Guess what field nine out of the 10 highest-paying college majors are in?

Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
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It’s English literature.

Just kidding.

Jobs website PayScale today released a report examining the salaries of 1.4 million alumni from more than 1,300 colleges and universities across the US. At the bachelor’s degree level, the programs shown to yield the best salaries—measured at both an early-career stage (less than five years out of college) and a mid-career stage (10 or more years out of college)—are overwhelmingly related to engineering.

Petroleum engineering and systems engineering pay particularly well, for people who pass the 10-year mark in those careers.

Such findings fall in line with previous research noting that degrees in the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—yield the most monetary return for college graduates in the next few years, as the US turns its eye toward technological innovation. Institutions from local school districts to the White House are urging students help remedy a national shortage in engineers.

But those seeking a career change right now shouldn’t necessarily jump at the prospect of a high salary alone. There’s wisdom yet in the importance of pursuing a career you actually care about.