For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 01 2016
by Meghan Field

15 Majors That Can Lead to High-Paying and Stable Careers

By Meghan Field - Aug 01 2016

With various jobs becoming more and more popular and the rising tuition costs at universities, it is imperative that students choose their major wisely in order to get the most out of their education. Figuring out what you want to do career-wise for the rest of your life is hard at age 18 or 19, but there are plenty of degrees that can be obtained that allow for a plethora of job options based on your undergraduate major. Many jobs require more schooling after the four year undergraduate degree, such as an additional two year master's degree, but it is often worth the extra time to be able to be more qualified for a particular job of interest. Often, there are just certain majors that really won't help you to get a job in the workforce, but I am going to touch on various degrees that will allow for endless possibilities job wise and will allow you to make a suitable income after college.

1. Actuarial Math

Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They need to be well versed in various types of mathematics, such as statistics, calculus and financial theory. With the knowledge they obtain in classes such as those in their undergraduate program, they are definitely well on their way to get a job in that field. On average, most Actuaries make around $97,070 per year and the job outlook from 2014 to 2024 is much higher than many other jobs at 18 percent increase over the 10 year period.

There is always going to be risk, so that is why Actuaries will always be needed and a tangible job that will never go away. Rather than just working with numbers, Actuaries have unbeatable analytical skills as well as being able to understand the very nature of risks in the psychological, physical and financial stability aspects.

Most large corporations and insurance companies are hesitant to make certain moves without consulting with Actuaries first to make sure that they are on the right track and making a worthwhile decision that will have a positive impact on the company for the future, which is extremely important.

Work environment wise, Actuaries work for insurance companies most of the time, but there are definitely other options, which are usually low stress environments. You will be able to work at private corporations since they rely on risk evaluation to frame the company's strategic management decisions. From there, you can work up to being in an upper management or executive position, if you are interested. If you end up working as a consultant, you will be needed to help firms design pensions and benefit plans for their clients. If working for the government is of interest to you, Actuaries are actually able to work in that environment by helping the government manage its programs and overseeing public companies to ensure compliance with regulatory laws. Actuaries are certainly not uncommon in colleges and universities, banks and investment firms, public accounting firms, labor unions, rating bureaus and fraternal organizations.

To become an actuary, a Bachelor's Degree is required as well as passing a series of exams to become certified professionals.


John Bernhardt, a contestant on America's Got Talent said it best. Actuaries are rather important, though, even though those who are Actuaries might not be the most outgoing.

2. Applied Mathematics

Being an Applied Mathematics major will allow for an ample amount of opportunities upon graduation. You will be able to work in government labs, research offices, agencies, engineering research organizations, consulting firms, consumer products companies, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, electronics and computer manufacturers and medical device companies.

Under the broad major of Applied Mathematics, there are more specialized majors you can look into. You might not have thought of this right off the bat, but Climatology is a big one. Climatology depends on simulating the component forces that drive the climate. It requires very sophisticated models based on physical principles, expressed as complex partial differential equations. These are implemented in very large-scale numerical codes on high-performance computers, and use data from observations of satellites, ocean buoys, and other monitoring equipment to drive the solutions.

An wide-ranging science that uniquely combines mathematics, computer science, fine art, classical animation, physics, biomechanics and anatomy is Computer Animation and Digital Imaging, yet another aspect of Applied Mathematics. Those in this major are able to use their math skills to create algorithms for computer animations.

Another popular specialization is Materials Science, which consists of the study of the properties, processing and production of a broad range of existing and new materials, including metallic alloys, composites, biological materials, liquid crystals and thin films. The rational design and analysis of materials depends on mathematical models and computational tools. Career opportunities abound in science, manufacturing, and materials design for applications in fields such as aerospace, engineering, electronics, biology, and nanotechnology.

Many people also take the opportunity to study Systems Biology, where you learn to apply a wide range of mathematical and computational methods. For example, mapping and understanding the human genome relies on the use of sophisticated mathematical and computational tools. Newer and better tools make research quicker and cheaper, resulting in the creation of new career opportunities in technology, medicine, and drug development and design.

Job wise, three of the most popular after graduation are a Data Scientist, Quantitative Analyst and Statistician. A Data Scientist are big data wranglers. They take an enormous mass of messy data points and use their formidable skills in math, statistics and programming to clean, massage and organize them. They are able to work for large corporations such as Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. On average, they make around $116,840 a year and the job outlook is projected to grow 11 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Quantitative Analysts are people who analyzes a situation or event, especially a financial market, by means of complex mathematical and statistical modeling. They are also tasked with devising strategies for maximum efficiency when it comes to trading stock. They make around $78,100 and the need for them will grow by 41 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Statisticians make $78,800 a year, on average, and they are expected to grow 27 percent between 2014 and 2024. Their responsibilities include developing techniques to overcome problems in data collection and analysis and using statistical methods to collect and analyze data and to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.

Degree wise, the jobs you can get require a Bachelor's Degree, yet you can become more qualified and therefore more desirable in the workforce if you pursue a Master's Degree or Ph.D.


Since Applied Mathematics is such a broad major, it is important to narrow down what you want to specialize in. Depending on what you focus on, there are tons of jobs at your disposal.

3. Business

In college, if you are majoring in business you will acquire many useful skills that will help you become a more confident and outgoing person because upon graduation you will most likely land a job you will be in a leadership position. It is important to pay close attention to what you learn about communication, planning and problem solving skills. Those who are business majors are able to analyze a business's strengths and weaknesses, figure out the best way to make a profit and steer companies through difficult situations.

If you are going to major in business, there are other more specialized majors you can study, such as Accounting, Business Administration and Management, Business Communications, Finance, Human Resources Management, International Businesses, Marketing and Real Estate.

Endless amounts of job opportunities are right at your fingertips upon obtaining your degree. You are able to become an Automotive Retail Salesperson, who makes an average of $74,700. Those in this position are responsible for helping automobile buyers discover which vehicles best fit their needs within their price range. They work closely with each customer to help them narrow down their search for a car and get to know the details of each and what each car is best suited for in someone's daily life. From 2016 to 2026, the job outlook is 12 percent.

Another popular job is a Store Owner/Operator, who makes around $80,900 a year. There are two different sectors to this job: either a franchisee or an independent store owner. As a franchisee, owners pay a substantial amount of money to a parent company in exchange for opening and operating a retail location. Franchisees have little decision-making power when it comes to inventory, items for sale, advertising, sales, and general operations. Independent retail store owners open on their own, and they have total control over their store and its concept. This freedom has a trade-off, however. Independent retail is more risky than franchises, because as a franchisee you are working with an already established, well-known brand. This job is expected to grow by 5 percent from 2014 to 2024.

You can even become an Information Technology Systems Manager, who performs all the necessary maintenance, support, design, and modifications to keep networks, software, and other virtual environment infrastructures functional and up to date. They communicate and delegate tasks to IT developers and ensure backups and updates are completed regularly. They also make detailed plans to accomplish goals and provide training and support to their staff. They also create expense budgets for the equipment and often report to executive or senior management. They must ensure their software adheres to corporate safety expectations and licensing laws, especially when employed in finance, to prevent fraud and protect secured data. They are also typically in charge of purchasing hardware and software for servers and work stations. If you want to become an Information Technology Systems Manager, you are looking at a salary of about $90,500. Luckily, there will be plenty of jobs according to the 10 year outlook. From 2014 to 2024, there will be an increase of jobs by 15 percent.

The highest paying job you can get with a business degree while bringing in $172,000 a year is a Chief Marketing Officer. As a Chief Marketing Officer, you are responsible for creating and ensuring the execution of a company's marketing and sales groups' vision. You have to be able to communicate what the company's direction is going to be and how each member of the company will be a vital role to help achieve the goal. This job is projected to grow 9 percent between 2014 to 2024.

The jobs can be acquired with a Bachelor's Degree, but by all means, if you feel as though it is necessary, you can get a Master's Degree to further your studies.


Being a business major is a lot of hard work, but it definitely pays off in the long run. If you have a vision to one day run and manage your very own business, business is suitable for you.

4. Computer Science

In a four year undergraduate program, Computer Science majors learn how to construct and evaluate efficient algorithms and how or when to use the correct data structures for optimal results, independent of a certain programming language. Programming languages are a big concept that is learned in college, as well. In addition to programming languages themselves, you learn how they interact with various operating systems. More specifically, Computer Science is the study of software, hardware and theoretical aspects of computing devices, along with the study of the application of computing in scientific, engineering, business, and other areas.

With a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, the career opportunities are seemingly endless. From being a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Enterprise Architect, to being a Lead Web Developer to a Database Administration Manager, you are sure to find a very lucrative career if you decide to major in Computer Science.

A CIO oversees the computer and technology divisions and manage the information technology and computer systems for companies and organizations. They can work in a variety of fields including education, financial services, health care and manufacturing. Along with Information Technology staff, a CIO develops technology policies and strategies for his company. Per year, most CIOs make $219,300 and this type of job is expected to grow 11 percent between 2012 and 2022.

If you are interested in maintaining Information Technology (IT) networks and services used by their organization, then being an Enterprise Architect is for you. This work is typically mental, although some physical work may be required at times, such as driving a vehicle to destinations that require IT services. Tasks performed by enterprise architects include maintaining IT services and projects, keeping the business up to date with new technology, providing feedback to the company on IT networks and potential improvements, and working with other staff on a variety of projects. Most Enterprise Architects make $132,477 and the job outlook is 22 percent from 2010 to 2020.

A Lead Web Developer essentially takes charge of advertising for a website developer on online job boards or careers pages on the internet. Additionally, they need to be responsible for coding, innovative design and layout of websites. As time goes on, websites often need to be maintained, expanded and scaled, which Lead Web Developers are in charge of. If you pursue this career option, you will make around $93,472 and this job is increasing by 27 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Now, if you want to be responsible for the performance, integrity and security of a database, then being a Database Administration Manager is for you. You will also be involved in the planning and development of the database, as well as troubleshooting any issues on behalf of the users. This job makes around $80,280 with an expected growth of 15 percent from 2012 to 2022.

All of the jobs can be obtained with a Bachelor's Degree.


You're either tech savvy or you're not. There is literally no in between. That's what Computer Science majors are for!

5. Communication Sciences and Disorders

This major is often underestimated in terms of the diversity of jobs you can acquire after your four year undergraduate degree and two year Master's Degree.

You are able to become a Speech Pathologist, Audiologist, Special Education Teacher, Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, Consultant or a Speech and Hearing Therapist. Learning about the basics of speech, language and hearing processes allows for people to have a rewarding career in healthcare, medicine, research or education. Basically, the students in this program are then able to diagnose and treat a variety of hearing and speech disorders in children, the elderly or victims who have suffered some sort of hearing or speech trauma.

Many times, people with this degree tend to either work for a private practice or open up their own private practice, so having a degree in CDS definitely allows for flexibility.

After consulting with a Speech Language Pathologist, many patients are left with a better sense of self-confidence, which thus improves the quality of their lives.

On average, Speech Pathologists bring in $91,220 a year and the industry is growing by a whopping 21 percent from 2012 to 2022.


Being a CDS major requires a lot of passion, patience and motivation. Many people who go into this major have either had speech or hearing problems themselves or have been affected by a family member who has had those issues.

6. Dentist/Orthodontist

Alright, if you can fathom looking in people's mouths all day, then pursuing a Dentist or Orthodontist program is right for you.

Dentists remove tooth decay, fill cavities, repair fractured teeth and diagnose and treat problems with patients' teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health. There are different levels of dentistry, though. You are able to be a Dental Assistant, General Dentist, Endodontist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon or Periodontist. In some capacity, all of these professions deal with keeping your teeth healthy and sharing that information with their patients. Dentists make an average of $161,750 per year with a job outlook of 16 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Being an Orthodontist differs in that their main goal is to help patients prevent and treat facial and dental irregularities, all while diagnosing what could be causing such abnormalities. So, they want to correct your bite to make sure that your smile, jaws and teeth are aligned correctly with the use of either metal braces or clear aligners. There are also Prosthodontists, who have the knowledge about all of the factors that go into making a pleasing smile. Orthodontists make upwards of $200,500 a year with an expected growth of 21 percent from 2010 to 2020.

For Dentists, after a four year undergraduate degree, they are required to attend a four year dental school. The first two years are generally spent learning general and dental science in the classroom and laboratory settings, whereas the last two years are way more specialized.

Orthodontists have an extra two years of schooling than dentists. They first obtain a four year Bachelor's Degree, then four years of dental school and then two more years in a post doctoral program devoted to the study of orthodontics.


Keeping your teeth healthy is essential. That is why dentists and orthodontists will be needed forever.

7. Engineering

There are endless types of engineering that you can specialize in. Fortunately, there are six major branches of engineering: chemical, civil, electrical, geotechnical, management and mechanical. Engineers will always be in demand due to their skill sets. With the knowledge they will gain throughout college, they will have the necessary problem-solving skills to fix a problem and they will be able to begin to create solutions to problems that the general public isn't even aware of yet.

The role of Chemical Engineers is to find practical uses for products with their understanding of chemistry. They are able to utilize technology that involves chemical reactions to create new products such as cleaning agents, cosmetics, foods and pharmaceuticals from raw materials. The other subcategories under chemical engineering are Agricultural Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Materials Science Engineers, Paper Engineers and Sustainability Engineers. The average salary of a chemical engineer is $97,360 with a job growth of 2 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Now for Civil Engineers. Their purpose is to develop infrastructure such as bridges, buildings, construction, railways and roads. In the event of something such as a natural disaster, civil engineers play an important role in rebuilding structures that were destroyed. The subdivisions of Civil Engineering include Architectural Engineering and Structural Engineering. Generally, Civil Engineers make around $87,130 a year with an expected increase of 20 percent for the demand of these engineers from 2014 to 2024.

Electrical Engineers, simply put, focus on energy. These engineers develop technologies to assist with the practical applications of electrical, hydro, wind and solar energy. With so many things people use daily, these engineers are important since they help design components for automobiles, communications systems, electronic equipment and power grids. The types of Electrical Engineers are Computer Engineers, Electronic Engineers, Mechatronics Engineers, Microelectronic Engineers and Robotics Engineers. On average, Electrical Engineers bring in about $85,350 with an expected increase of 14 percent from 2014 to 2024.

The engineers who work on extracting oil and gas from beneath the Earth are known as Geotechnical Engineers. These engineers are able to combine their engineering and research skills for mining and construction projects. This is by far the group with the largest amount of specialties that can be studied, which includes Ceramics Engineers, Geomatics Engineers, Marine Engineers, Metallurgical Engineers, Mining Engineers, Nanotechnology Engineers, Nuclear Engineers, Petroleum Engineers, Photonics Engineers, Physics Engineers and Project Management Engineers. Most of the time, Geotechnical Engineers make a living of about $63,750 and are expected to grow 5 percent during the time from 2014 to 2024.

Engineers are able to have the best of both worlds: focusing on engineering while mixing their work with business. These engineers are in charge of managing engineering projects or a group of engineers. You are able to specialize by being an Industrial Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer or Systems Engineer. Management Engineers are definitely higher among the pay scale, making an average of $131,598 per year with an expected job outlook of 2 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Then there are Mechanical Engineers, who are involved in designing mechanical systems. Those who are Mechanical Engineers assist in industries such as aeronautics, cooling, heating, manufacturing, nanotechnology and nuclear power production. It is essential for these engineers to have a vast amount of knowledge about kinematics, materials science, structural analysis and thermodynamics. There are many specialties, including Aerospace Engineers, Automotive Engineers, Biomechanical Engineers and Biomedical Engineers. Mechanical Engineers make an average of $84,770 with a projected 10 year growth of 5 percent from 2014-2024.


It is important that engineers take their studies seriously. They are bright thinkers and need to be able to problem solve almost all of the time to make aspects of a persons life run smoother.

8. Law

Lawyers perform a valuable role in today's society, especially as law is intertwined with almost every aspect of our daily lives: from the age at which you can take your driving test to the speed at which you can drive when you pass it, from the minimum wage you can expect to earn in a new job to the rights you have should you lose it.

There have always been two main sectors to a lawyer: solicitors and barristers. In recent years, more positions have become available, including charted legal executives, paralegals and apprentices.

Solicitors provide advice and assistance in matters of law. Because of that, they are the first line of defense for people and organizations to contact while seeking legal advice and representation. They spend most of their time meeting clients and finding out their needs while establishing a low to help, researching various parts of law and proposing courses of action to their clients, drafting letters, contracts and other legal documents and acting on behalf of their clients in court.

On the other hand, barristers advise on specific legal issues and represent clients in court. They receive their information and instructions through a solicitor and are essentially self-employed. When not appearing in court, they work in chambers where they prepare their court cases and arguments. Again, although barristers work in a wide variety of areas of law, the fundamental elements of the job remain largely the same. They are able to advise clients on the law and the strength of their case, hold conferences with clients to discuss their case, represent clients in court, including presenting the case and cross-examining witnesses and negotiate settlements with the other side.

Schooling wise, lawyers have to obtain a four year Bachelor's Degree and then they are able to go to law school which takes three to four years to complete. After school, you would have to pass a bar exam and get your license.

Lawyers are able to make upwards of $130,490 a year and the job is expected to grow 10 percent between 2012 and 2022.


Lawyers help the general public interpret and apply the laws. They understand the law and help citizens make the best decisions so as to remain in good standing with the law by avoiding punishment and getting the maximum benefit out of citizenship.

9. Nursing

There are many different avenues when it comes to nursing. You can get an Associate's Degree in two years, a Bachelor's Degree with direct entry takes three years of practically all year schooling or you can stretch out your Bachelor's Degree to four years.

In order to get a two year Associate's Degree, you need to look into private vocational schools and community colleges, as this degree is not offered at most universities. While in school, a lot of your time will be spent doing hands on activities while taking nursing classes and attending clinical rotations. With this two year degree, you will become a Registered Nurse (RN). Becoming a RN is definitely an advantage to those who want to have a quick education, but if you decide you want to be something more than a RN after working for a little bit, you'll have to go back to school to get your Bachelor's Degree. A RN makes an average of $66,640 a year with a job outlook of 19 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Most universities offer a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN). In addition to nursing classes and clinical rotations, a liberal arts education is also incorporated. You will have more opportunities with a BSN. Areas of Nursing including public health, nursing forensics and case management are all viable options when picking a career. Some of those jobs include a Nursing Manager, Clinical Nurse Manager and Family Nurse Practitioner. These nurses, with their advances degree, are trained in diagnosing and treating illness. They are able to prescribe medications, treat illness and administer physical exams.

Per year, a Nursing Manager makes an average of $81,905, a Clinical Nurse Manager makes around $78,435 and a Clinical Nurse Practitioner makes $89,860. Nurses with these degrees are expected to grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022.

If you have always wanted to be an Anesthesiologist without going to medical school, there is an option for you within nursing. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) takes care of patients before, during and after surgical or obstetrical procedures. CRNA's stay with their patients for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important body function and individually modifying the anesthetic to ensure maximum safety and comfort. The only difference between a CRNA and an Anesthesiologist is one is a nurse and the other is a medical doctor. They are able to perform the same tasks. On average, a CRNA makes $160,000 a year and this job is looking to grow 31 percent between 2012 and 2022.


Nurses are so so so important because they spend more time in direct contact with patients than physicians do, generally. Of course, nurses play a huge role on the hospital's culture.

10. Pharmacy

The majority of pharmacy degrees take six to eight years to obtain. At some universities, a Pharm.D program is offered to students who want a career in something pharmaceutical upon graduation. That's pretty cool. Becoming a Doctor of Pharmacy in six or so years, I mean. The degree usually requires two years in an undergraduate program where you take general education classes and then another four to six years in a graduate program geared specifically towards pharmacy. Instead of constantly being in the classroom, many students are required to go shadow various pharmacy professions to narrow down what he or she primarily wants to focus on.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual median pay for pharmacists is $121,500. On the downside, though, the 10 year job outlook from 2014-2014 for any job that has to do with pharmacy is only at 3 percent, which is an all time low.

There are so many jobs that you can get with a degree in pharmacy. You can be a Community Pharmacist, which is a pharmacist who is responsible for dispensing and distributing medicine. They also work with the legal and ethical guidelines to ensure the correct and safe supply of medical products to the general public. The average salary of a Community Pharmacist is $112,160.

Another popular job you can have with a Pharm.D degree is a Hospital Pharmacist. They have more knowledge about the scientific aspect of drugs, as they are needed to figure out how each drug is to be used and the effects the drug has on the human body. In addition to dispensing prescriptions, a Hospital Pharmacist is involved in the purchasing and quality testing of medicines. They make an average salary of $110,810.

You can also have the title of a Medical Research Scientist. You will be able to devise and conduct experiments in order to increase the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine. They also develop new, or improve existing, drugs, treatments or other medically related products. Those in this profession make an annual median salary of $108,200.


Fortunately, there will always be a need for pharmacists because there is never going to be a day where everyone is all well and there will not be a need for drugs. It would be nice, but then the world would be all too perfect.

11. Physical/Occupational Therapist

Physical therapists (PT) can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. People who have suffered serious injuries or illnesses often face difficulties with movement and pain management. They depend on physical therapists to help them recover. Through focused exercise plans and individual attention, these professionals help patients restore their range of motion, build strength, improve flexibility and manage pain as they recuperate.

PT's usually work in private offices, clinics, hospitals or nursing homes. Typically, physical therapy positions are full time, although some therapists work fewer hours or multiple part-time positions. Most physical therapists are scheduled to work during normal business hours, but it is possible to be scheduled on evening or weekend shifts, depending on the environment.

Becoming a physical therapist requires years of education and training in areas such as kinesiology, anatomy, biology and physical fitness. Many physical therapists also receive extensive training in patient psychology to better understand and help clients cope with the emotional challenges associated with a physical ailment.

All PT's must complete a doctoral physical therapy degree program (DPT) accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). DPT programs generally take three years to complete.

On average, PT's earn $88,000 a year and this line of work is expected to grow 36 percent between 2012 and 2022.

On the other hand, Occupational Therapists (OT) see certain types of patients rather than PT's who can see any type of patient. OT's use special equipment to help children with developmental disabilities and treat injured, ill or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

To become an OT, you have to first earn an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree. Earning an associate's degree is the first step toward becoming a successful OT. Most jobs require a Master's Degree, but many OT's decide to get their doctorate as well. OT's must pass an initial certifying exam given by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and be licensed by their state, as well.

After you have a degree, you are able to work in places such as hospitals, the military, nursing homes, rehab facilities, pediatric practice, wellness programs, community agencies, substance abuse rehab and private practice offices.

The average OT makes $76,400 a year and is expected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022.


Without PT's and OT's, people would not be able to recover as quickly or as safely as they could with the help of someone in this profession. Therefore, people in this line of work will always be needed.

12. Physician Assistant

A Physician Assistant (PA) is becoming a hotter and hotter job choice as the years go on. In order to get on the right track, you have to obtain a four year Bachelor's Degree in something related to healthcare, such as Biology, Microbiology, Kinesiology, Chemistry, Physiology or Anatomy. From there on, starting in your junior year of college, you have to start looking and applying to PA schools. More and more PA schools are requiring up to 1000+ hours of prior healthcare experience with hands-on patient care. These hours can be obtained by being a Medical Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Lab Assistant, Emergency Room Technician, Surgical Tech or Certified Nursing Assistant. It is not uncommon that PA students take a year off after their four year undergraduate to get their required hours before going back to school to become a PA.

Once accepted into a PA school, most of the programs take 24-28 months to complete. In PA school, you learn to work in collaboration with a licensed physician to provide medical care to patients. Duties include diagnosing and treating illnesses, performing physical examinations, assisting in surgeries, making rounds in hospitals, and performing assigned tasks during a procedure. They may conduct physical exams, order different types of tests, develop treatment plans, write prescriptions, or monitor patients in hospital or medical facilities. Specific duties depend on the setting, state laws, and specialty area of individual PAs. This is a very patient-focused role and requires strong interpersonal skills.

There are tons of specialties that a PA can become. Your salary depends on what type of PA you are. The most popular are specializations in Dermatology, Urgent Care, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Women's Health, Mental Health, Neurosurgery, Pediatric Practice and Radiology.

In a year, most PA's make $98,180 with an expected increase of 30 percent between 2014 and 2024.


If you still want to be involved in a major part of the health care industry and don't have it in you to go to medical school, then consider becoming a Physician's Assistant. There is much less schooling to obtain this degree. 

13. Physics

Although it may seem like studying Physics limits what you can do job wise, there are actually plenty of jobs that you can get after getting a Physics Degree. If it weren’t for physicists, the modern world would be a very different place. The study of physics has brought so many pivotal discoveries of the 20th century; including the laser, TV, radio, computer technology, DNA and nuclear weapons for instance. Physics has also played a vital role in the development of quantum theory, the theory of relativity, the big bang theory and the splitting of the atom.

While studying Physics, students become masters at using various mathematical formulas to try to explain their theories and make predictions about what might happen years down the road and when. But physics is also concerned with how things work on a more tangible level. The laws of physics are applied to fields such as engineering, communications, biology, and electronics. The development of technologies like lasers and semiconductors resulted from pioneering work in physics. Televisions, microwaves and digital cameras would not exist without breakthroughs in physics.

After getting a Physics Degree, you are able to work in various different jobs. One of the most popular is a Metallurgist. Metallurgists are concerned with the extraction and processing of various metals and alloys. You will investigate and examine the performance of metals such as iron, steel, aluminum, nickel and copper and use them to produce a range of useful products and materials with certain properties. People in this line of work make $68,439 with an expected growth of 1 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Many physicists also become Meteorologists because of their vast amount of knowledge about weather. Meteorologists predict the weather and study the causes of particular weather conditions using information obtained from the land, sea and upper atmosphere. They use computerized and mathematical models to make short and long-range forecasts concerning weather and climate patterns. Meteorologists make an average of $90,120 and are expected to grow 9 percent between 2014 and 2024.

If you have an interest in physics and also an interest in law, you are able to become a Patent Attorney. As a Patent Attorney you'll assess whether inventions are new and innovative and therefore eligible to be patented. Specially trained in drafting patents and with knowledge of intellectual property law, you will lead individual inventors or companies through the required process to obtain a patent and then act to enforce inventors' rights if patents are infringed. Patents are granted by the government and give inventors the right to prevent other parties from using or copying their invention for up to 20 years. If you choose this career path, you will be making around $205,000 a year with an expected job outlook of 10 percent from 2013 to 2023.


While often underestimated, physicists are always going to be important. They are always going to find new ways that things work.

14. Pre-Medicine

Now, for all of you that want to become doctors. It is going to take a lot of commitment and dedication and years of schooling, but it will be worth it in the end if this is the job you want to pursue. While more and more schools are starting to offer a Pre Medicine major, it is okay if your school does not offer this major because, in reality, you can major in anything to get into medical school as long as you have fulfilled all of the prerequisites. The vast majority of students who want to go to medical school major in Biology because those fields of study definitely go hand in hand. Many others major in fields such as Psychology, Sociology, Chemistry or Physics. Then, for the remaining students; many of them major in completely unrelated fields.

After obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in something, you are required to take your Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and do well on it, as well as have good grades from your four years in an undergraduate program. The people who look at medical school applications rely heavily on your MCAT score as well as your grades when considering you for admission. But, it's not all about that. Fortunately, they look a lot at your letters of recommendation, medical experience, research you've taken advantage of and what makes you stand out from all of the other applicants.

If you are lucky enough to get into medical school, you still have many years of training left before you can become a Medical Doctor (MD). Medical school usually takes around four years to complete, but it doesn't end there. Afterwards, you have to complete a residency which, on average, takes at least three years. If you want to specialize as particular type of physician, you need to tack on a few more years to specialize and then complete a fellowship. Phew, then you're ready. Therefore, most medical students do not actually begin working until their early thirties.

There are endless things that can be wrong with people and one person cannot have the knowledge about everything that can go wrong. That is why there are doctors for certain parts of the body.

Now, for the types of specializations you can be and the salaries you can expect to make.


If you are truly dedicated to helping others, then becoming a doctor may be the right path for you. With more and more universities offering a Pre Medicine major, you will be able to narrow down what you want to specialize in.

15. Psychology

While not often thought of as a lucrative career, one can get many high paying jobs by majoring in Psychology. What is true though is that with a four year degree you won't have a wide array of jobs but once you complete a Master's Degree program or a Ph.D program you will certainly have higher paying jobs available to you.

By far, the highest paying job in Psychology is a Psychiatrist. Although it takes 12 years of school to become one, many people don’t mind if this is what they are truly passionate about. Psychiatry is an extremely demanding endeavor, however, as it requires a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and a four year residency program. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who evaluate, diagnose, and help prevent disorders of the mind and either prescribe medicine or employ psychotherapy or a combination of the two as treatment. On average, Psychiatrists make $177,520 and this field is expected to grow 15 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Another popular job is a Private Practice Clinical Therapist (PPCT). PPCT's often run their businesses out of home offices, and independently practice therapeutic techniques to treat their clients. To enter into such private practice, one has to first has to earn a bachelor’s and then pursue a two year Master’s Degree in clinical therapy. It is common for therapists to then pursue a two year doctorate in clinical therapy because the success of private practice hinges on the accolades and rapport of the practitioner. PPCT's make around $150,000 a year and are expected to grow 19 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists (IOP) make $98,800 a year and are expected to increase by 53 percent from 2014 to 2024. IOP's are human efficiency experts who specialize in working with companies and corporations to keep employees efficient, healthy, and working hard. The majority of industrial-organizational psychologists enter their careers with a master’s in I/O psychology, but salaries increase substantially with doctoral education.

It is not uncommon for those studying Psychology to become a Neuropsychologist, who make an average of $86,645 a year and have an 11 percent growth between 2012 and 2022. Neuropsychologists study cognitive science and the brain. Neuropsychology is a much more lucrative career at the doctorate level which is four years post undergrad, where neuropsychologists perform cognitive tests, run brain scans, study how drugs impact the nervous system, and consult victims of brain injuries.

As integrated healthcare models become more accepted in the mainstream, psychologists are being brought into primary care facilities. Administrative Hospital Psychologists (AHP) oversee and manage the psychologists stationed in a hospital. They can make upwards of $95,000 and is expected to grow 20 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Clinical Psychology is the single largest employment area in Psychology, but there is still plenty of opportunity for prospective students and professionals. The high-paying jobs in this industry require doctorate study in clinical psychology, which are highly competitive, and most programs require a one year internship. Clinical Psychologists make $72,220 a year and the need for them is predicted to grow 11 percent between 2012 and 2022.


Contrary to popular belief, there are so many jobs you can obtain with a degree in psychology. Most jobs either require a Masters degree or a Ph.D.

Choosing the right major can certainly be nerve wracking, but with so many programs offered that will lead to steady jobs and high salaries, there is sure to be the right one for you.

Lead Image Credit: Nickelodeon

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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