Want a Lavish Lifestyle? Here Are the 10 Best-Paying College Majors for Women

Despite advancements in women’s educational attainment (they now make up the majority of college graduates), an unfortunate gender pay gap still persists. A recent report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) states that women working full time earned only 82% on average of what their male peers earned just one year out of college. Yes, it’s true – the pay gap starts immediately with your first job out of college.

The study came to the conclusion that a primary cause of the earnings difference is choice of college major. Whilst men are more likely to study higher-paying specialties like engineering and computer science, women are more likely to pursue lower-paying specialties like education and social sciences. However, nearly one-third of the pay gap remains unaccounted for, and is likely the result of lingering gender discrimination and differences in salary negotiations.

“Although women cannot avoid the pay gap completely, they can make choices that enhance their earning potential,” write AAUW researchers Christianne Corbett and Catherine Hill. “A critical first step is paying attention to the salaries associated with college majors and occupations and understanding the long-term financial implications of those decisions.” One thing is definitely known: A college degree is still well worth the investment. According to a report by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce (CEW), Bachelor’s degree holders earn almost 84% more than those with only a high school diploma. And most importantly, the degree you choose greatly impacts your earnings. The highest earning college major for both sexes ($120,000 for Petroleum Engineering) earns 314% more than the lowest earning major ($29,000 for Counseling Psychology), when comparing median earnings.

Due to the continuing gender difference in pay, researchers at the CEW analyzed 171 undergraduate majors by how well they pay off for women. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top 10 best-paying college majors for women are closely aligned with the most recent list of the best-paying jobs for women, with pharmacy being ruling the roost. The list is also dominated by engineering and computer science majors, areas where men are highly concentrated.

So if you are looking for a degree that’s going to earn you the moolah you will probably want to start with list below.

Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration

  • Percentage of women: 42%
  • Women’s median earnings: $100,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $110,000

Information Sciences

  • Percentage of women: 26%
  • Women’s median earnings: $75,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $65,000

Chemical Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 23%
  • Women’s median earnings: $72,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $92,000

Computer Science

  • Percentage of women: 22%
  • Women’s median earnings: $70,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $79,000

Electrical Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 7%
  • Women’s median earnings: $70,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $86,000

Mechanical Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 7%
  • Women’s median earnings: $70,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $80,000

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 17%
  • Women’s median earnings: $67,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $80,000

Computer Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 14%
  • Women’s median earnings: $67,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $80,000

Business Economics

  • Percentage of women: 30%
  • Women’s median earnings: $64,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $80,000

Civil Engineering

  • Percentage of women: 13%
  • Women’s median earnings: $62,000
  • Men’s median earnings: $80,000
  • The study also found that the worst-paying college majors for women are Theology and Religious Vocations (median $33,000), Human Services and Community Organization (median $35,000), and Cosmetology Services and Culinary Arts (median $36,000).
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