The Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees in 2022

With an increasingly competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to choose your major wisely if you want to get the best job and make the most money after college. At PayScale, we’ve analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of college graduates to determine which degrees lead to the highest salaries — even when you discount factors like reputation, school location, and cost of living in different cities — so you can pick the best degree program for your goals. Here are the top highest-paying bachelor's degrees by 2022.

The Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees in 2022

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Projected growth rates

From 2012 to 2022, employment for both degree fields is projected to grow much faster than average (7% and 8%, respectively). Software developers are expected to be in high demand as cloud-based technology and mobile applications continue to rise. Biotechnology is likely to increase because of an ageing population and greater demand for health care services. Learn more about career growth rates by going to our Career Information section.


Analyzing the data

Remember that highest-paying is a relative term. For one thing, it varies greatly by geography: A petroleum engineer earns far more than a social worker in San Francisco, but they’d earn similar salaries in Houston. Plus, entry-level workers generally earn less than their more experienced colleagues—but people who are just starting out should be looking to enter high-paying fields like engineering and medicine anyhow. So when we say highest paying, we mean highest paying for someone with five years of experience or less. In other words, if you have a degree in computer science from Stanford University, you can expect to make way more money than your average software developer fresh out of community college. But you already knew that.


1) Medicine and health sciences degrees

The medical doctor degree is awarded after four years of study following completion of undergraduate studies. This degree prepares students for careers in medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics/gynaecology, psychiatry, family practice, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pathology, radiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, pharmacology, nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, social work, veterinary medicine, and many other fields.

The growing health care field is expected to grow by 22% between now and 2023, meaning medical and health sciences degrees are in high demand. Due to a shortage of trained workers, projected salaries for these professionals are among the highest for any bachelor's degree. According to Payscale, nurses with an associate’s degree earn a median salary of $57,000; those with a bachelor’s earn $70,000, and those with a master’s earn $82,000.


2) Engineering degrees

Engineering is the study of how things work. Engineers are responsible for designing products, structures, machines, systems, processes, materials, and services that meet societal needs and demands. They may specialize in areas such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, architecture, manufacturing, management, operations research, product design, software engineering, industrial engineering, environmental engineering, etc.

Next year, salaries for bachelor's degrees in engineering will range from $67,190 to $95,590. Next year's highest-paying engineering degree in chemical engineering; with a median salary of $95,590 will pay on average 40% more than any other type of engineer. The next three highest-paying bachelor's degrees are also types of engineering: aerospace (e.g., aeronautical or astronautical), marine and petroleum are all projected to make over $88,000 per year in 2022.


3) Computer science degrees

Computer Science Degrees are designed to teach students how to design, develop, create, debug, test, implement, and maintain software applications. Students learn about computer hardware and software architecture, programming languages, operating systems, networking, databases, and web services. They also learn about business practices and ethics related to the field of computing.

A computer science degree will be worth $106,000 on average by 2022. If you want to increase your chances of earning a great salary post-graduation, consider studying computer science. It’s one of the highest-paying bachelor's degrees that’s expected to grow rapidly over time. In fact, even with a significant amount of competition within fields like software development and cybersecurity, workers with these skills should have no problem finding jobs.


4) Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering degrees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that aerospace engineers earned a median salary of $107,410 in 2016. The top-earning 10 per cent made $129,890 or more. What’s great about getting an aerospace engineering degree is that you can work anywhere in the world and still be able to use your skills to help people travel by air. And while you are working on aeroplanes, trains or cars, you may even have time to think about ways to make them even safer for travellers.


5) Mathematics and statistics degrees

The field of mathematics and statistics offers more lucrative positions than any other bachelor's degree in America. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that through 2022, employment opportunities for mathematicians will grow by 23%, which is much faster than average (7%). Between 2013 and 2022, an estimated 7,900 jobs will open each year for mathematicians. This represents an annual growth rate of 6% per year—nearly double that of all other occupations combined!


6) Physical sciences degrees

Physical Sciences Degrees are designed to train students in the basic principles of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, astronomy, geology, meteorology, oceanography, and other related fields. Students who earn these degrees often go on to work in research labs, teach at colleges and universities, or pursue graduate studies.

These include degrees like chemical engineering, geology, and physics. Earning a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields is your ticket to an average starting salary of $73,000. Plus, according to Payscale, jobs related to these fields are expected to grow by 6 per cent through 2022.


Conclusion

A bachelor's degree is one of the most valuable investments you can make. But don’t expect to be able to use it for everything—depending on what industry you want to enter, sometimes an advanced degree will be necessary. It’s up to you whether you want to go that route or not, but having a bachelor’s opens up many opportunities. You can choose from many different majors and specialize in your field of choice. Explore your options!

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