When you are first looking into going to college to get an undergraduate degree, there will be many factors to consider. Though, ultimately, you will want to major in something that you enjoy and can see yourself doing for a significant part of your life, you will also want to consider what the job market is going to be like when you graduate, starting salaries, and how much money you will make in that career.
The information below is meant to be informative and are based on predictive studies done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Glassdoor, and the National Association of Colleges and Majors (NACE). You should consider these factors when deciding on what to major in, but the final decision is up to you and should be determined by your own personal life and career goals. Sure, it is good to know you will get a high paying job when you graduate, but how happy you are in your life also matters too. If they coincide, then great! In addition, just because you don't major in one of these fields, doesn't mean you won't end up making good money in a good career.
Fastest growing jobs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the most new jobs from 2014 to 2024 will be in order of highest to lowest. Here are the top ten fastest growing jobs
- Personal Care Aides (458,100 predicted new jobs)
- Registered Nurses (439,300)
- Home Health Aides (348,400)
- Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food (343,500)
- Retail Salespersons (314,200)
- Nursing Assistants (262,000)
- Customer Service Reps (252,900)
- Cooks (158,900)
- General and Operations Managers (151,100)
- Construction Laborers (147,400)
If you look at the entire list, you will notice that a number of jobs will require a bachelor's degree and a number of jobs won't. However, an undergraduate degree will always help you be considered for the job more often than those who don't with the same experience. When deciding on a major, this is a place you want to look to be sure there will be jobs for you when you graduate.
Highest starting salaries by major
Based off of a study done by Career Services and the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, the top ten highest starting salaries by major are:
- Electrical Engineering
- Software Design
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Computer Programming
- Information Security Systems
- Computer Science
- Management Information Systems
- Engineering Technicians
As you can see, the highest starting salaries by major exist in the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees. If starting pay is important to you, consider majoring in a STEM degree.
Highest paying jobs
A report by Glassdoor reports the 25 highest paying jobs in America based off their database of job salaries. The top 10 highest paying jobs are:
- Pharmacy Manager
- Patent Attorney
- Medical Science Liaison
- Enterprise Architect
- Physician Assistant
- Application Development Manager
- Research and Development Manager
- Corporate Controller
As you can see, the highest paid starting salaries doesn't necessarily coincide with the highest paying jobs. Some jobs require a number of years' experience in order to work up in the industry in order to have a higher salary. So, while you want to consider starting salary, you also want to consider the potential for promotion by retirement.
Most needed majors
Based on a survey by Harris Poll by CareerBuilder, where they asked hiring managers the most needed majors, the top ten are:
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Math and Statistics
- Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences
- Communications Technologies
- Engineering Technologies
- Communication and Journalism
- Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities
- Science Technologies
Each of these majors can provide you a good career with a decent to high salary, so you will want to consider this into your decision when choosing a major as well.
Above all else, the major you choose is up to you. More than just these top ten lists should factor into your decision, including what will make you happy and what skill set you have.