Four Year Degrees that Pay Off

There are many reasons a student may not pursue a post-graduate education. You may be undecided about graduate school, or may wish to work before going back to graduate school. Therefore, it’s wise to choose a bachelor’s degree that offers good job prospects and good pay.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers design medical equipment and process, including artificial limbs or organs and diagnostic machines. They may also contribute to the testing and maintenance of such equipment. With 62% projected growth* over the next seven years, the field of biomedical engineering offers solid job prospects for qualified graduates. Biomedical engineers earned a median annual wage of $81,540 in 2010.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers create processes for chemical manufacturing and related products. Earnings for chemical engineers are some of the highest among bachelor’s degree holders. Chemical engineers earned a median annual salary of $90,300 in 2010. Job growth of 6% is projected through 2020, and many job openings will be attributed to the retirement of current engineers. Although growth will be slower than average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts good overall job prospects for chemical engineers. A Professional Engineer license can increase employment opportunities in the field.

Management Information Systems

A degree in management information systems qualifies a holder for many of today’s best careers, including database manager and computer systems analyst. 31% growth is projected for database managers through 2020 and they earned a median annual salary of $73, 490 in 2010. Computer systems analysts will also experience increasing job opportunities, with 22% projected growth through 2020. Median annual salary for computer systems analysts was $77,740 in 2010. Other jobs related to management information systems include computer programmer, network systems analyst, and computer security specialist.


An obvious choice for a practical bachelor’s degree is nursing. A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) will provide many job opportunities in the healthcare field. Although an associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a registered nurse, a bachelor’s degree can improve both earning potential and job prospects. Nurses earned a median annual salary of $64,690 in 2010. A growth rate of 26% is projected through 20%.

The key to finding a good job in any field is to gain relevant work experience, preferably through an internship or multiple internships throughout your undergraduate years. Read College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs, 3rd Ed for more information on college majors and career paths.


*All salary and job growth information from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. 

Job descriptions and education information from and