10 Highest-Paying College Degrees for African Americans

As we all know, college isn’t cheap. With students saddled with unprecedented amounts of debt, it is critical that college students obtain degrees that will earn them well-paying jobs upon graduation. Degrees that yield a high salary are important for African American students.

Why? Studies show that nearly half (49%) of all black student borrowers default on their student loans 12 years after entering college. Also, black women, who are attending college in record numbers, also bear the brunt of carrying the highest levels of student loan debt.

As you may guess, the highest-paying jobs for graduates with Bachelor’s degrees are mostly concentrated in the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) fields. Take a look at the 10 highest-paying college degrees from PayScale (data from 2018).

Highest-Paying College Degrees for African Americans

1. Petroleum Engineering
Bachelor’s: $82,700
Mid-career salary: $183,600

2. Operations Research & Industrial Engineering
Bachelor’s: $79,600
Mid-career salary $166,300

3. Actuarial Mathematics
Bachelor’s: $54,700
Mid-career salary: $158,100

4. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Bachelor’s: $71,900
Mid-career salary: $138,100

5. Public Accounting
Bachelor’s: $60,700
Mid-career salary $135,000

6. Building Science
Bachelor’s: $50,700
Mid-career salary: $135,000

7. Aeronautics & Astronautics
Bachelor’s: $71,400
Mid-career salary: $133,300

8. Systems Engineering
Bachelor’s: $70,800
Mid-career salary: $131,200

9. Business Analysis
Bachelor’s: $53,400
Mid-career salary: $129,800

10. Economics and Mathematics
Bachelor’s $63,200
Mid-career salary: $126,900

Check out PayScale’s full listing of highest-paying college degrees.


-Editors’ Note: This article was updated from its original publish date in 2011.