7 Best College Majors With the Highest ROI

When I was an undergraduate, I decided to double major in French Literature and English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I didn’t consider whether these were the best college majors for making money. Instead, I chose them because, like most college students, I was most interested in these majors.

There were certainly college majors with more lucrative real-world applications than the ones I pursued. While I wouldn’t change a thing about my education, it did take me the better part of five years and an additional post-graduate degree to land a well-paying job.

Ultimately, it took me a while to receive a financial return on my educational investment. Although you might be hesitant to choose your major based on how much it will earn you in the future, more likely than not you are paying for your college education.

And if you have student loans in the mix, you might want to consider which majors will help you quickly pay off the money you spent on your degree in the first place.

Here are the seven best college majors for making money right out of college thanks to the jobs you’ll have access to after graduation.

7 Best Paying College Majors

Actuarial Science

If you have excellent math skills and enjoy Calculus, statistics, and probability, then majoring in Actuarial Science might be the right fit for you.

Actuaries work to analyze risk and estimate future probabilities. They can be vital assets for a number of employers, such as insurance companies and the federal government.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), actuaries have a median salary of more than $97,000 as of 2015, making it one of the best college majors out there. They also have a professional growth rate of 18 percent. Keep in mind that the average growth rate of all occupations is seven percent.

With such a high demand, most Actuarial Science majors will be able to get a job right after graduation. And with that kind of salary, newly-minted actuaries can pay back their student loans in no time.

Dental Hygiene

Unlike some of the other majors on this list, dental hygiene is a field you can enter into with a two-year or three-year associate’s degree. It’s one of the best options for students who want to quickly get started in the workforce.

A dental hygienist assists a dentist by performing teeth cleaning and initial exams. They can also help dentists with more complex dental procedures.

The median salary for dental hygienists was over $72,000 a year last year, according to BLS. That means they make nearly $35.00 per hour. And as of 2014, more than 50 percent of dental hygienists worked on a part-time basis.

This is one of the best college majors for individuals who want to balance work with family and other commitments.


Economists analyze how people, corporations, governments, and nations allocate scarce resources.

While many jobs in economics will require advanced degrees, fledgling economists with a bachelor’s degree in the field will generally be able to find entry-level positions, particularly in government work.

The median salary for an economist is over $99,000 as of 2015, according to the BLS. However, it’s important to remember that the calculation for the median amount includes economists with master’s degrees or PhDs.

Even if you do not plan to become an economist, an econ degree can open doors to many different careers. Since your degree will have honed your analytical and writing skills, you will be well-suited for a number of jobs, making it one of the best college majors out there.

You could look into accounting which, according to the BLS, had a median salary of more than $67,000 per year in 2015. Or, check out market research analysis, which offers median pay of more than $62,000 a year.


Engineering is, quite frankly, one of the best paying college majors out there. There are many different types of engineering to fit your particular talents and interests. The three top paying engineering fields are petroleum, chemical, and electrical engineering.

As of 2015, Petroleum engineers command the highest median pay according to the BLS at nearly $130,000 a year. However, the work environment can be somewhat grueling at drilling sites.

Chemical engineers apply their understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, and math to solve problems, and they well compensated for their abilities. The BLS listed their median salary at more than $97,000 a year as of last year.

Electrical engineers enjoy great pay with a yearly median salary of more than $95,000 as of 2015, according to the BLS. Their job duties can include some pretty cool design and development of electrical equipment.

Information Technology

Majoring in Information Technology (IT) may make you the go-to person in your family to fix the faulty WiFi or set up a computer. But it will also put you in a great position to land a high-paying job post-graduation, making it one of the best college majors to pursue.

IT majors can go into a number of careers. They can work in information security analysis, which earned a median salary of more than $90,000 in 2015 according to the BLS. Or software development, which earned a median salary of more than $100,000 last year.

Computer and information systems management is even more lucrative with a median salary of more than $131,000 as of 2015.

Human Resources

It may be a cliche, but a company’s greatest resource really is its employees. That’s why human resources are so important.

A degree in Human Resources will teach you how to hire, fire, train, and manage employees. You will also develop and implement the company policies that will keep employees productive and your company humming along.

If you choose to major in Human Resources, you will likely start your career as a human resources specialist, which earned a median salary of more than $58,000 last year according to the BLS.

However, if you make your mark in the field, and you could eventually land a job as a human resources manager. According to the BLS, HR managers received a median salary of more than $104,000 a year in 2015. That makes human resources one of the best paying college majors available.


Number crunchers are always in high demand, and a major in Math can open many doors to graduates. Though you could do almost anything with your degree in math, you might want to think about becoming an analyst.

Market research analysts study markets in order to determine the potential sales of a product or service. Since most industries use market research, there are a wide array of career options for such analysts. And according to the BLS the median salary last year was a more than $62,000 a year. Not too shabby.

Another analyst option for math majors is a career as an operations research analyst. These analysts help organizations determine the most efficient and cost-effective methods of allocating resources, setting prices, and managing production. Operations research analysts enjoyed a median salary of nearly $79,000 per year in 2015 according to the BLS.

Both of these types of analysts are in very high demand. There was a professional growth rate of 19 percent for market research analysts and 30 percent for operations research analysts. This promises excellent job prospects and job security, making math one of the best college majors out there.

The Best College Major For You

Choosing a college major is an important and momentous decision that can affect the rest of your life. It’s important to make a choice that fits within your interests and talents, as well as your future job and salary prospects.

Whatever you decide to study for the next four years could be the field you work in for the rest of your life. And if you have student loans to pay off as well, choosing one of the best paying college majors could be highly significant when it’s time for you to pay off your debts in the future.

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