10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (2024)

Choosing what to study at university is not an easy decision — especially when we have to consider whether it’ll lead us to the highest paid jobs in the world.

A study found that more than half of recent graduates picked their major and career based on the earning potential it would give them.

A bachelor’s degree can open the doors to various well-paying jobs, with the average starting salary for a fresh graduate in the US around US$47,349 per year.

However, some degrees let graduates earn some of the highest salaries in the world right out of university.

Do you know which degrees lead to the highest paid jobs in the world?

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (1)

Anesthesiologist is currently one of the highest paid jobs in the world. Source: Didier Pallages/AFP

10 best degrees that lead to the highest paid jobs in the world:

1. Bachelor of Medicine

Pursuing medical school is a long and tedious journey. Thankfully, once you graduate can expect to secure one of the highest paid jobs in the world.

Those who complete a bachelor’s in medicine usually become general practitioners.

While doctors earn well, choosing to specialise in a specific field of medicine will increase your annual salary.

According to US News’s list of Best Jobs in 2023, anesthesiologists, obstetricians and gynaecologists earn up to US$208,000 a year.

Get a headstart on your medical career at one of these top universities:

  • Harvard University, US
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Stanford University, US

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (2)

Pursuing a dentistry degree can lead to one of the highest paid jobs in the world. Source: Atta Kenare/AFP

2. Bachelor of Dentistry

If you have a passion for oral healthcare, pursuing a career as a dentist is perfect for you.

You’ll be happy to know that dentistry is considered one of the highest paid jobs in the world. Looking in people’s mouths is worth it when you earn US$160,370 annually.

However, if you choose to further your education to become an orthodontist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon, this can lead to an even higher salary of US$208,000 annually.

Become a successful dentist by pursuing a Bachelor of Dentistry from:

  • Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Netherlands
  • The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (3)

Students often enjoy the hands-on experiences they have at nursing schools. Source: Theo Rouby/AFP

3. Bachelor in Nursing

Nursing is one of the highest paid jobs in the world, with those in this line earning around US$93,632 per year.

For those of you who are passionate about medicine and working in the healthcare industry but don’t want to spend at least four years in medical school, this is the career for you.

This course of study is one of the most popular among students as you are able to immediately begin applying your skills once you graduate.

With a degree in nursing, you will be eligible for roles as a clinical nurse specialist, community nurse, child care specialist, private nurse or social worker.

Those choosing this career path need not worry about securing a job. The Bureau of Labour Statistics has predicted that the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow by 46% by the year 2031.

If you are interested in pursuing an education in nursing, here are the best universities in the world to do so:

  • University of Pennsylvania, US
  • King’s College London, UK
  • Johns Hopkins University, US

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (4)

While becoming a surgeon is extremely stressful, it leads to one of the highest salaries. Source: Alexis Huguet/AFP

4. Bachelor of Surgery

Surgery is one of the most stressful jobs, as it takes years to be qualified. Once they are, surgeons are responsible for the life and death of their patients.

However, the hard work doesn’t go unrecognised as surgeons are some of the best compensated in the world.

Similar to other jobs in the medical field, pursuing a career as a surgeon can lead to big money, earning you around US$208,000 annually.

Here are the best universities in the world to pursue a Bachelor of Surgery:

  • Harvard University, US
  • Johns Hopkins University, US
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (5)

As a pilot, you can earn monthly five-figure salaries and have the opportunity to travel the world. Source: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/AFP

5. Bachelor in Aviation

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aviation opens the doors to many job opportunities in the industry. One of the most popular routes that lead to a successful and high-paying career is becoming a pilot.

While this job comes with huge risks and is one of the most dangerous, pilots are some of the highest paid in the world. Pilots in the US earn around US$134,630 a year.

A monthly five-figure salary isn’t the only perk when choosing this career. As a pilot, you will be able to fly around the world and visit many countries.

Begin your piloting career by first pursuing a bachelor’s in aviation from one of these institutions:

  • University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Griffith University, Australia
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, US

6. Bachelor of Information Technology

A bachelor’s degree in information technology focuses on using computer programmes and networks to achieve business goals.

Once you complete a bachelor of information technology, you can find work in many different areas, including jobs as database administrators, computer network architects, and system administrators.

The highest paid job in the field of business and information technology lies in the role of an IT manager, who earns roughly US$159,010 annually.

According to BLS, the number of jobs in information technology is predicted to grow by 15% by 2031.

So, you don’t have to worry about finding employment as 682,800 job openings are expected in the next few years.

Become a professional IT manager with a degree in information technology from:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US
  • Stanford University, US
  • Carnegie Mellon University, US

7. Bachelor in Economics

If you’re interested in statistics, accounting, and learning about the production, distribution, and consumption of goods, economics is the field for you.

Economics looks at how things are produced and how they are sold around the world.

Pursuing a bachelor’s in economics can lead to several career opportunities,

Students who pursue this path and become financial managers can expect a median base salary of around US$131,710.

This makes the career as a financial manager one of the highest paid jobs in the world.

Here are the best universities to pursue a degree in this field:

  • Harvard University, US
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US
  • Stanford University, US

8. Bachelor in Marketing

Marketing also makes the list of highest paid jobs in the world.

This degree is a popular choice for students who have a passion for advertising, social media and graphic design.

The career opportunities with a marketing degree in hand are seemingly endless.

Marketing graduates can work in just about any industry, as almost every business, organisation, and nonprofit around the world has a marketing team.

Those with a marketing degree can pursue jobs such as social media manager, marketing executive, sales representative and marketing research analyst.

However, pursuing a job as a marketing manager will secure you one of the highest paid jobs with a salary of up to US$135,030 annually.

If you are considering a degree in marketing, here are the best universities in US, UK and Australia to do so:

  • University of Pennsylvania, US
  • Lancaster University, UK
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (6)

Lawyers earn one of the highest salaries in the US. Source: John Thys/AFP

9. Bachelor of Law

Lawyers are some of the highest-paid in the world, no matter which country they’re in. For this reason, many choose to pursue this stressful degree that leads to an even more stressful job every year.

It may be just three years to complete a law degree in the UK and Commonwealth countries but be prepared for long hours of chasing deadlines and burning the midnight oil.

In the US, a law degree is a postgraduate degree — which means you have to complete a bachelor’s degree and spend another three years in graduate law school.

However, this is all worth it, as some firms pay a median salary of up to US$127,990, making a career as a lawyer one of the highest paid jobs in the world.

Kickstart your career as a lawyer with a Bachelor of Law from one of the top universities in the world:

  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University College London
  • University of Glasgow

10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (7)

A worker fixes a pipeline at the plant of Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol in Acacias, Meta Department, south of Bogota on February 10, 2023. Source: Juan Barreto/AFP

10. Bachelor of Petroleum Engineering

While studying any engineering field can set you up for a high-paying career, petroleum engineers are the most in-demand and most well-paid.

Petroleum engineers will remain in demand and among the highest paid as long as corporations worldwide make money off oil reserves.

A degree in this field will equip you with the skills to develop efficient equipment and methods for extracting oil and gas from reserves deep below the Earth’s surface.

Choosing this career path will lead to a high salary of US$130,850 annually.

Secure one of the highest paid jobs in the world with some of the best degrees in this field at these universities:

  • National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  • University of Texas at Austin, US
  • Technical University of Denmark, Demark
10 best degrees leading to the highest paid jobs in 2023 (2024)
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