A business degree can offer not only strong leadership skills, but a favorable return on investment. The key to maximizing that investment is knowing which areas of business offer the highest earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for business and financial occupations is approximately $70,000. Salary projections are even higher for other business-related careers. To help determine which business programs pay the highest wage, and to assist with your business major declaration, we conducted research on earnings potential and job outlook.
Reviewing the Top 10 Lucrative Business Majors
After consulting the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, we determined the highest paying business programs. These best business majors span various sub-fields like international business, supply chain management, human resources, management information systems, project risk management, organizational leadership, and more. Below are our results for the most lucrative business credentials.
#10 – Human Resources Management
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Human Resources Business Degree
Human resource management is one of the best business majors on our list. This is due to its favorable job growth and earnings potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the average annual wage for human resources specialists is approximately $62,290. Notably, the highest ten percent earn an average salary of more than $108,160. Compensation and benefits managers, a specialization within the human resource management field, report an average salary of $127,530. BLS also reports human resource managers earn a median annual wage of $126,230. For all occupations related to this lucrative business career, a favorable job outlook is projected. In fact, all human resource specialists, HR managers, and compensation and benefits managers should see favorable job prospects over the next decade.
#9 – Accounting
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Accounting Business Degree
A bachelor’s degree in accounting and knowledge of advanced accounting principles is typically required to become an accountant or auditor. But with a four-year accounting degree and licensure, accounting majors reap the rewards of one of the best paying business majors. The BLS reports the average annual wage for accountants as $77,250. Still, the highest ten percent of earners bring in $128,970 annually. Top-paying industries for accountants include finance and insurance, management of companies and enterprises, tax accounting and tax preparation, and government. Besides offering a high return on investment, accounting offers a favorable job outlook of four percent. In general, job growth for the accounting associate is steady and about as fast as the average for all occupations.
#8 – Logistics Management
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Logistics
Logistics / logistics management is recognized as one of the top business majors due to its strong earnings potential and favorable job outlook. The BLS reports a 28 percent employment growth for logisticians. That’s not to mention job openings for related positions like distribution manager, project manager, operations manager, program manager, and supply chain manager, for instance. The employment growth for the logistics manager is faster than the average for all occupations, providing a steady and stable projection. The BLS also reports job prospects for candidates with experience or expertise in logistical software or military work should be favorable. Also, the average annual pay for logisticians is $77,030, according to BLS. Top-paying industries employing logisticians include federal government (average pay of $88,710), manufacturing (average pay of $77,740), and management of companies and enterprises (average pay of $78,660). Job roles will include those in organizational leadership, transportation management, supply chain management, project management, and operations management.
#7 – Business Management
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Business Management Degree
The versatile college degree program in business administration and management can open doors to various business disciplines. With versatility comes high earnings potential and a favorable job outlook for a management career. In fact, management is one of the best paying business majors on our list. According to the BLS, the median salary for management analysts is $93,000. Yet, the highest ten percent of earners with these business analyst/ management skills make more than $163,760. Management analysts often hold a bachelor’s degree in management or an MBA in strategic management or management consulting. They use their analytical skills to create business opportunities, and work in diverse fields like international business, supply chain management, operations management, business consulting, economics, finance, organizational leadership, or project management. They may also have their own business or several business ventures and have advanced knowledge of corporate communications, business ethics, business law, and business strategy as well as information technology like management information systems. This job position of management analyst or management consultant should expect a favorable job outlook over the next decade. In fact, BLS reports employment of management analysts is projected to grow 11 percent through 2031.
#6 – Statistics
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Statistics Business Degree
Ranked among the best paying business credentials, statistics majors graduate with valuable business skills. These are the skills needed to establish careers in areas like computer science, financial accounting, economics, math, and other quantitative fields. While most leadership roles in statistics demand a master’s degree in business, entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree. The BLS reports the average salary for statisticians is $95,570. And the highest 10 percent earned more than $157,300. As a result of these reported earnings, statistics is one of the top business degrees on our list. Aside from the high pay, the job outlook is favorable. In fact, employment for statisticians is projected to increase through 2031. Much of the projected growth is expected to be in research-based roles. A few examples include academia, business consultant work, and research and development.
#5 – Economics
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Economics Business Degree
One of the highest paying business majors on our list in terms of pay and earnings potential is economics. Economics majors, at the undergraduate or graduate level, have a high earnings potential, according to the BLS. This makes them one of the most in-demand business majors available. In fact, the average salary for economists is $105,630. According to the BLS, economists also enjoy a highly favorable job outlook. Employment of economists is projected to grow 6 percent through 2031, which is faster than other occupations. Job prospects are especially high for individuals with advanced degrees in economics, such as a Master of Business Administration. Economics majors may go on to apply their business knowledge and strategic planning insight to work as strategy investment managers or investment consultants in the investment planning field, for example.
#4 – Financial Management
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Finance Business Major
Financial management professionals are tasked with keeping financial records, preparing financial reports, and directing investments in financial markets. In addition to financial reporting, the financial analyst or financial advisor also oversees portfolio management and develops short- and long-term financial goals for businesses and organizations. They may also oversee the work of financial service sales agents. In the business world, the role of financial manager pays well and offers a favorable job outlook. This makes the finance major one of the best business credentials to have. The BLS reports the average salary for financial management professionals with a degree in business is $131,710. The highest ten percent of earners in this occupation made an average salary of more than $208,000 per year. As one of the highest paying business degrees, financial planning and management also offers a favorable job outlook. According to BLS, job openings for financial managers are projected to grow 17 percent through 2031. The growth predicted for these business jobs is much faster than the average for virtually any other industry. In fact, job growth is nearly triple the growth for a large percentage of jobs.
#3 – Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations
Master’s, Master of Business Administration Program (MBA), or Bachelor’s in Marketing
Ideal for those who desire a fast-paced career, marketing is one of the highest paying business majors on our list. A bachelor’s degree is required for most advertising, marketing, and promotions management positions within a marketing agency. Experience in consumer behavior, market research, project management, online services, or brand management is also favored by employers in the business field. According to the BLS, the average salary for marketing managers is $135,030 and $127,150 for advertising and promotions managers. Besides high earnings potential for marketing majors, the employment for marketing managers is highly favorable. In fact, the BLS reports a projected ten-percent employment growth for job openings. This is faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and organizations expand, marketing experts with high-level critical thinking skills and knowledge of sound business principles, public relations, and project management will be needed. This includes roles such as international marketing manager.
#2 – Sales & Marketing
Master’s, MBA, or Bachelor’s in Sales & Marketing
According to the BLS, a marketing manager or marketing director with a successful career earns a national average salary of $135,030. This high earnings potential is accompanied by a projected job outlook of six percent. This earns sales manager and marketing degrees a #2 spot on our list of highest paying business credentials. Another reason sales and marketing are among the best business degrees to earn is the number of available positions. Based on projections through 2031, BLS reports 350,700 jobs for sales managers and marketing managers. As emphasis on digital marketing, search engine optimization, branding, market research, and modern business challenges increases, sales and marketing teams within organizations will be in demand. Also, the favorable job outlook means the industry is growing at a faster rate than the average for all occupations. Also, entry into the industry only requires a bachelor’s degree.
#1 – Actuary Science
Master’s, Master of Business Administration, or Bachelor’s in Actuary Science
Actuary science is listed among the best paying business credentials on our list. This is due to the major’s high earnings potential and favorable job outlook. According to the BLS, the average salary for actuaries is $105,900. Still, the highest ten percent earn more than $206,820. The top-paying four industries for actuaries include:
- professional, scientific, and technical services
- finance and insurance
- management of companies and enterprises
Besides high earnings potential, employment for actuaries is projected to grow 21 percent through 2031. The BLS reports that more actuaries with managerial skills will be needed to employ leadership practices and assist companies in managing their own risk. Specifically, insurance companies will need more actuaries as new insurance markets expand.
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This concludes our list of the top 10 highest paying business programs.