Nuclear Engineering tops the list of highest-paying college majors 4 years after graduation

From CNBC Make It published on May 16, 2023

Your college major can have a profound impact on your income.

Within four years of graduation, some majors stand to earn as much as $256,539, while others make less than $10,000 per year, according to a new report from The HEA Group, a research and higher education consulting firm.

The top-earning majors are in so-called STEM fields, or degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Half of the top 10 majors with graduates making the most money are subsets of engineering.

Michael Itzkowitz, the founder and president of The HEA Group, analyzed data collected by the U.S. Department of Education from more than two million students who received federal financial aid and graduated in 2015 or 2016. Their earnings were measured in 2019 and 2020.

Here are the 10 highest-paying college majors, four years after graduation:


The majors with the highest earning potential tend to provide specialized, technical training in an in-demand field, like health care or technology, says Itzkowitz.

Nuclear engineering majors earn the most, with a median annual salary of $131,454. Increasing calls for clean, renewable energy has spurred demand for nuclear engineers amid challenges with wind and solar power.

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