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10 Most Valuable College Majors

11 Comments  •  By:   •  December 18, 2009  •  Get Email Updates

flaskSeniors in high school often have to make an important decision, which college major to choose. There are many majors to choose out of and students have to start choosing their major before even stepping foot on college campus. It is however, often a difficult decision because students have many interests and not enough expertise to make a decision.

Many college students, in fact, change their majors during their college years; sometimes, students have to stay in college for 5 or 6 years because of the changes. Nowadays, many college including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University enter all of their students into a General Program during the first two years. However, some programs such as Engineering at North Carolina State University essentially force their students to start engineering when they take their first step on campus. So, it is still very important for a high school senior to evaluate his or her potential majors before applying to colleges and universities.

The most important factor in choosing a major is interest. It is a horrible idea to spend the next four years of your life studying something you despise then having to work 40 or more hours a week in a field that you find repulsive. However, most people generally do not prefer to study a field where there are extremely low salaries and high unemployment rate. Having a backup major is generally a good idea.

According to Scholarships.com, the most profitable college majors are:

1. Chemical Engineering ($55,900 average starting salary)
2. Computer Engineering ($54,877 average starting salary)
3. Electrical/Electronics/Communications engineering, ($52,899 average starting salary)
4. Mechanical Engineering ($50,672 average starting salary)
5. Computer Science ($50,046 average starting salary)
6. Accounting ($45,723 average starting salary)
7. Economics/Finance/Banking ($45,191 average starting salary)
8. Civil Engineering ($44,999 average starting salary)
9. Business Administration/Management ($39,850 average starting salary)
10. Marketing/Marketing Management/Marketing Research ($36,260 average starting salary)

It appears that students that enjoy engineering have a lot of flexibility in choosing their major without much detriment. If they realize that you do not enjoy working with hardware, they can always work with software with a Computer Science major, or in analytics with a Mathematics or Statistics major. Students who enjoy working with finances also have flexibility choosing between Accounting, Economics, Finance, Banking, Business Administration, and Marketing. It may be difficult for a student to decide whether he wants to study Accounting or Economics while in high school. However, it may be a strategic decision to start leaning toward the finance field.

For most of the degrees above, a Bachelor’s degree is sufficient to get a job. A master’s degree such as the MBA is optional and can be obtained at a later stage. However, in other fields such as English, a Masters of PhD degree may be necessary to obtain the best employment opportunities. That should be taken into account. People who do not want to stay in school for a long period of time should avoid these majors and take advantage of the alternatives. Also, some colleges’ engineering programs can be essentially 5-year programs. Student shouldn’t assume that all Bachelor’s degrees can be completed in 4 years.

There is also an opportunity in many colleges to double major. It may be give the student more job flexibility. However, if the majors do not well overlap, it will also be more time consuming. Minors can also be pursued and only consist of several extra classes. In my opinion, minors should only be pursued out of pure interest since most of the time, they are not listed on a diploma and do not give the student enough expertise to be employed in a field.

If a high school senior cannot think of a major, it is not the end of the world. However, it is highly advantageous to start researching career fields early on. Plus Plus Tutoring offers college planning services to help students choose their major. Anton Lebedev is the director of Plus Plus Tutoring, a tutoring agency serving many areas in the United States. We offer professional K-12 in-home subject tutoring, test preparation, and college planning services. Our website is http://www.plusplustutoring.com.

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11 Comments on “10 Most Valuable College Majors”  (RSS)

  • 1. INDUSTRIAL AGE.

    2. INFORMATION /INTERNET/WEB AGE…

    college cost too much and and takes too much..

    public college: univ of california, unif of michigan, oregon, washington, texas, florida, wisconsin, illinois:

    tax-money on public land. post online and give it away FREE FREE FREE….

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    4 Knowledge belongs the to world. GIVE IT AWAY FREE FREE FREE.

    5. HARVARD/MIT: GIVING FREE FREE FREE FREE COURSES.

    6. BILL GATES/WARREN BUFFETT: GIVING PLEDGE FREE FREE FREE.

    GIVE IT AWAY FREE FREE FREE.

  • Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to provide one thing again and aid others like you aided me.

  • HAHAHA Good post. But also good chain of criticisms. :) I love it! (BTW Sarah, Ray did use “your” incorrectly at the end of his first paragraph. But I’m not counting. I break all grammar rules frequently).

  • Thank you for some other magnificent post. The place else may anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

  • Ian, I’m sorry. I now see that you were speaking of Ray’s post. Still, he did use the word “your” correctly.

  • Ian, It would also not make sense to say “Value comes down to you are principles and how you use them.”

  • Ian, “you’re” is a conjunction of “you” and “are”. It would not make sense to say that “Companies in this day and age don’t care what you are major is or was.” Therefore, Rob did correctly use the word “your”. Also, Rob did not preach anything about grammar. Be nice.

  • Ray, you used “your” instead of you’re. Practice what you preach, my friend.

  • I wholeheartedly disagree with this post. Value is an inclusive and broad term. In terms of monetary value, sure, starting positions with these majors are financially valuable. However, it comes down to who you know, how hard you work, how socially affluent you are that creates values. Companies in this day and age don’t care what your major is or was. They want to know what you can do for them, how you’re going to do it, how successful you’re gonna be and whether or not you’re going to execute. Value comes down to your principles and how you use them to your advantage to create and take advantage of opportunities. This post is misleading.

  • to Ernie: Attention to detail is extremely important when applying for a job. If your resume has as many typos and grammatical errors as your post it might be a good idea to take a basic writing course before pursuing anything further. I am not trying to be ugly, but as a hiring manager, if I were to see as many errors on an application or resume as I see in your post, the submitting candidate would be disqualified. The reason being that I am looking for people that take pride in themselves and everything that they do. If reviewing a simple application for errors is beyond their capability, I sure don’t want them working on anything more critical. Spelling and grammar may not be important in construction, but if your applying for a teaching position, it is crucial.

    My advice is to slow down. Get someone to help you build a professional resume, and capitalize on your experience. If you were able to establish and operate your own construction company and keep it afloat for seven years, you have skills that are invaluable in both the public and private sectors.

    Just my two cents…

    Ray

  • Helpfull Blog. I have voiced that same opinion on numerous ocasions. Advisor need to spend more time being realistic about career opportunities upon completion of your degree. Withnthat being said I find myself at 31 still trying to make a Major decesion. I am a Graduate, with a BA in Poiltical Science. I started my own construction Company 7 years ago and have recently chose to close shop due to the economic climate. I have a Teaching Certificate In History, which was always plab B if I didn’t stay in business. The problem is that it is next to impposible to land a History Teaching job. This has left unemployed and decideing that I need to better my degree. I have recently been accepted into a Master’s Program at Rutgers University (Public Adminstration). Option 2 is go back for 30 credits in Math to aquire a teaching certificate and teach. A B.S. in Math would be an additional 20 more.

    I have in the past scored very high on the math portion of the SAT, but chose not to pursue once in college. Their is something in my gut telling me to go for the Math degree, but I feel as though I am going backwards and I am not getting any younger. Appreciate any opinions.

    Thanks,

    EG

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