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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

December 30, 2019

Student Success

Top 10 highest-paying college degrees.

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Whether you’re preparing to go to college for the first time or thinking of going back to school, you may be wondering exactly what kind of degree you should pursue. While everyone has different interests and passions, there are a few degree programs that can lead to higher job security and higher pay after graduation.

Earning certain kinds of degrees at colleges can lead to higher paying positions, but it's also important to pursue something you're passionate about. Identify your strengths and passions and use that to help guide you into choosing the right program for you. Money shouldn't be the only driving factor in choosing a college or degree program. Colleges offer mentors who can help you establish what kind of career you're interested in pursuing, and can thereby help you determine which programs is the best fit for you.

When choosing colleges or majors, learn the facts about the professions you may be interested in before making a final decision. Understanding the pay opportunities, the work environment, and daily responsibilities of a job can help you determine which career and degree will be the best for you. Discover which college degree programs can lead to higher paying jobs to help you determine which program is right for you.

1. Computer science.

Computer science is focused on the study of computer systems and programs, and their processes. There is a great focus on software and software systems for computer science students. Computer scientists have many job responsibilities including solving computing problems, inventing new computer languages and tools, improving software systems, design experiments to test software systems, and more. The pay for computer science college majors is, on average, very high. In fact, most degrees that require mathematics can expect good paying jobs after graduation. Computer and information research scientists earn an average yearly salary of $118,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Business administration.

Business administration is involved in overseeing the business operations, finance, management, and business processes of an organization. This is a highly flexible degree that can allow graduates to work in a variety of different business roles, industries, and environments. Similar to computer science, business degrees require math education which usually results in better paying jobs after graduation compared to other college majors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for administrative service managers is around $96,000 per year. This degree is highly flexible, and can lead to high paying positions after you graduate.

3. Information technology.

Information technology is the study of using computers to store, transmit, and manipulate data and information. There is a high demand for IT professionals in a wide variety of industries and for many job titles. IT professionals analyze computer needs and recommend upgrades, they plan and direct the installation of hardware and software, work to increase security, learn about new technology, and manage other IT professionals. Earning an information technology degree means you'll have a large focus on mathematics, and graduate with higher earning potential than other degrees. Many colleges have many IT college majors, allowing you to choose specific programs within the field to boost your pay opportunity. The BLS expects the demand for IT positions will grow 12% by 2028, and the average annual salary is over $86,000.  

4. Nursing.

Nursing is a difficult profession that can be highly challenging, but rewarding. A degree in nursing can help you jumpstart into a more specialized healthcare career field like nursing informatics or nursing education. While not the highest paying college major, nurse pay is better than average, and your salary can rise as you move up in nursing professions. When comparing colleges, be sure you learn about the nursing program specifically so you know exactly what kinds of things you'll learn in the program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nurses earn an average salary of around $71,000 per year. Due to a shortage of nurses, demand is high for professionals in this field and a degree in nursing can be the gateway to many job offers and opportunities.

5. Human resource management.

Human resource managers are tasked with supporting and helping members of an organization. They are usually in charge of recruiting, hiring and firing, benefits, team building, conflict resolution, and more. Human resource pay can vary greatly based on where you're located. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource specialists earn an average annual salary of $60,000. However, compensation and benefits managers earn an average salary of around $121,000 per year. Both roles offer plenty of room to grow and increase your salary potential.

6. Marketing.

Marketing is an exciting and lucrative field, with a growing need for traditional and digital marketers alike. This means marketers can expect a high salary, security, and many opportunities for growth. With the right degree and time working your way up in the field, you can become a marketing manager. This is an even better position within the field, with higher salary options. Most colleges offer marketing degrees, with undergraduate and graduate programs alike. Those who have higher degrees can expect better paying jobs, but a bachelor's degree is a great place to start. According to the BLS, marketing managers have an average salary of around $132,000 per year.

7. Healthcare management.

Healthcare managers are in charge of the business activities of healthcare providers and facilities. Thus healthcare managers are thus a crucial part of health organizations. Healthcare is continually growing and expanding, and as technology also evolves, the need for healthcare managers is only going to go up. This kind of major utilizes business and healthcare fundamentals to help you be prepared for a future working on the business side of healthcare. The BLS predicts the need of this job title will grow 18% in the next few years. The average salary for healthcare managers is over $99,000 per year, making it a highly lucrative and sought-after position. 

8. Cybersecurity.

As technology and business continue to intertwine, more organizations will need sophisticated and effective security measures to keep their data and information safe. Cybersecurity experts work to protect networks, systems, and data for technology companies and businesses alike. Every industry, from government to healthcare, needs cybersecurity to keep data secure. Cybersecurity positions often come after experience in other IT fields, so it's important to be prepared to work your way up in this exciting technology field. This field is only growing, expected to expand by 32% by the year 2028. And the average salary of cybersecurity experts is more than $98,000 per year, according to the BLS.

9. Accounting.

Accounting is a well-established and important field for every business and individual. Organizations always need help with their finances and taxes, and as finance regulations and laws continue to change, the demand for professionals will only grow. Accountants work to run audits on organizations, help with taxes, and maintain the finances of a company. A degree in accounting can lead to any number of finance positions down the line. Mathematics based degrees like accounting are often more sought after, and result in better paying careers. The average salary for accountants is $70,000 per year, but this can vary greatly based on where you work and the type of role you end up in.

10. Health information management.

Health information management is also called health informatics, and is the practice of analyzing healthcare data and using it to improve facility operations and processes. Health information managers are also charged to protect private patient data and improve the quality of patient care. Math education is key to help you prepare for this kind of position. IT and healthcare come together in this field as well, and a background and understanding of both are key to success. Technicians and specialists earn an average salary of $40,000 per year, while health information managers can earn an annual salary of over $99,000 per year according to the BLS.

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These degree programs are some of the top salary earning programs, and could be good for you to consider as you contemplate which major or degree program you should pursue. It's important to find something that can lead you to a good future career, and something that you're passionate about. Whatever degree you choose, you can work hard and find positions that will help you be successful in that field. The right education is key to helping you land your dream job, and make money doing something you truly enjoy. WGU offers many degree programs that lead to lucrative, high-paying careers. Choose one that is right for you today!

If you're interested in a high paying career, consider a degree from WGU. Our programs are built around careers, so you earn your degree and are immediately prepared to go into the workforce. Our curriculum is designed by experts in the field, who know exactly what students need to know to get a job and do well in that job. If you're considering a degree, and want one that will help you earn good money, WGU degree programs could be the perfect option.

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Our focus on your success starts with our focus on four high-demand fields: K–12 teaching and education, nursing and healthcare, information technology, and business. Every degree program at WGU is tied to a high-growth, highly rewarding career path. Which college fits you?

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