Top Five Academic Degrees that Bring Higher-than-Average Paychecks and Highest Job Security

1. Petroleum Engineering- you work on offshore rigs and depend on the price of oil for keeping your job. This is a high risk job, but pays well with an average annual salary of $120,000. The risk is not only the ocean around the oil rig, but your job depends on the oil market. You'll spend an equal amount of time working and not working as the oil market shifts.

2. Pharmacy- Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration. This is BIG business and you can always depend on having a job. Plus, you can work in most countries with a few tests for certifications. An IMS report shows Americans spent $307 billion on prescriptions last year alone. The average salary for a pharmacist is $105,000. You do more than hand out pills; you also need to know the side-effects and dosages for each drug. You also have to keep up with the industry.

3. Mathematics and Computer Science- Computer geeks are always needed. Every company in the world has computers. There are more jobs for a CIS major than any other industry. It's not an easy degree to learn, but it is a lucrative job with a starting salary of $98,000 per year.

4. Aerospace Engineering- aerospace engineers make about $87,000 per year. They are the ones who will send us to the stars when there are too many people on earth to feed. They don't just know about spacecrafts, but they know about the construction of aircraft, too.

5. Chemical Engineers- as the world needs more of everything but have to stop using fossil fuel, a chemical engineer will be the one to make our world a greener place by develop polymers, paper, dyes, drugs, plastics, fertilizers, foods, petrochemicals to ease our troubles. Expect to make about $86,000 per year for men and 66,000 per year for women. Still a challenging industry.

These are the academic degrees that bring in the money. They also are the most recession proof in any country. Most of these industries don't have unemployment, according to a report from Georgetown CEW.

Five Degrees That Have the Highest Job Security

1. Geological and Geophysical Engineering- with a starting salary near $75,000 per year, you will always have work to do. There are always earthquakes, floods, and other disasters Mother Nature throws at the world. Geological and geophysical engineers are the ones that solve all the problems she creates for us humans. They try to make the world stable by building things to keep Mother Nature from tearing us apart. We always need geological and geophysical engineers.

2. Military Technology- working as a civilian for the military will bring you a starting wages of about $54,300 per year. You'll instruct the military in weapons systems and technology, communications, intelligence, management, logistics, and strategy. Plus, show them advanced and specialized leadership and technical responsibilities for the armed services and related national security organizations. They will always need someone to teach the military how to use better technology.

3. Pharmacy/Pharmacology- you'll never worry about having a job with this industry whatever the economy. They always need someone to fill prescriptions. It's also one of the highest paid academic degrees.

4. School Student Counseling- education is an on going field. There is always a need for counseling at schools as school teaches the next generation. You can help students in their career choices with a starting salary of $44,000, $50,000 with master's degree, and $100,000 with a PhD. There will always be schools where your expertise will be needed.

5. Software Engineer- computers can't run without programs. Software engineers will always be needed. It's a profession where you have to keep up with the changes, but with a salary of $72,000, it should be fairly easy. A software engineer designs, develops, tests, and evaluates a variety of software programs and applications.

The CEW study based its findings on new Census Bureau information which, for the first time, linked undergraduate majors with an individual's full life cycle earnings.

One last word on choosing a college major: According to Nobel-laureate Gary Becker, a pioneer in the field of human capital, "Flexibility is one of the most important job skills for navigating the 21st century economy and the job market." Choose your majors and minors with care. You never know what's going to happen in the future and education is the most important factor to
any career choice.

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