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6 Top-Paying College Degrees With Fast Salary Growth

Take a look at some fields that can offer you steadily increasing wages throughout your career



By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2012

Top Paying College Degrees
Top Paying College Degrees

When deciding which of the best-paying majors to pursue, you generally look at the starting salary.  After all, that’s what you’re going to have to live on after graduation.  Some professions offer faster salary growth than others, so it’s wise to consider the median mid-career (10 years) and late-career (20+ years) wages of your chosen field.

Here are six top-paying college degrees that can bring quick, significant raises:


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1.  Business Administration.  Business administration has long been considered one of the nation’s best-paying majors.  This field has a wide variety of specialties, from accounting to project management.  A bachelor’s degree can get you started, but a master’s is often necessary to advance.

Degree:  Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $46,364*

Median Annual Mid-Career Salary:  $92,756*

Median Annual Late-Career Salary:  $109, 712*

 2.  Civil Engineering.  Civil engineers design and oversee large-scale construction projects, such a bridges, buildings, dams, roads and tunnels.  A bachelor’s degree is the standard education for this field; graduate credentials are usually required only if you want to move into management or teach at the university level.

Degree:  Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) – Civil Engineering

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $48,019*

Median Annual Mid-Career Salary:  $82,004*

Median Late-Career Salary:  $101,659*

3.  Healthcare Management.  Earning a healthcare management degree prepares you to manage staff in assisted living facilities, doctor’s offices, hospitals and other healthcare institutions.  A bachelor’s degree is enough to enter the field, but you generally need a master’s to advance.

Degree:  Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Healthcare Management

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $52,125*

Median Annual Mid-Career Salary:  $77,226*

Median Annual Late-Career Salary:  $98,132*

4.  Health Information Management.  Health information managers create and maintain patient records and are also responsible for keeping them secure.  Staying up to date with the latest healthcare information technology is essential in this field.

Degree:  Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Information Management

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $45,000*

Median Annual Mid-Career Salary:  $69,631*

Median Annual Late-Career Salary:  $73,768*

5.  Public Administration.  Public administration (PA) deals with implementing programs for various organizations that operate in the public sector.  The vast majority of PA professionals are civil servants who work at the local, state or federal level.

Degree:  Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $40,245*

Median Annual Mid-Career Salary:  $68,388*

Median Annual Late-Career Salary:  $89,221*

6.  Technology Management.  Information technology (IT) managers plan and direct the activities of an organization’s IT department.  At larger firms they may rise to director- or executive-level positions that create and guide overall IT goals.

Degree:  Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Technology Management

Median Annual Starting Salary:  $42,750*

Median Mid-Career Salary:  $90,545*

Median Late-Career Salary:  $110,041*


*Salary data from PayScale.com, accessed October 2012


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