Top Paying College Career Paths In The U.S.


Any well thought out listing of the top career paths in America should start with a firm understanding that STEM jobs are going to dominate the top of the list.  Science, technology, engineering, and math are the four most financially valuable career paths in the U.S.  

That being said, STEM jobs are not the only lucrative career path to be chosen.  Humanities majors and business management students can build quite a solid living with the right amount of drive and determination.  Take a look at a few of the highest paying college career paths in the U.S., and see what peaks financial interest.

Petroleum Engineer

Ever seen the movie Armageddon?  Petroleum engineers are the oil rig guys that work way out in the ocean on a gigantic drill.  They work alongside a team of specialists that band together to improve gathering methods.  There are three different types of petroleum engineers: reservoir engineers, drilling, and production engineers.  

Reservoir engineers keep track of geological formations to improve extraction methods.  Drilling engineers work to design the best mechanical parts of the drill to boost efficiency through design.  Production engineers manage the actual function of the machinery.  The average yearly salary for a petroleum engineer is right around $135,000.  


In the field of medicine, there is always a whole lot of money to be made.  The money does not come easy.  The field of medicine takes many years of education and many long hours of work.  In specific, Optometrists work with the eyes.  

Diagnosis and treatment of critical eye conditions require at least eight years of college.  The average salary of an optometrist is $113,000 per year.  Individuals are required to complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree, along with a four-year doctor of optometry program.  

Chemical Engineering

Just as the title suggests, a chemical engineer works with the manipulation of chemicals to create a certain desirable product.  Chemical engineers work in the industry of oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, energy, water treatment, food and drink, plastic, and toiletries.  

It is a position in high demand.  Competence as a chemical engineer could earn up to $116,000 per year in salary.  Modern day chemical engineers often work with pioneering new and efficient technologies to increase energy efficiency and biomedical achievements.  

Business Operations Manager

Also a descriptive title, Business Operations Managers manage the day to day operations of all types of businesses.  They manage duties like hiring, contracting, company strategies, and many other operational functions.  

Operations managers typically earn an annual salary of around $117,000 and are highest paid in cities such as Bridgeport, Connecticut, New York City, and Trenton, New Jersey.  


Psychiatry is a growing field of practice aimed towards helping patients manage their mental illnesses and much more.  The median annual salary of a Psychiatrist is around $182,000.  Educational requirements for this position are extensive, so research is necessary.


The author Kathrina

Kathrina is an enthusiast of all-things college lifestyle. She's the expert!

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