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Highest Paying College Majors

Students From Liverpool's John Moore University Receive Their Degrees
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Does higher education mean a better paying job? Well the big answer is, it depends on what you major in.

If you want that expensive college degree to pay off after graduation, major in engineering. Other majors that command top dollar are math, science, statistics and finance.

While lucrative careers exist for history, English and foreign language majors, they’re harder to find. You would think teachers should make top dollar, but they don’t.

That’s the word from PayScale.com, which has compiled information on the salaries of more than 1 million graduates who received a bachelor’s degree from hundreds of universities and colleges.

Top 10 college majors with the highest starting salaries:

1) Petroleum Engineering: $98,000
2) Chemical Engineering: $67,500
3) Nuclear Engineering: $66,800
4) Electrical Engineering: $63,400
5) Computer Engineering: $62,700
6) Aerospace Engineering: $62,500
7) Materials Science & Engineering and Mechanical Engineering (tie): $60,100
9) Industrial Engineering: $59,900
10) Software Engineering: $59,100

Top 10 college majors with the highest mid-career salaries:

1) Petroleum Engineering: $163,000
2) Aerospace Engineering: $118,000
3) Actuarial Mathematics: $112,000
4) Chemical Engineering: $111,000
5) Nuclear Engineering: $107,000
6) Electrical Engineering: $106,000
7) Computer Engineering: $105,000
8) Applied Mathematics: $102,000
9) Computer Science: $100,000
10) Statistics: $99,100

Top 10 college majors with the lowest mid-career salaries:

1) Child and Family Studies: $37,700
2) Social Work: $45,300
3) Elementary Education: $46,000
4) Human Development: $47,800
5) Special Education: $48,900
6) Culinary Arts: $49,700
7) Athletic Training: $49,800
8) Sports Medicine: $50,300
9) Theology: $50,700
10) Biblical Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies (tie): $51,000

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