2022 Most Useful Degrees and Majors for the Future

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Usually, the most useful degrees are the ones that can help students build promising careers in exciting industries.

Most Useful Degrees and Majors

Your college degree should help you earn a comfortable wage and feel confident that you have an assortment of in-demand and employable skills. If you’re trying to figure out some good majors in college to consider, you are in the right place.

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Here you’ll find a list of the 20 majors that are often considered the most useful majors available and information about how they can help prepare you for the workforce.

What Are the Most Useful Degrees?

Having a college degree is usually worthwhile, but some majors are more beneficial than others. When you’re trying to settle on a major, it can be helpful to consider the most useful college degrees.

Some degrees are useful because they usually lead to high salaries. Others are beneficial because they typically lead to stable employment, or they can help prepare you to work in booming industries. Majors that don’t require years of additional education are often considered useful as well.

The most useful bachelor degrees are typically the ones that meet all of these characteristics. Below, you’ll find 20 useful degree programs along with salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $72,770
Mid-career Salary: $118,610
Job Growth: 8%

An aerospace engineering program can help prepare you for an exciting career in the aircraft or spacecraft industries.

Aerospace engineering programs typically include math classes that cover differential equations and multivariable calculus. You’ll likely study engineering concepts, like dynamics, mechanics and fluids, as well. Travel through sky and space can be quite a bit different than travel on land, so you’ll probably have many studies on aerodynamics, propulsion, and materials.

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Most aerospace engineering positions require only a bachelor’s degree in the field. Common employers include aerospace manufacturers, control instrument manufacturers, and the federal government.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $56,590
Mid-career Salary: $92,620
Job Growth: 6%

Biomedical engineers develop devices that make a difference in the healthcare industry. This can include equipment for diagnosis and treatment as well as artificial tissues and organs.

Biomedical engineering programs usually require quite a few science courses, including physics, organic chemistry, animal biology, and anatomy and physiology. Your courses can also help you become well-versed in materials, design principles, kinetics, and industry regulations.

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During the second half of the program, you’ll probably be required to complete a major project to demonstrate your biomedical engineering skills and understanding. After graduating with your biomedical engineering degree, you can pursue work as a bioengineer or biomedical engineer. You may also work for medical manufacturers or research organizations.

Business Administration

Business Administration program

Entry Level Salary: $50,990
Mid-career Salary: $87,660
Job Growth: 14%

Business administration bachelor’s programs typically provide training in communication, business law, marketing, accounting, finance, information technology, and logistics.

Some programs will also allow you to choose a specialty so you can receive additional training in one particular business discipline. Business administration graduates often have a wide variety of job opportunities to consider. The figures above represent potential salaries and growth prospects for management analysts.

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Other jobs that can be pursued with this degree include marketing specialist, human resources specialist, accountant, financial analyst, and compliance officer. In addition, when paired with experience, a bachelor’s degree is often sufficient for many management jobs.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $68,430
Mid-career Salary: $108,540
Job Growth: 9%

Chemical engineering is involved in the production of many of the products you use each day. That includes food, medications, and cosmetics.

Common topics studied in chemical engineering are chemical reactions, separation methods, and thermodynamics. The curriculum for this degree usually includes many advanced math and science courses, including physical and organic chemistry, linear algebra, and multivariable calculus.

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A bachelor’s degree, especially when paired with internships, is typically enough to break into the field as a chemical engineer. Chemical engineers work in many different sectors, but possible employers include manufacturing companies, research firms, and consulting services.

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $56,160
Mid-career Salary: $88,570
Job Growth: 8%

Whenever you see roads, buildings, pipelines, or bridges, you’re looking at the work of civil engineers. The curriculum for a civil engineering program usually covers chemistry, calculus, materials, dynamics, and solids. You’ll likely explore related branches of engineering as well, such as environmental, hydraulic, and geotechnical engineering.

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In addition, you’ll probably gain experience in using computer design programs and writing in a professional style. State requirements for civil engineers vary, but most specify that professionals need a bachelor’s degree and a license. Once licensed, civil engineers may work for engineering organizations or government departments.

Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $70,100
Mid-career Salary: $119,560
Job Growth: 2%

Computer engineering professionals play an exciting role in designing and developing new devices and technologies.

The courses for this major usually include classes like Computer Programming Principles and Electrical Engineering Fundamentals. Common topics that are explored are computer operating systems, algorithms, logic, computer architecture, and circuits.

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Computer engineering graduates often have several different career paths to consider. The above data shows salary information for computer hardware engineers. Electrical engineering is another field to consider. Some professionals work in niche areas, like robotics or automated equipment.

Computer Science

Computer Science program

Entry Level Salary: $67,190
Mid-career Salary: $116,780
Job Growth: 5%

Computer engineering isn’t the only way to break into the technology field. Studying computer science—the scientific study of software and computer processing—is another option with versatile career applications. In a computer science program, you’ll likely spend a lot of time learning programming languages, such as C++ and Python. Other classes may cover data structures, databases, operating systems, and software engineering.

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Computer science majors are useful in many different computing roles. The figures above show salary potential for computer network architects. Other job possibilities include computer programmer, systems analyst, and systems administrator.

Economics

Economics program

Entry Level Salary: $35,380
Mid-career Salary: $65,810
Job Growth: 22%

Earning an economics degree can help you become skilled at analyzing data and evaluating resource allocation. You’ll likely take classes in statistics, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. You may also learn to apply economic principles in healthcare or industrial settings. This is one field where you might want to keep going until you earn a master’s degree. That’s often a requirement for working as an economist.

It may be worth noting that some universities offer either on-campus or online bachelor and master degree combined programs. This may help you earn both degrees in less time and at a lower cost.

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If that’s not appealing to you, though, there are still plenty of jobs to pursue just with your bachelor’s degree. For example, data for market research analyst positions are shown above. Other job possibilities include credit analyst and compensation manager.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $64,870
Mid-career Salary: $103,390
Job Growth: 7%

Electrical engineering studies can help prepare you for careers related to machines and electronic devices. If you are interested in power systems, fiber optics, computers, robotics, or manufacturing, you may want to pursue this degree. The coursework typically includes classes in electricity, circuits, signals, and magnetism. You’ll likely learn about computers, communications, and probability theory as well.

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You’ll probably participate in lab sessions and design projects to gain hands-on experience. After graduating, you can pursue work as an electrical or electronics engineer. Professionals often work for engineering firms, power companies, manufacturers, or telecommunications companies.

Finance

Finance program

Entry Level Salary: $44,100
Mid-career Salary: $89,330
Job Growth: 5%

The finance field deals with money. More specifically, finance focuses on using financial data for planning and decision-making purposes.

Finance programs usually include classes like Global Financial Markets, Investment Vehicles, Risk Assessment, and Corporate Business Finance Concepts. Other topics typically include portfolio management and business leadership.

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Finance professionals can choose from a variety of career possibilities, like financial analyst or financial examiner. One top-paying job possibility, for which data is shown above, is working as a personal financial advisor. With a bachelor’s degree and industry experience, you may also qualify for certifications or management roles.

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $57,950
Mid-career Salary: $88,950
Job Growth: 14%

Earning a degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering can help prepare you for work in the manufacturing sector. The focus of this field is on improving the production process.

A degree program in industrial engineering typically includes studies in statics, dynamics, materials, and metals. Common class topics include aspects of the manufacturing process, like molding, casting and metal joining, and manufacturing and engineering from an economic perspective.

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Industrial engineers often work in industries like computer, transportation, and fabricated metal manufacturing. They may also become logisticians.

Management Information Systems

Management Information Systems programs

Entry Level Salary: $90,430
Mid-career Salary: $151,150
Job Growth: 11%

Also known as MIS, management information systems is a field that involves using technology to improve business operations and employee productivity. Database Design and Business Programming are common classes in MIS programs. Common topics of study include risk management, team leadership, business analytics, and data security.

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Some colleges offer concentrations, such as Informatics, Analytics, or Cybersecurity. A bachelor’s degree could potentially lead to a job as a computer systems analyst or a database administrator. The above career figures are for computer and information systems manager positions, which may be available to people with bachelor’s degrees and experience.

Materials Science

Materials Science programs

Entry Level Salary: $57,970
Mid-career Salary: $95,640
Job Growth: 8%

The field of materials science deals with the materials that make up products. People who work in this area know about the properties of various materials and how they work together.

Materials science programs are designed to provide information on a variety of materials, such as metals, ceramics, crystals, and polymers. You’ll likely take courses in quantum mechanics, dynamics, kinetics, and magnetism. Nanotechnology usually comes up in this major as well.

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Studying materials science at the bachelor’s degree level is often the key to becoming a materials engineer, for which data is shown above. Many materials engineers work in manufacturing, especially transportation or electronics manufacturing.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $58,410
Mid-career Salary: $90,160
Job Growth: 7%

Engineers who design or develop mechanical systems are known as mechanical engineers. Their work touches many aspects of everyday life. Mechanical engineering also plays a major role in industry.

Mechanical engineering programs typically include a lot of math and science classes covering topics such as multivariable calculus, differential equations, and advanced physics. Engineering courses typically address topics like dynamics, materials, heat transfer, circuits, and controls.

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Mechanical engineers usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in the field. Some need to be state-licensed as well. Most work for manufacturing companies. Some find employment with research institutions or engineering services organizations.

Nursing

Nursing program

Entry Level Salary: $53,410
Mid-career Salary: $75,330
Job Growth: 9%

Nurses play a critical role in the field of healthcare. Patients depend on trained nurses for medical care and support. A bachelor’s degree program in nursing can help you obtain a thorough education for a nursing career. Classes typically cover anatomy, community health, pharmacology, and healthcare informatics.

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There are a variety of educational paths that can help you become a registered nurse, but many employers prefer those who have graduated from a bachelor’s degree program. Nurses must also be licensed. The majority of nurses work for hospitals. Doctor’s offices, nursing homes, schools, and public health departments also hire nurses.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $78,620
Mid-career Salary: $137,330
Job Growth: 8%

Petroleum engineers help supply the world with energy. Petroleum is a necessary supply for many manufacturing processes.

In your petroleum engineering program, you’ll likely take classes in earth and environmental science to learn about oil and gas extraction. Common topics of study include wells, reservoirs, rocks, fluids, and drills. Chemistry, physics, and geology are important sciences pertaining to this field of study.

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Graduates of petroleum engineering bachelor’s degree programs typically become petroleum engineers who work for oil and gas companies. In some cases, it’s also possible to use this degree to become an environmental engineer or a geotechnical engineer.

Pharmacy

Pharmacy program

Entry Level Salary: $31,450
Mid-career Salary: $54,180
Job Growth: 11%

To prepare for a career in the pharmaceutical realm, you’ll likely need to study advanced chemistry, biology, and anatomy. In addition to these sciences, you may also take courses in immunology, statistics, and leadership.

Most people who earn a pre-pharmacy bachelor’s degree continue on with their schooling. They enroll in pharmacy professional programs to become pharmacists. That’s not the only available path for this degree, though.

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Your undergraduate studies could help prepare you to pursue a job as a laboratory technician, the job for which details are shown above. You might also become a pharmaceutical sales representative or a biological technician.

Physics

Physics program

Entry Level Salary: $27,650
Mid-career Salary: $53,520
Job Growth: 17%

Physics is the science that explores matter, force, and energy. That includes motion, waves, electricity, magnetism, and heat.

The curriculum for a physics program usually includes many advanced physics classes. Lab work is very common in this major. In addition, you may learn about computer programming, calculus, and engineering.

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To become a physicist, you’ll need to earn a doctorate, but there are many applications for a physics bachelor’s degree. One possibility, which is represented in the figures above, is to become a sound engineering technician. Other potential jobs include data analyst, computer programmer, or high school teacher.

Political Science

Political Science program

Entry Level Salary: $51,220
Mid-career Salary: $78,970
Job Growth: 5%

Political science is a field that studies government and power. As a political science major, you’ll likely use both quantitative and qualitative research methods throughout your studies.

Your courses may include Congressional Procedures, Political Theories, and Urban Problems. Many political science programs will allow you to select multiple electives as well. While earning a political scientist job title may require a master’s degree, there’s a lot that can be done with a political science bachelor’s degree.

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Your data analysis skills could help you pursue a job as a budget analyst, which is the career option represented above. You may also pursue jobs as a market researcher, public relations specialist, or legislative aide.

Software Engineering

Software Engineering program

Entry Level Salary: $65,210
Mid-career Salary: $110,140
Job Growth: 22%

Software engineering focuses on the specific project steps that bring software programs to life. Studying this field can help you become an expert in the software development life cycle.

The coursework in this major typically covers computer programming, engineering principles, and operating systems. You’ll likely discuss project management and quality assurance as well. You may also be required to complete a major design project.

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Software developer, for which data is shown above, is a common job for software engineering graduates. They often work for software companies, computer companies, manufacturers, or insurance companies.

Accreditation

college degrees accreditation

No matter which major you choose, you’ll more likely have the most useful college degree if you attend a regionally accredited college for your studies.

Regional accreditation is a sign that an institution provides a solid education. To receive this designation, colleges have to undergo an official evaluation. If a school is found to meet the set standards, then it receives accreditation.

Going to a regionally accredited school comes with a variety of benefits. Accredited courses often transfer elsewhere and serve as quality preparation for graduate studies. A degree from an accredited school can help you qualify for industry licensure and a good job as well.

For more information on regional accreditation and to see if your prospective school is accredited, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

What College Degree Should I Get?

college degree for you

Thinking about the following factors can help you decide which degree might be best for you.

  • Earning potential: Will the degree contribute to your income goals?
  • Lifestyle: How do you feel about the hours and stress level common in this field?
  • Passions and interests: Will you enjoy being in this field for years to come?
  • Strengths and skills: Will the coursework be a good fit for you? For example, math and science whizzes might enjoy engineering programs.

An academic advisor can also help you with this decision.

What Are the Most Valuable Bachelor Degrees?

Most Valuable Bachelor Degrees

The most valuable degrees are typically the ones that contribute to high salaries in secure industries. Plus, they have the potential to be lucrative even if you never earn a graduate degree.

Some of the top choices include:

  • Computer Science
  • Engineering, especially Architectural Engineering
  • Management Information Systems
  • Materials Science

These programs can give you opportunities to learn in-demand skills that today’s manufacturers, businesses, and organizations need. The unemployment rate for these fields is low, and the potential for career advancement is high.

What Are the Top Degrees in Demand for the Future?

Top Degrees in Demand for the Future

The most employable degrees are designed to prepare students for fields that are experiencing tremendous growth rates and many new job openings.

The most in demand degrees include:

  • Economics: 22% growth rate for market research analysts and 13% growth rate for economists
  • Industrial Engineering: 14% growth rate for industrial engineers
  • Information Systems: 11% growth rate for computer and information systems managers
  • Nursing: 9% growth rate for registered nurses and 52% growth rate for nurse practitioners
  • Software Engineering: 22% growth rate for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers

These job growth predictions are based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Are the College Majors That Make the Most Money?

College Majors That Make the Most Money

The highest paying bachelors degrees can potentially help you earn a promising salary right out of college and a six-figure income someday.

Strong options include:

  • Aerospace Engineering: average starting salary of $72,770 for aerospace engineers
  • Chemical Engineering: average starting salary of $68,430 for chemical engineers
  • Management Information Systems: average starting salary of $90,430 for computer and information systems managers
  • Software Engineering: average starting salary of $65,210 for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers.
  • Petroleum Engineering: average starting salary of $78,620 for petroleum engineers

The salaries above are based on national averages calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics..

Is a Bachelors Degree Worth it?

Yes, a bachelors degree is worth it for many students. Earning a college degree can give you opportunities to learn employable skills. Some will be specific to your particular industry. Others, such as communication, research, and critical thinking, can help you succeed in any field.

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Bachelor’s degrees have the potential to improve your job security as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degrees is 5.5%. That’s quite a bit lower than the 9% rate for those with only high school diplomas.

Getting Your College Degree Online

College Degree Online

Have you picked out the most useful college major for your goals and ambitions? Hopefully, you’ve settled on a field that offers the potential for high pay and promising job prospects for people with bachelor’s degrees.

The next step is to pick out a school for your bachelor’s degree program. You may also be interested in the online bachelor’s degree programs that a number of universities now offer. Online college may be a good option for you. There are many accredited online colleges that offer valuable degrees.

If you’re ready to pursue one of the most versatile degrees, you can start exploring your options for an accredited online university that offers your chosen program today.

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Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.