There are plenty of great reasons to pursue a STEM degree. The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are booming, and incredible job opportunities abound. Big-name companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, General Dynamics, and JP Morgan Chase all seek STEM-savvy applicants. Many STEM fields offer employees an experience far more engaging than a humdrum 9-to-5 office job (for example, employees at Nuance Communications got to dabble in artificial intelligence when Apple tapped the company to help develop Siri). And according to PayScale, college graduates who hold STEM degrees go on to earn the highest salaries.
In PayScale’s 2014–2015 College Salary Report, all of the top 20 majors (and the majority of the top 50) in the list of bachelor’s degrees by salary potential are STEM subjects. The top 10 spots are dominated by engineering degrees, with petroleum engineering coming in first: petroleum engineers have an early career salary of $102,300 and a mid-career salary $176,300. STEM majors like physics, computer science, business and information technology, and applied mathematics that are further down the list command more modest but still impressive salaries.
Obviously a big paycheck isn’t the only reason to pick a major, but if you’re wondering if the hard work required of a STEM degree will pay off financially, clearly the odds are in your favor. Plus, some of today’s most fascinating and exciting jobs are in STEM fields, so you could potentially end up making major bank doing something like researching industry trends as a music data journalist, putting your encyclopedic NFL knowledge to use as a sports statistician, or maybe even helping NASA put the first humans on Mars.
Think a STEM degree might be right for you? CollegeXpress has you covered! Check out these lists and explore some of the schools that are known for their excellence in various STEM subjects:
- The Experts’ Choice: Colleges with Surprisingly Strong Science Programs
- 10 Radically Innovative Engineering/Science Programs
- Colleges with Great Programs in Physics
- Colleges with Excellent Programs in Robotics
- Colleges for Studying Aerospace Engineering
- Seeing Stars: Best Places to Learn About Astronomy
- Colleges with Excellent Mathematics Programs