18 college majors that that lead to the biggest pay raises

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A researcher works at the Cytos laboratory in Schlieren.
source
Thomson Reuters

Sometimes you have to wait until you’ve got some experience under your belt before you see a substantial payoff.

PayScalerecently looked at salary data from this year’s College Salary Report and analyzed the difference between starting (less than five years of experience) and mid-career (10 or more years of experience) pay by college major.

While salary-growth potential shouldn’t necessarily encourage students to pursue a particular major, it’s an important consideration to make when thinking about the future.

Here are the 18 college majors with the greatest increases in wage between early- and mid-career.


18. Meteorology

source
Business Insider

A common job: Meteorologist

Starting median pay: $43,600

Mid-career median pay: $82,700

Increase in pay: $39,100 / 90%


17. Marketing and management

source
Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

Common jobs: Marketing manager, marketing coordinator, marketing director

Starting median pay: $44,700

Mid-career median pay: $84,800

Increase in pay: $40,100 / 90%


16. Agribusiness

source
Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

Common jobs: Staff accountant, credit analyst, executive director

Starting median pay: $43,200

Mid-career median pay: $83,100

Increase in pay: $39,900 / 92%


15. Biology and chemistry

source
STR New/Reuters

Common jobs: Quality assurance manager, chemist, medical/clinical laboratory technologist

Starting median pay: $41,500

Mid-career median pay: $79,900

Increase in pay: $38,400 / 93%


14. Advertising

source
AMC/”Mad Men”

Common jobs: Marketing coordinator, marketing manager, graphic designer

Starting median pay: $41,400

Mid-career median pay: $79,800

Increase in pay: $38,400 / 93%


13. Technical theatre

source
Rosmarie Voegtli/flickr.com

Common jobs: Technical director, lighting designer, carpenter

Starting median pay: $35,100

Mid-career median pay: $67,700

Increase in pay: $32,600 / 93%


12. Broadcast communication

source
Francois Mori/AP

Common jobs: Film/video editor, marketing manager, video producer

Starting median pay: $35,600

Mid-career median pay: $68,700

Increase in pay: $33,100 / 93%


11. Actuarial science

source
Getty Images / Carl Court

Common jobs: Actuary, actuarial analyst, financial analyst

Starting median pay: $60,800

Mid-career median pay: $119,000

Increase in pay: $58,200 / 96%


10. Physics

source
indukas/shutterstock

Common jobs: Software developer, senior software engineer, project engineer

Starting median pay: $55,100

Mid-career median pay: $108,000

Increase in pay: $52,900 / 96%


9. Applied mathematics

source
Natalia Budantseva-Strelka Institute/flickr

Common jobs: Software developer, data analyst, senior software engineer

Starting median pay: $56,100

Mid-career median pay: $110,000

Increase in pay: $53,900 / 96%


8. Physics and mathematics

source
Intel Free Press/flickr

Common jobs: Data analyst, software developer

Starting median pay: $56,200

Mid-career median pay: $111,000

Increase in pay: $54,800 / 98%


7. Molecular biology

source
Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Common jobs: Research technician, research associate, chemist

Starting median pay: $45,500

Mid-career median pay: $90,100

Increase in pay: $44,600 / 98%


6. Government and politics

source
IMDB / Netflix

Common jobs: Paralegal/legal assistant, marketing manager, management consultant

Starting median pay: $44,600

Mid-career median pay: $90,400

Increase in pay: $45,800/103%


5. Marketing and international business

source
AMC

Common jobs: Marketing manager, marketing director, marketing specialist

Starting median pay: $45,400

Mid-career median pay: $94,800

Increase in pay: $49,400 / 109%


4. Government

source
Eric Chan/flickr

Common jobs: Paralegal/legal assistant, marketing manager, account executive

Starting median pay: $49,600

Mid-career median pay: $105,000

Increase in pay: $55,400 / 112%


3. Biochemistry and molecular biology

source
Shutterstock

Common jobs: Research technician, research scientist, research associate

Starting median pay: $46,000

Mid-career median pay: $97,500

Increase in pay: $51,500 / 112%


2. Telecommunications

source
Vancouver Film School/Flickr

Common jobs: Marketing director, film/video editor, video producer

Starting median pay: $40,800

Mid-career median pay: $87,100

Increase in pay: $46,300 / 113%


1. Aviation management

source
NATS Press Office via flickr

A common job: Aviation/aerospace program manager

Starting median pay: $41,900

Mid-career median pay: $90,200

Increase in pay: $48,300 / 115%