Bachelor’s Degrees with the Highest Earning Potential

Bachelor's degree

It comes as no surprise that STEM degrees lead to careers with the highest earning potential. Petroleum engineering tops the list with an early-career salary of $100,000 a year and mid-career wages of $168,000, according to Payscale’s 2014-2015 College Salary Report. It’s hardly a spoiler to say that the top-earning jobs are all in the engineering field, but here are the top four most lucrative bachelor’s degrees this year, following petroleum engineering:

  1. Nuclear engineering, at $68,200 for early career and $121,000 by mid-career
  2. Actuarial mathematics, at $58,800 for early career and $119,000 by mid-career
  3. Chemical engineering, at $69,500 for early career and $118,000 by mid-career
  4. Electronics and computer engineering, at $65,000 for early career and $116,000 by mid-career

Nothing too surprising there, as those fields require very specific skills and abilities to be done correctly. But here’s something slightly more surprising: Forbes’ list of the top ten bachelor’s degrees with the lowest earning potential. What is interesting is that while those high-earning skilled careers require a lot of education to enter the field and to perform well, those that make the least amount generally have degrees in education. Here are the lowest-earning bachelor’s degrees from Payscale’s report:

  1. Child development, at $32,200 for early career and $36,400 by mid-career
  2. Early childhood education, at $29,700 for early career and $38,000 by mid-career
  3. Child and family studies, at $31,200 for early career and $38,600 by mid-career
  4. Early childhood and elementary education, at $32,300 for early career and $40,400 by mid-career
  5. Human services, at $33,800 for early career and $41,300 by mid-career

Take a look at the links above for more information about which degrees yield the highest—and lowest—salaries.

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About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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