According to a recent analysis from USA Today, using data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, a college degree is one of the best financial investments anyone can make. In 2015, college graduates earned 56 percent more than high school graduates. Non-degreed adults also face higher unemployment rates and fewer opportunities over all, mostly due to lost manufacturing jobs from the last decade.
While it’s common knowledge higher education normally pays off, the type of college degree you pursue may matter more than you think. Simply put, some degrees are especially lucrative due to high pay and demand while others are barely worth pursuing due to low wages and low demand.
If you’re in the market for a bachelor’s degree and want to enter a growing field with impressive earning potential, check out this list:
#1: Operations Research Analyst
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $84,340
Highest-Paying States: Virginia ($106,490), New York ($106,260), and Alabama ($97,080)
Operations research analysts use advanced math and statistics to help organizations solve complex problems relating to their business model. These professionals often work in business, healthcare, or logistics, with the main goals of helping businesses improve their processes, eliminate waste, and earn more money.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most operations research analysts begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in operations research or a related field such as statistics. The best part is, this degree is in incredibly high demand. As the U.S. Department of Labor notes, job openings for operations research analysts are expected to increase 30 percent from 2014 to 2024.
#2: Personal Financial Advisor
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $123,100
Highest-Paying States: New York ($154,900), California ($143,570), and Maine ($142,200)
Personal financial advisors work with clients from all walks of life. They help them plan their estates and invest their money in a strategic way. Most financial advisors also help their clients create a comprehensive financial plan that will help them retire. To get started in this field, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field.
Because there will always be people who need help managing their money and investments, jobs in this field are expected to surge. U.S. Department of Labor numbers predict that employment for financial advisors will increase 30 percent from 2014 to 2024.
#3: Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $66,160
Highest-Paying States: California ($80,750), Virginia ($76,930), and Washington ($76,890)
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists collect geographic data used to make charts and maps for a wide range of purposes. They take pictures and inspect satellite images in order to measure land mass or distance, then update and revise existing maps for businesses and governments.
Because of our ongoing need for maps and updated geographical information, jobs in this field are plentiful. U.S. Department of Labor numbers show that employment in this field could surge by 29 percent nationally from 2014 to 2024.
#4: Interpreters and Translators
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $51,260
Highest-Paying States: Virginia ($74,130), New Jersey ($69,190), and Colorado ($67,510)
Interpreters and translators help businesses and individuals who speak different languages connect with one another. They listen to words and translate them into other languages either verbally or in written form. As the BLS notes, most interpreters and translators get their start with a bachelor’s degree in English or a foreign language.
Because our country continues to be more diverse, language skills are in constant demand. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that jobs for interpreters and translators will increase by 29 percent from 2014 to 2024.
#5: Forensic Science Technicians
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $60,690
Highest-Paying States: California ($80,150), Nevada ($74,480), and Connecticut ($74,470)
Forensic science technicians usually start their careers with a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, although degrees in biology or natural sciences are also common. These workers analyze crime scenes to determine the best way to gather evidence. They also make sketches of crime scenes, record observations and findings, and prepare evidence for transfer to crime labs.
Because crime is a constant issue for states and municipalities to deal with, job growth in this field is expected to stay strong. Due to growing demand, government figures show that jobs in this field may increase by as much as 27 percent through 2024.
#6: Biomedical Engineers
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $89,970
Highest-Paying States: Minnesota ($101,710), Colorado ($101,490), and New Mexico ($100,950)
Biomedical engineers use their in-depth knowledge of science and the human body to create medical equipment and devices. They visualize these devices, design them for function and style, then test them in medical labs. As the BLS notes, most biomedical engineers begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.
Because of our continued reliance on improvements in healthcare and technology, jobs in this field are expected to boom. Job openings could increase by 23 percent from 2014 to 2024. Due to high pay and an expected uptick in employment, this career field is a true winner.
#7: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $44,160
Highest-Paying States: New Mexico ($59,090), Alaska ($54,280), and North Dakota ($53,680)
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors usually earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field. Once they finish school, they learn to counsel individuals with substance abuse problems. They analyze patient health, help them build new lives free of bad habits, and teach coping mechanisms that keep them off of drugs.
Jobs in this field are only expected to grow, and could grow by as much as 22 percent through 2024 according to government stats. That percentage represents around 20,000 new jobs nationally during that timeline.
#8: Athletic Trainers
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: #47,880
Highest-Paying States: New Jersey ($59,180), Connecticut ($57,140), and Nevada ($57,110)
Athletic trainers use their knowledge of science and the human body to help athletes improve their talent and skill. They teach and recommend specific exercises, create long-term training programs, and help athletes recover from injury. As the BLS notes, most athletic trainers get their start with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training or sports physiology.
Job openings in this field are expected to keep increasing as more and more Americans strive to improve their physical health. Through 2024, employment for athletic trainers is expected to increase 21 percent nationally.
#9: Computer Systems Analysts
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $91,620
Highest-Paying States: New Jersey ($102,310), California ($101,440), and Virginia ($98,470)
Computer systems analysts are charged with overseeing their organization’s computer systems. They research software and upgrades, consult with managers when creating new systems, and troubleshoot problems. They also devise ways to add new functionality to existing systems.
Most of the time, these workers get their foot in the door with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Fortunately, the investment normally pays off. In addition to high pay, computer systems analysts are expected to see a 21 percent boost in employment nationally through 2024.
#10: Market Research Analyst
Annual Mean Wage in 2016: $70,620
Highest-Paying States: California ($80,560), Delaware ($79,280), and Washington ($79,190)
Market research analysts use their marketing and sales expertise to predict upcoming trends. They study historical data and measure the effectiveness of past marketing campaigns. They also gather data on consumers to guide new campaigns that will drive sales and improve results for their clients.
Most market research analysts learn their craft by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Fortunately, new jobs should be plentiful in the coming years. Hiring in this field is expected to increase 19 percent through 2024, creating an additional 90,000+ jobs in the process.