Top 10 Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: May 16, 2024, Reading time: 20 minutes

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Obtaining a bachelor’s degree has become the primary stepping stone for finding a lifetime career that can support your living, if not make you rich.

However, soaring college costs and mounting student loan debt are beginning to make applicants wonder if a college education is worthwhile. And according to data, there has been a 3.5% decrease in student enrollment since 2020 due to financial difficulties.

More than half of students today graduate from college in debt. As of 2022, federal and private organizations have $1.75 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. Federal student loans account for about 92% of total student debt; the remaining comprises private student loans.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

10 Degrees That Consistently Earn 6-Figure Incomes

Picking a college major from among those that lead to the greatest salaries is one surefire method to avoid potential pitfalls. Explore the top 10 degrees that consistently earn 6 figure incomes. To help you decide which degree best suits you, we’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each degree.

Veterinary Science

Median Annual Salary: $119,900

Veterinary Science - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

The field of veterinary science is fast growing and will continue to rise through 2031. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to have a 20% job growth from 2022 to 2032. The leading causes of rising pet spending and veterinarian demand are an older and expanding pet population and more sophisticated options for pet care. 

The first question most prospective students ask about this degree is how hard it is to obtain. The answer depends on several factors, the biggest being how you do under pressure and if it’s your passion. Getting this degree will be much more bearable if caring for pets is your passion. 

The majority of undergraduate curricula are more manageable than those in veterinary school. Most veterinary students enroll in 25–30 credits of demanding science-based coursework each semester. This implies that veterinary students should plan on spending 35 to 40 hours per week in a classroom or lab in addition to the additional study time required.

Veterinary professionals have raised burnout rates over the past year, especially among younger vets. This issue will likely persist because of rising customer demands, stress, unpredictability, and diminished resilience.

Due to employee absences, several clinics cannot operate at total capacity, and businesses have been working extra hours to keep up. Wait times, stress levels, job volume, and staff turnover have increased. Altogether, it was a perfect storm.

Additionally, vet schools are not as cheap as you think. Attending an out-of-state university can increase the expense of your education to over $200,000 in some cases.

Also, keep in mind that the expense of veterinary school is additional to the cost of your bachelor’s degree. But if being a vet is really your passion, then the cost of this college degree will be worth it, especially since it’s a six-figure income.

Computer Science

Median Annual Salary: $104,420

Computer Science - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Numerous definitions of “computer science” can be found in dictionaries. It sounds like a mouthful, but computer science is a broader and more exciting field.

When taken as a whole, the definitions come together: “Computer science deals with the theory of computation or the design of computers.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to grow 15% from 2021 to 2031.

Earning a computer science degree has been recognized to include a more challenging workload than you might experience in other fields because there are so many fundamental concepts about computer software, hardware, and theory to study. A sizable quantity of practice—typically completed on your own time—might be needed as part of that learning.

You’ll learn how to program as a computer science major, which requires learning a new language. Furthermore, the particular courses you must take to major in computer science will vary by department; nonetheless, you may anticipate taking a mix of programming and mathematics courses.

Some institutions also require a few science courses, such as biology, chemistry, physics, or electronics.

But upon graduation, you’ll have lots of job opportunities waiting for you. If you still have time or want to earn more than the median average, you should consider obtaining a master’s degree.

This graduate-level degree will help you become a computer and information research scientist who earns a median annual salary of $145,080

A computer science degree is one of the most affordable and flexible degree programs that will still let you earn a six-figure annual earning.

You’ll have many online options that substantially cost less than traditional face-to-face programs. Online bachelor’s in computer science tuition can cost between $228 and $476 per credit, although costs can vary greatly.

Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you can obtain a master of business administration degree to gain knowledge in both business and computer fields and expand your career options.

Electrical Engineering

Median Annual Salary: $106,950

Electrical Engineering - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Modern society depends heavily on electricity to run everything from our houses and companies to our nighttime lights. As a result, there is a rising need for qualified electrical engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to have a 5% job growth from 2022 to 2032.

While this job growth is slower than average, there would still be 20,100 annual job openings for electrical and electronics engineers. 

How hard obtaining this degree will depend on one’s strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. If you appreciate math, science, and problem-solving, you’ll probably find electrical engineering a reasonably simple subject to study. But this is not to say that you need to become an expert in these subjects to study electrical engineering.

You just have to ensure that your existing knowledge is enough since there will be fundamental courses that will help you slowly gain advanced knowledge. 

Additional courses in communication and leadership may be chosen by students who desire to succeed in electrical engineering. Additionally, many electrical engineering programs feature co-op or internship requirements that give students real-world problem-solving experience.

Due to these research demands, engineering fields frequently have a lower four-year graduation rate than many other majors. A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering can be obtained in as little as five years.

The price of earning an electrical engineering degree will vary greatly, as you might have guessed. Depending on where you attend school, the annual costs for tuition, fees, books, supplies, lodging, and board can range from $13,000 to more than $60,000 per student. If you’re thinking of a cheaper alternative, consider enrolling in an online electrical engineering degree. 

Is the cost of an electrical engineering degree worth it? Definitely yes! After graduating, you’ll not only be able to get a job that allows you to have a six-figure salary, but you’ll also feel good about knowing that you’re helping to keep the globe running smoothly.

But if you want higher wages than the median annual, consider enrolling in a graduate school and obtaining a master’s degree. 

Chemical Engineering

Median Annual Salary: $112,100

Chemical Engineering - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Chemical engineering will be at the forefront of addressing the world’s most pressing issues as the demand for finite resources rises and the global population proliferates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical engineering is expected to have job growth of 8% from 2022 to 2032.

Chemical engineers are essential to developing industries like healthcare, energy, waste management, food processing, and national security.

When people think about chemical engineering, they frequently conjure up ideas of white lab coats, chemicals, and a demanding curriculum. In other words, it might not be very comforting. But is this field really that challenging, or is it merely a route many avoid out of fear?

Because it’s a vast field that necessitates a solid foundation in mathematics, the fundamental sciences, and engineering courses, chemical engineering is a challenging degree to pursue.

One would need science and technical skills that require a lot of effort, tenacity, and dedication. Around 40% of students are retained, which is consistent with other engineering professions. 

While curricula may differ between institutions, they must adhere to criteria established by organizations. You would benefit from learning about critical ideas or subject areas for chemical engineering students, given the rigorous standards set by ABET.

Aspiring chemical engineers must be multi-talented, with a working knowledge of everything from math to verbal and written communication.

There are no set working hours for chemical engineers. Chemical engineering can be an excellent choice if you find working regular hours boring. Your ability to work more or fewer hours will rely on your productivity goals. But you have to be prepared to put in long hours. Chemical engineers, on average, put in more than 40 hours every week.

The average tuition and fees for chemical engineering degree programs are $31,541 for out-of-state students and $10,185 for state residents. Is this cost worth it? Yes!

Not only is it one of the most affordable degrees for six-figure jobs, but you’ll have fulfilling job opportunities after earning your bachelor’s degree.

Software Engineering

Median Annual Salary: $132,270

Software Engineering - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Software engineers are increasingly needed due to the persistent need for new software solutions and mobile applications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow by 25 percent from 2022 to 2032, making it one of the fastest-growing industries. With this data, the job outlook should be the least of your concerns.

Many people struggle in the software engineering profession. Either they love it, or they abhor programming. However, the majority of people fall in the middle. 

Although by definition, there are no simple or difficult majors, software engineering is challenging since it calls for both technical expertise and original thought. Additionally, a lot of practice is needed. And it’s not just coding; it also involves creating user interfaces and generating documentation.

The first two years of engineering programs across the board are remarkably similar regarding the courses you take. These courses are frequently called “weed-out” classes. Since they have never spent as much time studying in middle or high school, many students find these lessons difficult.

It gets more challenging when competing in the job market since you need to have the most creative mind in addition to your technical skills.

You’ll need to decide on many concepts, including software design, architecture, development procedures, testing, and deployment, which you need to master even before entering the job market. A good software engineer must also know about the technology that supports the systems they create.

The annual expense of a bachelor’s degree in software engineering is almost $40,000. The amount is increased by living expenditures, transportation, and insurance costs.

This indicates that standard software engineering degrees can set you back $100,000 on average to become a software engineer. If you want a cheaper alternative, you can enroll in online degrees to terminate the miscellaneous costs. 

Aerospace Engineering

Median Annual Salary: $130,720

Aerospace Engineering - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Because these STEM experts carry out a wide range of crucial functions and responsibilities, there is a significant demand for space aerospace engineers nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032. 

Additionally, NASA had an annual budget of $25.2 billion in 2021, which indicates ample money for new research and employment possibilities. 

Remember that the aerospace research sector is not just concerned with clichés like astronauts and rockets. Instead, thousands of affiliated colleges and research institutions all around the nation use aeronautical science and engineering to enhance technology and advance humankind.

Obtaining a degree in aerospace engineering can be both complex and rewarding due to its technicalities. You’ll have many complex STEM subjects, such as calculus, differential equations, thermodynamics, fluid physics, and many other topics. In addition, you’ll need to apply the complex ideas from these subjects to real-world issues.

Aerospace engineers also need to use their knowledge to solve challenging mathematical puzzles. You’ll need to hire a tutor, join study groups, and/or find other ways to obtain more support if math and science aren’t your strong suits.

The biggest benefit of this job market is that it gives you your personal space for work to allow your brain to focus on what you’re doing. Even though the workplace is not very stressful, the deadlines and demands you have to satisfy are. Be ready to work late into the night since you will likely have strict deadlines to fulfill or a technical issue to resolve.

Thus, you’ll feel uneasy if arithmetic isn’t your strong suit. However, if you approach this as a way of life rather than just a course, you’ll be fine.

The cost of tuition for aeronautical engineering can range from less than $8,000 per year at public schools to more than $45,000 at in-state private colleges or universities. The cost of attending a private school outside of the state can exceed $45,000, with public school tuition increasing to over $27,000.

Aerospace engineering is a demanding yet rewarding profession that calls for endurance, talent, and dedication. Like the space itself, the possibilities are limitless; you can even work in a mechanical engineering department and earn up to six figures, if you will.


Median Annual Salary: $145,760

Law - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

One of the oldest academic disciplines in the world is a law degree. A law degree is highly recognized as a desirable credential that opens up new professional prospects and promotes your success. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to grow 8% from 2022 to 2032. Everybody will eventually require the services of a lawyer. 

We all know it’s challenging because the law is officially the topic where getting a first-class degree is the hardest. 

There are no shortcuts to the law, yet you’ll quickly learn how to extract crucial information from mountains of text. To read them correctly during exams, you’ll need to be thoroughly aware of the legislation on many topics in neighboring countries.

Even though this is valuable, memorizing legislative specifics isn’t all that law is about. Additionally, you need to comprehend how these details come together to form a legal system and why it was created in the first place. You can start various jobs with a law degree, but becoming a barrister or solicitor is difficult and takes much longer than three years.

The cost of attending law school after accounting for accommodation and board fees, and at many universities, is high, including board and more. The annual tuition and fees for law school were about $44,600. Thus, the cost of a three-year law degree could exceed $130,000 before living expenses are considered. 

It might be worthwhile if you’re eager to enroll in law school after realizing what it requires. Nevertheless, even if you don’t intend to use your J.D. in a typical way, there are many good reasons to attend a law school that would still give you financial success.

Petroleum Engineering

Median Annual Salary: $135,690

Petroleum Engineering - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

Petroleum engineers address and resolve crucial problems resulting in energy security using mathematics, physics, and geology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to grow 2% from 2022 to 2032. A portion of the anticipated increase in employment in this field is attributable to the COVID-19 recovery.

The difficulty of petroleum engineering is due to the requirement that you maintain a good GPA throughout your degree. This course is also challenging, with a curriculum that includes calculus, physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics.

The most challenging aspect is understanding how to use it in practical scenarios! However, a petroleum engineer has many career choices and good pay.

Students should be aware that a profession in petroleum engineering can take them anywhere in the world. For a two-year contract or longer, you might be working in Africa or on an oil rig off the coast of Alaska!

In other words, students can expect to work for governments or domestic and foreign businesses.

The average cost of tuition for a four-year bachelor’s degree program in petroleum engineering is approximately $150,000. The exact cost of tuition varies based on the college and the curriculum you select.

You should consider getting a master’s degree to boost your employability in the current employment environment. A master’s program in petroleum engineering usually takes two years to complete.


Median Annual Salary: $156,100

Finance - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

A finance degree can help you launch a successful career and land a good job. With such a degree, you can start a career in finance and advance steadily there. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these fields is expected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032. But if you want to earn six figures in finance, it’s best that you obtain a master’s degree majoring in finance. 

It can be challenging to acquire a degree in finance. Although math and analysis are required in finance courses, they are not particularly difficult or complex at the bachelor’s level. The complexity of a finance degree is determined by the advanced courses you choose, the university’s general difficulty level, and the required core courses.

Finance is one of the fastest-developing subjects at both the professional and research levels. It demonstrates the capacity to continue to provide a secure career and is woven into the fabric of human nature.

Furthermore, a degree helps a graduate get a well-paying job and gain financial security in today’s economy, which is expanding quickly.

A career in finance offers several prospects for advancement and a competitive salary. Even if there has been a talent deficit throughout the years, financial advisors and financial analysts are and will be in high demand.

Additionally, this degree will give you sufficient knowledge about investment banking, which is now a competitive industry.

A bachelor’s degree in finance typically costs between $24,000 and $75,000 on average. A master’s degree in finance, however, costs $19,792. To accurately determine the average cost of a finance degree, however, students must consider their criteria and expectations.

Students with a master’s degree in finance are eligible to apply as financial managers, the highest-paid finance occupation. 


Median Annual Salary $214,200

Nursing - Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes

The ongoing need for healthcare is the primary factor driving the constant need for nurses. Another factor contributing to the high demand for nurses is the population’s continued growth, which increases the need for medical care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are expected to grow 13% from 2022 to 2032.

Nursing degree programs with demanding curricula, like pre-licensure BSN programs, prepare you to care for others and consider patient scenarios that require specific knowledge. But all the sleepless nights will be worth it.

After a BSN degree, you should enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing specializing in Anesthesia. A nurse anesthetist is the top-paid nursing profession. Aspiring nurse anesthetists may also acquire a Doctor of Nurse Practitioner degree to become more competitive in the job market.

Your journey to becoming a nurse anesthetist will be difficult since becoming a CRNA requires great expertise, knowledge, and experience. More than five years of experience are often required.

Jobs in this challenging category may require some on-the-job training, but most presuppose that the applicant has the necessary education, training, and experience. Advanced organizational and communication abilities are needed.

Additionally, CRNA and nurse anesthesia school costs can be very expensive. The median and average in-state and out-of-state nurse anesthetist schools cost $89,616 and$93,065, respectively. The country’s most expensive nurse anesthetist school goes up to $211,633.

It can be a highly gratifying career to become a CRNA. You receive a certain amount of respect from your peers in the healthcare industry when you use the title “nurse anesthetist.”

You will collaborate with other nurses, surgeons, doctors, and other medical professionals daily, and they will look to you for guidance and counsel. To gain greater responsibility, autonomy, and respect, many registered nurses choose to further their education and transition into professions like nurse anesthetists.

Degrees That Consistently Earn 6 Figure Incomes - fact

How To Choose The Right Degree For You

Attending college and pursuing a degree is one of the most crucial decisions in your life. This path can either create a comfortable life or a life of endless student loans and debts. So, it’s best to make sure to choose a degree that you’ll surely enjoy and that will give you the ROI you expect.

The first thing to do is evaluate your interests and skills; entering a degree you’re at least familiar with is essential. When you know what you want to learn, you can start researching individual degree programs. By exploring various majors, look for programs that fit your interests and ambitions.

The next thing to put into consideration is your career goals. Think about the degree that best enables you to pursue your preferred career. Most students, however, are unsure of what career they want to enter when they graduate. If so, you can enroll in a degree that leads to a wide range of occupations.

The last step would be evaluating your lifestyle and timetable. Do you prefer in-person or online education? Do you prefer a flexible course that will enable you to work and study simultaneously?

Do you prefer part-time or full-time programs? Finding a degree program that meets your needs is essential to avoid time conflicts, especially if you’re a working student.

After these three steps, you should have narrowed down your answers/options and can start deciding which degree is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a six-figure Job?

Since salaries are typically expressed as “annually” or “yearly,” a 6-figure salary refers to income ranging from $100,000 to $999,999 per year. Anything in the range of the six digits preceding the decimal point is acceptable.

Is it easy to land six-figure incomes?

Landing a six-figure income will not be a walk in the park. You must concentrate and commit to that notion if you want six-figure jobs. For instance, you might need to obtain advanced degrees, such as a Master’s or Doctoral. It’s also feasible that you won’t be able to pass that boundary until later in your career.

A six-figure income typically requires time and effort to achieve. You may need to sacrifice your personal life to attain the required professional development before getting to the top. But your journey will be worthwhile if you’re passionate about the field.

What is the most respected degree?

The best degree depends on the organization and position in particular industries, like technology or business. Before selecting a major, look into the typical educational requirements for your particular field. And think about how to make a statement by including an internship, practicum, or qualification on your CV.

Should I obtain my bachelor’s degree online?

You should consider online degrees if you’re a busy adult student. Convenience is the main benefit of an online bachelor’s degree program.

Thanks to it, you won’t have to spend any time or money commuting anymore. Unlike typical college or university attendance, earning your bachelor’s degree online enables you to continue your education while attending to other duties.

But before enrolling in an online degree, ensure that the degree and university received accreditations to avoid a forfeit and to ensure that you’ll receive a high-quality education.

Which undergraduate degree is best for the future?

There’s no definite answer to this. One degree might work for others but might not work for you. However, the best degree would offer transferable skills since most people change occupations numerous times during their working lives.

Key Takeaways

Knowing which college majors result in the highest salaries after graduation will put you on the right track for a prosperous career. If you noticed, STEM-related professions make up the top 10 list of six-figure degrees.

After graduating, many students earn a master’s or another advanced degree. However, with the right bachelor’s degree, you may earn a respectable salary and begin paying off your student loans while considering if pursuing an advanced or graduate degree is suitable.

Engineering degrees are among the most promising possibilities for a higher high starting pay.

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