Everyone can't stop talking about STEM majors, and with good reason. These majors tend to lead to high-paying and in-demand careers.
However, not every student is cut out to study science, technology, engineering or math. What are you to do if you want to make a good living without committing yourself to four or more years of studying a major you don't like?
Try this list of the ten highest paying non-STEM majors. Salaries are estimates made with data from Payscale. Majors are ranked by early-career salary which covers the first 5 years in the workforce.
Note that this is a ranking of bachelor-degrees only. Students who pursue a higher degree typically will have better earning potential.
Nursing is one of the best college majors for students who want to graduate immediately into a well-paying career. It is also one of the most popular majors students choose to study with over 154,000 graduates yearly.
The average early-career salary of a nurse is $53,333 while the average mid-career salary is just over $70,000. Nurses can specialize in a number of areas giving you the opportunity to become a nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.
If you enjoy working one on one with people and want to help them prevent and fight illness while working on the front-lines of healthcare, a career in nursing may be for you. Top-ranked schools for nursing include Molloy College, New York University and Drexel University.
2. Construction Management
Although construction management isn’t a popular major choice with only 1,736 yearly graduations, it is a highly paid non-STEM major. Students graduating with a degree in construction management can expect an average starting salary of $49,244 and an average mid-career salary of $83,338.
Top-ranked colleges include Wentworth Institute of Technology, Arizona State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. If you have a love of building and a knack of managing complex projects, problem solving and expecting the unexpected, a degree in construction management may be for you.
Do you love working with money and mathematics? Like to track trends in spending and how governments spend money? You may want to consider majoring in economics. With an average early career salary of nearly $46,000 and average mid-career salary of $88,000 – economists can earn a great wage. Top schools include the University of Chicago, Columbia University and Harvard University. US colleges graduate about 37,000 students with degrees in economics per year.
A degree in finance will let you work within a company’s financial team helping manage business assets and capital for long term investments. You’ll need to have a good background in mathematics and enjoy problem solving. Similar to economics majors, there are about 38,000 graduates in finance each year. Salaries are also similar to economists as well with an early career salary of $45,000 and average mid-career salary of just over $81,000. Top schools include the University of Pennsylvania, Boston College and Bentley University.
5. Real Estate
If you are a people person and like working on a bit of everything from law to finances, and you love seeing houses, you may want to consider a major in real estate. Although the real estate agent might be the first thing you think of, real estate is a broad industry with many different career opportunities from financial services, insurance sales and appraisals. Salaries will vary depending on the market you are in. However, an average early career salary for students graduating with a real estate degree is $44,500 with a mid-career salary of $76,500.
Attention to detail is the name of the game when considering a career in accounting. Whereas finance deals mostly with investments and transitory numbers, accountants deal with fact based numbers. Accountants work with budgets, accounts payable and accounts receivable to ensure the flow of money within a business is tracked. About 60,000 students graduate with a degree in accounting each year. The average starting salary is $44,500 with an average mid-career salary of just over $75,000. Top schools include Bentley University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bryant University.
7. Public Policy
Working in the field of public policy requires a natural inquisitiveness and desire to dig in and get to the bottom of your topic of study. A degree in public policy will help prepare you to work in the political arena as an analyst or scientist. Careers in the in the social sciences are also available to public policy graduates. Top colleges for public policy include Princeton University, Duke University and Brandeis University. Graduates can expect an early career salary of $43,000 and an average mid-career salary of $73,000.
8. Business/Managerial Economics
A degree in business and managerial economics applies the principles of economics to businesses. Business economists may help the business by analyzing certain external factors to determine how they may impact the business’s bottom line. The average early career salary is about $43,000 with an average mid-career salary of $78,000. Top schools include Bentley University, Lehigh University and the University of California – Los Angeles.
9. Dietetics & Clinical Nutrition Services
Students graduating with majors in dietetics and clinical nutrition services can find careers helping both individuals and groups of people plan for and evaluate their nutritional needs. Dieticians can work in large scale settings such as schools or business cafeterias or in a one on one clinical setting. Graduates earn an average early career salary of $42,000 and an average mid-career salary of just under $54,000. Top dietetics schools include the University of Delaware, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo and California State University – Long Beach.
10. International Business
Rounding out our list of top ten best non stem majors is international business. Students graduating will be prepared to travel internationally and conduct business. You’ll have to have a love of travel and willingness to learn other cultures and customs – doing so can be very rewarding. International business students can attend a number of top ranked schools including Georgetown University, Villanova University and Bryant University. Graduates can expect an average early career salary of $42,000 with an average mid-career salary of $79,000.