What are the Best College Majors? You Might be Surprised
Some people have known what they want to be since they were four years old. Others stand in panic in front of their college dorms and are still not sure if they’ve made the right choice. Choosing a career is one of the most significant moments in a person’s life. Sometimes you fall into it, and sometimes everything is meticulously planned.
What are the best college majors? Is what you’re thinking of on the list? Whether the college major of your choice will end up being the best for you is impossible to predict. Nonetheless, some factors can help you make an informed decision.
Very Common Question: What Is the Best College Major? It Depends on Your Measuring Stick
What is the best movie in the world? How about the best song or album? These things are impossible to measure because they are profoundly subjective and tied to people's personalities and preferences. Still, there is a list of those that fit the specific criteria of what makes them the best.
Things are not so different when talking about the best college majors. What makes a college major best for someone will be the absolute worst for someone else. That’s why it’s essential to consider the measuring tool you’re using when trying to zero in on the best college majors.
Are the best college majors the easiest ones? Some people might think so. For students looking to get their degree without breaking a sweat, a major that will give them more free time might get the title of the best. Sure, that too can be subjective, but there are practical ways to measure the difficulty of a college major.
What about the best majors for jobs right out of college? That is usually where the meaning of the "best" lands in terms of college majors. Going for an easy major or the one that you would love the most sometimes means that you know you'll struggle to find a job post-graduation. Parents and career specialists often advise a practical approach.
A step beyond that are the best-paying college majors. Choose a career that will bring you the most money. It’s a practical way to think about it, and sure, sometimes it is the best. But what about people who want to join a family business that might not be the most profitable?
And the people who believe that majoring in something they love is more likely to secure them successful careers? You should put these factors against your expectations, talents, and personal affinities. It’s a fact that financial stability means a less stressful life, but only up to a point. Doing something you profoundly dislike can be very detrimental to your health.
What are the Most Popular Majors in the US?
Having a college degree has become more valuable than ever before. The majority of well-paying jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. That said, more and more positions require post-graduate degrees, too.
People want to get a good, well-rounded education and to experience college life. Those things are hard to measure in money because they bring invaluable experiences and a broader view of the world. Still, some college majors are more popular than others for a reason. So, what are the most popular college majors in the US?
Business and Management
An astounding 19% of all college majors are related to business administration and management. The problem-solving types who are drawn to this profession see it also as one of the best college majors to get a job right after graduation.
A very close second with just under 155,000 graduates per year is nursing. Like business majors, this college major means learning to work successfully with other people, though in an entirely different way. It's, without a doubt, one of the most relevant and most popular college majors in the country.
Here’s another major where helping people is at the core of the profession. There are nearly 130,000 degrees issued every year. Most people go on to pursue master’s degrees and doctorates. Perhaps it’s not one of the best-paying college majors, and it’s certainly not the worst. That said, it’s among the most popular ones.
Many students are eager to learn about nature, plants, and animals. So, they opt for biology as their college major. Around 6% of all college majors are related to biological and biomedical sciences. This college major can lead you to a job in the lab or outside it. Biology majors can go on to become a medical or veterinary professional.
Unsurprisingly, engineering has made it to the top five list of the most popular college majors. Engineering degrees make up for about 5% of all degrees in the US. There are many different types of engineering majors, and some of them rank among good-paying college majors and highest-paying college majors.
Among the most popular college majors in the US are also education, communications, finance and accounting, criminal justice, as well as anthropology and sociology. Also, English majors are as popular as ever. Ranked 12th, with nearly 45,000 degrees a year. It's interesting to observe that there is a balance between exact sciences and social sciences in terms of the popularity of college majors.
What are the Best-Paying Majors?
Many future students find it essential to acquire not only a degree but a skill that will hopefully guarantee fulfilling work. It's also a privilege and sometimes a financial burden. The student debt crisis is a massive problem nationwide.
Going into college with the idea of choosing the best college majors for the future is smart and practical. But what are the best college majors that will get you a high-paying job immediately post-graduation?
With a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, you can start earning a serious amount of money right after graduation. A median starting salary regularly is around $100,000 per year. That's an impressive starting point coming straight out of college. That’s why it is also one of the hardest majors one can choose.
A pharmaceutical sciences college major binds chemistry, biology, toxicology, and many other sciences together. Working in the pharmaceutical industry means developing and testing drugs, and can even include sales. It’s a very lucrative industry that brings steady work and high-paying jobs.
A computer engineering major combines parts of electrical engineering and computer sciences. Computer engineers construct and design routers, memory chips, and microprocessors. A decision to pursue a major in computer engineering means that you can look forward to a very well-paying job. The starting median salary is around $86,000 per year.
There's a chance you're not sure what chemical engineers do, and that's because they mostly work behind the scenes of many industries. Chemical engineers are essential in the food industry, as well as in the fuel industry. You can find them in a vast array of other sectors, as well. It's difficult, but also one of the highest-paying college majors in the US.
Different types of electrical engineering exist, and going for this college major usually means designing and maintaining electrical components. You’ll learn about energy, manufacturing, communications systems, etc. There is plenty of work, and some graduates end up working on big projects abroad. In the US, the median salary for an electrical engineer is around $90,000 per year.
It's clear that engineering jobs are among the best-paid, but there are profitable college majors outside technology and engineering as well. Some of those are economics, finance, food science, agriculture, and marketing.
What are the Coolest Majors?
If it’s hard to say what college major is the best, and it’s even more challenging to select the coolest ones. However, there are some fantastic and completely unexpected majors out there that give you a unique education. What are the cool college majors, and are there any fun college majors that pay well?
The robots are going to take over, or so they keep telling us. But for that to happen, there need to be enough people who know how to build and control robots. A background in electrical and mechanical engineering is required to get into this field, but the ability to work on robots and shape how they can impact the future is undeniably cool.
Does anything sound cooler than exploring sunken boats and long-lost underwater cities? You never know if there is a treasure chest hiding somewhere. Students of maritime archeology do a lot of research first and go through the theory of ocean travel and archeology.
Viticulture and Enology
Are you passionate about wine? If the answer is an excited yes, then you might be interested in knowing everything there is to know about growing grapes and making wine. The wine industry is enormous, but the majority of the production is in several key areas around the world. You can learn about soil sustainability and wine microbiology and other exciting things.
In case you can’t get enough of Tom Clancy’s novels and TV shows, you might be excited to know that you can earn a bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies. This program prepares you for all kinds of intelligence-related jobs in the government. Some graduates end up working in the private sector.
Many people know something about exercising and why it's beneficial. But if you want to become an expert, then kinesiology is one of the fun college majors you can pursue. You will learn about biomechanics and the sociology of sport. You will also learn a lot about the complex and beautiful ways the human body moves.
Some of the honorable mentions in this section include adventure education, aerospace engineering, tourism management, fermentation science.
What Majors Help You Help the World?
Youthful enthusiasm is usually the catalyst for all significant changes in the world. And choosing a college major with the idea of helping the world is both noble and means you're thinking ahead. So, what majors are there for you if you're trying to help the world?
There is a lot of talk about sustainability in fashion, agriculture, and many other industries. An overhaul is in order if we’re to survive and thrive as a species. And that means many environmental sustainability degrees.
A modern-day family faces countless unexplored challenges, and society needs well-trained professionals to help keep it together. It is one of the best college majors for people who want to see the direct positive impact of their work.
At a time when people’s faith in media is at the all-time low, majoring in journalism doesn’t seem like the best idea. But maybe that’s why it is. It can be a hard industry to navigate through, but truth-tellers always shine.
A good teacher stays remembered. It’s not the easiest of job, but there is something very satisfying about shaping the minds of younger generations, or helping older minds learn and continue their education.
Knowing about the past leads to a better future, provided we learn the lessons. But you need people who will write down, collect, preserve, and learn from the events and artifacts of the past. Majoring in history means that the museums and archives will continue to exist.
For those looking to help the world, careers in anthropology, civil engineering, computer ethics, criminology, and gender studies are also among the viable options.
What Majors Allow You to Travel?
Traveling around the world is a dream for many people. But that’s rarely easy or cheap. One of the most sustainable ways to go and live abroad is to do that through your job. That means pursuing a college major that will provide you with that opportunity. Here are some to consider.
One of the best college majors for a career that will take you traveling is an English Teacher for international students. Many people around the world want to learn English and would prefer to have a professional teacher who is also a native speaker.
Taking up a major in public health means that you can put your expertise at the disposal of many health institutions around the world. People need help in many places, and joining a non-profit organization means that you’ll be able to travel and offer your knowledge where it is needed the most.
If you are interested in preserving wildlife and managing a national park, for example, majoring in wildlife conservation is a great choice. It also means you will most likely travel a lot and spend time outdoors. It's both a noble and adventurous career.
Oceans make up the majority of the Earth’s surface. Sadly, people tend to forget that, especially since so many have never seen one. One of the best college majors for traveling is oceanography. It means researching changes in marine plants and animals all over the world.
There is always a war somewhere, and that's the sad truth. That is why it's essential to nurture diplomacy and educate as many diplomats as possible. A degree in international studies most likely means that you’ll travel around the world to make this planet a better place.
Many college majors can ensure you’ll be traveling a lot. That’s especially true if you land a position in a prominent domestic or even a global company.
What are the Majors Most Likely to Get You a Job After College?
After graduation, it's normal to feel excitement and happiness, as well as some fear about what waits for you. If you aim to get a job as soon as you graduate, perhaps it's good to know about which are the best majors for jobs right out of college. Here is the list of top ten majors that are most likely to guarantee work after graduation:
- Actuarial Science
- Teacher education
- Agricultural engineering
- Public relations
- Electrical engineering
- Business management
All of the engineering college majors will most likely guarantee quick employment and more freedom in pursuing a career. Former students with degrees in nursing and other medical professions are also very likely to find work straight out of college. All of these majors have super-low unemployment rates, with astrophysics being at precisely 0%.
So, what is the best college major? It’s up to you!