Special Report

The Highest and Lowest Paying College Majors in America

America has many outstanding colleges and universities, although there’s a long-running debate about what their focus should be. Some students want a broad-based education, often heavy on the liberal arts, while others want something more narrowly career-focused, or vocational. The debate has become more heated as the cost of education has risen steadily over the past four decades, and as students have had to take larger and larger loans as a result. (This is the most expensive colleges in every state.)

Whatever their philosophy or career goals, graduates will be entering a knowledge-based economy in which education is crucially important to advancement. They should make informed choices. 

To determine the highest and lowest paying college majors in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Census Bureau data on average annual earnings of individuals holding an undergraduate degree in 2019. The disparities in incomes between the highest and lowest paying majors are quite stark.

The highest-paying college majors on our list are health and medical preparatory programs, pharmacology, and computer engineering. The average annual earnings in these fields in 2019 were all significantly above $100,000. The list reflects the value of an education in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – fields in particular. (These are America’s top public universities.)

The lowest-paying majors include elementary education, library science, and miscellaneous education, with average annual earnings no higher than $30,000. It’s a terrible irony that in an increasingly knowledge-based economy, where education is crucial to success, teachers are paid so poorly.

Click here to see the highest and lowest paying college majors in America
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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