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5 College Degrees That Pay For Themselves

College tuition fees can be staggering, and so can the debts that students must take on in order to pay them. If you’re wondering whether you should bite the bullet and pay big bucks for your degree, think about your education in terms of its return on investment. You pay now to get a degree. You earn it back later with a great salary. As you consider what you’d like to study, read our top five list of college degrees that pay for themselves.


Economics might be the most versatile math-based degree you can get. Many recently graduated economics majors choose high-paying jobs in the financial sector. However, even if working in finance isn’t your thing, your economics degree still statistically ensures that you’ll make a high salary in other industries including government employment and working for non-profit organizations.


Nursing students often have to go back to school to achieve higher levels of certification after they begin their careers. That said, a nurse’s salary starts around $55,000 and, mid-career, kicks up to around $100,000. Nurses get some of the best benefits available in the U.S., including great health insurance. They also have some of the best job security. No matter where you choose to live, there will always be hospitals that need nurses.



"Mid-career electrical engineers make about $170,000 a year."

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers have a starting salary of about $63,000 and a mid-career salary of up to $200,000. They can work in a variety of industries, from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology to food processing. Their ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve using applied mathematics makes chemical engineers an absolutely necessary part of most manufacturers’ workforce.


Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers place in the Wall Street Journal’s top five starting salaries, coming in just under $61,000. Mid-career electrical engineers make about $170,000 a year. Like chemical engineers, electrical engineers have a wide range of jobs to choose from. They work in computers, global navigation systems, robotics, and commercial lighting. They are part-designers, part-problem-solvers. Getting an NJIT electrical engineering master’s degree can open up even more job opportunities. With more schooling, engineers can get better pay and more leadership roles.


Business Management

There’s a reason the Masters of Business Administration is one of the most sought-after degrees in the U.S. MBA graduates not only entertain high-paying job offers at high-profile companies, they also have the know-how and a network of interested investors that make it possible for these graduates to go into business for themselves.

If you’re concerned about going back to school and taking on student loan debt, review these college degrees that pay for themselves and think about what you could be earning in 10 years with and without it.

Contributed by Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver.