Earning a business degree can be a significant investment. The key to maximizing that investment is knowing which areas of business pay the highest salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for business and financial occupations was nearly $70,000, which is significantly higher than the median annual wage for all other occupations. In fact, it is almost double.
The Top 10 Highest Paying Degrees in Business
After consulting the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, we determined the highest paying business degrees based upon the most recent published information and data. Below are our results for the top 10 highest paying degrees in business.
#10 – Human Resources – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Human Resources
Employees, also known as human capital, are the most important assets to any organization. A human resources degree teaches students to effectively manage personnel relationships as well as policies and procedures that establish a healthy work environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a human resources professional is $62,000, which is well above the median pay of $39,810 for all occupations. In addition to managing organizational relationships, human resources professionals manage important aspects of the employment cycle from hiring new personnel to overseeing medical and retirement benefits. Courses within a human resources degree may include compensation and benefits, business ethics, business communication, and management principles.
#9 – Marketing – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Marketing
Marketing has always been a critical aspect of any organization seeking to acquire and maintain customers and stakeholders. Without effective marketing in a consumer-based economy, it is difficult for organizations to survive. Because marketing is an essential function for nearly all organizations, the positions typically pay well. The Occupational Outlook Handbook states the median (average) pay for a market research analyst/marketing professional is $63,790. Marketing degrees cover a wide range of topics that teach students concepts and skills such as market research, consumer behavior, branding, and advertising campaign creation and management. Other courses may include data analysis, statistics, and marketing theory.
#8 – Labor Relations – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Labor Relations
Maintaining strong labor relations between employees and management is an essential function to ensure a healthy work environment where the demands of the workforce and needs of management are both met in a spirit of compromise. Management desires productive employees while employees need fair treatment and livable wages. Labor Relations Specialists are employed to meet these goals by mediating the relationship between employees, management, and labor unions through the creation and interpretation of contracts and policies along with investigating workplace grievances. Labor relations degrees may be titled organizational relations or industrial relations. It may also be a concentration or specialty track as part of a human resources degree. The average labor relations specialist earns $69,020 annually.
#7 – Logistics – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Logistics, Supply Chain Management
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Earning an average annual salary of $74,750, logisticians rank #7 on our list of top 10 highest paying degrees in business. The main function of a logistician is to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s supply chain. This specific skill set requires an individual to possess a bachelor’s degree in logistics, supply chain management, or systems engineering. Students will take courses from a variety of disciplines to learn concepts and skills such as database management, software and technology specific to the field such as RFID, resource estimation, and reverse logistics. As the global economy further expands, the need for logistic professionals will continue to rise.
#6 – Entrepreneurship – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is defined as the ability to establish or set up a business with the hope of earning a profit while minimizing risk. Not only is this skill essential for the small business owner, but it is also highly valued by business organizations of all sizes. Our analysis shows that individuals with a degree in entrepreneurship earn an average wage of $75,473. A program in entrepreneurship teaches students to create and maintain business ventures through critical analysis using economics, marketing, management, data analysis, and more. Graduates of these programs go on to a wide variety of careers as business owners, consultants, and sales managers.
#5 – Accounting – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Accounting
A bachelor’s degree in accounting has always been a popular degree due to its usefulness and attractive pay. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbooks states the median pay for a budget analyst is $76,540. As organizations seek to organize their finances, budget analysts are needed to develop and review budgets put together by managers and administrators to ensure accuracy, compliance, and fiscal feasibility. While an accounting degree teaches a narrow skillset, accountants have great flexibility on what type of organization and industry they want to work in. Students can expect to take courses in managerial accounting, cost accounting, finance, and mathematics.
#4 – Management – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Management
Ranking number four on our list of highest paying degrees in business, is a degree in management. Effective leaders and managers are always needed in any organization, which makes the degree an excellent choice because of the skills and knowledge it teaches, which can be used to obtain high paying positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states Management Analysts earn an average salary of $85,260 and have an expected growth rate of 14%, which is nearly three times the average growth rate of all other occupations. With such high pay and superb demand, a degree in management should be an excellent investment for the foreseeable future.
#3 – Finance – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Finance
A degree in finance can be a profitable achievement with a high return on investment. BLS data shows finance professionals earn an average salary of $87,850. Compare that to the average of just over $39,000 for all other occupations and it’s easy to see why the degree is a popular choice. Students considering this degree, whether it is at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral levels will need strong quantitative and math skills. Typical courses include finance, accounting, tax regulations, and business law. Certain finance professions also require continuing education and additional licensure due to the changing nature of the finance industry.
#2 – Statistics – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Statistics
As the business environment becomes more data-driven, individuals with the ability to interpret and analyze statistics will be in demand. A degree in statistics can be used in any industry including medicine, IT, education, business, and much more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Statisticians earn an excellent median wage of $91,160 along with a staggering 31% expected rate of growth from 2018-2028. Students with this major can expect to take courses in statistical analysis, biostatistics, applied linear algebra, probability, and calculus. Students interested in this major should be strong in mathematics and have a passion for solving complex problems.
#1 – Economics – Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Economics
A degree in economics tops our list of highest paying degrees in business. An economics degree teaches students to study how the production and distribution of resources impact the economy. Economists work in all sectors such as healthcare, education, energy, and more. In addition, all levels of government, from local to federal, are hired as economists to evaluate and interpret data. According to BLS, the median pay for economists is $105,020, which is nearly four times the average pay compared to the average of all other occupations. In addition to economics courses, an economics degree will teach students skills such as critical thinking and analysis needed to make accurate economic forecasts. In addition, students will take courses in writing and speaking to be able to effectively articulate their findings.