What Should I Major In? The Ultimate Guide for Choosing Your College Degree

Wyatt DaltonJun 1st, 2019

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If you’re stressing about choosing a major, you’re not alone.

Choosing a major is something nearly half of all college students struggle with, often changing majors at least once throughout their college careers. What’s worse: of the students who finally make a decision on their major, 1 in 3 reports that they chose the wrong one. They aren’t satisfied with their major after they graduate and would change it if they could.

You shouldn’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars and four or more years of dedication on a degree you don’t actually want.

That’s why we’re breaking down key factors for deciding what you should major in—so you can get a head start on this process and find the best major for you.

Choose a Major by Salary

You might want to select a major that could potentially yield a high salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these are some of the highest-paying occupations and their median annual wages by college major.

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice degrees prepare students with the knowledge and skills to serve their communities by upholding justice, safety, and security.

Top-paying criminal justice jobs include:

  • Judge, magistrate judge, and magistrate, $136,910

  • Lawyer, $122,960

  • Detective and criminal investigator, $86,030

You can use the following resources to learn more about these career options:

Health and Life Sciences

Health and life sciences degrees are designed to help students become healthcare professionals who can deliver high-quality care to patients in need and make a difference in people’s lives.

Top-paying health/life sciences jobs include:

  • Obstetrician and gynecologist, $208,000

  • Surgeon, $208,000

  • Prosthodontist, $208,000

You can use the following resources to learn more about these career options:

Social Sciences

Social sciences degrees appeal to students with an interest in human behavior and psychology, arming them with the skills to work in fields such as mental health, psychology, and anthropology.

Top-paying social sciences jobs include:

  • Psychiatrist, $208,000

  • Political scientist, $122,220

  • Economist, $105,020

You can use the following resources to learn more about these career options:

Information Technology and Information Systems

Information technology and information systems degrees provide students with technical skills in computer science, web development, cybersecurity, and data management so they can build careers in fast-growing and in-demand fields.

Top-paying information technology/information systems jobs include:

  • Computer and information systems manager, $146,360

  • Computer and information research scientist, $122,840

  • Computer hardware engineer, $117,220

You can use the following resources to learn more about these career options:

Business

Business degrees are designed to provide future business leaders with the strategic, financial, and project management skills they need for success.

Top-paying business jobs include:

  • Chief executive, $175,310

  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing manager, $135,900

  • Financial manager, $129,890

You can use the following resources to learn more about these career options:

Choose a Major by Job Outlook

You might also want to select a major in a field with high projected job growth and an increasing demand for talent. According to the BLS, here’s how much jobs in each major are expected to increase between 2019 and 2029.

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice jobs are projected to grow steadily:

  • Forensic science technician, 14%

  • Police detective and investigator, 8%

  • Lawyer, 4%

Health and Life Sciences

Health and life sciences jobs are projected to grow substantially:

  • Nurse practitioner, 52.4%

  • Home health and personal care aide, 33.7%

  • Medical and health services manager, 31.5%

Social Sciences

Social sciences jobs are projected to grow steadily:

  • Economist, 14%

  • Environmental science and protection technician, 8%

  • Political scientist, 6%

Information Technology and Information Systems

Information technology and information systems jobs are projected to grow substantially:

  • Information security analyst, 31.2%

  • Data scientist, 30.9%

  • Software developer and software quality assurance analyst and tester, 21.5

Business

Business jobs are projected to grow considerably, with more variation among specific occupations:

  • Operations research analyst, 34.6%

  • Financial manager, 15%

  • Management analyst, 11%

Choose the Right Major for You

Now it’s time to get personal, taking your passions and career dreams into account. That may seem pretty daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

Lucky for you, choosing the right major is exactly what this free e-book can help you with.

While I can’t guarantee reading this book will magically make your decision easy, you’ll at least be able to make it with confidence, knowing that you’ve made a strong, future-oriented decision that will be an asset, not an expensive regret.

Here’s how we’re going to do this. In order to make the best decision possible, you’ll need to figure out what you want from life after college and then work backward by asking some important questions:

  • What lifestyle do you want?

  • What career path do you find interesting and meaningful? 

  • What tools, knowledge, or experience do you need to support your life after graduation? 

  • How can you use your college experience to prepare for this future as well as you possibly can?

Each question you answer about your future reveals another piece of the puzzle—from the type of degree you need to the particular courses you should take to the type of college that would be the best fit for you. Answer enough questions, and you won’t need to stress about your choice. Your perfect major will reveal itself.

And don’t worry if all of this is a little overwhelming. I’ll walk you through every step.

Ready to get started? Get the e-book for free!


Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Hardware Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Research Scientists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Detectives and Criminal Investigators

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, Fastest Growing Occupations

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections—2019-2029

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Science and Labor Technicians

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forensic Science Technicians

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Highest Paying Occupations

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lawyers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Political Scientists

Wyatt Dalton

Wyatt is an Accelerated Pathways graduate and a driven entrepreneur. He’s passionate about building businesses and gets annoyed when someone says the only way to be successful is to get a “real” job. When not working on a new business idea or general self-development, Wyatt spends his time pursuing the life moments that make him feel alive.