Potential Careers for Popular Majors

1. Finance

  • Loan officers make approximately $56,490 per year, and the job outlook is expected to grow about as fast as average.
  • Careers in actuarial science, which require a solid foundation in math and finance, are growing at a faster than average rate with an average annual salary of $87,650.
  • Most entry-level stock brokers make around $70,190 per year. Finance majors may also have to take additional exams to become certified to sell securities.
  • Financial analysts make an average of $74,350 per year, and the job outlook through 2020 is expected to grow much faster than average.
  • After a few years as a financial analyst or other entry-level finance position, you could rise to the level of money manager. These managers make about $103,910 annually, but job growth at this level is expected to slow slightly over the next decade.

2. Accounting

  • Accountants make an average of $61,690 per year, and the job outlook for accountants remains strong, particularly as financial regulations become more stringent and complicated.
  • Budget analysts help companies and public sector agencies to plan and monitor their spending. A budget analyst makes approximately $68,200 annually.
  • Financial examiners ensure that companies are staying within regulatory standards and avoiding unethical activities. Financial examiners make approximately $75,000 per year.
  • Revenue agents can make a living working for the Internal Revenue service. The pay is approximately $49,360 annually for work that can be high-stress.
  • Many accounting majors go on to earn a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and become personal financial advisers. If you choose this path, you can make an average of $64,000 per year, and demand for the job is growing rapidly.

3. Engineering

  • Aerospace engineers design airplanes, spacecraft, satellites and missiles. Jobs are highly competitive, and pay equals about $97,000 annually.
  • Structural engineers, or civil engineers, design structures ranging from buildings to public sewer systems. Pay averages about $77,000 per year.
  • Computer hardware engineers design computer equipment such as chips, circuit boards and routers. The average pay is $98,000 annually, and many people compete for these jobs.
  • Electrical engineers make approximately $87,000 per year designing electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communication systems and power generation equipment.
  • Environmental engineers develop solutions to environmental problems using their knowledge of soil science, engineering, biology and chemistry. Environmental engineers average about $74,000 per year for salary.

4. Computer Science

  • Software engineers make approximately $87,140 per year and have an excellent hiring outlook. With the growth of mobile technology, software engineers are needed more than ever to research, design and deploy new applications.
  • Computer systems analysts are also getting a boost from mobile app development. These analysts make approximately $77,000 per year.
  • Jobs for network administrators are also expected to grow faster than average. Graduates who become network administrators can expect to make $69,160 per year on average.
  • Computer engineering teaches students to design a variety of digital hardware and software systems. Those at the top of the profession will make about $100,000 per year.
  • Information systems analysts help businesses to utilize IT to meet their revenue and growth goals. The mean annual wage is approximately $118,000 annually.

5. Biology

  • Biologists make about $74,000 per year, and job growth is being driven by genetics mapping and by concerns about biological terrorism.
  • Clinical research associates make approximately $64,700 per year working in laboratories investigating a variety of biological questions and research theses.
  • Microbiologists investigate the growth and development of microscopic organisms. Microbiologists make about $66,000 per year.
  • Secondary school teachers who teach biology make, on average, about $49,000 per year.
  • Environmental project managers combine biology know-how with business sense to help businesses to repair or prevent environmental damage. These professionals make approximately $68,600 annually.

6. Chemistry

  • Research chemists will see reductions in job openings as pharmaceutical companies outsource in-house work to smaller firms. Jobs will be competitive and will pay about $68,000 annually.
  • Sales professionals with degrees in chemistry sometimes specialize in pharmaceutical products. On average, sales professionals make $52,440 annually.
  • Academics is a draw for many chemistry majors who enjoy teaching in secondary schools or universities. The median salary is $70,960 per year.
  • Forensic chemists investigate crimes by gathering and analyzing physical evidence. Average pay for forensic chemists is $51,570 annually.
  • Patent agents specialize in studying the chemical makeup of a variety of products that individuals and companies want to patent. The average salary for a patent agent is about $50,000 per year.

7. Mathematics

  • Mathematicians enjoy lucrative pay totaling nearly $100,000 per year as they employ high-level mathematics and technology to solve real-world problems.
  • Statisticians make an average of about $73,000 per year tabulating, analyzing and interpreting statistics. Job outlook is very strong as demand for statisticians is multiplying but the supply of statistics graduates is low.
  • Operations research analysts use advanced problem-solving methods to help organizations develop strategies. On average, operations research analysts make approximately $70,960 per year.
  • Database administrators will see much faster than average job growth. Database administrators can expect to make about $73,000 per year.
  • Teachers of mathematics are always in low supply in public schools and in universities. Students with master’s and doctoral degrees can expect to make about $62,000 annually.

8. English

  • Copy editors proofread copy for errors or style problems so that publications display top-notch content. The average copy editor may make up to $51,000 per year.
  • Announcers work for television and radio stations and sometimes find work for sport teams. Many announcers work part-time for an average salary of $27,000 per year.
  • Web content editors are becoming more in-demand than print editors as content moves from the printed page to online media. The average editor makes approximately $51,470 per year.
  • Technical writers produce instructional materials and manuals that help people to make sense of complex concepts or products. The average technical writer makes an annual salary of $63,000.
  • Grant writers can expect an income of around $48,000 per year.

9. Political science

  • Policy analysts work for government agencies or elected officials in administrative positions. Policy analysts with master’s or doctoral degrees in political science can make over $100,000 per year in governmental management positions.
  • Regional planners work in local governments plan and regulate land use in cities or in rural areas. To become a regional planner, you may have to earn a master’s degree. The average annual salary is around $63,000.
  • Management
  • Public service attracts many political science majors, whether they become local legislators or have higher ambitions. Public service won’t make you rich; average annual salary is $20,000.
  • Survey researchers conduct surveys for polling organizations or for a variety of other institutions. Average pay is approximately $26,000 per year.

10. Psychology

  • Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings to offer assistance to people with mental health challenges. The average salary is about $39,000 per year, but pay scales upward rapidly with graduate work in psychology or psychiatry.
  • Social workers provide either direct services to patients and families or work with patients in a clinical setting to set up care and support programs. Average pay for a social worker is approximately $42,000 yearly.
  • Substance abuse counselors provide assistance to people who are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. This field has a high rate of burnout, but bachelor’s degree holders can make around $47,000 per year.
  • Special education teachers assist students who have mental or emotional challenges to integrate into the school environment. You’ll need additional teaching certification for this career, which pays about $53,000 per year.
  • Residential youth counselors earn approximately $36,000 per year living in residential facilities with troubled youth.

11. Communications

  • Public relations specialists earn approximately $57,000 per year working to create and maintain a favorable public image for their employee or client.
  • Demand for reporters is expected to decline in coming years because of upheaval in traditional newspapers and other media outlets. The average annual salary for a reporter is approximately $36,000 per year.
  • Producers and directors package film content for their intended audience in the media of motion pictures, journalism television and live theater. Expect to make about $68,000 per year as a producer or director.
  • Advertising sales agents work to sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. These workers earn approximately $45,000 per year.
  • Marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products and services. Marketing can be very lucrative, with average salaries of $108,000 per year.

12. Agriculture and natural resources

  • Food science technicians measure the quality of food in manufacturing or scientific environments. The average salary is about $33,000 per year.
  • Agricultural science teachers start at about $42,000 per year. They work in public and private schools to teach agricultural and animal sciences.
  • Animal or dairy science specialists often manage or own their own farms. The approximate annual salary is $60,000.
  • Natural resources management attracts agriculture majors who want to improve the land quality of forests and other natural environments. The average annual salary is about $57,000.
  • Purchasing agents work to procure products and to manage relations with suppliers. Most purchasing agents, particularly managers, make about $58,000 annually.