The Highest and Lowest Paying College Majors in America

January 15, 2019 by Grant Suneson

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After earning their diploma, two-thirds of high school graduates attend college. Many hope a college education will help them land a better and higher-paying job than they would have been able to obtain without a degree. Bachelor’s degree recipients earn about 66% more than high school graduates — but even among the college educated, compensation depends heavily on field of study.

There are more than two dozen degree fields in which graduates — those with a bachelor’s degree or higher — earn more than $80,000 per year on average. At the other end of the spectrum, there are about as many degree fields for which the average salary is lower than $40,000 per year.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the average earnings of college graduates by field of study to determine the highest and lowest paying college majors.

Click here to see the highest paying college majors.
Click here to see the lowest paying college majors.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.

Highest Paying College Majors

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25. Biology
> Avg. annual earnings: $81,955
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Total workforce: 1,761,882

There are more than 1.7 million American workers who hold a biology degree — making it one of the most popular college majors. As with many other scientific occupations of study, many jobs in the field require high levels of education. Nearly half of all biology degree holders, 47.7%, go on to earn a master’s degree, and 27.7% earn a doctorate. With such high level of education and specialization, many biology degree holders’ earn relatively high wages. The average annual salary of someone with a biology degree is $81,955.

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24. Industrial and manufacturing engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $82,657
> Unemployment rate: 3.4%
> Total workforce: 191,024

Industrial and manufacturing engineers “devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because improved efficiencies can save companies money, these engineers are very valuable and tend to be well compensated. The average salary among those with industrial and manufacturing engineering degrees is $82,657 — more than triple the average annual earnings of $24,755 among all workers.

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23. Pharmacology
> Avg. annual earnings: $82,823
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Total workforce: 11,878

Pharmacology degree holders are some of the best compensated college graduates in the United States, largely because of the high level of specialization jobs in pharmacology require. Of those with a degree in pharmacology, 85.1% go on to earn a doctorate degree — by far the highest rate of any major. Perhaps because of the high level of education required, a relatively small share of the U.S. workforce holds a pharmacology degree, at fewer than 12,000 people.

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22. Mining and mineral engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $82,897
> Unemployment rate: 6.2%
> Total workforce: 13,541

Mining and mineral engineering degree holders tend to be well compensated, if they can find work. Graduates with this major are among the most likely degree holders to be looking for work, with a 6.2% unemployment rate. The number of mines for most metals — including coal, gold and silver, iron, and other metals — has greatly diminished over the past decade.

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21. Mechanical engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $83,463
> Unemployment rate: 2.4%
> Total workforce: 839,480

There is a large demand for mechanical engineers. There are nearly 840,000 graduates with mechanical engineering degrees in the workforce, and just 2.4% are unemployed. This high demand likely helps drive up the average annual pay for a mechanical engineer, which stands at $83,463.

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20. Aerospace engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $84,368
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%
> Total workforce: 101,938

Aerospace engineers work to create aircraft, spaceships, and national defense systems — jobs that require a great degree of specialization and expertise. Nearly 80% of those with aerospace engineering bachelor’s degrees go on to earn their master’s as well. Those with higher levels of education are typically paid higher salaries, and the average salary among those with an aerospace engineering degree is $84,368.

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19. Metallurgical engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $84,700
> Unemployment rate: 5.1%
> Total workforce: 17,408

Metallurgical engineers are one of 11 types of engineers ranked among the top 25 highest paid college majors. Metallurgical engineers work with different metals to design and fabricate a wide variety of items including airplane wings, golf clubs, or computer chips. These professionals tend to be well compensated, but employment in the industry is projected to grow by just 2% over the next decade, slower than the projected 7% employment growth across all industries. Metallurgical engineering is closely tied to manufacturing, which is not expected to be a high growth industry in the future.

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18. Electrical engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $85,371
> Unemployment rate: 2.9%
> Total workforce: 1,002,623

Electrical engineers work on motors, navigation, portable electronics, communications and broadcast systems, and power generation equipment. As Americans become more reliant on electronics, electrical engineers will continue to be in demand and well compensated. There are more than 1 million Americans with an electrical engineering degree in the U.S. workforce, and fewer than 3% of them are unemployed.

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17. Computer science
> Avg. annual earnings: $85,398
> Unemployment rate: 3.1%
> Total workforce: 1,224,872

Computer scientists have some of the brightest job prospects of any sector. Many companies have reported having a difficult time finding skilled computer scientists, even though more than 1.2 million Americans in the job market have a computer science degree. Employment in the industry is projected to grow 19% in the coming years, much faster than overall employment growth. With demand for computer scientists growing, the industry’s salaries will likely remain relatively high.

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16. Mathematics and computer science
> Avg. annual earnings: $85,633
> Unemployment rate: 2.4%
> Total workforce: 15,821

The mathematics and computer science degree focuses on the relationship between computing and mathematical problem solving. There are relatively few Americans in the workforce with mathematics and computer science degrees, but that is projected to change. As businesses will need more people with problem solving and computer skills, employment of mathematicians and computer scientists is projected to increase at least twice as fast as overall employment from 2016 to 2026. As demand for these workers continues to increase, the pay will likely remain relatively high as well.

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15. Chemical engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $88,361
> Unemployment rate: 3.0%
> Total workforce: 303,142

Chemical engineers work to produce fuel, food, drugs, and other products. Most people with bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering go on to earn a master’s degree as well, and one in five also get a doctorate. Those with chemical engineering degrees earn more than $88,000 a year on average, more than most other college graduates in the labor force.

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14. Biomedical engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $88,505
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Total workforce: 65,980

Though the typical entry-level education needed for biomedical engineering job is a bachelor’s degree, 63% of people who graduate in the field go on to earn a master’s degree, and 25.1% also earn a doctorate degree. Biomedical engineers design and create devices and systems used in health care — and like many others in medicine, they are well compensated. The average salary among workers with a biomedical engineering degree is $88,505.

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13. Zoology
> Avg. annual earnings: $89,562
> Unemployment rate: 1.4%
> Total workforce: 118,420

Just 1.4% of workers with zoology degrees are unemployed, one of the lowest jobless rates of any degree fields in the country. Zoology degree holders can go on to work several of animal-related fields, including wildlife biology, animal care and service work, and veterinary practice.

As with many high paying degree fields, most people who study zoology as undergraduates continue their education. Almost all zoology degree holders, 95.3%, also earn a professional degree — which is an additional qualification for a specialized field, such as veterinary medicine. More than 38% of zoology bachelor’s degree holders later earn a doctorate degree.

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12. Economics
> Avg. annual earnings: $90,210
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Total workforce: 1,068,804

Economics is one of the most common undergraduate degrees — more than 1 million college graduates in the labor force majored in economics. It is one of just 12 fields in which the average annual earnings for a graduate exceeds $90,000. Many economist jobs require a master’s or doctorate degree, and 48.3% of those who majored in economics in their undergraduate years go on to obtain a master’s degree. Many government economics jobs, however, require only a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.

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11. Public policy
> Avg. annual earnings: $90,631
> Unemployment rate: 2.0%
> Total workforce: 36,011

Public policy graduates have a wide range of job opportunities after graduating. Graduates can work for nonprofits, a local, state, or national government, or as a consultant for companies looking to determine how governmental regulations could affect their business. Nearly three-quarters of college graduates with a public policy degree also went on to earn a master’s degree. With just a 2.0% unemployment rate, public policy majors are much more likely to find a job that most other degree holders.

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10. Finance
> Avg. annual earnings: $91,726
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Total workforce: 1,101,724

Finance majors are some of the most financially well-off college graduates, earning an average of $91,726 a year. This degree field allows graduates to work in a wide array of financial careers, including financial managers, analysts, clerks, and consultants, among others. Many of these positions are expected to be in very high demand in the coming years, with projected employment growth surpassing overall employment growth.

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9. Computer engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $92,343
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Total workforce: 306,292

Computer engineering majors are some of the most in-demand graduates in the U.S. labor force as more of our daily life is integrated with apps and computer programs. Capable of working with hardware and software, these graduates are qualified for a wide range of jobs. A relatively small share of computer engineering degree holders are unemployed at 2.6%. The average annual salary among computer engineering majors is $92,343.

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8. Nuclear engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $93,194
> Unemployment rate: 1.9%
> Total workforce: 17,648

Nuclear engineers generally work in nuclear power plants and health care. Though the nuclear engineering field is projected to have relatively slow job growth in the coming years, the unemployment rate among those who graduate with a nuclear engineering degree is just 1.9%. More than 60% of nuclear engineering graduates have a master’s degree, and more than 20% have a doctorate. This high level of specialization and expertise, along with the complicated and potentially dangerous nature of the job, likely drives up pay, as nuclear engineers earn more than $93,000 on average annually.

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7. Geosciences
> Avg. annual earnings: $94,500
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 14,650

As with many scientific fields, geosciences majors must often complete additional education after their bachelor’s degree. Geosciences has one of the highest master’s degree attainment rates, at 86.7%. This added schooling generally pays off as the average geoscientist graduate earns $94,500. The demand for geoscientists is projected to grow much more quickly than overall job growth due to “the need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management,” according to the BLS.

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6. Applied mathematics
> Avg. annual earnings: $94,897
> Unemployment rate: 2.0%
> Total workforce: 38,349

An applied mathematics degree can be of use in a wide array of fields and sectors, including electronics, technology, aerospace manufacturing, insurance and medical companies, finance, and analytics. Nearly two-thirds of those who earn a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics also go on to earn a master’s degree. The average applied mathematics major earns nearly $95,000 per year, one of the highest average salaries of any degree field.

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5. Health and medical preparatory programs
> Avg. annual earnings: $95,060
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Total workforce: 97,977

Health and medical preparatory programs get students ready to enter into advanced degree programs so they can become doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, or many other types of health related professionals. This degree program has one of the highest rates of graduates who go on to earn their doctorate degree, at 59%. For comparison, the average across all degrees is 6.6%. These medical professionals are often in high demand and well compensated, earning an average of more than $95,000 per year.

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4. Molecular biology
> Avg. annual earnings: $95,332
> Unemployment rate: 2.2%
> Total workforce: 75,600

Molecular biologists study how chemicals work and interact with living organisms. This field of research affects many crucial aspects of life, including medicine, agriculture, forensic science, and more. Working in the field typically requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise. More than 64% of molecular biology majors who hold a bachelor’s degree also earn a master’s degree, and 44.7% earn their doctorate as well. Molecular biology is closely linked with the next highest paying college major, biochemical sciences.

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3. Biochemical sciences
> Avg. annual earnings: $98,333
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Total workforce: 210,098

Much like the previous entry to this list, biochemical science majors are well educated and well paid. More than 44% of biochemical science majors who graduate also earn a doctorate degree. This high level of specialization largely explains higher salaries. With $98,333 in average annual earnings, biochemical science majors earn more money on average than all but two other majors.

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2. Actuarial science
> Avg. annual earnings: $99,421
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Total workforce: 17,624

Actuarial science bachelor’s degree holders are some of the highest paid college graduates, and most require no further schooling beyond their bachelor’s degree. Actuaries analyze risk to help clients minimize costs and risk exposure. Actuarial science graduates earn nearly $100,000 per year on average. Yet unlike many other high-paying jobs, less than a quarter of bachelor’s degree holders go on to earn a master’s degree, as compared to 41.5% of all bachelor’s degree holders. Actuarial sciences majors have a relatively low unemployment rate at 2.3%.

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1. Petroleum engineering
> Avg. annual earnings: $118,721
> Unemployment rate: 7.9%
> Total workforce: 26,461

At $118,721 per year, petroleum engineering majors have by far the highest average earnings of any college graduates, despite also having one of the highest unemployment rates, at 7.9%. Petroleum engineers design methods to extract oil and natural gas from new or existing wells. The field’s future job prospects are largely pegged to the price of oil, but oil extraction is generally very lucrative, and petroleum engineers are expected to be in high demand for years to come. The BLS projects petroleum engineer employment will grow by 15% from 2016 to 2026, more than twice the rate of projected job growth overall.

Lowest Paying College Majors

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25. Composition and rhetoric
> Avg. annual earnings: $39,438
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%
> Total workforce: 85,365

Composition and rhetoric is a degree program offered by many universities’ English departments. It focuses on arguments and public speaking, often relating to civics and social justice. This degree field has a 5% unemployment rate, which is higher than that of almost all other majors. Those with this degree likely compete with English and creative writing majors for similar jobs as there is not a specific occupation associated with the composition and rhetoric major.

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24. Fine arts
> Avg. annual earnings: $39,178
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 577,808

While a degree in fine art can be helpful for learning creative techniques, it is certainly not a requirement for a career as an artist. Many successful artists never attended college. Very few fine arts majors choose to continue their education after earning a bachelor’s degree. Just 27.4% of bachelor’s degree holders also earn a master’s in fine art. The success and earnings of artists is almost entirely dependent on the economy as people are generally not willing to spend money on art when money is tight.

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23. Court reporting
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,915
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Total workforce: 8,420

Court reporters transcribe legal proceedings. The job is generally not a highly-skilled one. While it is possible to major in court reporting, the typical entry-level education required is a postsecondary non degree certificate. Largely because this job does not require a high degree of specialization, workers make less than $39,000 on average a year.

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22. Human services and community organization
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,793
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 116,316

Those who major in human services and community organization are among the least likely to continue their education after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Fewer than 30% of degree holders in this field go on to earn a master’s degree, as compared to 41.5% of all bachelor’s degree holders. Indeed, advanced degrees are generally not required for community organization jobs. The average human services and community organization bachelor’s degree holder earns less than $39,000 per year.

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21. Physical and health education teaching
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,764
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Total workforce: 303,925

Like many other types of education majors, physical and health education teaching majors are not well compensated. Despite the job’s importance, those who graduate with any type of teaching major earn less than $40,000 a year on average. However, teachers’ salaries vary considerably by state low average salaries in the profession are not always accurate reflections of compensation in every part of the country.

There are several explanations for low average teacher pay. Since most teachers are government employees, their salaries are not determined by free market competition. Additionally, teachers do not always work a full year.

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20. Science and computer teacher education
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,333
> Unemployment rate: 2.5%
> Total workforce: 75,182

Science and computer teacher education graduates earn less than $40,000 per year on average. Unlike other education degree holders, science and computer teaching majors go on to complete their doctorate degrees at a much higher rate than the average bachelor’s degree holder. Nearly 17% of science and computer education graduates earn a doctorate, more than double the 6.6% share of all bachelor’s degree holders and well above all other education degree fields.

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19. Social psychology
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,001
> Unemployment rate: N/A
> Total workforce: 11,837

According to the American Psychological Association, social psychologists study the way “individuals affect and are affected by other people and by their social and physical environments.” Half of social psychology majors who earn a bachelor’s degree go on to earn a master’s degree. Despite this relatively high level of education, social psychology majors’ earnings of just $38,000 on average annually are well below the average earnings of most other college graduates.

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18. Educational psychology
> Avg. annual earnings: $37,766
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Total workforce: 24,730

Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn. These degree holders are among the most likely college graduates to be unemployed. The 6.5% unemployment rate among educational psychology majors likely contributes to the lower average earnings among these degree holders, which is less than $38,000 a year.

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17. Cosmetology services and culinary arts
> Avg. annual earnings: $37,325
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%
> Total workforce: 57,980

Those in cosmetology services, such as barbers and hairstylists, and culinary arts, like chefs and cooks, are more likely to be unemployed than most other college graduates. Neither career path typically requires a college degree for an entry level position — many barber and hairstylist jobs require some type of non-college certification, and the requirement for a chef job is typically just a high school diploma or equivalent. In most jobs, higher levels of education typically correlate with higher wages, but since these careers generally do not require a college education, graduates in these fields are generally not highly paid.

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16. Studio arts
> Avg. annual earnings: $37,169
> Unemployment rate: 3.3%
> Total workforce: 94,784

Studio arts, unlike fine arts, includes only visually perceived arts, like ceramics, photography, painting, and sculpting. The success of an arts career largely depends on the overall state of the economy, as people are generally willing to pay for a luxury good, such as a painting or sculpture, when they have disposable income. While studio art majors can focus in on a number of different disciplines, none are likely to be especially well paying. The average studio art major makes just over $37,000 annually.

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15. Special needs education
> Avg. annual earnings: $37,161
> Unemployment rate: 1.9%
> Total workforce: 245,983

Special needs educators work with students who have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, many public schools require special needs teacher to have a certification for this type of work. Though the pay is relatively low, the career field is stable. Just 1.9% of special needs education bachelor’s degree holders are unemployed, and the BLS projects employment in the field to continue to grow at a steady pace in the coming years.

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14. Social science or history teacher education
> Avg. annual earnings: $36,647
> Unemployment rate: 2.2%
> Total workforce: 141,560

Nearly 80% of social science or history teacher education majors who graduate with a bachelor’s degree also go on to earn a master’s degree as well — one of the highest rates of any major and nearly double the 41.5% master’s degree attainment rate for all bachelor’s degree holders. Despite this high level of education, history teaching majors — like all other types of teaching majors — earn less than $40,000 per year on average.

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13. Social work
> Avg. annual earnings: $36,644
> Unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Total workforce: 518,799

Social workers help people deal with stresses and issues in their lives, as well as diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Social workers are employed at schools, mental health clinics, government agencies, and a variety of other areas. There are more than half a million people in the U.S. labor force with a social work degree, and employment is expected to increase much faster than the overall U.S. employment rate. The average annual salary among workers with a social work degree is just $36,644.

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12. Mathematics teacher education
> Avg. annual earnings: $35,245
> Unemployment rate: 1.6%
> Total workforce: 97,744

Nearly all mathematics teacher education majors who complete their bachelor’s degree program, 99.8%, also earn a master’s degree, the highest rate of any field of study. Most other types of educational specialties have more than 100,000 degree holders in the labor force, with some exceeding 1 million. Yet there are just 97,744 members of the labor force with a degree in mathematics teacher education. Still, like other types of teachers, mathematics teacher education majors are not well compensated, making just over $35,000 a year on average.

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11. Theology and religious vocations
> Avg. annual earnings: $35,003
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Total workforce: 317,454

Those who decide to study theology in college are not likely doing so to become rich. The degree tends to attract those who wish to examine religious faith. For those who want to a career in the church, post graduate divinity school is typically a prerequisite. Over half — 53.2% — of American adults with a theology degree also have a master’s.

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10. Family and consumer sciences
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,181
> Unemployment rate: 3.1%
> Total workforce: 384,989

Family and consumer sciences, formerly known as home economics, has a number of specialties, including cooking, sewing, raising children, design, and more. Careers of family and consumer sciences majors include child care, apparel design, and customer relations. A relatively small 34.5% share of people in this degree field earn a master’s degree. The average annual earnings for this major are relatively low, at $32,181.

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9. General education
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,171
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 1,682,275

With more than 1.6 million bachelor’s degree holders, general education majors are one of the most common fields of study represented in the labor force, ranking seventh overall. This degree allows holders to work with students of different ages in many educational disciplines. As is the case with other types of education majors, general education degree holders have one of the lowest average salaries of any major, at just $32,171.

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8. Art and music education
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,072
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 272,970

Art and music education has lost much of its funding recently due to budget cuts in recent years. This may have had an effect on salaries of educators. Even though more than 80% of art and music education majors who graduate with a bachelor’s degree also go on to earn a master’s, the average graduate earns just over $32,000 annually. Despite the uncertainty with funding, just 2.1% of art and music education degree holders are unemployed, a relatively low share.

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7. Early childhood education
> Avg. annual earnings: $31,892
> Unemployment rate: 2.8%
> Total workforce: 205,294

The average early childhood education bachelor’s degree holder earns less than $32,000 per year. Degree holders typically work with children younger than 5 years old in preschool or other early childhood education programs. Like many other educators, early childhood educators are not well compensated. Among early childhood education degree holders, 49.3% earn a master’s degree, a smaller share than most other education-related majors.

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6. Teacher education: multiple levels
> Avg. annual earnings: $31,483
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 103,567

Multiple level teacher education is a major for those who would like to teach at more than one grade level, such as teaching middle school as well as high school. Americans who choose to major in this field, as is often the case in education, earn well below the average earnings among bachelor’s degree holders — at just $31,483 a year. Still, likely because this degree gives educators the skills to teach multiple grade levels, the unemployment rate among holders is just 2.1%.

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5. Language and drama education
> Avg. annual earnings: $31,450
> Unemployment rate: 2.4%
> Total workforce: 221,956

More than 95% of language and drama education majors who finish their bachelor’s degree also go on to earn a master’s degree, one of the highest rates of any major. Unlike most other fields of study, education-related majors typically do not earn a high wage despite the high levels of education. Language and drama education majors earn, on average, $31,450 per year.

Like most college graduates, language and drama education majors typically do not have a high rate of unemployment. Just 2.4% college graduates in this field are looking for work.

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4. School student counseling
> Avg. annual earnings: $30,913
> Unemployment rate: 2.3%
> Total workforce: 14,563

Like many education-related majors, those who graduate with a degree in school student counseling are some of the least well-compensated college graduates. The average school student counseling degree holder earns less than $31,000 per year. More than one in every five school student counseling majors go on to earn a doctorate — a larger share than the vast majority of other college majors.

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3. Secondary teacher education
> Avg. annual earnings: $29,739
> Unemployment rate: 2.2%
> Total workforce: 203,712

Secondary teacher education is a major specifically designed for those who want to teach in high school. Specialized for high school classroom situations, this degree program covers classroom management, teaching methods, and specific subjects like high school history. Teaching high school can be a rewarding career, but for many, it is not especially high paying. The average annual earnings of those with a secondary teacher education degree is just under $30,000 annually.

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2. Elementary education
> Avg. annual earnings: $27,112
> Unemployment rate: 1.7%
> Total workforce: 1,372,855

Elementary education degree holders are one of the only three groups of college graduates to earn less than $30,000 per year on average. With average annual earnings of $27,112, elementary education degree holders earn just over $2,000 more than the average person in the U.S. labor force, regardless of hours worked or education level.

With millions of children in elementary schools across the country, there is a need for teachers. Even though there are nearly 1.4 million elementary education majors in the labor force, the unemployment rate among degree holders is just 1.7%.

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1. Library science
> Avg. annual earnings: $26,462
> Unemployment rate: 3.4%
> Total workforce: 24,817

Library science bachelor’s degree holders earn $26,462 per year on average, the lowest of any field of study — despite the fact that most libraries require a master’s degree for the typical entry-level position. Those who major in this field often go on to become librarians or collect and catalog information in other organizations like hospitals, museums, and places with large amounts of data. The unemployment rate among library science degree holders is 3.4% — relatively high compared to unemployment among other college majors.

Detailed Findings

The highest paying college majors are concentrated in similar fields. Almost all of the 25 highest paying majors are in science and engineering. There are 11 majors with “engineering” and five with “science” in the title, in addition biology, zoology, and pharmacology.

Similarly, many of the lowest paying majors prepare students for careers in education. Of the 25 lowest paying fields of study, 13 have “education” in the title. Several of the other lower paid fields focus on child counseling and psychology.

There may be many different reasons for these discrepancies in pay. For instance, scientific and engineering careers are concentrated in the private sector, while many educators and counselors are government employees. These educational jobs may also be subject to historical and gender bias.

In most fields, higher levels of education are generally associated with higher pay, but this is not always the case. For instance, in six of the 10 lowest paid college majors, more than half of bachelor’s degree holders also go on to earn a master’s degree.

It should be noted that not everyone works in a field associated with their college major.

Methodology

To determine the college majors with the highest and lowest average annual income, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on employment status per undergraduate major from the Public Use Microdata Sample summary files of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. Additional data about career fields came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on field of study and employment status are self reported by the survey’s respondents. While respondents were able to list the field of study for any bachelor’s degree they have received and may have listed multiple majors, only the first major listed was considered in this analysis. Majors noted as a miscellaneous subset of a more common field of study were excluded from our analysis.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s unemployment rate is distinct from, and can vary considerably from, the more commonly cited unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.