10 best degrees to earn high starting salaries

10 degrees that can get you a $60,000 starting salary (and higher)

Written by Workopolis
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With tuition prices on the rise and student debt increasing, many students are looking for degrees that guarantee a return on their investment. A few years back, TD economics estimated that the average cost of an undergraduate degree in Canada is $84,000, including the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses. It’s safe to say that figure is not going down. And while the unemployment rate for young workers decreased slightly last year, it remains stubbornly high, raising a number of questions regarding the amount of debt students will be carrying in the future.

As we recently wrote, there are a number of ways you can pay off your student loans quickly, but it helps when you start with a high-paying job. If you’re looking for ideas, may we suggest engineering (or computer science)? Based on Payscale’s 2016-2017 college salary report, that is one of the safest degrees you can get in terms of a starting salary.

Check out the top ten undergraduate degrees that “pay you back:”

1) Petroleum engineering
Early career pay: $96,700
Mid-career pay: $172,000

2) Systems engineering
Early career pay: $66,400
Mid-career pay: $121,000

3) Actuarial science
Early career pay: $60,800
Mid-career pay: $119,000

4) Chemical engineering
Early career pay: $69,800
Mid-career pay: $121,000

5) Computer science (CS) and engineering
Early career pay: $71,200
Mid-career pay: $116,000

6) Nuclear engineering
Early career pay: $68,500
Mid-career pay: $116,000

7) Electronics & communications engineering
Early career pay: $68,000
Mid-career pay: $115,000

8) Electrical & computer engineering (ECE)
Early career pay: $68,100
Mid-career pay: $114,000

9) Aeronautical engineering
Early career pay: $63,000
Mid-career pay: $113,000

10) Computer engineering (CE)
Early career pay: $69,600
Mid-career pay: $113,000

And of course, the flip side to that coin: the programs to avoid. According to this infographic created by the US Bureau of Labor Statistic, these are ten fields that hiring managers just aren’t looking for: 

  1. Architecture
  2. Latin
  3. Music therapy
  4. Theology
  5. English literature
  6. Social sciences
  7. American studies / Canadian studies
  8. Puppetry (Yes, puppetry.)
  9. Poetry
  10. Art history

Despite the high unemployment rate for new grads right now, and the student debt loads they struggle to carry, getting a university degree is still worth it. Why? Career options for people with only a high school diploma are much worse. People with degrees earn significantly more over the course of their careers than people without them.

Plus isn’t it just better just to know more? To start out your life with a solid foundation of knowledge, critical thinking, and communications skills? Most degrees of any kind provide these, and that is always a worthwhile investment.

 

See also:

Youth unemployment, how to build a competitive edge in competitive times.
Make more money: how to negotiate for bigger salaries and raises
How to pay off your student loans in a year

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