Question of the Day (Updated): What undergraduate college major provides graduates with the highest median mid-CAREER salary?

Nov 17, 2020
Question of the Day, Career, Paying for College

Answer: Petroleum Engineering with a mid-career median pay at $176,900



  • Have you given much thought to a college major? If so, do any of the majors in the chart interest you?

  • How would you describe the majors that rank highest in terms of median career earnings? What similarities do they have?

  • These mid-career salaries are based on a person’s bachelor’s degree. Do you think it is important to continue education before moving into a career? (ex. Graduate degrees)

  • Your friend says, "You better choose a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) major because they are the only ones with earnings potential. Do you agree or disagree?

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the Number (Statista):

"Graduating from university never really guarantees you a well-paid job but some degrees definitely give you a higher chance of finding one. According to Payscale, Petroleum Engineering is America's best bachelor's degree by salary. Despite the revolution in renewable energy, petroleum engineers in the United States can expect to earn around $94,500 in the first five years of their career, with typical pay rising to $176,900."


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About the Author

Mason Butts

After graduating from UCLA with a Master's in Education, Mason spent 5 years as a science educator in a South Los Angeles public high school. He is committed to supporting the holistic growth of all students and empowering them to live a life of relational, academic, and financial success. Now settled in the Bay Area, Mason enjoys facilitating professional developments and partnering with educators as they prepare students for a bright financial future. When Mason is not building curriculum or planning a training, he can be found cycling, trying new foods, and exploring the outdoors.