrees that the average salary for experienced people is at or above $80,000.
- Average beginning salary: $53,600
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from data scientist to actuarial analyst, which means you assess data and statistics to determine the cost of events like product failures or hurricanes.
5. Information systems
Fifth on our list, this is the first degree that should pay more than $50,000 a year straight out of school. With just a 39-percent raise rate over 10 years, you’re looking at around $71,525 in earnings.
- Average beginning salary: $51,616
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from information technology manager to network administrator – you’ll be asking lots of people to turn their computers off, wait, and then on again.
Earlier this year, Debt.com reported that businesses have been increasing cybersecurity budgets, and are searching for qualified workers to fill information technology jobs.
A decade after school, expect to make around $68,390 for counting thousands of more digits than your paycheck shows. But if keeping everything in order is up your alley, this field of study is a safe path to take.
- Average beginning salary: $48,914
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from staff accountant to a corporate controller, in other words, you control the means of accounting at a company to ensure everything is documented appropriately.
With the second highest raise over time (51 percent) on our list, studying finance means you’ll be making about $71,700 within 10 years. If math isn’t for you, though, you might want to reconsider.
- Average beginning salary: $47,639
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from financial analyst to chief financial officer.
While you’re starting off at fewer than $50,000 a year, you’re looking at earning about $68,455 within a decade. But is memorizing chemical formulas worth the money and a lab coat? That's for you to decide.
- Average beginning salary: $46,531
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from research scientist to quality assurance manager.
9. Business management
With the prospect of making $64,399 about a decade into the job, you’re only looking at a little over 40 percent in that 10-year stretch. But most companies have – or at least need – a human resources department. That means job opportunities.
- Average beginning salary: $45,306
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from human resources manager to director of operations.
Initially, this is the lowest paying job on our list. But workers see the highest average raise (58 percent) in the first decade of working. So if you stick it out for a while, odds are you’ll at least get close to $65,754, the average salary for those who’ve been at it for between five and nine years, PayScale reports.
- Average beginning salary: $41,595
- Jobs for your degree: Titles range from account executive to marketing director.
No matter what you end up studying, you’re more likely than not to need a student loan to cover the cost of your education. Learning how to face that debt early using free resources like Debt.com’s Student Loan Education Center can help you save money in the long run, and maybe even retire one day.
Published by Debt.com, LLC