Maybe money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes a lot of technical degrees appealing. Some majors boast high job satisfaction and personal fulfillment for their graduates regardless of the eventual income. A Top 10 list of best college degrees is often subjective but many consider things such as average salaries, job prospects and how much happiness degree-holders report once they've entered the working world.
You can take your pick from any degree with 'engineering' in the name: aerospace, nuclear, biomedical, computer engineering. Degree-holders in any of these fields enjoy starting pay around $60,000 per year and earn $100,000 or more by the middle of their career. It doesn't hurt that engineers often work on interesting projects that contribute to advances in society and technology.
A degree in this branch of science can lead to jobs in public, private, academic or entrepreneurial work. An undergraduate physics student can choose to pursue a graduate or doctoral degree but can also find employment on research teams after just the bachelor's degree.
An economics education shares features with business and finance degrees, but this field teaches the principles that help to understand the economy at large. Possible jobs include advising and planning in business or government roles and the average annual pay of graduates approaches $100,000 by mid-career.
Perhaps you need an inclination from within toward this degree, but religious studies and theology majors generally report the highest job satisfaction throughout their careers, at nearly 90 percent, according to a study published in 2007 by the University of Chicago.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a bright outlook for technology careers and computer science majors lead the pack in job opportunities and average salary. Software engineering also ranks highly, but a broader degree in computer science keeps you open to changes in the industry.
There's enough jokes out there about the lack of money to be made from an English degree, yet its popularity continues due to wide career options and personal happiness. Published authors report high career satisfaction, while many English majors go on to successful law careers or other related fields.
Despite or regardless of earning opportunities, education majors enjoy personal satisfaction and reliable employment opportunities. Special education majors report even higher job satisfaction, making it clear that this field promises a valuable experience by helping others.
This branch of mathematics can lead to a job as an accountant, actuary, political consultant and many other possibilities. Pay rates tend to exceed those of people holding general math degrees; statistics tends to require advanced degrees less than math.
Combining computer knowledge with analytical skills, an information systems degree can be valuable to businesses or other organizations. Graduates in this field can market themselves as businesspeople and technical staff, able to design and interpret an organization's data.
This degree doesn't have to lead to an Academy Award to be rewarding and fun with consistent employment. Film students go on to create and produce the vast amount of audio and video content on the Internet, television and big screen, as well as multimedia for business marketing, political campaigns and more.
John Bland has been a freelance writer since 2009, with his essays, fiction and poetry appearing in "Shine Magazine," "North Texas Review" and many online journals. He received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of North Texas in 2008.