Even though there are plenty of ways to offset college costs, you still want to graduate with lucrative career prospects. Whether you plan to pay off student loans, buy a house, or travel the world, you need a decent salary to fund your post-academic life. With that in mind, it’s important to choose a major that aligns with your salary expectations.
The Most-Lucrative Majors for College Graduates
When deciding on a college major, it’s best to study the different fields outside of college. Which jobs are most in demand? These often pay better because there’s less competition among workers and more competition among employers.
For instance, Kiplinger identifies computer science, software engineering, economics, finance, and physics as extremely lucrative majors. In all cases, these areas of study offer reasonable starting salaries, excellent salary growth, and a high number of annual job postings.
Other high-earning college majors include petroleum statistics, pharmacology, and health and medical preparatory programs. Additionally, engineers of all stripes tend to outperform other professions across the board.
The Least-Lucrative Majors for College Graduates
According to NPR, some college majors result in careers with low earning potential and other hazards, such as limited job openings. Many of these majors deal with the arts, such as visual and performing arts, graphic design, and drama. While each of these majors can lead to tremendous salary potential, many graduates will fail to make a career out of them.
Similarly, some of the least-lucrative majors involve social work or public service. Theology and human-services graduates might find plenty of work but not much compensation. These industries typically offer low-pay employment, so if you plan to pursue them, you might need alternative ways to generate income.
Pay Isn’t the Only Consideration
Maybe you want to become a pastor at a community church. You know the position probably won’t pay well, but you’re committed to the work. In this case, salary potential might not constitute your top priority. Additionally, jobs that offer low pay sometimes come with other perks. Pastors and priests, for instance, sometimes get free room and board in a parsonage and they experience deep job satisfaction.
It’s also important to look at benefits. Elementary education finds its way onto NPR’s list of least-lucrative college majors, but teachers often receive excellent health coverage and summers off. Maybe that, and educating young people, is more important to you than the numbers on your paycheck.
Researching College Majors
When deciding on a college major, consider the financial investment you’ve made in college as well as your salary expectations and other needs. Think about issues like job availability and working conditions to find the ideal major/career combination for your chosen lifestyle.
While salary isn’t the only factor, it’s important to think realistically. If you’ll graduate with five figures of student-loan debt, you’ll need a career that enables you to satisfy your financial obligations.
Choosing a major is always a difficult process. You have to gaze into the future if you want to make a practical decision. Consider the factors listed above to help you make a decision that will inform your professional future.