Top 10 highest paying college majors, 2010: engineers and scientists

Summary:It's good to be in the business of building a smarter planet: the top 10 highest-paying college majors are all technical degrees.

Engineers, engineers, engineers (with a few scientists thrown in).

That's the vibe of the top 10 highest-paying college majors this season, recently announced by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The list reveals that some of our smartest students will take home big paychecks for entering the industries that make up our nation's infrastructure: energy, pharmaceutical, mining, telecommunications and aerospace.

Here's the list of majors and corresponding average salaries:

  • Petroleum Engineering: $86,220
  • Chemical Engineering: $65,142
  • Mining & Mineral Engineering (incl. geological): $64,552
  • Computer Science: $61,205
  • Computer Engineering: $60,879
  • Electrical/Electronics & Communications Engineering: $59,074
  • Mechanical Engineering: $58,392
  • Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering: $57,734
  • Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering: $57,231
  • Information Sciences & Systems: $54,038

NACE said the offers of graduates with technical degrees "tend to benefit from their relatively low supply," owing to increased competition for such skills.

That drives up offers -- so much so that petroleum engineering earns more than 1.5 times the average starting salary reported for bachelor’s degree graduates as a whole, $48,351. Meanwhile, petroleum engineering degrees account for less than 1 percent of all bachelor's degrees.

You might say that it's good to be in the business of building a smarter planet.

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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