5 Best College Majors – Official 2016 List

The world economy is always changing, but we know one thing for certain: STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are a quickly growing field and students who major in one of these areas is going to earn a significant salary from day one.

The majors that get people these types of jobs aren’t very appealing to most people, though, which is why jobs in these areas make so much money; there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand.

Some people not only don’t care about math or engineering, but money isn’t always on their mind; they’d rather do something that makes them happy, even if they have to live paycheck to paycheck.

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a junior who has realized how much they hate their major, I’ve concocted a list of the five best majors in college right now, based not just off of starting salary but on how satisfied people are with their career choice.

1. Nursing

College students who graduate with degrees in nursing will lead busy, but very meaningful careers. Over 80% over nursing students find their job to meaningful, which makes sense, as nurses help people every single day.

With an average starting salary of around $54,000 a year, nurses make pretty good money right off the bat, but that isn’t the biggest selling point for nursing majors. People who chose this major did it for a variety of reasons, centering around wanting to help people.

Not only do nurses love their job, they get pretty decent pay for it, so I’d say it’s a win-win for nurses here, and thus they earn the number one spot.

2. Biomedical Engineering

Another job in the medical field, these guys do tons of medical research at colleges, hospitals, and actual research facilities, whether they’re working on splicing genes or creating a pill that will help people live healthier lives, students who major in this field not only make a good salary to start on, they’re pretty happy with their jobs as well.

Most college grads who have a degree in this field will earn around $55,000 per year, and that will only go up from there. Not too bad, when your former roommate is living back home after his history major didn’t work out the way he’d hoped.

Nearly 80% of students who get a degree in biomedical engineering find their job to be meaningful, so it seems to feed the soul as well as your wallet.

3. Petroleum Engineering

If I was you I’d consider a job in this field before the world runs out of petrol- make your money while you can!

Petroleum engineers find themselves going from eating leftover burritos in college to earning major racks once they earn their degree – average starting salary in this field almost $100k a year.

It makes sense that people who graduate with this degree are happy with their careers, since money does make a lot of people happy; overall satisfaction with the job is around 75%.

The only drawback is that the world will run out of oil in around half a century, but it won’t matter to recent graduates as they’ll have more money than Scrooge McDuck by that time and will have retired.

If you don’t know what to do in life but know you want to make a lot of money, get a degree in petroleum engineering.

4. Education (Elementary)

Teachers are an important, seemingly undervalued asset for the entire world. Without them, many people would not have found their calling.

Teachers help students learn not just the assigned material, but they can assume a role of parent or friend, and teaching is a job that is generally underpays despite what they do for everyone throughout the world.

Elementary teachers, specifically, get kids engaged in learning and help set the foundation for the rest of their lives. This job has a lot of influence on the students and teachers, and it makes sense that over 75% of teachers find their jobs to be satisfactory and meaningful.

The starting salary is begins at around $31,000 a year, but I think the satisfaction teachers get from their jobs makes up for it pretty well.

5. Theology

Not many people these days are religious, and thus not many choose to study it in college. Those that do, though, live happy lives and are pretty happy with the choice they made.

Over 70% of students who major in this field find it to be meaningful, although I think that number is a bit lower than it actually is. Starting salary is around $33,000 per year, and reaches its peak at near $50,000 a year.

It doesn’t pay much, but it is enough to live off of, and happiness can go a long way. If you choose to study religion, I think you will be pretty content and money surely won’t be on your mind.

These five majors certainly aren’t the only ones where people find themselves happy with their jobs and find their work to be meaningful or enjoyable. Just because your major might not be on this list doesn’t mean you’ll hate your 9 to 5; essentially every major has groups of people who deplore it and some who can’t wait to start working.

You may find that while you hated the classes you had to take in college, the work you get to do is pretty cool, or you might even find a niche in your field that you didn’t know about before and find happiness there. Work doesn’t have to be just ‘work’ – it can make you feel good inside, or give you a rush, or allow you to relax; whatever major or career choice you make, focus on the good things and let those factors be what gets you out of bed five mornings a week.