College Majors That Lead to Well-Paid Career Paths

Written by  //  2013/02/14  //  Career Planning  //  1 Comment

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), technical majors dominated the field of top-paying majors in 2012. The survey found that science, math, technology and particularly engineering were among the 10 highest paid majors at a bachelor level. Six of the 10 were engineer-focused, to be exact. Engineering majors saw a 3.9 percent increase in their starting salaries from 2011-2012, according to the report.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the top-paying salaries, as stated in the January 2013 Salary Survey:

Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering

Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineers apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design development, and operational evaluation of space vehicles, aircraft, and missiles, as well as applied research on flight and orbital characteristics. These individuals don’t walk on the moon, but they do help astronauts get there safely.

In 2012, the annual salary was $64,000. For a list of some of the best aeronautical college schools, check out, a resource site that will direct you to the top schools in your field.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineers understand the tinkering and processes behind computers and technology. They improve the way computers “see” and “think.” But that’s not all, computer engineers embed computers in other machines and systems, build networks to transfer data and find the most cutting-edge ways to make computers themselves smaller, faster and more reliable.

There are two major specialties in computer engineering: software and hardware. So for those looking for work, first decide which specialty you want to work in, then research companies who hire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this job is on the rise and is expected to be among the fastest growing occupations from 2008 to 2018.

Chemical Engineering

Like all engineers, chemical engineers use math, physics, and economics to solve technical concerns. Their job description is vast: they help develop atomic science, they help make processes more cost effective or more environmentally friendly, and some construct instruments and facilities. Engineer skills are so vast they’re sometimes called “universal engineers” because they can handle just about everything.

In 2012, the annual starting salary for chemical engineers was $66,400.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines; they design, develop, build and test all kinds of mechanical devices including tools, engines, manufacturing plants and industrial equipment and machines. Generally, the work environment consists of working in a professional office setting, but from time to time they may occasionally visit other work sites where problems exist or pieces of equipment need fixing.

The annual starting salary is $62,900 but, according to the BLS, it could be upwards of $78,000.


Individuals landing a finance degree often land high-paying jobs as financial managers with banks, according to the NACE. People specializing in finance are great at handling money, helping businesses and banks with investments and assets, and can understand the value of the dollar over time. Finance aims to price assets based on risk level and the expected rate of return, which is why these jobs are in such high demand.

The average starting salary is $57,300 but, depending on the job you land, could be upwards of $67,000.

One Comment on "College Majors That Lead to Well-Paid Career Paths"

  1. Dina 2015/07/12 at 2:01 am ·

    Great thgniink! That really breaks the mold!

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