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Which degree makes the most money?

I’m curious which degree makes the most money on average. Engineering? Sciences?How about between a Bachelor’s in Math and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, those are the two I’m interested in the most. thanks!

15 Answers

  1. For you, probably fine arts since they all become strippers later on and even their extra loose vaginas can't hold in those dirty dollar bills

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  2. Kids on yconic have no clue what they are talking about with respect to career salaries, as most of them are high schoolers and early undergrads. I will break it down for you since I worked in one of these fields and am in my mid-20s. Keep in mind that I am posting salaries for MOST graduates coming out of these programs; there are obviously exceptions. 
    Starting salary for engineering/computer science is between 45-55k. Very few engineers pass the 100k mark. The ceiling for engineering managers tends to be 100-110k, even with years of experience. You can make more with an engineering degree if you go into business and take on managerial roles (Engineering+MBA from a top school can be a good combination). The average salary for engineers is in the 50-80k range. It is a middle-class profession, and engineering students on yconic like Veronica Guthrie (Waterloo Biomedical Engineering student) have confirmed this to be true. Again, obvious exceptions are if you get hired as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.
    The salaries for math graduates is similar to engineering graduates. A pure math degree is actually seen as a relatively unemployable degree on its own, which is why a lot of math degree holders go on to do their master's degree, MBA, or specialize in a more practical area in the graduate realm. An undergraduate pure math degree alone can make job prospects difficult.

    The job market for engineers is so bad that only 30% of engineers are actually working in their respective fields according to this report. 
    Now, coming to business. This comes down to what school you went to (there is a difference between McGill commerce and UOIT commerce), and where you work. There is a HUGE difference between working at Goldman Sachs or Scotiabank investment banking, as opposed to being a financial advisor or sales clerk. The average salary for business grads is similar to engineering in the 45-55k mark, but depending on your role and place of work, you can move your way up past the six-figure mark. 

    However, I want to emphasize here quite clearly that if money is your driving factor, then the highest paying professions in Canada are:
    Doctor/SurgeonJudge/LawyerDentistPharmacy ManagerSenior managers in business; finance; engineering; construction; transportation
    As you can see from the above, most of the careers in this list require a professional degree. I know people who just came out of law school and medical school, have little to no actual experience, and their starting salaries are higher than engineers, computer scientists, and business school grads who have been working for a number of years. This is how the pay structure is set up in North America. The fields that require a professional degree tend to pay higher than those that require an undergraduate degree alone.
    DavidWestern JD, Ivey HBA/BMSc

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    • Statisticians typically start at 50k and average is around 70k. The most experienced statisticians may make around 90-110k, but this is the extreme and not to be expected. There are extremes in every profession, but in general, I am equating high salaries with a six figure and above "average" income. This is rare, contrary to what you may read on forums like this. To become an actuary, you need to pass a series of rigorous professional exams. To become a statistician, you more often than not, need a master's degree. Data analysts make 50-70k on average.
      A salary of 100k annually puts you in the top 10% of all Canadians. A salary of 137k+ puts you in the top 1% of all Canadians. The average individual annual income in Toronto is 35k. Most university graduates can expect to make anywhere from 50-75k, but it becomes incredibly difficult to move up past this.
      As I mentioned above, if we are talking about the CAREERS ( and in turn, degrees) that make the most money, then I am only going to talk about the top 1-10% here and nothing else. The majority of people who make up this margin are:
      Specialized physicians and family doctorsJudges and lawyersDentistsPharmacy managersSenior managers in business, finance, construction, engineering, transportation, goods production, etc.Actuaries (to a much lesser extent compared to the above professions)
      To actually answer your question, the DEGREE that makes the most money is the MD, followed by the JD. If you can do it, a medical degree or law degree are the highest paying degrees in Canada, if not the world. No Canadian undergraduate degree can reach this level; however, a business degree from a renowned school or actuarial sciences are a good starting point. 
      DavidWestern JD, Ivey HBA/BMSc

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    • You mentioned the salary for pure math, but I don't think that I would do pure math.I thought there were a ton of other math related jobs that make 6 figures easily like a data analyst, statistician, or an actuary?
      thanks for responding by the way

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    • David,
      Some great points and valuable information here.  If I may add a little perspective from an actuarial/statistical perspective to complement what you have outlined …
      From a statistical perspective there's a very interesting trend for statisticians.  When I graduated from Waterloo grad school (actuarial science 1993), stats majors were in a no-man's land.  Undergrad statisticians could best hope for a Moneyball job.  It wasn't a particularly employable degree.  But nowadays with the hype of "big data", machine learning, and predictive analytics, the prospects for a statistician are much different.  A statistician can make very good money, however, a graduate degree is required for the best jobs.
      I've been an actuary in the US for 25 years.  I have witnessed some meteoric rises for quite a few actuarial 'trainees'.  They start at my company at around 60 USD and it isn't strange for them to be making 85 in two years time assuming good reviews and consistent exam progress.  A newly qualified FSA can expect a salary around 110-125 depending on geography.  And after that, well, the sky is really the limit depending on career progress.  Now, my basis for discussion is in the US.  And it's likely different in Canada, which is coated in actuarial students.
      Personally, I like math grads whether they be pure, applied, statistical or actuarial – provided they aren't too weird.  The subject matter doesn't always attract the coolest kids, let's say.  But they can be talented problem solvers and unique thinkers.  With that type of intellect and an open mind, they make very interesting business people whether they be actuaries, statisticians, or even engineers.  But the training doesn't stop with the undergrad degree.  I think that's the message I'm trying to relay here.  A math degree doesn't make one interesting.  What one does with the skill set certainly can.

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    • ^^
      I absolutely agree with this. Thanks for sharing your input. My posts are speaking in general terms on the "average annual income" in these respective professions, but there is definitely potential for data analysis, statisticians, and actuarial sciences; however, I'm just not sure how large the market in Canada is for these grads. Canada is largely a service driven economy, which is why public services like law and medicine, and consumer services like business and trades are where the jobs tend to be. There are more than enough grads coming out of programs like actuarial sciences, math, statistics, engineering, computer science, etc. to fill in the few "big data", machine learning, and predictive analytics roles that are available here. A graduate degree also tends to be a requirement for the best jobs in Canada as well. 
      No doubt, but this is not the average income of trades persons. Only the very best in their field obtain this kind of salary (top 1%), and that will be the maximum ceiling. The average trades person does not make six figures and above, but they can certainly make near six figure salaries. Trades is not a "top 10% or top 1%" profession, which is why I did not mention it in my list earlier. It is a solid career path though, and I have a few family members in the trades who are making bank. 
      DavidWestern JD, Ivey HBA/BMSc

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    • Actually if you got to college and get into the trades for a apprenticeship you can make near the 150k mark. This path is actually way easier and can make you a lot more money

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  3. On average, it’s CS and eng. But I do emphasize “average.” 
    Anyone can make lots of money regardless of thier degree. Just depends on what you’re willing to risk to get to a level of high wealth. 

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