Guide to today’s best-paid professions

You cannot get around the fact that higher education is very expensive. Going abroad to study is exciting, but it is also a serious investment. More than 44 million Americans today owe close to $1.5 billion through student credit lines, because they know how vital it is to get an education at prestigious schools in order to be in step with the times. Besides that, attending prestigious universities is not just an investment of money, but also of your valuable time. For this reason, more and more students are taking a break after high school and trying out several professions to see whether these are for them and whether they want to go on to train in that area. Also they are trying to assess whether gaining an appropriate degree will help them initially pay off the debt that will accumulate from paying for their schooling, most often in the form of student loans.


However, some student programmes are still better-paid than others. According to a report by the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, the average yearly salary of people with a high school education is $36,000, compared with petroleum engineers who on average earn $120,000 a year. Seen overall, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects have a constant increase in their employment rates and the highest incomes.


The site PayScale, which compares levels of pay, recently carried out research comparing 2.3 million graduates from 2,700 colleges and universities all over the USA. What they discovered is that students who chose narrowly specialised vocational study programmes had the highest pay during the first 5 years and after 10 years of their working careers. Surprisingly, computer science did not fall into this group. 


This is the list of the best-paid student programmes today:


1. Petroleum engineering

Early career pay: $94,600
Mid-career pay: $175,500


2. Actuarial mathematics

Early career pay: $56,400
Mid-career pay: $131,700


3. Actuarial science

Early career pay: $61,200

Mid-career pay: $130,800


4. Nuclear engineering

Early career pay: $69,000
Mid-career pay: $127,500


5. Chemical engineering

Early career pay: $70,300
Mid-career pay: $124,500


6. Marine engineering

Early career pay: $73,900
Mid-career pay: $123,200


7. Economics and mathematics

Early career pay: $60,000
Mid-career pay: $122,900


8. Geophysics

Early career pay: $54,100
Mid-career pay: $122,200


9. Cognitive science

Early career pay: $54,000
Mid-career pay: $121,900


10. Electrical power engineering

Early career pay: $54,000

Mid-career pay: $121,900



As you can see yourself, as far as the potential pay is concerned, engineering degrees are right at the top of the list. Regardless of whether you graduate in chemical engineering, nuclear or petroleum engineering, you will definitely end up in well-paid work and with a promising career. Engineering skills are highly sought-after in most industries, and for this reason they are awarded some of the highest salaries. If you are wanting to work in executive management of large companies, engineering is a good choice, because many executive directors, even in the best 500 companies in America (Fortune 500), are from precisely this field of expertise. 

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