Highest paying college major: Petroleum engineering jobs

If starting at $96,000 a year – sounds like a good deal for a first job – then parents, here are two words to whisper to your young student as she or he heads off to college: “petroleum engineering.”

Not only is that a good deal, it turns out to be the best deal.  That would be tops among all college majors, as reported by U.S. News & World Report this week.  Petroleum engineers lead a pack of STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors, when it comes to top paychecks.

That’s also a reflection of the transformation of the oil business – no more wildcatters and black gold gushers (even if we miss the old nicknames, like “Dry Hole Slick”). Today, it’s high tech and science that are driving oil exploration and production.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering where things go from that first payday, they go up. Mid-career, petroleum engineers pull in about $172,000.

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