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College Majors with High Earning Potentials

In the Spark News blog post titled Noteworthy Entry Level Jobs, we explained the difficulty that some college students face when selecting a major. In that post it was found that between 30 and 40 percent of American incoming college freshmen are unsure of their major when they enroll. When selecting a college major, I feel that it’s extremely important to choose one that you will enjoy studying. However, I also feel that it’s important to be mindful of your earning potential. For this reason, I have compiled a list of undergraduate college degrees that have substantial median salaries. Nevertheless, keep in mind that your earning potential shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing your college major.

Chemical Engineering
It shouldn’t strike you as a surprise that those who choose chemical engineering as a path of study tend to become chemical engineers. This particular type of engineer is responsible for electing the most cost effective means of bringing chemical discoveries made by lab chemists to a commercial market. Chemical engineers can work in several different economic sectors including pharmaceuticals, green technology, materials research, and energy. The median salary for an entry level chemical engineer is $64,500 and the mid-career median salary is $109,000.

Computer Science
High demand for computer scientists exists in this information age where technology is advancing at an incredible, exponential rate. Common job opportunities for those with a degree in computer science include software development, systems development, database administration, program management, and various computer systems or application analysis. In this industry, possessing management skills can make one eligible for a significant promotion. The starting median salary for a college graduate with a computer science degree is $56,600 and the mid-career median salary is $97,900.

Those who have a deep understanding of how money travels through markets also have a clear understanding of how to make that money travel into their pockets. Students who graduate with a degree in economics earn a starting median salary of $47,300 and earn a mid-career median salary of $94,700. Graduates who studied economics can pursue various job positions such as an economist, investment banking analyst, securities trader, actuary, management consultant, financial adviser, and portfolio manager.

A degree in statistics provides graduates with skills that can earn them an entry level median salary of $49,000 and a mid-career median salary of $93,800. These graduates develop strong data analysis skills, survey/sampling skills, and computer skills. Common professions for those who have a degree in statistics include statistician, research analyst, data analyst, financial analyst, econometrician, and biostatistician.

Students who graduate with a degree in finance normally search for job positions involved with making strategic decisions for companies. Some of these positions include bond broker consultant, chief financial officer, venture capitalist, and general management investment banker. The starting median salary for a graduate with a degree in finance is $46,500 and the mid-career median salary is $87,300.

Supply Chain Management
The purpose of supply chain management is to put the concept of supply and demand into action within a company in order to create a top performance business model. College graduates with a degree in supply chain management seek job opportunities in the fields of operations, logistics, and procurement. Some common job positions for graduates with a degree in supply chain management include materials planner, transportation coordinator, vice president of logistics, inventory specialist, and production coordinator. The median salary for an entry level position of a graduate with a degree in supply chain management is $50,200 and the mid-career median salary is $84,700.

I’m hoping this list can help guide you when determining your college major. Remember that your earning potential should not be the sole reason for selecting a college major but it’s important to be aware of it when making your selection.

SOURCE: Job Descriptions, PayScale Computer Science, PayScale Economics, Columbus State, Careers in Supply Chain Management, NC State University
IMAGE: Courtesy of My Lift Kits

Jeremy Tolan

Jeremy Tolan is a Marketing Assistant at He is currently studying Telecommunications at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys exercising and watching movies. Connect with Jeremy and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.