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5 Bachelor's Degrees That Prepare You for a High-Paying Career

If you want a good chance of landing a lucrative job after graduation, earn one of these credentials



By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2011

Reap the Financial Rewards of a Bachelors Degree
Reap the Financial Rewards of a Bachelors Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree can be an exceptional investment; data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that bachelor’s degree holders earn an average of $1,038 per week, while workers who have only a high school diploma make a weekly average of $626.* That’s an increase of more than 65%, which translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a 40-year working life.


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But some degrees prepare you for better-paying jobs than others. Here are five that can help get you started on a lucrative career:

1. Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Widely considered the starting point for professional practice in this field, a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering prepares you for entry-level jobs. Coursework typically includes mathematics, physics and general engineering in addition to specialized electrical engineering classes. A Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering usually takes four to five years of full-time study to complete.

According to the 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report, the median starting pay for electrical engineering bachelor’s degree holders is $61,300 annually. By mid-career, the median pay rises to about $103,000 per year.

[Find top electrical engineering degree programs now!]


2. Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science can qualify you for entry-level computer science jobs. Coursework generally includes software systems, digital communication, microprocessor design and much more. Computer scientists focus on applying knowledge and creativity to invent new technology, which separates them from most other information _technology (IT) professionals. Earning your Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science usually takes about four years of full-time study.

The 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report indicates that the median starting pay for computer science bachelor’s degree holders is $56,600. The median pay grows to about $97,900 by mid-career.

[Find top computer science degree programs now!]

3. Bachelor’s degree in Economics. An economics bachelor’s degree can prepare you for a variety entry-level business positions. Classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, mathematics, statistics and more are typically part of these degree programs. A Bachelor’s degree in Economics usually takes about four years of full-time study to complete.

According to the 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report, the median starting pay for economics bachelor’s degree holders is $47,300. By mid-career, the median pay rises to about $94,700.

[Find top economics degree programs now!]

4. Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems (MIS). A Bachelor’s degree in MIS is generally considered the starting point for professional practice in the MIS field. Coursework is IT-intensive, with lots of classes about particular types of software and databases, and may also include material on managing documents, processes and staff. Earning a Bachelor’s degree in MIS typically takes four years of full-time study.

The 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report indicates that the median starting pay for MIS bachelor’s degree holders is $51,000. The median pay grows to about $88,200 by mid-career.

[Find top management information systems degree programs now!]

5. Bachelor’s degree in Finance. A finance bachelor’s degree is typically considered the standard education for entry-level jobs in the finance field, including what is now the nation’s fastest-growing business career: _financial examiner. Coursework commonly includes accounting, economics, mathematics and statistics, and should take about four years of full-time study to complete.

According to the 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report, the median starting pay for finance bachelor’s degree holders is $46,500. By mid-career, the median pay rises to about $87,300.

[Find top finance degree programs now!]

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Education Pays chart, accessed October 2011.

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