2018’s Top College Degrees

With the rising student debt and the cost of tuition, many students beginning their college careers opt to pursue degrees that will position them for employment after graduation. The future earning potential of a degree, as well as how long you are going to have to go to school for in order to obtain the degree, are two of the more important criteria when selecting a major. However, the best degree is one that not only interests you, but also offers you some indication that it will allow you to make a decent living after school. The strategy is to find something that you are interested in, but to also position the degree to make yourself more employable. Some of the more popular degree categories are in technology, the sciences, human resources and business. Taking the time to research potential degrees in the industry that interests you can save you a lot of time and money by the time you start college. The following degrees currently offer a good return on the investment of time and tuition dollars.


The starting salary for most engineers averages approximately $55,600, which can definitely begin a career in the right direction. Engineering students and those who earn engineering degrees have to have an affinity for math and science, as well as be prepared to spend long hours studying. Engineering is a vast field, but technical engineering is one of the most popular, and successful, degrees in 2018. Mechanical engineering is also a good bet, with a starting salary that is slightly higher than that of a technical engineer. Computer engineers make even more than mechanical engineers, with the average starting salary of approximately $60,000. Chemical engineering and biomedical engineering are at the top of the engineering degree hierarchy when it comes to starting salaries, and each year sees an increase in students pursuing degrees in this field.


Technology continues to evolve each year. Innovations move the industry forward, with starting salaries reflecting the growth potential for this degree. A degree in a technology field, whether in the repair field, programming field, security field or communications will have growth potential and higher-than-average starting salaries. Computer Science, Information Sciences and Systems and Management Information Systems are all top candidates for those interested in working with computers. Some of the starting salaries for these technology degrees begin at $58,000. Technology degrees can allow you to work with creating complex computer programs, or can allow you to work in the security operations field, keeping data safe from hackers.


Business has always performed well as a degree, mainly due to the fact that businesses in the U.S. continue to flourish. Understanding the principles of finance, marketing, economics and how to work with others typifies this degree. The starting average salary is approximately $47,000, but can be more if you include a background in finance, as well. Marketing offers a lot of return on the investment with its average median salary of approximately $95,000. If sales and promotions are something you are interested in, then this may be the perfect major for you. Taken as a whole, most degrees that are directly linked to business in some way are going to receive nice starting salaries, depending on where you decide to live, and where you decide to work.


Students who go on to graduate from medical school definitely begin with brilliant starting salaries. However, nursing degrees can also offer big payoffs and job security. Most nurses make an average of $58,000, but specialized nursing can increase that amount to almost double. Nurses who specialize in anesthesia, labor and delivery, neonatal or other specialties will see not only an increase in job security and offers, but in starting salaries.

Psychologists focus on the mental healthcare of their patients, and the degree offers a wide range of possibilities to work in a wide range of environments. This degree seems to be one of the most popular degrees on campuses across the U.S., mainly because it can be combined with other degrees to give students a competitive edge with employers.

Human Resources

As companies grow and expand, they need a ready source of dependable workers. In order to do this, they most often employ human resources staff. The human resources department handles most of the day-to-day operations as they pertain to the people who work in a company. The median annual salary for someone in human resources is approximately $100,000.

Mathematics, Accounting and Statistics

With an average annual salary of approximately $95,000, a degree in mathematics can open a lot of employment possibilities. Depending on where you use your degree, you could realize even more than this per year. With a degree in statistics, you can earn around $80,000 a year, depending on where you are located, and your employer. Accounting degrees are one of the most popular degrees for 2018, and it is no wonder why. The growth potential for this degree, alone, beats out many other degrees in other fields. If you are looking for job security and a steady paycheck, going into anything dealing with numbers is a safe bet.