The College Majors That Can Pay off Best… And Possibly Worst

March 28, 2024

Not all college majors are created equal. Some college majors can lead you to a very high paying career, while others may not. Of course, we all attend college for different reasons, and turning a degree into a giant paycheck isn’t necessarily the goal of everyone.

But, if maximizing the return on your college investment is something you’re interested in, you’ll want to see the college majors that can pay off best, and you’ll also want to see the college majors that may pay off worst. They’re below.

But, before shows you these college majors (and shows you perhaps the easiest way to find a school), it’s important to note that many of the degrees associated with them, if not all of them, can be earned online.

Yes, online!

This means you could choose one of the high return majors below and take your classes from the comfort of your own home. Better, after we show you the high return majors, we’ll show you how to quickly find an online college that both offers these majors and can fit your personal and situational goals.

Now, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York notes that recent college grads who work full-time earn about $24,000 more a year than people who have only a high school diploma.[1] So it’s clear that with just about any college degree (on average) you could make more money.

In fact, finishing college could put you on track to earn about $2.8 million over your lifetime. This is compared to $1.6 million if you just stick with a high school diploma. That’s $1.2 million more reasons to consider getting your college degree.[2]

But, like we said, some majors offer a higher return than others.

What are the college majors that can pay off best,
and the majors that can pay off worst?

Keep in mind, that by “payoff” and “high return”, we simply mean your career earnings with these majors could be much higher, and the overall return on your college investment could be much better.

So, let’s get to it by starting with the worst payoff majors.

A study by the American Educational Research Association shows that education, humanities and arts majors have the lowest returns.

And the best payoff majors…

The same study shows that engineering, computer science, business, health, math and science majors offer the highest payoff after graduation.[3]

But remember, finishing college could put you on track to earn about $2.8 million over your lifetime, and that’s seemingly regardless of which major you choose.

Now, by choosing one of the high payoff majors, and earning your degree fully online, you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of solid, potentially above average lifetime earnings.

However, even if you are passionate about a subject and choose one of the “worst” payoff majors, it’s important to remember that earning a college degree in one of these majors will still likely mean you’ll be paid more over your lifetime than if you just stuck with your high school degree.

The point being college can pay off bigtime.

Now, how do you find an online college that offers the majors you’re looking for? How do you find an online college that fits your personal and situational goals?

It’s simple, really.

Just go to our homepage,, and click on “Begin Your Search Now.” It’s as easy as that.

Here’s to you, your education and your future!

[1] The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates - FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK (

[2] More education doesn't always get you more money, report finds (

[3] Degrees of Return: Estimating Internal Rates of Return for College Majors Using Quantile Regression (


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