High Return on Investment Degrees

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Marketing
  • Biology
  • Petroleum, Mining and Mineral Engineering
  • Economics

5-degrees-that-offer-a-high-return-on-investmentWhile some degrees offer low pay for graduates, college is still one of the best ways to guarantee high earnings. One of the biggest factors in determining a student’s future pay rate is their course of study. Certain majors make nearly double or triple the lowest paying majors. To garner a high income, students should consider one of the following five degree options.

1. Chemical Engineering

This top earning field regularly brings in top-dollar careers for new graduates. In 2011, the average graduate had a starting salary of $65,618. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings for this career field are at $96,940 annually. Although job growth is slower than average at 2 percent, there is still room for new engineers due to retirement. Once hired in this position, new engineers can expect to work in fields like nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, energy research and biotechnology. To be successful in this field, students must be talented at chemistry, electrical engineering, mathematics and physics. All of these skills are used on a daily basis for chemical engineers, so it is important that students are able to handle the chemicals, biochemicals and manufacturing equipment that they will use at their workplace.

2. Marketing

If you are looking for a strong return on your investment, marketing is one of the top degrees to choose. Almost every piece of technology uses some form of marketing to advertise products and services. To create and implement these advertisements, companies need to have skilled marketers. A marketing manager in this degree field typically earns a median salary of $86,591 and 30-year earnings of $5,107,134. Meanwhile, a public relations manager earns $86,127 and has 30-year earnings of $5,079,767. This means that public college students in this field can expect a return on their investment of about 135 to 136 percent.

3. Biology

The natural world can be immensely fascinating. For biology students, this interesting field of study can lead to high earnings as well. Following graduation, students can become employed as laboratory managers, research associates or safety supervisors. A laboratory manager earns a median of $85,292. While research associates receive $72,812, safety supervisors have a median wage of $71,758. The return on investment for public college students ranges from 114 to 134 percent for these career options.

4. Petroleum, Mining and Mineral Engineering

With the oil boom in North Dakota, American oil companies are in dire need of engineers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that this career field will grow by 15 percent over the next decade. Unlike some academic fields, it only takes four years to accomplish this program. Like most engineering specialties, it requires individuals who have strong analytical and mathematical skills. For petroleum engineers, the starting salary was $80,849 in 2011. Since most of petroleum-related jobs are in North Dakota, Alaska, Texas, California and Louisiana, students may have to move to find work in this field.

5. Economics

This field covers the math and concepts behind the way the economy works. Students will learn about macroeconomics, microeconomics, business statistics and a range of other economics-related topics. Once students graduate, they have a host of jobs that they can choose from. A corporate economist boasts of a median salary of $115,671 with a 30-year earnings rate of $6,822,271. Due to this, students can expect a return on their investment of 182 percent if they attended a public college.

Engineering and technical subjects remain some of the best careers for new graduates. These career fields typically require a basic undergraduate degree and certifications. Once hired, students can expect to outperform in earnings as they pursue their career goals.