The highest paying undergraduate degrees offer graduates the ability to utilize the knowledge learned during studies to establish long term, successful, and often lucrative careers within a number of dynamic industries. Undergraduate degrees within science, information technology, engineering, business, and mathematics offer graduates an increased employment options and numerous opportunities for advancement.
Ranking the Top 10 Highest Paying Undergraduate Degrees
1. Petroleum Engineering – B.S. in Petroleum Engineering
Students who complete petroleum engineering degrees gain the skills required to advance as professional “hydrocarbon harvesters.” Graduates with educational backgrounds in petroleum engineering gain a versatile understanding of mathematics, earth science, petroleum geology, geophysics, and well engineering as well as specialized training regarding drilling, artificial lift systems, and reservoir simulation. Petroleum engineering programs are only offered at a select few colleges within the U.S. and Europe and competition for acceptance is quite high though employment for qualified professionals is among one of the fastest growing occupations. The potential for layoffs is large despite job growth due to the depletion of crude and natural gas yet most graduates with a petroleum engineering degree have earnings starting at $119,140 annually.
2. Computer and Information Systems Managers – B.S. in Computer and Information Systems
The field of information technology is one of the largest, fast growing industries due to current computer and telecommunication trends. Computer and Information System managers are highly skilled professionals who manage all aspects of generation web technologies, bioinformatics, and cloud computing. These professionals are responsible for the installation, maintenance, upkeep, and security of computer networks, programs, and the overall development of the Internet and intranet sites.
Computer and Information Systems managers often supervise a staff of software engineers, systems analysts, programmers, and computer support specialists using skills learned through their studies based in computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, mathematics, information science, statistics, accounting, management, and information systems. Computer and Information Systems Managers generally earn $112,210 annually after completing their bachelor degree though some employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees.
3. Aircraft Pilot and Flight Engineer – B.S. in Aeronautical or Aerospace Engineering
An educational foundation based in aircraft and flight engineering is among the highest paying undergraduate degrees. Training to become an aircraft pilot and flight engineer is intensive and requires studies based in physics, aeronautical engineering, English, mathematics, and the ability to meet flight training requirements. Skilled graduates generally advance to careers flying planes, helicopters, commercial jets, or private aircraft transporting passengers and cargo, dusting crops, directing fire fighting efforts, tracking criminals, testing aircraft, or rescuing and evacuating injured individuals. Graduates must also be qualified to assist pilots and copilots by monitoring instruments, making in flight repairs, and supporting air traffic control, company, or cabin communications. Earnings for individuals who complete aircraft pilots and flight engineers have the potential to be as high as $111,680 annually.
4. Computer Hardware Engineer – B.S. in Computer Science and Networking
Computer hardware engineers are skilled professionals who manage all aspects of computer systems and networks. Computer hardware engineers handle the development of computer chips, computer systems, routers, keyboards, circuit boards, and other hardware and also test, maintain, and upgrade these components and systems.
An undergraduate degree in computer hardware engineering is among the highest paying degree programs and includes studies within computer engineering, information systems, mathematics, and other technological advances. Potential earnings for most graduates within the field can be $97,570 annually.
5. Nuclear Engineer – B.S. in Nuclear Engineering
Nuclear engineering is among one of the highest paying undergraduate degree programs with a great earnings potential. Nuclear engineers are responsible for the research and maintenance of nuclear reactors, weapons, and power plants and must possess the skills to release, control, safely utilize, and dispose nuclear energy and waste. Studies within this field include courses based in nuclear fusion, radiation safety, medical or ionizing applications, heat and thermodynamic transport, nuclear proliferation, nuclear fuel, and the effects of radioactivity on the environment and organisms. Earnings for graduates with nuclear engineering degrees are often $97,080 yearly.
6. Actuary – B.S. in Actuarial Science
A bachelor’s degree within an actuarial science provides students one of the highest paying undergraduate degrees. Graduates advance to employment as professionals assessing risks within the insurance industry. Graduates are skilled to asses the likelihood of disability, illness, death, loss of property, and/or other events. Actuaries also develop policies to minimize the expenses associated with the risks based upon intensive studies in actuarial science, mathematics, economics, and statistics. Most students are required to complete internships and successfully pass a series of examinations which require a 4 to 8 year time investment before qualifying for employment. Academic and employment competition is keen for students and professionals in the field of actuarial science though professionals generally have earnings beginning at $95,980 annually.
7. Chemical Engineer – B.S. in Chemical Engineering
Completing a chemical engineering degree offers undergraduates the ability to advance careers within many high paying industries like biotechnology, health care, and global business. Chemical engineers are highly skilled professionals with an educational background based in mathematics, chemistry, natural science, physics, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineer. Chemical engineers are responsible for designing the equipment for, production, testing, and other processes for large scale chemical manufacturing and their by products. Professionals in the field of chemical engineering also concentrate on and resolve problems related to how manufactured chemicals impact the environment, consumers, and other workers. Chemical engineers earn salaries of $84,680 annually upon gaining necessary training.
8. Electronics Engineer – B.S. in Electronics Engineering
The discipline of electronics engineering is also one of the highest paying undergraduate degree programs offering individuals the ability to act as professionals within a number of quickly evolving technology industries. Electronics engineering programs offer students a broad understanding of electrical and electronics engineering, mechanical engineer, mathematics, the principles and theories of electronics, physical and life and sciences, and engineering technology. Electronics engineers are highly skilled workers who apply knowledge learned within undergraduate programs to design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electronic equipment, signal processes, and control systems. Skilled professionals within this field have the ability to ear $86,370 annually
9. Materials Engineer – B.S. in Materials Engineering
An undergraduate degree within materials engineering is one of the highest paying undergraduate programs offering graduates the knowledge and training necessary to advance as professionals. Materials engineers complete studies based in mathematics, science, chemistry, computer science, and physics to gain employment developing new uses for materials, developing machinery and the processes necessary to manufacture them, and assuring design and performance specifications. Many materials engineers specialize their training using specific materials, like metal, alloys, ceramics, graphite, plastics, polymers, glass, or organic materials as well as assist in the development of new materials. Graduates who complete undergraduate studies and meet certification requirements within the field of materials engineering often earn $81,820 annually.
10. Registered Nurse – BSN
A four year bachelor degree in nursing offers individuals the skills and training necessary to work within the largest workforce of the U.S. economy as registered nurses. Registered nurses offer patient care and education to patients, clinical support to physicians, and professional expertise within a variety of medical care facilities upon completion of required education and certification.
Nursing programs feature courses based in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, psychology, and nutrition, supervised clinical experiences, and means of specializing studies within a number of health care fields upon completing the NYCLEX exam required for licensure. Earnings for nurses who gain employment as registered nurses earn $51,640 and $76,570 yearly.